Welcome to the Dog Blog!
Todays topic, Nero and his obsession with food.
We all know Labradors can be pretty food driven but I can honestly say I have never met a dog like Nero (my, let’s say brother).
Nero is now a 4 year old rolly polly little Labrador with a nature as soft as butter and a food obsession like you wouldn’t believe. The back story is, Nero was a surprise for my dad when he decided he wanted another dog. Upon visiting his wonderful breeder, I came across the smallest pup in the litter but by far the most loving. That was it, from that point I knew he was going to be part of our family.
From the moment he arrived at his new home, his head very rarely left the food bowl. He was ravenous all the time.
The saga continued and summer was a fiasco. Bbq’s in the park, picnics, Nero was in his element. If you have a food focused dog, you get the idea. One day that springs to mind is a cool summers afternoon when the park was surprisingly quiet. As always we did our checks to make sure there was no food debris or potential fails in close proximity (our moto was prevention is better than cure). Given the all clear, I let Nero off the leash and focused on his favourite frisbee. Within 5 minutes everything had changed, his nose went up, his tail was straight…he was literally making himself aerodynamic, this meant only one thing….FOOD!
He was off, the fastest I have ever seen his little legs move. He makes his way approx 200 yards in the opposite direction. I could hear faint wails in the distance. Being less than athletic, I finally arrived to what was devastation. There was a group of around 15 lovely ladies enjoying a picnic. By the point I arrived, there were onion bhajis, sandwiches and sweet treats thrown in the air. Nero is wrapped up in a picnic blanket and his face immersed in a red velvet cake. This was neither of our finest moments!
At this very point we realised, Nero had a very big problem…he was a food-oholic.
I am sure so many pet owners have the same issue and yes, this may be more specific to certain breeds. Labradors, we are looking at you!
After much research here are some of the reasons I found:
- Most dogs over eat for the exact same reasons humans do, food is delicious!
- Dogs will eventually be sick but generally, assuming they aren’t eating toxic foods, there will be no further damage done.
- It may be worth digging a little further to ensure there are no underlying health concerns that is causing the increase in their appetite.
Now the important part, how to change the pattern and prevent this behaviour:
- Check if they are getting enough food for their weight
- Are they getting the proper nutrients
- Don’t feed them at the table
- Do not give into begging
- Be strong with your boundaries
- Teach them all food comes from their food bowl, nowhere else.
- Ask friends and family to follow the rules
- Be consistent and try not to give into their puppy dog eyes
I speak from experience when I say, this is a marathon and not a sprint. We wish you luck!