Why is My Puppy Always Hungry? (16 Common Reasons)

We all know that dogs love food, but when you’re a new owner, it can be tricky trying to figure out if you’re feeding your puppy right. To help you out, we’ve created a guide to answer the question – why is my puppy always hungry? Read on for 16 common reasons!

Why Does My Puppy Always Seem Hungry?

Why is my puppy always hungry? 

Puppies are growing animals, and as with young kids, it’s normal for them to be hungry. All that growing and learning is hard work and requires a lot of fuel! That said, if your puppy seems abnormally or excessively hungry, there could be a few explanations as to why. Let’s take a look, from the simplest explanation to the most complex and concerning.


There is a myth that dogs don’t know when to stop eating, but this isn’t true. Most dogs will stop eating when they’ve had enough or feel unwell. However, it’s not abnormal for dogs to almost always want food. Evolutionarily, dogs are scavengers, so they’re pretty much wired to take food wherever they can get it. 


Certain breeds are also more food-driven than others. Dog breeds like Labradors and Beagles are known to be more greedy when it comes to food, whereas less food-driven breeds like Poodles would rather play with toys.

Certain breeds are also fussier than others when it comes to what they eat, and high-energy breeds tend to get hungrier because they need more fuel.

Working dogs

If you have a puppy that is being raised and trained as a working dog for farming, hunting, police work, sport, or performing, they will likely need a little more food each day to fuel them. The same may be true for pups bred from working dogs, even if they’re not working themselves.


Youth may also be a factor, as everything is still new and exciting – including food! Many puppies will try to eat everything from shoes to mud, and this is partly curiosity, but also due to teething. Young minds are always learning, too, and this burns up just as much fuel as physical exercise. 


It’s also important to remember that puppies teeth for the first 6-8 months of their lives. During this time, they seek to chew everything to relieve the pain of their gums. This can make it seem like they’re always hungry, but they’re just teething. To help your pup out, buy some teething gel to relieve their achy gums. 


Another reason for excessive hunger in young puppies is boredom. As mentioned above, puppies have a lot of energy, and it to be expressed to stop it from turning into something destructive or overly indulgent. 

Without enough stimulating play, dogs can turn to things like chewing and eating in unhealthy ways. Stimulating toys and playing games like hide and seek with your pup is a great way to keep boredom at bay. Training and socializing are also great ways to burn through some of that energy. 

PRO TIP: For older puppies, you can try simple puzzle toys like treat dispensers, and for younger pups, sensory toys with flashing lights, different textures, and fun sounds are a great way to keep them entertained. 

High energy levels 

Puppies are very energetic, so it’s normal for them to get hungrier than the average adult dog, and the more hyperactive a puppy is, the quicker they will burn through their fuel and the hungrier they will get throughout the day. This is why it’s better to feed them little and often across a few daily meals. 


Another reason for your pup’s excessive hunger could be that they’re eating the wrong food. Puppies should eat foods that provide complete and balanced nutrition with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K minerals like calcium and magnesium for whole body health. 

High-quality protein sources and healthy fats and carbs will power and maintain good energy levels throughout the day and stabilize their appetite. Puppies should also eat foods that are made especially for them, will all of the nutrients they need in the densities necessary for optimal development. 

This includes omega fatty acids for strong bones and cognitive development for growing and learning, as well as healthy fibers and probiotics for easy digestion and antioxidants for strong immunity. You should opt for foods powered by real and natural ingredients like meat and fish, as well as healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best. 

PRO TIP: When shopping for your dog’s foods, avoid those that use filler ingredients like artificial additives and gluten, which are hard to digest and mess with your pup’s appetite and energy levels, as well as harm their health over time. 

Type of food

If your pup is very small, very large, or a breed with a lot of specific needs, consider buying them foods that are tailored to their size and breed, as well as their age.

This will make sure that they get exactly what they need. There are also foods designed for different needs and health problems, such as digestive sensitivity, if that’s necessary for your pup.

PRO TIP: A 2020 study found that puppy food preferences are maintained into adulthood. So keep in mind that what you feed Fido now determines what he’ll like a year from now.

Lack of variation

It’s also possible that your dog is bored with their food. If your pup eats the same thing every day, they may start being more interested in your food, even though they’re full. Keep their meals varied and add different things like chicken, fish, egg, rice, or vegetables to keep things interesting, as well as different treats and snacks.

You can also vary the texture by switching between wet and dry foods or adding warm water to dry. You may also want to take the way your dog’s food is cooked into consideration, too.

PRO TIP: Slow-cooked, steam-cooked, and freeze-dried dog foods are much more flavorful than those made through extrusion. 

Not eating enough

Although every dog is different, the general rule of thumb is that puppies should eat 20 kg of food per 1 kg of their body weight per day. This will change as your dog enters a new age category, and could vary depending on if your dog is particularly athletic or has specific needs, so ask your dog for tailored advice. 

Overfeeding them with “bad” foods

On the other hand, if you feed your puppy too many foods that aren’t suitable for them, it can cause them to crave more unhealthy stuff. Always check whether or not something is safe to give your dog, avoid giving them anything processed or unhealthy, and remember that dogs, especially young dogs, should eat in significantly smaller portions than humans. 

You should also beware of giving a puppy anything too rich, as their little tummies can be sensitive.


If your pup is always hungry, it’s also possible that you’re over-exercising them. Puppies need around five minutes of exercise per month of their life twice a day. Although this may not seem like much, it’s crucial you don’t over-exercise them, as this can damage their joints and mess with their development. 

Irregular feeding schedule

If you’re not sticking to a good feeding schedule, your dog’s appetite will be all over the place. Too much time between meals will lead to them being overly hungry. Stick to designated meal times and exercise routines to regulate your pup’s appetite.

Health issues 

If your pup is being well-fed, watch out for other unusual signs and symptoms that could indicate a health problem. Worms and certain metabolic illnesses like diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and hypoglycemia can all cause increased or excessive appetites. 

It’s important to protect your pup from worms with medication and to not take them on walks until they’re protected. Metabolic issues also have other behavioral and physical changes like increased thirst and urination and require long-term treatment.


Certain medications, especially those containing corticosteroids such as Prednisone, which is used to treat allergies, infections, pain, and cancer in dogs, can also cause an increase in appetite. So, check the side effects of any medications your pup is on. 

Regulating your puppy’s appetite 

Here are some top tips for regulating your pup’s appetite.

Stick to a schedule 

The best way to keep your pup’s appetite under control is by creating a mealtime schedule and sticking to it. Very small puppies need to eat little and often to accommodate their tiny tummies, so you should be giving them 4 meals per day when they are under four months old.

At four months, you can reduce this to three meals, and at six months of age, you can bring it down to two evenly split meals; one in the morning and one in the evening, which should continue for the rest of their lives. 

You should also stick to an exercise routine to regulate your dog’s energy levels and keep that appetite in check. 

What to avoid

  • Giving your dog food at random times
  • Feeding them too much
  • Giving them too many treats 
  • Giving them human/processed foods 

How much should my puppy weigh?

A healthy weight is crucial for healthy development, energy levels, and quality of life. 

How much your puppy should weigh is completely dependent on their breed and age in months, as well as their height and sex. 

Puppies grow very quickly and every breed is different, so ask your vet about your pet’s ideal weight, and make sure to check their growth and weight at check-ups.

Signs your pup is underweight 

Signs that your pup is underweight and not eating enough include:

  • You can easily see and feel your puppy’s ribs, vertebra, and pelvis
  • Your puppy’s abdomen sags when viewed from the side 
  • You are unable to feel any fat on your pup’s bones 
  • They have a hunched posture 

If your pup needs to gain weight, you should gradually increase their calorie intake with bigger or more frequent meals to not overwhelm their stomach in line with your vet’s advice. 

You may also need to give them foods that are high in calories, fat, and protein or foods that are designed for weight gain, as well as high-calorie treats like peanut butter.

Signs your pup is overweight 

Signs that your pup is overweight and eating too much food, or food that is unhealthy include:

  • Struggling to see or feel your pup’s ribs, spine, and waistline
  • A bloated stomach 
  • A big round face
  • Reluctance to go for walks and play or getting tired out easily 
  • Excessive panting
  • Needing help getting in and out of cars or on and off furniture 

If your pup needs to lose weight, you should decrease their calorie intake with smaller meals in line with the advice of a vet and increase their daily exercise routine. You should also feed them healthy, natural foods or foods designed to be low calorie for weight loss, as well as fewer treats and healthy treats like fruit. 

How to get a puppy to stop begging for food?

A little food begging is normal in dogs, but if they’re doing it excessively, you can train them to stop. If ignoring them doesn’t work and you don’t want to put them in another room, you can train your pup to stop begging by redirecting their focus when there’s food in the room. 

Do this by getting someone else to call them over and sit away from you when you’re eating and praise them for not begging, or by giving them a fun solo-play toy, such as a treat dispenser when you’re eating. This takes the focus away from the food and makes it less of a big deal.

When they are old enough, you should be able to get your dog to sit or lay down and “stay” away from food by themselves. If they’re not trained in those commands yet, their basic training should take priority. 

FAQs on puppyhood hunger

Answers to some frequently asked questions on hunger in puppies.

How to tell when my puppy is hungry?

Signs of hunger in puppies include lip licking, paw licking, excessive whining or barking, and wandering around looking for food, as well as scratching or digging at the ground, begging for food, and showing interest in foods that they aren’t usually interested in.

Is dry or wet food better for puppies?

There are pros and cons to both wet and dry dog food, neither is better than the other, it all depends on what your pup needs. The main differences are the taste and fat content. Dry dog food tends to have a lower fat content and be better for dental health, but soft and wet foods tend to hold more taste, which is good for fusspots. 

Why won’t my puppy eat?

If your puppy won’t eat, they’re probably feeling unsettled. It’s normal for young puppies to feel a little overwhelmed in their new homes or after new experiences, and stress is an appetite killer. If it’s a persistent problem, make sure you’re doing everything you can to make them feel at home with quality time and make new experiences positive.

Certain illnesses can also ruin a pup’s appetite, so watch out for other signs and symptoms of something being wrong and arrange a vet visit if their lack of appetite lasts more than a couple of days.

When do puppies stop being so hungry?

Different breeds stop growing at different ages, but generally speaking, smaller dogs reach their full adult size by 6-8 months of age, medium-sized dogs at 9-12 months, and large and giant breeds at 12-18 months. That said, young dogs continue to fill out and have higher energy levels until they reach mental maturity at around 2 years old. 

What can I feed a fussy eater? 

If your puppy is a fussy eater, buy highly palatable foods with real, recognizable, and natural ingredients. Wet foods, soft foods, and foods that are slow-cooked, steam-cooked, or freeze-dried are also known to be tastier. Vary the texture and flavor of your pup’s meals to keep them interesting, and add different vegetables or meats to stop them getting bored.

How to tell if a puppy is allergic to food?

Food allergies cause itchy skin, dull coat, smelliness, and digestive issues in dogs. Common allergies include gluten, soy, and proteins from dairy products. If you think your pup has an allergy to something they’re eating, ask your vet about doing an elimination diet to find out the cause and tailor their diet, or look into hypoallergenic food for puppies.

Hunger is normal in growing pups, but if your puppy seems excessively hungry and you’re concerned about their well-being, ask your vet for advice.

  • Nicole

    Hi there! I’m Nicole, the editor-in-chief and one of the writers here at DogVills. I’ve been a dog owner for most of my adult life and a dog lover for much longer than that. I grew up with a wonderful German Shepherd named Jake, who I loved SO much that I named my son after him. When I’m not writing for DogVills or my own site, Pretty Opinionated, I love spending time with my teenager (when he actually lets me) and my Pharaoh Hound, Freya. I’m also an avid reader AND a total TV fanatic.

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