Pet Eating More

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     Why is my pet suddenly eating more?  

There are many reasons for an increased hunger in a dog or cat. There are normal (not a disease) reasons and then there are diseases.

The non-disease reasons come from an increased need for calories. This occurs if the pet starts to exercise more, just like it would for us. Also, most pets will put on weight as the cold seasons approach, especially if they spend much time outside. They put on fat for insulation and increase food intake to supply the need for more calories to burn for warmth.

Obviously, pregnancy and growth are times when one should expect an increased appetite as well.

Of course, if you switch a pet's diet to a lower calorie food, the pet will increase the amount eaten to get the same calories.

Disease conditions can also increase an appetite, though most diseases decrease the desire to eat.

Internal parasites (worms) will take up nutrients the pet would normally get, and therefore the pet has to eat more to make up for the loss.

If an animal cannot digest or absorb the food due to an improperly working digestive system, the appetite might increase. If nausea is present, that wouldn't be the case usually, though.

An abnormal metabolism from an increased thyroid level will make a pet feel very hungry, at least at first. If the thyroid level gets too high, an upset stomach can occur. Of course, other body changes occur with this or any other disease.

An increase in cortisone levels makes an animal feel hungry as well. Cortisone is often given for allergy control as an injection or pills and, hopefully, your doctor will warn you of this side effect. The body can develop abnormal production of cortisone if there is a mass in certain glands. (These can be cancerous or not).

Diabetes will, also, increase appetite as the body perceives a need for carbohydrates even though the sugar in the blood is higher than normal. With this disease, the sugars cannot be used by the body as they cannot be moved into the cells. Weight loss and increased hunger can be a sign of diabetes, as well as increased thirst and urination.

If you have a pet that has started to eat more, especially ravenously, go to your veterinarian and get a full physical exam and lab tests done to make sure no disease is affecting your beloved pet.

RECOMMENDED ENTERTAINMENT: "Over the Hedge" an absolutely hilarious and cute movie about teamwork and "family".

Until next time,

Dr. Jan

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