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Border Collie Always Hungry: (proper feeding amounts)

Is your collie noticeably hungrier than what they used to be?

Whether it comes in the form of extra begging, or looking at their food bowl like “where’s the rest of it!” there are a range of explanations.

I’ve dealt with this issue a few times and discovered a few typical causes. Plus, after speaking to my veterinarian I learned some more serious things to consider. And this is what I’ll share with you today.

What’s covered below:

  • Spotting normal vs excessive hungry
  • Why your border collie is extra hungry
  • When to visit a veterinarian
  • What to do about it in the meantime
hungry border collie

Is Your Collie Excessively Hungry?

There’s a difference between a healthy appetite and one that’s excessive.

🎯 What’s normal?

Collies are working dogs with naturally high metabolisms. With that said, it’s normal and expected for them gobble down their morning and evening meal without hesitation. Assuming they receive as much physical exercise throughout the day as they should.

It’s also normal for puppies to have a slightly greater appetite too, yet older dogs tend get a reduced appetite.

Sometimes your collie might look at their bowl and turn to you after they’ve finished as if they were expecting more. And this may also be normal too. Your collie could just be thinking “hey mom, look, I finished my food already”.

There’s a fine line between a healthy appetite and one that’s excessive, but if you consider the following it should be easy to spot.

🎯 So what’s excessive hunger?

  • Begging for food more than normal
  • Trying to gain access to their food while you’re gone
  • Whining for more food at their bowl just after they’ve finished their meal
  • Sitting, laying, or touching their food bowl when it isn’t meal time
  • Acting as if they want more food, when the same serving was once enough

If you notice any of the above then it indicates your collie is experiencing an increase in appetite.

Let’s run through the reasons why your collie is always hungry below.

10 Reasons Why Your Border Collie Is Always Hungry

An increase in appetite or hunger should always be looked into. Although it doesn’t always mean something bad, excessive hunger is a known symptom of some serious health issues.

Extra exercise:

One the first and most common causes of an increase in appetite happens when your collie has been extra active. If you have recently increased your collie’s exercise then it might be a very justified reaction. Consider how active your collie usually is, and think about if it’s changed at all.

Weather changes:

Another non serious cause of an increase in appetite is when it becomes cooler. Yep, dogs, just like you and me, often have a bigger appetite in cold weather. This is essentially down to the body needing more energy (calories) to sustain a normal body temperature in colder conditions.

Improper Nutrition:

Feeding your collie an unbalanced diet or not enough food can lead to increased hunger. This may also happen if you’ve recently switched kibbles to an inferior product. Remember, collies thrive off a diet that focuses on protein and fat with low carbs. If these ratios are off, it could be causing problems.


Intestinal parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms can lead to increased hunger as they consume the nutrients from your dog’s food before your dog has the chance to digest it. This gives them the feeling of always being hungry.

Thyroid Issues:

Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can cause increased hunger and weight gain in dogs.


Diabetes Mellitus, a condition where the body can’t produce enough insulin, can cause increased hunger and excessive thirst in dogs.


Inflammation of the pancreas can lead to digestive problems, including increased hunger and weight loss.


Some types of cancer can cause increased hunger and weight loss in dogs.

Bacterial Infections:

Bacterial infections like salmonella and E. coli can cause digestive problems, leading to increased hunger and weight loss.

Psychological Issues:

Separation anxiety, boredom, and stress can also lead to increased hunger in dogs.

What’s it likely to be?

This all comes down to things like when your collie started getting hungrier, how severe their appetite has gotten, and other things like additional symptoms and changes in their weight.

Usually, if it’s something serious then there will be accompanying symptoms along side their change in appetite. Let’s run through that below.

When To See a Vet

As I mentioned earlier, excessive hunger is always something to take seriously and keep an eye.

But when should you seek help from a vet?

🎯 It’s important to speak to your vet if:

  • Your collie is losing or gaining weight in addition to their appetite changes
  • Your collie is whining and crying excessively about wanting more food
  • Your collie seems continuously hungrier even after previously increasing their food
  • Your collie displays other symptoms like weight changes, lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools, or any other unusual change from their normal behavior
  • Your collie’s hunger behavior is getting dramatic and extreme
  • You can’t figure out this problem and are worried about the health of your collie

What To Do Next…

So how can you help your collie in the meantime? should you remain consistent with her diet and food portions or should you up it?

These are great questions.

  • First things first is to contact your veterinarian if any of the situations above apply to your collie. Ruling out health issues and receiving professional help might be the most appropriate thing to focus on.

If the above doesn’t apply, consider the following:

Monitoring your collie’s weight will remain central to this ongoing appetite conundrum, as the goal should always be to keep your collie in a healthy weight range (which is 27-45 lbs depending on gender).

👉 Consider: Now, if your collie is extra hungry due to an increase in activity, then it won’t hurt to up their food portion sizes a little to compensate. OR you could reduce their activity back down to their previous “normal” levels. If this extra activity is a one off, then don’t change their portion sizes.

👉 Consider: Reevaluate your collies current kibble quality and caloric intake. Was it enough to begin with in the first place? Does the kibble focus on high protein, medium to high fat, with low carbs? It’s important these macronutrients are in these ratios as this is what’s best for collies. If it isn’t, it could suggest the kibble just isn’t nutritionally appropriate for your collie, and that a switch might be necessary.

👉 Consider: Avoid giving table scraps or heavy treats. Most of the time these are not healthy for our dogs, and it could be contributing to an excessive appetite or making your collie just extra greedy. Treats are essential but owners should be using a low-caloric healthy dog treat like Zukes. (this will avoid appetite problems).

👉 Consider: Increase your collies water intake throughout the day to curb excessive hunger. You can place more water bowls around the home, or throw a few ice cube treats in their water bowl to increase drinking. Water is a healthy way to reduce appetite.

👉 Consider: Adding water to their kibble. Not only will this make it easier to digest but the extra water will begin the process of the kibble swelling up and satisfying your collie.

To be clear, these tips should only be considered if health issues are ruled out and your collie isn’t displaying any other negative/serious symptoms.

Back to more collie articles

Extra resources and help:
PetCarerx – 4 Reasons why your dog is hungry
PetMd – Increased appetite info in dogs
Cesarsway – Why dogs keep on eating


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.