Why is My Golden Retriever Always Hungry?

Pet Food


August 30, 2022

It is no secret that golden retrievers are highly desired because they are one of the most beautiful breeds around. But there are a few things that come along with owning a golden that owners should be aware of.

For starters, they like to eat. You may notice that your golden retriever seems to always be hungry. You feed them and just seconds after their meal has finished, they are off looking for more. What gives?

Why is My Golden Retriever Always Hungry?

This behavior begs the question, “Why is my golden retriever always hungry?” It turns out that there may a biological reason for it. Then again, it might not be anything like that at all. It depends on your dog.

Some researchers have found that in certain Labrador retrievers, there is a gene variant that might be the root cause of why goldens are always hungry. The simple fact of the matter is that it could come down to things like stress, separation anxiety, aging, illness, and more.

Not Being Fed Enough

The simplest explanation to “Why is my golden retriever always hungry?” is that they are not being fed enough. Golden retrievers have particular nutritional needs at each stage of their development. If those needs are not being met, they will constantly be looking for food.

For example, when they are roughly 6–12 months old, goldens will need to go from their puppy food to adult dog food. There are simple methods for switching them from that puppy food to adult food within a week.

They need to be on pretty specific feeding patterns from the time they are born until around the one-year mark. As they grow, so too will the amount of food that they consume. Their frequency of meals will ultimately end up at around two per day but they should be fed up to as much as three cups of food by the time they hit maturity.

They also need to have a certain amount of calories per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For the average active adult golden, they should be getting roughly 1,300–1,700 calories per day. When they hit senior age, that number will come down to roughly 900 calories.


While dietary imbalance may be the most likely culprit, there could be genetic issues at play as well. If you have ever wondered, “Why is my golden retriever always hungry?” it could be a matter of a genetic issue.

One of the more common genetic issues at play is suffering from diabetes. This is because it has the capability of increasing their appetite suddenly. That said, their appetite is not the only indicator as to whether your dog has diabetes.

Check to see if they have cloudy eyes, increased urination, chronic infections like urinary or skin infections, or excessive water drinking. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is time to take them to the vet to get checked out.

They are Stressed Out or Feeling Anxious

Another of the major reasons that goldens may be looking for food more often than normal is that they are stressed or feeling anxious, particularly with separation anxiety. Dogs are capable of being stressed just as we are.

They may feel stressed if there are changes happening in their lives. It might be moving furniture from one room to another and they can’t find their favorite spot. It might be that they got a new bowl. It could also include major life changes, like bringing a new baby home.

They can also suffer from separation anxiety as well. Being upset that they are away from you can also lead to stress, which results in stress eating. There are a few signs that your golden will show if they are experiencing separation anxiety.

They may pace, howl, chew, dig, pee, escape, become destructive, bark excessively, and more. If you have been spending a lot of time away from home recently, it could correlate with the change in your dog’s appetite.

They’re Getting Old

Sometimes the simplest explanation for just about anything is the aging process. This is the tricky part: the aging process can certainly be the answer but it could be one of the aforementioned issues as well.

When they become senior dogs, they should be eating less. Eating too many calories can lead to obesity, which could put them at risk for a slew of diseases. But there are signs to be aware of that your dog is hungry due to aging.

Cloudy eyes, a change in their weight, slowing down, forgetting commands, fear of familiar people, increased anxiety, changes to their sleep cycle, and more can all be the result of simply aging.


Golden retrievers require a set number of calories each day to maintain a healthy diet. If they are not being fed the proper amount, they will naturally be looking around for other sources of food.

That said, the issue could be that they have some sort of illness as well. It is important that you monitor your golden’s feeding habits and take your golden to the vet if need be.