My Dog Begging Or Really Hungry? Here’s How You Can Find Out!

Some owners find it difficult to distinguish begging from hunger in their dogs. Perhaps your four-legged friend is one of those dogs that sit next to you with pleading eyes, put their paws on your leg, and whimper heartily as soon as you sit down to eat. Or he sits down next to an empty bowl with a reproachful expression on his face and barks twice to get new food. The signs are obvious: your dog is begging for food!

However, in some cases, it can be difficult to decide if your four-legged friend is really hungry – or just begging. Pet Reader explains how you can tell the difference.

Is the Dog Hungry?

Table begging is a behavior that many owners inadvertently teach their dogs. However, if you follow these guidelines, your dog is unlikely to beg for food while eating:

  • You don’t feed your dog leftovers
  • You give treats in moderation and at specific times of the day.
  • You don’t suddenly change the amount of food

Why might your dog still starve and beg for food? Perhaps your life is getting unusually stressful and you forgot to feed your dog as usual. Or maybe your dog is moving more than usual right now. Of course, he burns a lot of energy – and accordingly becomes more hungry.

If you feed your dog regularly, his lifestyle has not changed, and he is still begging because he is hungry, perhaps the portions are too small. Or maybe dog food doesn’t contain the nutrients your dog needs. Certain gastrointestinal conditions can also cause your dog to suddenly feel hungry despite constant movement and feeding.

If you are unsure, you can discuss your current feeding schedule with your veterinarian again.

When the Dog Just Pleads

But it could also be that your dog only learned to eat something when it asks. This is why it is so important to stay consistent and never feed your four-legged friend at the table. Or your dog is begging for alms out of boredom: then you can try to counteract it with additional actions and distractions.

Is Your Dog Begging? Here’s How to Wean

The good news is that if you are consistent, no matter how heartbreaking your dog begs, you can wean him back from begging again. These tips will help:

  • Feed your dog before your meal, but not during your meal
  • If begging gets out of hand, keep your dog away from you while eating
  • Be patient – your dog won’t change his behavior overnight
  • Make your dog happy with something other than food, such as taking long walks
  • Ignore your dog when he asks at the table
  • Reward your dog for not asking for food
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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