Autumn's Appetite Mystery: What's Making Your Dog So Hungry?

 As the vibrant hues of summer gradually give way to the warm and earthy tones of autumn, we, as pet parents, may begin to notice something intriguing about our furry companions. Our dogs, much like the changing landscape around us, seem to undergo a subtle transformation as the seasons shift. Have you observed your canine friend behaving differently during this transition? If so, you're not alone.

Kai the whippet trying to steal treats

Around this time every year, we notice that Whippet Kai (nearly 10 now!) and now the youngster whippet Neo, start to behaving in slightly different ways to how they go about. One noticeable change that piques my curiosity involves their appetites. Straight after their mealtime, they appear to be on a quest for more food, sometimes even begging for additional treats throughout the day.

Interestingly, our shop visitors have shared similar experiences, expressing concerns about their dogs' seemingly insatiable hunger. But what could be the reason behind this phenomenon?

A Glimpse Into Nature's Wisdom

In the wild, animals have an innate ability to adapt to the resources available to them. As autumn brings a shortage of food in preparation for winter, some animals instinctively look to fatten up while food is still abundant.

Could our dogs be tapping into this ancient survival instinct? While domesticated, our doggos often retain a link to their wild ancestors, and this behavioral shift could be a testament to the wisdom ingrained in their DNA.

The Science Behind the Hunger - we are not so different to each other after all :)

The intriguing phenomenon of dogs appearing hungrier during autumn can be partially attributed to the change in temperature. As temperatures drop, dogs burn more calories to stay warm and their body's nutrient requirements increase, resulting in an increased appetite.

As the seasons transition towards winter, your pups experience a shift in their nutritional needs.

During this time, their clever canine brains send signals for a slower metabolism while cranking up their appetite (we humans also do this by the way). This serves to optimize fat storage in anticipation of the scarcity of food resources they would experience in the wild during the winter season.

This behaviour is of course just part of our evolution, but in most cases not relevant to the way we live, specially if like us, you and your dog live in a home with central heating and access to food shops. But nature is powerful, and therefore, it's natural for your pets to exhibit an increased appetite during the colder months. Additionally, the shift in daylight hours can affect their internal clock, leading to altered mealtime behaviours.

Moreover, the availability of seasonal foods, such as fallen fruits or nuts, can tempt dogs into seeking extra snacks. It's essential to be mindful of these factors and ensure that any additional treats or snacks align with your dog's overall dietary needs.

Foraging Games: A Solution to Autumn Appetites

If you find your dog's increased appetite during autumn somewhat perplexing or concerning, there's a fun and engaging solution worth exploring: foraging games.

Much like their wild counterparts, our dogs benefit from mental and physical stimulation. Foraging games not only satisfy their desire to "hunt" for food but also provide essential mental exercise. Hide treats around the house or use interactive toys that dispense treats when manipulated, such as our own Forage-A-Knot Snuffle Dog Toy.

Neo playing with the pink forage toy

These activities can help channel their newfound autumnal enthusiasm for food into a positive outlet, as it will also keep their minds stimulated and their noses busy.

Other Visible Changes in Your Canine Companion

Autumn's influence on our dogs extends beyond their appetite. Let's delve into some of the other noticeable changes in our furry friends as the season transitions:

• Increased Restlessness: You may find your dog displaying more restlessness or hyperactivity. This could be attributed to the cooler temperatures that invigorate them for outdoor play.
• Heightened Alertness: Autumn brings different scents and sounds. Dogs might exhibit heightened alertness as they explore the new, intriguing aromas wafting through the crisp air.

• Shedding: As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, many dogs experience increased shedding to prepare for a thicker winter coat. Regular grooming can help manage this.
• Weight Gain: Some dogs may indeed put on a little extra weight during autumn as they prepare for the cold months ahead. Keep an eye on their weight and adjust their diet and exercise accordingly.

Energy Levels:
• Seasonal Shift: Just as humans may feel a boost of energy with the arrival of autumn, dogs might also exhibit a surge in vitality. Utilize this time to enjoy more outdoor activities together.

Kai the whippet wearing a Night & Rain Repellent Jumper and walking in the autumn leaves

Sensory Changes:
• Enhanced Scent Detection: Autumn's cool, crisp air carries scents farther, making it an exciting time for dogs to explore their environment through scent. You might notice them sniffing and investigating more.
• Leaf Chasing: Falling leaves can be a source of fascination for dogs. They may engage in spirited games of "catch the leaf" during your outdoor adventures.
• Nesting Instincts: Some dogs exhibit nesting behaviors in preparation for winter. They might gather their toys or blankets into a cozy pile, mirroring the instinct of creating a warm den for themselves.
• Alertness to Wildlife: With autumn comes an increase in wildlife activity. Dogs might become more alert and interested in squirrels, birds, or other creatures they spot during your walks.

In Conclusion: Embrace the Seasons Together

In conclusion, as we witness the vibrant leaves of summer trees turning into breathtaking shades of red and gold, we can also observe our beloved dogs undergoing their own transformations. From their insatiable hunger for treats to the irresistible urge to forage, these changes are a testament to the remarkable connection between our furry friends and the world around them.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering why your pup seems to be raiding the treat jar with newfound enthusiasm, remember that it's all part of the beautiful tapestry of nature's rhythm. Embrace these seasonal shifts, and perhaps, grab our Forage-A-Knot Snuffle Dog Toy to keep your canine companion entertained while they embark on their autumn culinary adventures.

Autumn brings with it a symphony of change, not just in the world outside but also in the hearts of our dogs. As the leaves fall and the air turns crisp, let's cherish these moments of transformation, for they remind us of the extraordinary bond we share with our four-legged companions. Together, we'll embrace the magic of autumn, one pawprint at a time.

Have you noticed any other intriguing changes in your dogs during this enchanting season? Drop us a line and share your autumnal tales with us! 

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