Will Dogs Eat Themselves to Death

Most dogs have a natural instinct to stop eating once they feel satisfied. However, there are two main types of eating behavior observed in dogs.

The first type includes dogs that eat to live. These dogs tend to graze and consume only the necessary amount of food. Many Toy breeds fall into this category, exhibiting self-regulation in their eating habits.

The second type comprises dogs that live to eat. Labradors are a good example of such dogs. They have a strong appetite and may continue eating excessively, sometimes to the point of nausea or vomiting. Although it’s uncommon, it is highly unlikely for them to eat themselves to the point of death.

I had a dog called Zack who very much lived to eat. He was a Belgian Shepherd and Labrador cross. I guess he got his appetite from the Labrador part of him.

On one occasion he got into a large bag of dog biscuits. He kept eating until most of the bag was gone.  He probably would have eaten the whole bag if I had not caught him. This didn’t make him sick at all.

On another occasion, a neighbor had thrown a half-eaten Christmas Ham over the fence. Again he keeps eating until I caught him. This time he was sick and threw most of it back up again. Ham is not good for dogs.

Signs That My Dog is Overeating

An obvious sign that your dog has overate is when its stomach can become bloated and distended, causing the poor boy discomfort and pain. Severe cases can lead to life-threatening conditions like gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), where the stomach twists and cuts off its own blood supply.

Symptoms of GDV include excessive drooling, panting, restlessness, vomiting, and other signs of distress. If you suspect GDV, immediate veterinary attention is crucial. Overeating can also result in pancreatitis, characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, leading to severe health complications. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite.

In addition, dogs that overeat may display constant hunger or persistent begging for food, even shortly after a meal. Weight gain and difficulty in exercising may also be observed. If you have concerns about your dog’s overeating, consult your vet for a thorough evaluation. They can help determine if your dog is consuming excessive amounts and provide recommendations for dietary changes.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?

Understanding the importance of feeding your dog the right amount of food is crucial for their overall well-being. Inadequate feeding can lead to nutritional deficiencies, while overfeeding can result in obesity and a range of associated health issues.

These can include musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament ruptures, congestive heart failure, labored breathing, Cushing’s disease, skin disorders, certain types of cancer, a shortened life span, and a reduced quality of life.

To determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog, consider factors such as the type of food, number of meals, body weight, metabolic rate, and amount of exercise. Start by referring to the feeding guide on your dog food’s label, which typically provides recommended amounts for a 24-hour period. Adjust these amounts based on your dog’s lifestyle, taking into account their level of activity.

Why Do Some Dogs Not Stop Eating?

Some dogs exhibit a persistent appetite and do not seem to stop eating due to various factors. Typically dogs that “live to eat”, like their counterpart humans, simply enjoy eating and find food delicious.

For other dogs, there can be underlying reasons for their continuous hunger. Factors such as genetic predisposition, medical conditions, or poor feeding habits can contribute to this behavior. To address this, it’s essential to understand your dog’s specific needs and develop appropriate feeding strategies. Diverting their attention to engaging activities or providing mentally stimulating toys can help distract them from constant food cravings.

Additionally, working closely with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying health issues that may be contributing to your dog’s insatiable appetite. Understanding the reasons behind a dog’s incessant eating habits is crucial for their overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, If your dog does find their way into a bag of kibble or gets access to a volume of food don’t worry. It is extremely unlikely that they will eat themselves to death.


  • Joseph Coleman

    A lifelong writer and proud dog dad. Joseph started this blog dedicated to helping other dog owners find accurate information on how to keep their pets at their healthiest through exercise and nutrition. His passion for all things canine shines through in his writing, and he believes that every dog deserves the best possible care. If you're a dog owner looking for reliable advice on how to keep your pup healthy and happy, be sure to check out Joseph's work.