You may have noticed your dog chow down on their food a little too enthusiastically from time to time. Whether you give them a cup of rice or 10 pounds of kibbles, they’ll always finish it all within minutes. This may make you wonder, can dogs eat themselves to death?
It’s not common for dogs to eat themselves to death, but it cannot be completely ruled out. If a dog is left alone with access to unlimited food, it may over-eat and fall sick. But death? Rarely!
Let’s dig more into this below.
Will Dogs Eat Themselves To Death If Given Unlimited Food?
Dogs are a lot like their human friends when it comes to eating. Just like some humans can’t control their food intake, leading to obesity and health problems, the same goes for dogs.
However, whether a dog eats itself to death really depends on the individual dog. Some dogs can control their food intake, no matter how much is in front of them. Others may not be able to resist the temptation and will eat until they make themselves sick.
Free or unlimited feeding is common among several pet owners. They believe their dog will eat when hungry and stop when they’re full. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Dogs lack the ability to control their food intake like some humans. Some dogs just don’t know when to stop eating. This means that if you leave a bowl of food in front of them, they will likely continue eating until it’s all gone.
This can lead to several health issues like obesity, pancreatitis, and even organ failure. While it’s not common for dogs to die from overeating, it’s still possible (even if a rare one). Besides, the immediate side effects of overeating could lead to long-term health problems and a decreased lifespan if not taken care of.
What Dog Breeds Eat Themselves to Death?
Some dog breeds are more prone to overeating and becoming obese than others. These include:
- Cocker Spaniels
- Basset Hounds
These breeds have a hard time saying no to food. So, if you own one of these dogs, it’s important to be extra careful with their diet. Of course, it’s rare (if ever) that they’ll eat until they die. But, there is a high possibility that they may overeat and fall sick.
Signs That Your Dog May Be Eating Too Much
When a dog over-eats, its stomach can become bloated and distended. This can cause discomfort and even pain. In severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening conditions like gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), a condition when the stomach twists and cuts off its own blood supply.
Symptoms of GDV include excessive drooling, panting, restlessness, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog has GDV, it’s important to get them to a vet immediately.
Overeating in dogs can also cause pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be very painful and can lead to serious health complications. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite.
If your dog is overeating, you might notice that they’re always hungry or begging for food, even after they just ate. They might also gain weight or have difficulty exercising. Talk to your vet if you’re concerned that your dog is over-eating. They can help determine if your dog is eating too much and offer suggestions for changing their diet.
How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Eating Itself to Death?
If your dog has a history of eating to the point of making themselves sick, it’s important to be proactive in preventing this from happening again. Here are some tips:
- Keep an eye on your dog’s food intake. If they seem to be overeating, cut back on their portion sizes or the number of meals per day.
- Feed your dog smaller meals more often throughout the day than one large meal.
- If your dog is a fast eater, try using a slow feeder bowl or puzzle toy to make them work for their food.
- Avoid leaving food out all day for your dog to graze on. This can lead to overeating and excessive weight gain.
- Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. A tired dog is less likely to want to eat all the time.
If your dog is showing signs of hunger even after you’ve cut back on their food intake, they may have a medical condition that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian. Obesity can also lead to self-harmful behaviors in dogs, so if your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about a weight loss plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can A Dog Explode from Eating Too Much?
It’s a popular myth that dogs can explode from eating too much.
While overeating can cause health problems like pancreatitis and GDV (a.k.a. Canine Bloat), which can cause your dog’s stomach to blow up like a balloon, it won’t cause your dog to literally explode.
Will My Dog Stop Eating On Their Own Once They’re Full?
Most dogs will stop eating once they’re full. But, some breeds (like Labradors and Beagles) are known for their bottomless stomachs and will keep eating even when they’re not hungry.
Why Do Dogs Not Stop Eating?
There are a few reasons why your dog might not stop eating. But the obvious one is that they just love food as much as we do and can’t get enough of it!
Some dogs might simply have a medical condition that makes them always feel hungry. So, if your dog is always begging for food, it’s important to talk to your vet to rule out any underlying health issues.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?
How much food you should feed your dog depends on many factors, such as your dog’s age, activity level, and weight. The best way to determine how much to feed your dog is to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you create a tailored feeding plan for your pup.
Generally, small breeds need about 10-20 pounds of food per day, medium breeds need about 30-50, and large breeds require about 60-100 pounds. This is just a rough estimate, though, so again, it’s best to talk to your vet.
Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners
I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years myself, I’ve tried an abundance of different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!
These links are affiliate links, so if you do end up using the links, I will earn a commission. But it’s products that I use daily myself, and I have nothing but praise for.
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Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that they require a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.
Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.
If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!