Dog Health Care, Dog Appetite, Signs of Good Appetite, Loss of Appetite.

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Dog Appetite

In most cases, your dog's appetite is one of the most obvious signs of good health.

Signs of Good Appetite

A dog with a good appetite reminds you when it's mealtime. She dances excitedly around your feet as you prepare her food. If you've taught her good dinner manners, she sits impatiently, tail thumping, until you set her dish down and give the okay for her to dig in. She eats avidly, and when she's done she licks her chops and does the "happy dance," rolling ecstatically on the floor and then thoroughly wiping her mouth on your favorite carpet or upholstered furniture.

Loss of Appetite

There's a difference between picky eaters and dogs that have lost their appetite. Picky eaters might "pick" at their food, only eating a little at a time, but they eventually finish it. Sometimes they eat well one day and refuse the same meal the next, having learned that they often get something different or special when they act this way.

Other dogs are picky eaters until competition in the form of another dog is introduced; then they eat voraciously to protect their food from the newcomer.

Loss of appetite can be one of the most important indicators of serious disease. If your dog isn't eating and is also depressed or lethargic, particularly if these symptoms come on suddenly, then you need to see your vet right away. Loss of appetite is often a sign of kidney disease, or liver diseases, or loss of smell, or dental problems.

Increased Appetite

Sometimes dogs eat more simply because they have increased nutritional requirements. Show dogs, pregnant dogs, dogs that participate regularly in canine sports, and dogs that hike, jog, or hunt frequently with their people need more food than the average canine couch-potato. They may also eat more in response to cold weather, especially if they spend a lot of time playing outdoors. These are all normal instances of increased appetite.

But an increased appetite can also indicate the onset of diabetes or hyperthyroidism (rare in dogs). Warning signs for these diseases include: increased urination and water intake, weight loss, depression and vomiting (in the late stages of diabetes). If your dog becomes ravenous, and the change can't be traced to a factor such as increased activity, see your veterinarian. This is especially important if your dog is eating a lot but still losing weight.