Q. My dog eats compulsively, is this normal?
DANA KOCH, VMD, MLAS
A. This can be due to behavior, or a real medical issue. If your dog is doing well otherwise (drinking ok, normal urinating and defecation, normal activity level), I would recommend asking your regular veterinarian about it at your dog's next check-up. Most likely, your veterinarian will just do a basic physical exam. However, if the physical exam is abnormal, they may recommend other tests to rule out medical causes. Endocrine diseases (such as Cushing's), medications (such as prednisone), gastrointestinal disorders (such as lymphoma and IBD) and parasitism can cause dogs to eat compulsively.
After medical reasons have been ruled out, it's most likely behavioral. You can try to slow your dog down in one of many ways. There are large balls you can put in their bowls to slow them down, or treat dispensing toys found online or at pet stores. These methods also stimulate their brain and prevent boredom, which can contribute to compulsive eating.