Why Does My Dog Try To Bury Her Food?

A dog with a blowl of kibble that has spilled.

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Dogs burying their food can be a confusing and frustrating behavior for pet owners. 

It’s not always clear why dogs bury their food, but it can be an annoying habit to deal with.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why dogs may bury their food and provide solutions so that you can better understand your pup’s behavior and how to deal with it.

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Why Does My Dog Try To Cover Her Food?

There are several reasons why your dog may try to cover their food. Some of the reasons are behavioral, others have to do with an illness, or it could be something you are doing.

Instinctual Behavior

Dogs have been known to bury their food for centuries. It’s a behavior that is instinctual and has been passed down from generation to generation of canines.

The reason dogs bury their food is to protect it from other animals. In the wild, if a dog left its food out in the open, another animal would come along and steal it. By burying their food, dogs were able to keep their food safe and secure.

This instinctual behavior is still present in today’s domestic dogs. Some breeds are more prone to food-hiding than others, such as hunting dogs like retrievers and terriers.

Anxiety

If your dog is burying their food, it could also be a sign of anxiety. When dogs are stressed or anxious, they may try to “control” their environment by hiding the things that make them feel nervous or insecure.

For example, if you have an overly anxious dog and you give him his dinner in the same room where he gets scolded, he may try to bury his food in an attempt to make it disappear.

This behavior is also common in dogs who have been rescue animals or have come from shelters. These dogs may have had traumatic experiences in the past that make them anxious about their food and their environment.

If your dog is displaying signs of anxiety, such as excessive panting or pacing, it’s important to talk to your vet about possible treatment options.

Sick or Nauseated

Food hiding can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Certain illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes or digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, can cause dogs to experience nausea or indigestion after eating.

Dogs who are suffering from nausea may try to bury their food as a way to escape the associated discomfort. If your dog is exhibiting this behavior, it’s important to talk to your vet about possible treatment options or medical concerns.

Over-Feeding

Sometimes food hiding can also be a result of overfeeding. If you’re giving your dog too much food, he may try to bury the excess in an attempt to “save it for later.”

This behavior is most common in dogs who are free-fed, or who have unlimited access to food. If you think your dog may be getting too much food, talk to your vet about how much food you should be giving your pup at each meal.

Possessiveness/Hoarding

Some dogs may simply bury their food because they are possessive or are trying to hoard it. If your pup is trying to guard his food against others, he may try to cover it up so that other animals and people can’t get to it.

This behavior is especially common in young puppies who aren’t used to having enough food. By hiding their food, they can be more certain that it won’t run out.

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is closely related to possessiveness and hoarding. However, resource guarding is more about a dog’s fear of losing access to a resource, rather than just trying to protect it from others.

For example, if your dog is afraid that his food bowl will be taken away, he may try to guard it by burying it. He may also show aggression or become stressed when you come near his food bowl.

If your dog is resource guarding, it’s important to work with a trainer or behaviorist to address the underlying issue and help your pup feel more comfortable about sharing his resources.

Picky Eater

Some dogs may try to bury their food because they don’t like what they’re being fed. If your dog is a picky eater, he may try to hide his food so that he doesn’t have to eat it.

This behavior is more common in dogs who are given table scraps or human food, as they may not be as interested in their dog food.

If your pup is a picky eater, it’s important to work with your vet or a canine nutritionist to find the right diet for him. This may involve changing his food brand, the ingredients in his food, or the portion size that he is being fed. You can also try to feed your dog small meals throughout the day, rather than one large meal.

Eyesight Problems

It’s possible that your dog isn’t actually trying to hide their food, but that an issue with their vision makes it hard for them to see their food. They may then push the food around in an attempt to figure out what it is. This may be mistaken as trying to hide their food.

If your dog is having trouble seeing their food, it’s important to take them to the vet for an examination. Your vet will be able to determine if there is an underlying issue causing your pup’s vision problems.

Attention-Seeking

In some cases, food hiding may be an attention-seeking behavior. Dogs who are bored or who want more attention may try to hide their food as a way to get you to interact with them.

For example, a dog may bury his food and then “dig it up” in an attempt to get you to play with him. Or, he may try to hide his food so that you have to help him find it.

Environment

Finally, it’s possible that your dog is burying their food simply because they are in an environment where this behavior is reinforced.

For example, if you live in a rural area with lots of animals and wildlife around, your pup may feel the need to hide his food so that other creatures don’t find it first.

Ways You Are Encouraging the Behavior

There are a few ways in which you could be encouraging your dog to hide her food.

If you give your dog attention when she is hiding her food, she may learn that this behavior gets her the attention she wants. 

Similarly, if you are rewarding her with treats or praise when she finds her food, this could also be reinforcing the behavior.

Should I Be Concerned if My Dog is Hiding Food?

A dog with a kibble on the floor next to a red dog food bowl.

In most cases, food hiding is simply a normal canine behavior and is nothing to be concerned about. However, there are a few situations in which you should be worried about your dog’s food-hiding behavior.

If your dog starts to show signs of aggression, such as growling or snapping, when you come near his food bowl, this could be a sign that he is having trouble sharing his resources. In this case, it’s important to work with a trainer or behaviorist to address the underlying issue and help your pup feel more comfortable about sharing his resources.

If you notice that your dog’s food-hiding behavior is becoming increasingly compulsive, such as if she continues to hide food even when she’s not hungry, this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If this is the case, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for an examination.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Hiding Food?

If you want to stop your dog from hiding their food, the most important thing to do is figure out the reason behind their food hiding.  Here are a few ways you can stop this behavior:

Feed Less Frequently

If your dog is hiding their food because they have too much, feeding less frequently may help. This combined with limiting their food to a proper amount per feeding should help them to stop hiding their extra food.

Use a Heavier Bowl

If your dog is hiding their food because they can easily move their bowl around, try using a heavier bowl. This will make it difficult for them to push the bowl around and hide their food.

Check for Illness

If you think your dog isn’t feeling well, it’s important to take her to the vet for an examination. Your vet can then determine if there is an underlying health issue that is causing your dog to hide her food.

Increase Your Dog’s Exercise

If your dog is burying her food because she is bored, increasing her exercise can help.  This may help to decrease her restlessness and help her feel more relaxed about food issues.

Talk to a Behaviorist

If you think your dog’s behavior is a sign of resource guarding or other underlying behavior issues, it’s important to consult with a behaviorist or other dog expert. A professional can help you determine the best way to address your dog’s food-hiding behavior and stop it altogether.

Unfortunately, untreated resource guarding can become a very dangerous issue and should be treated as soon as possible.

Overall, if you are worried about your dog’s food-hiding behavior, the best thing to do is talk to a professional and address the issue head-on. By working with a trainer or behaviorist, you can help your pup overcome their food-hiding issues and create a better relationship

FAQ

Why Does My Dog Try To Cover Her Food With a Blanket?

There are a few reasons why your dog may try to cover her food with a blanket. One possibility is that she is trying to create a den-like environment around her food. This behavior is often seen in dogs who were previously wild or feral and is instinctual for them.

Another possibility is that your dog is trying to keep her food hidden from other animals or people in the house.

Finally, there may be an underlying medical condition causing your dog to hide her food. If you are concerned about your dog’s food-hiding behavior, it’s important to talk to a professional and address any potential medical issues.

Why Does My Dog Cover Her Food With a Towel?

Just like covering her food with a blanket your dog could be covering her food with a towel to create a denlike environment around her food. She could also be trying to hide it from others or have an underlying medical issue.

Why Does My Dog Push His Food With His Nose?

There are a few reasons why your dog may push his food around with his nose. One possibility is that he is simply exhibiting a natural instinct, as burying or covering food is common among dogs and other animals.

It could also be that your dog is feeling bored or restless, and using his nose to move the food around helps him feel more relaxed. 

Another reason is that your dog may be displaying signs of an underlying medical issue.

Overall, there are many possible reasons why your dog may try to cover her or push her food with her nose.

Why is My Dog Hiding Food and Not Eating?

There are a few possible reasons why your dog is hiding food and not eating. One possibility is that she is feeling anxious or stressed about her food, and is trying to create a safe space for herself by hiding it.

Another possibility is that your dog isn’t feeling well and is losing her appetite. This could be due to an underlying medical condition, or simply a symptom of general stress.

Finally, your dog may be exhibiting signs of resource guarding and protecting her food from other people or animals in the house. To best address this behavior, it’s important to speak with a professional who can help you understand the underlying causes and work on managing the behavior.

Why Do Female Dogs Bury Their Food?

There are a few possible reasons why female dogs may bury their food. One possibility is that they are trying to create a den-like environment around their food, which is common among wild or feral animals.

Another reason could be that your dog is acting out of anxiety or stress about her food, and burying it helps her feel more safe and secure.

Finally, female dogs may cover their food as a way of asserting dominance or protecting the food from other animals or people in the home.

Why is My Dog Hiding Food in Her Bed?

Similar to why female dogs hide their food, your dog may be hiding their food in their bed to create a den-like environment, have anxiety or stress, or are just protecting their food from other animals or people.

Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats Instead of Eating Them?

There are a few reasons why your dog may hide his treats instead of eating them. One possibility is that he is trying to create a stash of food for himself in case he ever feels hungry.

Another possibility is that your dog doesn’t really like the treat and is trying to get rid of it by hiding it.

Finally, your dog may be displaying signs of resource guarding, which is when an animal feels the need to protect its food from others.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why your dog is trying to bury her food. It could be a behavior issue, a medical issue, or accidental reinforcement from you.

Overall, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and try to understand the reasons behind her actions. By doing so, you can help ensure that your dog is happy and healthy, while also providing her with the care and support she needs. 

Thanks for reading!

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