If you have noticed the bags of dog food depleting faster lately, it may be that your dog is just hungry, or it may be something else.  Many owners aren’t aware of this, but increased appetite in animals can be a warning sign of something more serious.  If you do notice this, it may be worth a trip to your veterinarian to check things out.  Here’s a short list of common problems associated with increased appetite.

  1.  Diabetes or Hyperglycemia
Your dog may have Diabetes mellitus, a disease that causes a shortage of insulin (Type I), or an incorrect response from the cells to the insulin that is being produced (Type II).  These conditions prevent your pet’s muscles and organs from converting glucose to energy, and can result in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia). 
  1.  Inflammatory Bowel Disorder
A disease that is more common in middle-aged and older dogs as well as certain breeds including basenjis, lundehunds, French bulldog, and Irish setters, is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  This is a fancy way of saying your dog is not properly absorbing the nutrients of his food due to a gastrointestinal problem.  One way to spot this is if your pet starts losing weight and has an increased appetite.
  1.  Intestinal Cancer
When you dog develops gastrointestinal cancers such as adenocarcinoma and leiomyosarcoma, it can cause increased appetite in your dog due to the malabsorption of food.  With early detection, tumors in the stomach and intestines can be removed, so keep an eye out for this symptom and also ask your veterinarian for others to watch out for.
  1.  Hyperthyroidism
Another big word… Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by overproduction of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone.  In hyperthyroidism, the disproportionate hormone levels push the cells and body into overdrive, causing increased metabolism and increased appetite.  This disorder is a little more rare in dogs and occurs mainly in senior cats, but it may be something to bring up at your dog’s next checkup if you notice excessive appetite. 
  1.  Old age
If your pet is older, it may just be as simple as that: Old age.  Sometimes when dogs get older they experience a number of behavioral or physical problems that may increase their appetite for a period of time.  If you notice it lasting longer than a few weeks; however, it would be wise to consult your veterinarian.
This list isn’t meant to scare you, it’s just meant to inform you.  Whether it’s increased appetite or any number of other symptoms, it’s just a good idea to get a good feel for your dog’s habits so you can spot anything out of the ordinary.  Just like humans, early detection and proper treatment can lead to a longer and happier life!

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