Polyphagia (Increased food consumption) in Dogs

Overview of Increased Food Consumption in Dogs

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

It is important to differentiate polyphagia caused by a diseased state from that caused by psychological reasons. Psychological polyphagia is often the result of learned behaviors and overfeeding, causing weight gain and obesity. In polyphagia associated with disease states, either weight gain or weight loss might be seen.

Causes of Canine Polyphagia

What to Watch For

Long-term polyphagia can have a profound affect on your pet. Look for these signs:

Diagnosis of Polyphagia in Dogs

Your veterinarian will take a good medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. The medical history can be crucial in identifying whether or not polyphagia is behavioral or pathological. Marked weight gain or loss should be noted in the history and physical examination. Your veterinarian may also recommend:

Based on these initial test results, additional diagnostic tests may include:

Treatment of Polyphagia in Dogs

Your veterinarian will devise a treatment plan based on the underlying cause of the polyphagia.

Home Care

Feed an appropriate quantity of good quality dog food. Your veterinarian can help you pick a good type of food and determine the appropriate amount to feed. Avoid feeding table scraps and do not reward begging with treats as this behavior encourages behavioral polyphagia.

If pathological polyphagia is present, it should respond to appropriate treatment of the underlying disease process. If polyphagia fails to improve or worsens during treatment, you should schedule re-evaluation of your dog with your veterinarian.