Updated at: 11-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

If you’re here it’s because you’ve probably been presented with the situation where you wonder “why do dogs hide their food? Or maybe you’re just curious. Whatever the reason, let’s clear up your doubts!


Hiding food may be more than just an annoyance. In the process of “digging,” your do may ruin rugs, carpeting, or furniture. You might also discover an unpleasant mess in your sofa or bed or may not know it’s there at all until the food starts to rot and the smell hits you! While you may not find it pleasant, others pests will be attracted to it. The mold and rot can also damage your belongings. And if your dog runs with food in its mouth to hide, it risks choking on that food.

Why does my dog hide its food?

The most likely reason why your dog hides its food is that your dog is saving food for later. Dogs have evolved to instinctively hide food. Their ancestors would hide food to ensure another meal because there was no guarantee that food would be readily available. Although your furry friend can always look forward to its next meal, this behavior still occurs.

However, if your dog previously lived in an environment where food was scarce or stolen by others, it may be even more likely to hide its food. Both hoarding and puppy breeding mills can encourage this behavior in dogs. The same goes for hunting dogs.

Plus, dogs like to hide the things they value most. Your dog hiding its food is similar to burying its brand-new bone or ball in the yard. Some dog experts refer to this behavior as “caching.”

Another reason why your dog may hide its food is because of anxiety, especially anxiety about sharing food or mealtimes with other pets. Dogs may also experience anxiety if the room where they eat is bustling with activity. Fortunately, switching to a routine feeding schedule can help with anxiety and another reason dogs hide their food–overfeeding!

Finally, dogs may hide their food as a way to seek attention from its human family members. It’s less likely that your dog will hide food for this reason. However, it may explain why your dog hides your possessions.

How to stop my dog from hiding its food?

Identifying why your dog hides food is key to ending the behavior. If you suspect anxiety is the reason, you can move your dog’s food dish to a quiet area away from other pets and people in the household. It’s up to you to adapt to your dog’s needs. Do not force your dog to eat in uncomfortable conditions or mess with its food as a way to discourage anxiety. Even if you don’t think your dog is anxious, moving its food dish to another room (or to the spot where your dog places its bowl) or feeding it at separate times from other pets may help stop your dog from hiding food for later.

The next step is to remove any leftover food so that your dog can’t hide it and put the food dish away. If you leave food out all the time, known as free-feeding, switching to scheduled meal times may be the only option to stop your dog from hiding food. Dog expert Cesar Millan recommends taking your dog for a walk before meals to tire it out. Return home, bring out the food dish and bowl, and command your dog to sit. Your dog can only eat after following this command.

It can take a few weeks to get into a feeding routine, but it has benefits far beyond ending food hoarding. For example, scheduled feeding ensures you’re not over or under-feeding your dog and informs you if your dog’s appetite has decreased.Why-Is-My-Dog-Hiding-Food-2.jpg


Reasons why my dog hides his food

Now, just because it is basically inherited behavior does not mean that we should not pay attention to it.

Let’s see, in more detail, why your dog hides his food.

1. To protect it from other animals

Do you live with any other animals besides your dog?

It could be that one of them has stuck his nose in his bowl and stolen some food from him.

Or maybe he didn’t, but those genes we were talking about may have intervened and reminded him that it is better to protect his food.

In addition to hiding food, when a dog is afraid that another animal will steal it, it can also eat very quickly and be harmful to it.

2. Tasty treats

If you occasionally give your dog a treat, one of those that makes him lie down, it is possible that on some occasion he will keep it whole or in part.

It may be to enjoy it later comfortably or, if it is only a part, to make it last longer.

Read also: When Should I Give My Dog Treats?

3. You don’t give him the right amount

When my dog hides food, the first thing I have to ask myself is if I’m giving him the amount he really needs.

If I’m not, two things can happen:

When I give him less, the dog can hide it during the day.

If I give him too much, he will hide the leftovers to eat later, protecting them from other animals or from ourselves (if we are to take away the plate).


4. For survival

If your dog is one of those who spends a lot of time alone in the house, he may hide his food out of survival instinct.

This is especially true of adopted dogs that were previously abandoned and lived on the street.

5. For fun

Yes, it may be that if my dog hides the food it’s because he just thinks it’s funny.

Playing hide and seek is very common with dogs, especially if they consider the stuff they’re hiding to be valuable!

So don’t be surprised if you see your furry dog trying to hide his favorite toy or food.

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