4 Common Eating Disorders In Dogs

By Valdette Muller| December 18, 2017 | Blog

eating problem

A dog having an eating disorder is not one of the things a dog owner expects to encounter.

You expect your dog to eat regularly and enjoy their food, but an eating problem or a disorder can plague a high number of dogs.

There are a number of speculations on why eating disorders occur. Most veterinary experts come to the conclusion that it could be the result of a medical condition or a psycological one.

Regardless of what causes eating disorders, it is a serious problem for you and your dog. It can have harmful and even deadly effects in the long term.


This is when the dog eats more then it needs. A dog that eats too much faces the risk of becoming obese and the complications that come with being that include joint stress, heart disease, liver disease, and kidney problems.

Most dog owners find that their dog overeating is just a sign of them having a healthy appetite.

Dogs are opportunistic eaters in nature and will eat whatever they can find that is tasty or anything that just looks like it could be food, even if it means begging for it from your plate.

Overeating is usually a problem when it comes to the feeding process in the house hold. This can mean that food is always readily available whenever the dog wants it no matter the time the dog was last fed or if they are hungry or not.

If you want your dog to stop overeating you have to have a schedule put in place for feeding times, and regulate how much food your dog is allowed to eat at feeding times. The best is to stop feeding them your food when they beg as this can cause your dog to gain a lot of weight very fast.

Under-Eating Or Anorexia

When a dog starts skipping 2 meals a day or stops eating entirely, it can have serious consequences. Anorexia in dogs can lead to symptoms such as body and joint pains, fevers, jaundice, shortness of breath, weak heartbeat, abdomen distension and changes in their organ sizes.

A loss of appetite in a dog can be an indication of a medical problem such as cancer or a phycological problem such as depression. Dogs with an emotional problem such as separation anxiety or nervousness, can also eat less. Read more about it in this article: Anorexia in Dogs


Dogs with pica have developed an interest in eating different non food items. The causes for this strange behaviour can range from curiosity of the object to merely a sign of boredom. This can become a deadly habit as dogs can get internal blockages in their stomachs and intestines.Labrador Retriever gnawing a tree damaged by a beaver. Photographed in April in the Moscow region. Russia

The objects could be made from any range of materials such as fabric, metal, glass, plastic, dirt, rocks, paper or wood.

The physical symptoms of pica can become quite severe. They can include brain lesions, pancreatic problems, or circulatory system abnormalities.

Check out this link for more on Pica Problems

Coprophagia (Faeces Eating)

There are numerous medical problems that can cause or contribute to the habit of coprophagia (dog eating its poop).

Faeces eating behaviour will become very dangerous for your dog. Hosts of bacteria and other parasites can be present in the faeces of dogs and other animals. These include Parvo, giardia or various types of worms.

Coprophagia is also one of the most difficult habits for dogs to break. Cleaning up your dogs waste sooner rather than later is very important, providing that you keep your dog away from its own waste and other dog and animal waste while out or on walks.

Common causes for a dog’s eating disorders

These may help when it comes to identifying the problem:

  • Stress or Anxiety
  • A disease (diabetes, parasitic infections, cancer or hormonal problems that can cause overeating)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of mental stimulation leading to boredom
  • Curiosity (causing pica)
  • Depression (can be caused by a traumatic experience, abuse of any kind, lack of attention or affection, the lose of a loved one or anxiety separation)

If you suspect that your dog has one of these disorders, speak to your vet about your concerns and have your dog examined.

Sources: https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/articles/eating-disorders-in-dogs/



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