10 Signs Your Dog is Hungry: Mistakes You must avoid

If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to know when your pup is hungry. Too many times, we think our dogs are just being restless or bored and don’t realize that they may be hungry.

If you notice that your dog is whining, pacing, or acting hungry more than usual, then they might just be telling you that their tummy’s rumbling and it needs some food!

So, let’s talk about 10 signs which that show your dog is hungry.

10 Signs Your Dog is Hungry

Here are a few of the most common signs that may indicate your pet needs to eat.

1) Licking lips

Dogs are very expressive animals and they often show their emotions through facial expressions. Their eyes can tell a story, but their mouth is just as good at expressing what’s going on in their mind.

One of the most common things we see in dogs that are hungry is licking their lips when they walk by food or when they’re hungry for attention.

Dogs lick their lips when they are hungry because it stimulates saliva that helps to lubricate and moisten the mouth, which is necessary for chewing. This licking behavior can be traced back to wolves who would clean themselves by licking their own paws after eating, giving them an instinctual association between hunger and this type of self-grooming behavior.

Dogs also may lick their lips as a result of anxiety or nervousness. For dogs with anxiety issues in particular, licking the lips can help calm them down because they associate it with feeling better from relieving stress through grooming.

We know that dogs like to groom themselves after eating but why do they do it so much more when they’re hungry? It’s likely due to domestication and genetic predisposition. While it’s not the norm to see wild wolves licking their lips after eating, domesticated dogs have inherited this tendency in order to signal to humans that they need food.

2) Whining or barking persistently

Since most dogs are fed twice a day, it is possible that their hunger response is different from ours. They may be acting out of instinct to stimulate food from the caregiver.

If you feed your dog in the morning and then at night, they might need to eat in between those times as well. If this does not seem like an issue for you right now, think about what would happen if they were given only one meal per day- wouldn’t they get hungry during the day? 

In case your dog starts barking or whining persistently when he/she needs food, try feeding them more often or setting up a schedule so that they know when it’s time to eat again!

3) Wandering from room to room, looking for food sources

A common problem that many dog owners face is their dogs wandering from room to room, looking for a food source when they are feeling hungry.

The reason why this happens, according to recent studies, is due to the dog’s brain and how it perceives hunger. When the stomach is empty or near-empty, the hypothalamus in your dog’s brain will send out hunger signals that cause them to look for something else to eat. These signals can be triggered by anything including: smells of cooking food or treats, seeing other people eating, hearing someone opening a bag of snacks on TV. 

The good news is there are ways you can combat this behavior such as feeding your pup enough at mealtimes so he doesn’t feel hungry during hi-sho chow time.

And remember, if you want to stop your dog from getting into the garbage or begging at the tabletop, it’s a good idea to put all trash and food sources away when not in use because of this very behavior.

You don’t have to get rid of your trash can completely (that would be wasteful!) but you can place it in a cabinet or other area that your dog cannot access.

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4) Hunched posture due to being underweight

Hunched posture is seen in dogs when they feel hungry or underweight. It may be a sign of weakness from malnutrition, but it can also be triggered by stress and anxiety. Now let’s talk about the causes behind this stance in detail, what to do if you see your dog hunched over, and how to prevent this behavior for future occurrences. 

Hunched posture has been associated with “hunger” or feeling underweight by many dog owners because it often occurs when a dog feels famished or is in an unhealthy weight range for their breed size. However, many other factors can trigger the stance like environmental stressors (loud noises), separation anxiety (not being able to find their owner), and even just general uneasiness.

Like many other canine behaviors, the way they act can be directly linked to what’s going on in their head. If your dog doesn’t have enough food or doesn’t eat a healthy diet and looks skinny for it being underweight, there are some things you can do to remedy this behavior. 

A great long-term solution is to start feeding them a healthier diet that’s balanced in nutrients and caloric amounts. This will ensure they get the perfect amount of food for their body weight, whether it be thin or chubby.

In addition to this, you can also add extra calories into your dog’s day through treats, special foods, and even some sort of protein supplement like peanut butter. This will ensure your pup doesn’t feel hungry or so underweight that they’re trying to find food from alternative sources.

For short-term situations, you can distract your dog with some fun activities (like a walk or play session) until the hunger pangs subside. This advice can also be applied if your dog is anxious because of other outside factors.

5) Scratching at the ground after waking up from a nap 

Dogs will wake up from a nap and start to scratch at the ground as if they are hungry. This is not an uncommon behavior, but what causes it? It might be due to there being no food nearby. The dog may also feel uncomfortable or frustrated because of hunger, which makes them want to scratch the ground around them in frustration.

In fact, scratching is often a sign of anxiety in animals like dogs and cats. Sometimes when you approach your dog while scratching their back they will stop once they know that you have provided for them. If this isn’t working then the next step would be consulting with your vet about why the dog wakes up from naps feeling hungry and how to fix it! 

6) Sudden and excessive licking of paws 

It’s a common misconception that the reason dogs lick their paws when they are hungry is that they have an itch on their foot. This is not true! Dogs lick their paw when they feel hungry for two reasons.

One, licking stimulates saliva production which in turn signals to the brain that it needs food, and Two, licking cleans dirt and dead skin cells off of the paw which would otherwise irritate them.

It can be difficult to feed your dog every time he starts excessively licking his paws so we recommend using a calming spray or pheromone diffuser to help alleviate these feelings of hunger. 

7) Digging at the ground with sudden tenacity 

Your dog is feeling hungry and you are wondering why they are digging at the ground. You may have seen your pup constantly pawing and scratching up dirt, trying to unearth something that has been buried in the ground.

If this is happening with your pet, it could be due to a condition called pica. Pica occurs when dogs try to eat things that are not food items; these can include hairballs or other pieces of garbage left on the ground such as wrappers.

Eating these objects can lead to gastrointestinal blockages which causes vomiting and constipation in some cases. Other times, pica is caused by an iron deficiency so if you see your dog eating soil it’s best to get them checked out for this issue before their health becomes too compromised.

Eating grass is another behavior related to this.​ Dogs might be eating grass because they are hungry or they might be in some kind of distress. Some dogs have a fondness for grass as if it’s their favorite thing to eat. However, they also do it a lot when they are feeling sick or nauseated because the compounds in the grass can act as a natural remedy for the dog.

The grass can create a soothing and cooling effect on the stomach lining which helps to calm any discomfort or nausea. So, if your dog is eating grass, it’s best to get them checked out by a veterinarian just to be sure that you don’t need to provide any other treatment.

8) Showing Interest in food items your pet doesn’t normally eat

Dogs often show interest in food items that they don’t eat when they are hungry. This is because dogs evolved to scavenge for food, and the scent of a potential meal can be very enticing.

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Dogs have about 300 million smell receptors compared to humans, who only have 400. The sense of smell is also more acute than ours which includes an area known as the olfactory bulb which is much larger than ours and gives them a better ability to detect smells from farther away. 

The sense of smell in pets has been shown to trigger hunger cues such as salivation, stomach growling, or even drooling which may lead your pet dog to search through pantries or garbage cans for something edible if you aren’t providing proper meals on time!

In order to prevent this, you should make sure that your dog has a full dinner and nothing in between meals. This way they will have less of an urge to eat things on their own as your pet won’t be constantly examining the scent from all other potential food sources.

You can also try cutting down on any carbs or unhealthy treats in their diet as these can lead to the formation of gas which your dog may want to expel more frequently. Your dog might be trying to get rid of the extra gas, hunger pains, or even that horrible upset stomach feeling in this way.

Another reason for eating other things is due to boredom. If you are busy doing something else and not giving them attention, it can cause your pet to feel lonely or isolated.

Dogs are social animals, and when they cannot get the proper amount of attention from you, their owner, it’s common for them to look for their own activities that will allow them to fill the emotional void. This is where many dogs have “accidents” on purpose to let you know that they are upset, and this can be prevented by providing them with enough attention at all times.

9) Whining when you get up from the dinner table

Dogs may whine when you get up from the dinner table because they feel hungry and want to eat. The dog will wait at the door, or follow behind you as if to say “Hey! I’m still hungry!”. For some dogs, it also could be a way of demanding attention.

Whining is one of many vocalizations that dogs make to communicate with humans. In our opinion we have two theories on why your dog whines.

The first and most straightforward reason is that your pup wants food. Another reason is your pup wants affection. We recommend that you take them for a walk after dinner so they can relieve themselves and then give them their treats or favorite toy while they’re curled up on your lap for some snuggle time.

10) Other reasons

A dog who is begging for food may also:

  • Follow you from room to room, looking for food sources (if it’s bedtime, your dog could be hoping you’ll sit on the couch and turn on the TV).
  • Start nudging or pawing at your leg to get you moving, looking for food (this is a more subtle version of the previous point). This may be an indication that they want food, or it could just be a friendly reminder to feed them. Nudging can also indicate that your dog wants affection from you. Some dogs will nudge their bowls with their noses while you’re eating (it’s sort of like having a toddler on your lap). Some experts say that this behavior is a sign of the dog’s hunger and willingness to settle for crumbs; others say it’s just the doggy version of an apology. Either way, your pooch is trying to tell you that he wants something tasty.
  • Begging for attention from other humans is also an indication that your dog is ready to eat. Your dog may bark or whine when other pets show up in the home, providing an indication that he wants to be fed. Some dogs take it a step further than barking or whining. Some will gladly dole out pleasantries for a snack.
  • Wander around your office or cubicle like a security guard, sniffing out lunchtime treats. Sniff out lunch boxes and purses for food sources.
  • Start asking you to throw a ball or play fetch for your dog’s “dinner” (remember that these activities burn calories, so they may be hungry on purpose).
  • Try to jump up and take food from counters or tables (watch your hot plates!).
  • Sudden barking or pawing at your leg when you get up from your seat may indicate that it’s time to feed your dog.

You don’t have to take your dog’s cues so literally. Sometimes dogs just like being at the center of the action, and they may use whatever means possible – including nudging or barking – to get it. Don’t give in if you’re not ready for a snack.

Do you make these 10 mistakes when feeding your dog?

We have seen many dog owners feeding their dogs the wrong food and making mistakes. Now we will outline what you should avoid while feeding your dog to ensure they are getting the right nutrients. 

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1) Not mixing wet and dry food

Allowing your dog to eat only one type of food is not good for them because it can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals that your furry friend needs. When you mix both types of food together, it provides more variety in taste which makes mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone!

2) Feeding too much or too little

It’s important to know how much your dog needs each day so feed appropriately according to their weight and age. You don’t want them eating too much which can lead to weight gain and obesity. 

3) Allowing the water bowl to remain empty

Always make sure your dog has plenty of water available at all times to prevent dehydration. Keep the water fresh and clean as much as possible, you shouldn’t notice any lingering smell or color in the bowl when it comes to feeding time.  

4) Feeding not enough food relative to exercise  

Always be aware of your dog’s exercise routine so you can properly regulate their food intake. Since the amount of energy they use depends on their size, age, and breed, always follow a reliable feeding chart to ensure your furry friend is getting the right amount of nutrients.

5) Feeding too much or too little fat

Dogs have a more significant requirement for fat than cats. So if you’re looking to reduce the fat in your dog’s diet, use leaner cuts of meat instead of vegetable oils. If you notice your dog has gained weight or is struggling with dry skin then it might be time to cut down on their consumption depending on how active they are.

6) Feeding them table scraps

Meal time is not the time to spoil your dog, this can lead to health issues within a short period of time. Their diet must be controlled and you need to ensure they get enough nutrients each day so their body can grow properly.

7) Giving your dog human food like chocolate and onions  

Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and even death. No need to panic though because these effects take a long time to develop. However, you can give your dog small amounts of dark chocolate that are low in cocoa solids. 

Onions are extremely toxic for dogs and can lead to red blood cell damage. But you can feed your dog small amounts of cooked, diced onion without any side effects. This is because the harmful ingredient in onions called thiosulphate breaks down during cooking, so a little bit of cooked onion won’t hurt your dog.

Remember, never feed your dog onions that aren’t cooked and don’t give them raw onions at all just in case.

8) Feeding the wrong kind of treats

If you want your dog to be happy then you have to treat them right! Make sure their treats are healthy and nutritious so they can get essential vitamins and minerals while enjoying their treat.

9) Not making homemade dog food

It’s important that you make healthy, delicious dog food for them so you know exactly what is going into their body. This way, you can limit the number of preservatives and additives that could potentially harm your furry friend.  

10) Treating your dog like a human

Too many people treat their dogs like children and throw them little treats while saying cute things like, “good girl.” Dogs are smart but they aren’t people, so don’t expect them to be able to hold a conversation or understand every word you are saying. Give them love and be mindful of their needs because they can’t express everything right away. 

Final thoughts

The best way to know if your dog is hungry is by observing their behavior and checking a few things. If the animal has been active, urinating, or defecating, it’s likely they’re just looking for a little extra food. A good rule of thumb is that healthy dogs will bark when they need more food while unhealthy dogs are unlikely to do so.

You can also check with your vet about what an appropriate weight should be for your pet; this information might help you notice whether there may be health issues going on as well.

Finally, don’t forget that treats aren’t really necessary! Make sure to give them something healthy like Victor’s Cookies or Dentalicious Sticks which are made with natural ingredients and have been approved by veterinarians. There will also be no need to worry about calories because these treats are only 10 calories per serving!

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Amna Muqeem

Amna absolutely loves animals but if she were to pick a favorite, it would be cats! She loves watching cute cat videos in her free time when she's not busy crafting articles with helpful pet information for her readers.
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