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Q: excessive hunger in older dog ( No Answer,   5 Comments )
Subject: excessive hunger in older dog
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: bossie-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 19 Apr 2003 13:37 PDT
Expires: 19 May 2003 13:37 PDT
Question ID: 192768
I am a pretty good Google searcher but I can't find any explanation
for my 13-year old dog's extreme hunger.  She's not extremely thirsty
nor lethargic so that seems to rule out diabetes.   She's also been
somewhat overly-fond of licking the carpet.... and I haven't found
much evidence of that compulsive behavior either.  Perhaps in re the
hunger, that's just what happens when you're older and not a sign of
pathology.  And perhaps in re the licking, she's got a little OCD
going on (which we'll just learn to live with...).   BUT, I would love
to know if these are signs of something else more serious.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: excessive hunger in older dog
From: jbf777-ga on 20 Apr 2003 12:43 PDT
I would advise contacting your local veterinarian.

GA Researcher
Subject: Re: excessive hunger in older dog
From: robincarr-ga on 20 Apr 2003 16:30 PDT
Of course, see a vet; however, if you've noticed other symptoms, such
as diarrhea, loss of weight, ..., consider inflammatory bowel disease,
loss of pancreatic functions, ...:
Subject: Re: excessive hunger in older dog
From: denco-ga on 20 Apr 2003 20:21 PDT
Howdy bossie,

As the others have said, get your dog to a veterinarian.

There can be several reasons for your dog's excessive hunger
(polyphagia) from "just" being old to some serious causes.
It will probably take some testing to determine the cause.

You might want to read some of the following articles, if you
have not already seen them.

"Polyphagia is the term used for an increased consumption of
food. Animals with polyphagia are generally described as having
a ravenous appetite."

"Psychological or behavioral. Polyphagia can even be associated
with aging, as some dogs tend to become ravenous with age."

"Poor gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients may cause some
animals to be polyphagic while losing weight. Examples of this
include inflammatory bowel disorders, certain intestinal cancers,
and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency."

DVM News Magazine

"Canine hyperadrenocorticism (HAC) is a common condition seen
most frequently in middle aged to older dogs. The clinical signs
and physical examination findings characteristic for the condition
include polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia ..."

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

"Upper gastrointestinal irritation, dental or gum pain may cause
destructive chewing in adult dogs. Some diseases may cause excessive
hunger (polyphagia), or eating non-food items (pica). Consult your
veterinarian if you suspect these problems."

Wayne Hunthausen, DVM


"Dysregulation of  hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis ...
... polyphagia ... increased restlessness ... housesoiling?"

Search strategy

polyphagia dog

Hope your dog gets better soon!

Looking Forward, denco-ga
Subject: Re: excessive hunger in older dog
From: bossie-ga on 21 Apr 2003 11:51 PDT
Thank you all for your feedback.  The response from denco was especially helpful.
Subject: Re: excessive hunger in older dog
From: september-ga on 21 Apr 2003 13:25 PDT
This comment may be too practical in the sense that it will take you a
long time to find the answer, but I have discovered that my pets are
actually hungry FOR something, a specific food or nutrient.(Mineral
deficiency is known to cause food cravings.)
With a cat I now own it has taken nearly two years to locate a food
which has stopped her panicked and ravenous behavior. In this case it
was simply chicken liver. I had given her many meats in various states
of rawness; she would eat them, gain weight, lick the carpet and still
act hungry. She's finally calmed down.

I have another who maintains good health as long as I hand feed him
cantaloupe and serve him raw egg yolks. Yet another wants squash. This
is, of course, in addition
to the animals' high protein diet. Why would an animal crave spinach
leaves and cantaloupe,(no other melon will do), especially a
My suspicions have long lay with the commercial pet industry which
claims to offer "complete and balanced nutrition".

An interesting article for any pet lover is in the May 2003 issue of
Life Extension,titled "Pet Food: The Inside Scoop". Perhaps your
beloved dog is a victim of the questionable "regulation" of pet
food.(Iams/Eukanuba is addressed
in this piece.)
Please see

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