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Dog Nosing Food Before Eating

Updated on October 20, 2014

All dog owners know that dogs do weird things sometimes -- and try to puzzle out what's really going on in Fido's mind. There are many reasons Fido could be nosing the food around before eating, most of them habitual and harmless.


Sometimes, dogs get playful while anticipating that meal. They may paw at the food dish or push it with their nose. If you see them do this, then feed them, they learn that touching or pushing the food bowl around correlates to getting fed. They may continue to push the bowl around once you fill it.


Is your dog food possessive? If so, he may be pushing his bowl around to try to hide the food from you or from other household pets. Other signs of a food possessive or food aggressive dog include wolfing down the food faster as you approach and rolling his eyes at you while eating so you see the whites of his eyes. If your dog does this, do not try to touch the food bowl while he eats since possessive dogs may growl or bite to protect their food.

Hiding Food

Some dogs enjoy hiding tasty treats for later. If your dog is the type to bury bones in the backyard or nose treats under the sofa cushions, the food bowl behavior may have a similar motivation. Your pup may be hiding the food out of insecurity by pushing the bowl around, then eating it when she feels secure enough to do so.

Most of the time, this behavior is nothing to worry about. Dogs often push food bowls around for harmless reasons. If a formerly healthy eater seems to have lost his appetite, this behavior may be a sign of an underlying illness. Schedule an appointment with your vet to make sure that Fido's fine.


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