Close this search box.

10 Reasons Your Dog Pushes Their Food Bowl With Their Nose

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

As a dog owner, you may have noticed your furry friend pushing their food bowl around with their nose. While this behavior seems puzzling, it’s quite common among dogs. It’s a behavior passed down from their wild ancestors, and your dog might be exhibiting it for several reasons.

Dogs may push their food bowl with their nose due to instinctual behaviors such as foraging, saving, or hiding food. Other reasons are a dislike of the food, playful behavior, anxiety, or attention-seeking. This is normal and natural behavior. You should observe it and react accordingly.

Understanding why your dog is pushing their food bowl can help you better understand his behavior and improve his mealtime experience.

In this article, we’ll explore why dogs push their food bowl with their nose and provide insights on how you can help your furry friend enjoy their meals.

Dog Pushing Bowl With Nose and Not Eating

Why is Your Dog Not Eating and Pushing Their Food Bowl?

One of many strange’ dog eating’ behaviors is that of dogs pushing their food bowl away with their nose. It can signify various instincts, such as foraging, saving food for later, or trying to hide or bury their food.

But it can also mean other motives. Let’s dive into ten reasons your dog is not eating and pushing his bowl around.

Watch This Dog Pushing His Food Bowl With His Nose…

1. Foraging Behavior

As a German Shepherd Dog owner, I couldn’t help but wonder why my furry friend kept pushing her food bowl around with her nose.

It turns out that this behavior is linked to their foraging instincts – who knew? It’s like my dog is channeling her inner hunter-gatherer every time she eats!

It’s pretty amusing to watch. It’s like she’s digging for gold or something, except it’s just kibble. And the best part? Sometimes, she’ll even try to bury her food like she would in the wild! She’s saying, “I’m going to save this for later when I need it.” It’s just too cute.

2. Saving Food For Later

I’ve noticed that sometimes my furry friend will push her food bowl away with her nose, even if she hasn’t finished her meal. This behavior is linked to the canine’s instinct to save food for later.

It’s actually quite fascinating. In the wild, dogs would often hide their food to keep it safe from other animals, and domesticated dogs still have that instinct ingrained in them.

So when my dog pushes her food bowl away, it’s like she’s saying, “I’m not done yet, but I want to save some for later.” It’s pretty impressive how these instincts have carried over into their domesticated lives.

Dog Not Eating and Saving Food For Later

3. Burying Or Covering Food

I your dog has a peculiar habit of pushing their food bowl around with their nose, the behavior could be linked to its desire to bury or cover its food.

Dogs are such fascinating creatures! This behavior stems from their wild ancestors who would bury their food to keep it safe and hidden from other animals.

Even though dogs are domesticated pups now, it’s pretty amazing how these instincts are still so strong. They’re hard-wired to protect their food, even without needing it.

4. Preference For Certain Textures

My German Shepherd can be a bit picky about her food sometimes. Sometimes, she’ll push her food bowl away with her nose and won’t eat until I switch to a different food. This behavior could be linked to some dogs’ preferences for certain textures.

It’s pretty interesting to see how dogs have their preferences when it comes to food.

Some dogs may not like the feel of certain kinds of food, and by using their nose, they can sort through and pick out the parts they want. They say, “I’ll eat this, but not that.” I guess it’s like how humans have their favorite foods and textures, too!

Dog Pushing Food Bowl Away With Nose

5. Dislike Certain Smells

My dog has a sensitive nose, but she is a German Shepherd, after all, and these dogs are used to putting their nose to work in scent and detection work.

Sometimes, she’ll push her bowl away and give me a look like I just served rotten eggs. I’m like, “What’s wrong with your food? It’s not bad, is it?

Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and if they don’t like the odor of their food, they won’t eat it.

Can you imagine having a sense of smell so strong that it can ruin your appetite? It’s like they have a built-in food critic or something. Maybe I should take some notes from my dog and start sniffing my food before I eat it. You know, just in case.

A Husky disinterested in his bowl of kibble.

6. Type of Food Bowl

So, you’ve recently bought a new metal food bowl for your dog, thinking it would be an upgrade from their old one, and to your surprise, your doggo started pushing it around with its nose, making it harder for them to eat.

You’d be like, “what’s going on here? Do you not like your new bowl?”

Some dogs just don’t like metal bowls, or the shape and size of the bowls could be the culprit. If the bowl is too deep or shallow, it could make it harder for your dog to eat comfortably. It’s like trying to eat soup out of a plate; it’s just not going to work!

So, if you’ve recently bought a new bowl for your furry friend and they’re pushing it away with their nose, it might be time to reevaluate the shape and size of the bowl or switch to a ceramic or plastic one.

7. Playful Behavior

Some pups sometimes like to push their food bowl around after eating. This is a common form of play among young dogs.

They’re curious creatures, and pushing their food bowl around is just one way that they explore and engage with their surroundings. Plus, it’s a way for them to burn off some excess energy and have a little fun after a meal!

This behavior is more prevalent in puppies or young dogs still learning to interact with their environment.

German Shepherd Pups Playing.

8. Attention-Seeking Behavior

I’ve noticed that sometimes my pup will push her food bowl around with her nose even if she’s already finished eating. At first, I thought she might still be hungry, but then I realized it was more of an attention-seeking behavior.

It’s important to remember that dogs need socialization and stimulation. Dogs are social creatures who crave attention and interaction with their owners.

They’re essentially saying, “Hey, come look at me!” and trying to engage their owners in play or interaction by pushing their food bowl around.

Nudging their food bowl around may be their way of asking for attention and interaction from their human family members.

9. Frustration Or Anxiety

Pups sometimes push their food bowl around when anxious or frustrated. It’s often accompanied by other behaviors like pacing, whining, or panting.

This is because dogs use their behavior to communicate emotions, and pushing their food around can express frustration or anxiety.

Pay attention to your dog’s body language and behavior to understand when they’re feeling anxious or frustrated.

If you notice this behavior in conjunction with other signs of anxiety, it’s worth exploring the root cause and finding ways to help your dog feel more comfortable and relaxed. 

You can try creating a calm environment, providing plenty of exercises and mental stimulation, or consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

By addressing the underlying cause of their anxiety or frustration, you may be able to help your dog feel more at ease and prevent this behavior in the future.

10. For Safety Reasons

Sometimes, my dog will push her food bowl around when I introduce a new type of food or change brands.

“By pushing her food around, she’s trying to get a better sense of the new food and figure out whether or not she likes it. ” – World of Dogz

At first, I thought she was just playing around, but then I figured that dogs have a keen sense of smell and use it to understand their eating better.

By pushing their food around, they’re trying to get a better sense of the new food and figure out whether or not they like it.

This behavior is normal and nothing to be concerned about. It’s another way dogs use their senses to navigate the world around them.

It’s important to remember that dogs are curious creatures, and they use their senses to explore and understand the world around them, even when it comes to their food.


Is It Normal For My Dog To Nudge Food With His Nose?

Yes, it is normal for dogs to nudge their food around with their nose. It can be a form of play, attention-seeking behavior, or a way to understand new food better. As long as your dog is eating enough and maintaining a healthy weight, there is nothing to worry about.

Should I Stop My Dog From Pushing Food Out Of Its Bowl?

It depends on why your dog pushes their food out of their bowl. If it’s just a playful behavior or a way to understand new food better, there’s no need to stop them.

However, it’s worth addressing the issue if it’s a sign of anxiety or if they’re not eating enough. Consult with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about their diet or behavior.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

Leave a Comment

Image for Newsletter Signup

Rehabilitate. Repeat.

Get the best in dog rescue news, care, and health tips, and be a part of the rescue dog revolution.