Q & A: Licking the bowl

Q: Is it a good sign if my dog licks his bowl after he is done eating? Should I give him more food?

A: Your dog enjoys his food, which is great! When a dog thoroughly licks his bowl clean, it’s usually a sign that he has enjoyed what he has eaten.

It is possible that he’s still hungry, in which case there are a few things you can try. Giving him more food is only an option if he’s underweight, and that is something that should be discussed with your vet. If your vet says it’s okay to feed him slightly more, then do so. If not, then stick to the prescribed amount – an overweight dog is neither healthy nor happy.

If your dog appears constantly hungry, then it’s important to have a thorough health check done, as some conditions such as hyperthyroidism can cause ravenous hunger.

Slowing down a dog’s meal can really help with satiation and satisfaction. Food that disappears at high speed is unlikely to help a dog feel full and comfortable!

You could try slowing down his eating with a slow-feeder bowl, or use his meals for activities – try putting some of it in a Kong, or scattering it around for him to search for. Then he gets his meal and a game, and he’s satisfied both physically and mentally.

Katherine Brown, behaviourist

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