Diabetes mellitus is a disease that causes your dog to either have an absolute shortage of insulin (Type I), or an incorrect response from the cells to the insulin that is being produced (Type II). Both of these conditions will prevent your dog’s muscles and organs from converting glucose to energy, and will result in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia). Increased appetite and thirst are among the most common signs associated with diabetes in dogs.
2. Inflammatory Bowel Problems
Hungry pet? It may be possible that your dog is not properly absorbing the nutrients of his food due to a gastrointestinal problem such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This in turn often leads to weight loss and increased appetite, among other things. IBD can affect dogs at any age but is more common in middle-aged and older dogs as well as certain breeds including basenjis, lundehunds, French bulldog, and Irish setters.
3. Intestinal Cancer
There are several types of gastrointestinal cancers that can afflict your dog’s stomach and intestines with tumors, including adenocarcinoma and leiomyosarcoma. Many of these types of cancer will cause increased appetite in your dog due to the malabsoption of food.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by overproduction of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone. Normally thyroid hormones increase chemical processes occurring within the cells of your pet’s body. However, in hyperthyroidism, the excessive hormone levels push the cells and body into overdrive, resulting in increased metabolism and often increased appetite. Hyperthyroidism is rare in dogs (more commonly occurring in senior cats), so consult your veterinarian if you suspect there is a health issue.
5. Old Age
As your dog gets older he may undergo behavioral or physical problems — such as the diseases already discussed here — which in turn can cause issues such as increased appetite.
What to Do for Your Hungry Dog?
It’s important to visit a veterinarian if your dog ever undergoes an unexpected change in behavior. They can help identify the underlying cause and hopefully treat it. In the case of a sudden increase in appetite, you will want to ask your veterinarian if a change in diet is also required. There may be a therapeutic diet that may help your pet’s condition as well as caloric intake to consider.