Dogs are always hungry. Or at least they like us to THINK that they are, in the hopes of winning over a few more treats and goodies throughout the day. Sometimes it can be tough to tell when a sneaky pooch is genuinely hungry, or if he is just on the prowl for something yummy in his tummy.  Here are 5 quick ways you can make sure your pup quits nagging you by pawing at the cupboard or food bowl, and help him stay on the straight and narrow.

Set the record straight. Talk to your vet about your dog’s age, weight, breed, build, and frequency of exercise. This will help him gauge about how much food (how many ounces of protein, how frequently you should refill the bowl) your dog actually needs in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Before you even think about making a feeding plan, make sure you have spoken to professionals, and you’ve given them all the facts.

Choose the right kind of food.  We have already discussed some of the devious marketing schemes pet food companies apply to their products.  One thing that frequently occurs is the use of air-infusion in dry kibbles. Some companies literally “puff up” the kibbles so that they look bigger and denser, so as to seem more filling for your dog. But when they are digested, not only does this release air (giving your pup a stomach ache) but it leaves them hungrier than ever.  Choose good food products that are high in proteins, natural animal fats, and fiber so that your pup will stay fuller for longer periods of time. Fiber is one of the best elements that aid gastrointestinal health, and in providing quality food, your dog will be less likely to look for unsatisfying fillers in the in-between-meal hours.

Distract him. This sounds obvious, but sometimes when they have excess energy, dogs just do their go-to attention grabbing action, like barking for treats, nuzzling your hand and pockets hoping to find a tasty chew in there. Maybe your dog just wants a little extra attention and time with you. Try brushing him for 10-15 minutes, giving him a rub-down or massage, or pausing to play a quick game of fetch to help take him mind of his tummy.

Tease his cravings. Your dog might think he is hungry, but may actually just be bored. Provide an oral fixation tool such as a durable dog chew toy, a rope, raw bone, or something similar. This will tease his stomach from feeling the need to ingest something, when really all he might need is something to chew on and focus his energy toward.

If you are hearing your pup’s tummy growl while he is chomping on the toy, one great option is to grab a few veggies from the fridge, and feed him a few. Carrots, cucumbers, celery, and green beans will infuse your pup with vitamins WHILE giving him something fresh and crispy to crunch on. This is a great snack to have before it is doggy-dinnertime.