How Do I Know If My Dog Is Hungry
Dog Care Tips · Dog Feeding Guide

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Hungry? – Understanding Your Dog

Last Updated/Info Checked on May 27, 2023 by Linda Michaels

Usually, it’s easy to tell if a dog’s hungry because of his constant begging. But take note of that only when you have skipped one of its meals.

Otherwise, there’s no way you could tell whether the dog’s hungry or asking for more from his begging. The body signs are there to decipher that code.

The article “How Do I Know If My Dog Is Hungry” will teach you how to assess your dog’s hunger level.

You can read my other article about dog feeding guide here:

5 Signs That Tell About Your Dog’s Hunger

Follow these signs to know when your dog’s tummy is empty.

1. Visible Rib Cage

One of the telltale signs of an underfed dog is its protruding rib cage. You could easily detect them. Run your fingers over the ribs and feel the ribcage as a whole.

Can you trace the whole skeleton without pressing too hard? If the answer’s yes, the dog’s underfed, then.

Dogs undergoing a higher degree of malnutrition have their rib cages visible. You don’t need to spread your fingers over it to know about their hunger.

2. Low energy

Besides physical signs, his energy levels are also a big indicator. You know your dog and its play potential. Tally today’s energy levels to yesterday’s, and you’ll feel something’s off.

The pet’s walking style may also change from frolicking to a timid gait indicative of ailment or disinterest.

3. Changing body shape from the top view

One of the many ways vets check if the dogs underfed is to look at its shape from above. That’s for skinny breeds, such as Whippets, whose healthy body shapes are thin and streamlined.

Such a dog may exhibit the wrong waist-to-ribs ratio when underfed.

The same could be said for other breeds. Even labradors, for example, show a decreased waist-to-ribs ratio. The part between the ribs and the hips draws inward in an apparent lack of a supporting fat or muscle layer underneath.

4. Eating things from where he shouldn’t

Another sign of a dog’s hunger is its propensity to nibble on anything that comes its way.

That’s what every dog normally does, hungry or not, but hungry dogs may go a step ahead and choose garbage cans. They may also venture out of the house searching for food to places you may have barred them from going.

5. Stealing other’s meals

You may have several pets under the same roof. The hungry dog may go on to steal their food with or without their notice. You may also see the pets flaring up for a fight here and there over food.

You can’t blame any of the fighting parties for the things they do. There’s always a reason underneath, and hunger is the primary one.

How To Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Stay Hungry?

It’s better to manage your pet’s diet in the first place. From his calorie count to dishing out the right amount of the right food are some things to consider.

1. Know his calorie needs

Each dog has a different calorie need based on its breed, size, and extent of activities. Calculate your dog’s calorie needs using calorie calculators or talk to your vet. 

2. Keep his meal times intact

Make sure you don’t miss any of his meal times. Puppies eat 3 to 4 times daily, while adult dogs should eat twice daily. However, more than the times of the day, it’s about the portion size a dog has to eat daily.

For example, if your pet’s daily intake is 300 grams of kibble, you should divide it into 2 meals a day equally and vice versa. No matter how many meals you give him daily, make sure you don’t skip them. Dogs are beings of routine. Any gaps or mishappenings will make them anxious.

3. Switch his food

When the same amount of food isn’t providing enough for the dog, it’s better to change it. There’s a difference in calories between wet and dry food. Wet food has more water and fiber than energy. You have to use it more as compared to dry kibble.

After consulting with your vet, choose the food that suits him the best in terms of calories.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Hungry? – Wrapping Up

Physical signs such as visible rib cage and wrong waist-to-rib cage ratio; behavioral signs such as eating from the garbage, stealing other pet’s foods, and showing low energy signs are some of the things to look for if you wanna know about the dog’s hunger.

However, it’s important to discern between hunger and the dog’s greed. Make sure that you’re feeding him the right calories of the right food. Also, do not skip his meal times. Even then, if the dog pleads for food, it could be just greedy.

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