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Some dogs bolt their food, and this can lead to health problems. It’s important to understand the root of this anxiety to treat it and avoid potential complications in the future. We people often overeat, even though we full well know we’ll pay for it later, but gluttonous dogs are unaware. This behaviour can be due to a primitive instinct to eat large quantities to have “reserves” for times of food scarcity or to eat up quickly before other dogs take it. But there are other factors beyond this bolting or instinctive drive, deeper motives directly related to health problems. Hypothyroidism, for example, is very common in dogs. It can cause obesity, as they lack the feeling of being satiated when they eat. Another cause is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a disease that causes a deficit of pancreatic enzymes, which leads to poor digestion. As a result, proteins are not properly absorbed from food, and the animal will require greater quantities to cope with this energy expenditure. Our dog may also be suffering from anxiety. Just like people who suffer this, many dogs seek “comfort” in food to combat fear, or simply they eat out of boredom. In this case, we can prevent this behaviour by keeping them busy with other activities to distract them from obsessing over food.  Often the problem lies in poor dog training. Feeding them between meals is a mistake, and by doing so we are not establishing specific meal times, so they interpret this as “any time is dinner time”. If our pets are not fed to schedule or this behaviour is not corrected, we are encouraging bad habits, which can trigger this craving to eat more and more. There are two solutions to this problem, depending on the cause behind it. Adequate nutrition is key, and feeding smaller meals throughout the day to avoid binge eating is also recommended. Exercising your dog or playing with it can keep it busy and active. In a nutshell, the dog needs a healthy lifestyle and a meal schedule. Don’t hesitate to consult your vet to find out what is causing this behaviour in your pet.
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