Tryptophan, a precursor of important molecules such as serotonin, melatonin and niacin, is an essential amino acid for dogs. In pigs, tryptophan supplementation has been shown to induce a significant increase in food intake. The aim of the present study was to assess whether long-term tryptophan supplementation increases voluntary food intake in dogs and to observe whether this was accompanied by a change in serum ghrelin. In the present study, sixteen adult Beagle dogs were used, with four male and four female dogs fed diets supplemented with tryptophan (1 g/dog per d) during 81 d (Trp) and four male and four female dogs that were not supplemented (control). A voluntary food intake test was performed during 5 d following the supplementation period. The Trp group tended to show a higher food intake during the voluntary food intake test (58·0 (se 5·37) v. 77·5 (se 3·65) g/kg metabolic weight per d; P = 0·074). No significant differences were found for serum ghrelin concentrations.