My Dog Seems Hungrier on a Raw Diet...Why?
If your dog seems hungry on a raw diet—more so than when they were on a more highly processed diet—you may have a lot of questions. For example: “Why is my dog always hungry on a raw diet?” “Am I feeding my dog enough? “Did I make a mistake switching my dog to a raw diet?”
First, keep in mind that dogs are scavengers that have an innate desire to eat as much as possible since their wild ancestors couldn’t be certain when they would find their next meal. There’s an ancient part of your pup’s brain that doesn’t fully believe you will be producing their next meal within 24 hours.
With that said, if your dog genuinely seems hungrier after switching their diet, here’s the information you need to remain confident in your decision to feed raw and how to help your pup feel full for longer between meals.
Why Your Dog Seems Constantly Hungry on a Raw Diet
If your dog seems hungrier than usual after switching to a raw diet, there are many potential reasons why that may be the case.
Most commercial diets, especially kibble, are chock full of filler ingredients that add bulk to the food without bringing any actual nutritional value. Since a raw diet only includes ingredients that provide actual nutrition for your dog, with no added fillers, your dog may feel like they aren’t getting as much food as usual, leading them to feel (or at least act) hungrier.
Kibble requires lots of carbohydrates for it to maintain its shape. Dogs have no need for carbohydrates, but they can crave the blood sugar spike they used to get from carb-heavy kibble the same way people can crave carbs.
A dog that switches from kibble to a raw diet is akin to a person going from a diet loaded with sweets to the keto diet. Either way, it takes a while for the brain to adjust to the lack of carbs.
No “Puffing Up”
Since kibble is dehydrated, it tends to puff up in a dog’s stomach when it meets your pup’s stomach acid as well as the water they typically drink immediately after eating. This makes the kibble “puff up” and take up more space in your dog’s stomach. Moisture-rich raw dog food doesn’t have this same effect, which may cause dogs to feel hungrier on a raw diet than on kibble.
May Need More Food
While we do our best to recommend the exact perfect portion size for your pup, every dog is different—some have faster metabolisms and are generally more active, which can mean your dog may need a slight increase in portion size. Keep an eye on their waistline; if you notice your dog becoming too thin, you should increase their daily portion amount.
What to Do if a Dog on a Raw Diet Is Always Hungry
Don’t give up on feeding your dog a raw diet just because they always seem hungry now. There are several things you can do to help ease your pup’s hunger pangs and keep them feeling happy and full on a raw diet.
Distract Your Dog
Just like humans, dogs will eat because they’re bored. If your dog starts begging for more food right after a meal, you can take them for a walk, play with them, groom them, or engage them in anything else to distract them from thinking about food.
Alternatively, you can give one or more of your dog’s meals in a lick mat, puzzle bowl, or other slow feeder. Extending mealtime not only provides physical and mental stimulation for your dog, but if they spend longer eating, they may feel like they ate a larger meal, helping them not to feel so hungry right after eating.
Know Your Dog’s Body Condition
When you sign up for We Feed Raw, we ask you many questions about your dog so we can tell you how much to feed. However, the process isn’t perfect.
Keep an eye on your dog’s waistline—your pup should have an hourglass shape when viewed from above and a visible tuck-up when viewed from the side. If your dog starts losing weight (and they weren’t overweight to begin with), they may need a higher daily dose of We Feed Raw.
On the other hand, adding a lot of toppers to your dog’s We Feed Raw could cause them to gain weight, so it’s crucial to keep a close eye on your dog’s figure so you know whether you need to start feeding more or less.
Add Vegetables to Your Dog’s Diet
Vegetables not only add beneficial nutrients (above and beyond our nutritionally complete recipes), but they can also help dogs feel full longer. Your dog will get the most nutrition from cooked and pureed vegetables, but raw veggies can help fill up a seemingly empty stomach with few added calories.
How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog?
Most dogs should eat 2-3% of their weight each day on a raw diet. Young, active dogs will require larger portions because they burn more calories, while older, lazier dogs get less food. Additionally, toy breed dogs burn more calories and may need to eat as much as 5-6% of their ideal adult weight each day.
Read more about how much raw food to feed your dog.
How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Dog Raw Food?
Even when feeding raw, most people feed their dogs twice a day. There is some evidence showing that dogs who are fed only once a day display fewer signs of aging. On the other hand, feeding your dog 3 or more times per day could help them not feel so hungry between meals.
In the end, you should feed your dog as many times per day as works for your family.
Can I Mix Kibble and Raw Dog Food?
Yes! It’s a myth that you shouldn’t mix kibble and raw food in the same meal. It’s totally safe to feed both types of food at once. If you can’t afford to feed your dog a fully raw diet, you can add some raw to your dog’s kibble to introduce the benefits of a raw diet at a price that fits your budget.
Should I Supplement My Dog’s Raw Diet?
We Feed Raw is nutritionally complete and balanced as-is, so there’s no need to add anything to your dog’s diet. However, many people love to add whole-ingredient toppers to their dog’s food, and that’s great too! Keep in mind that toppers should compose no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet, and you may need to feed less We Feed Raw so you don’t give your dog too many calories per day.
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