How to prevent a dog from eating anxiously

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dog licking

Many dogs seem to be vacuum cleaners at mealtime, devouring their entire ration in just a few seconds, sometimes even choking. If our dog eats with anxiety we must find out if he does it due to illness or a behavior problem.

Let’s review what are the diseases that can cause a fierce appetite in our dog. We will also see some good tips to reduce this anxiety, in case the origin is due to a conduct disorder.

Index of contents

  • 1 Reasons why a dog eats with anxiety
    • 1.1 Gluttonous dogs by nature
    • 1.2 Hypothyroidism
    • 1.3 Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
    • 1.4 Anxiety
  • 2 What to do if your dog shows a lot of anxiety eating?
  • 3 Tips to decrease anxiety when eating

Reasons why a dog eats with anxiety

The reasons that lead a dog to eat with anxiety can be many, although it is generally due to one of the ones mentioned below:

Gluttonous dogs by nature

There are dogs that, by their very nature, can eat more eagerly than others, especially if it is a food that they like very much.

Keep in mind that they are not aware that eating more than they should is bad and sometimes their wild instinct is also activated, which tells them that the more reserves, the better.

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This usually happens more in some breeds such as Cocker spaniel, the Kuvasz or the Great dane. It does not depend, as you see, on size and the good thing is that it can be solved with good training.

dog eating


Eating anxiety can also arise from a thyroid problem, which will make the dog never feel full enough and gobble down endlessly.

In order to remedy this problem, this diagnosis must first be confirmed with a clinical study. If hypothyroidism is confirmed, the vet will medicate the dog to treat this health problem and its consequences.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

When the pancreas does not function properly and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency occurs, the dog will have poor digestion. This means that it will not absorb proteins from food well and your body will demand more food.

This usually happens when German shepherd, by genetics, although it can also occur in other breeds due to infections or viruses. The administration of food supplements with pancreatic enzymes can be a good way to control this dysfunction in the dog.


Finally, psychological anxiety problems can also cause the dog to overeat. As with humans, boredom, sadness, or fear often lead us to overeat to try to calm that feeling.

The same is true of our furry friends. Therefore, it is important that we give them all the attention they need, that we play with them and entertain them to prevent them from thinking about food.

Whatever the reason why a dog shows anxiety when eating, it is important that you go to a professional so that he can help you find the best solution. Similarly, if you see that the dog is not improving or does not fit into any of these reasons, please let your trusted vet know.

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puppies eating

What to do if your dog shows a lot of anxiety eating?

Although we have already given you some answers about it, the fundamental thing will be to find out if there is a health problem behind this behavior. For this, the first step is to observe well how it works and make sure that the dog has enough food in its day to day.

Sometimes the problem is that we have not accustomed him to a meal routine, feeding him between meals. This is not an anxiety problem, but a lack of canine discipline. After analyzing all the factors well, lean on a professional to see how to redirect this situation and prevent the dog from being a “vacuum cleaner”.

Tips to decrease anxiety when eating

In addition to what the vet tells you, there are a number of tips that can be very useful when addressing this problem, eating too fast.

  • It is important that our dog is physically active and does not get bored. Exercise and games, therefore, will be your main ally to end this behavior.

  • Divide the food into several intakes and control what is the ideal daily amount to maintain your weight. By separating the rations in small doses you will avoid that a stomach twist, which is one of the risks associated with eating anxiety and that can cause the death of the dog.

  • Feed your dog natural products like the BARF diet or high-quality dog ​​food. Low quality food (generally for sale in shopping malls and supermarkets, although sometimes also in stores and online) does not cover the nutritional needs of your dog and this causes it to always be hungry.

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In addition to following these recommendations, remember to avoid other bad practices that will only make the problem worse. Therefore, do not feed him after hours and above all, never provide him with food to calm him down when he is anxious. Otherwise you would be reinforcing their anxious behavior.