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Interpreting Your Dog’s Food-Covering Behavior

Last Updated: December 10, 2023

We want to ensure our furry friends are happy and healthy. Sometimes our dogs exhibit strange behavior, such as covering their food with their noses or paws. This behavior can leave us puzzled and wondering what it means. We’ll explore the topic of interpreting your dog’s food-covering behavior and what it could indicate about your pup’s health.

Your dog’s food-covering behavior could mean they’re trying to protect it, are anxious, or are uncomfortable. If your dog is trying to keep their food safe, ensure their bowl is secure from other pets and people. If your dog appears to be feeling threatened, give them some space and ensure that the area is calm and quiet.

Food-covering behavior is a common trait in dogs, and it can have several meanings. It could be a sign of an instinct to protect their food from predators or a sign of anxiety or discomfort around their food.

To understand your dog’s food-covering behavior, observing and analyzing their behavior in context and considering their breed, age, health status, and environment is essential. 

Why Does My Dog Cover His Food? A dog covering his food with a blanket.

Why Does My Dog Cover His Food With A Towel (Or Blanket)?

Ah, the age-old mystery of why dogs must cover their food with a towel or blanket. Is it a sophisticated culinary technique? An homage to their wild ancestors who buried food for later? 

One possibility is that dogs are simply trying to hide their food from other animals or even humans. Or maybe they just like the extra insulation? 

They might see the towel or blanket as a way to camouflage the food or make it less conspicuous. Or, your furry friend just likes to play with their food before eating it. 

Dogs are known for their playful nature; some may find it amusing to toss a towel over their food and dig it out again before chowing down. 

Whatever the reason, it’s just one of the many quirks that make dogs endearing and entertaining.

Watch This Video on Why Dogs Hide Their Food…

Why Is My Dog Trying To Bury His Food Bowl?

Seeing your dog trying to bury their food bowl can be quite puzzling, but don’t worry. It’s a common behavior in dogs. 

One possible explanation is that dogs have an innate instinct to bury their food for safekeeping, which goes back to their wild ancestors who had to hide their food from other predators. 

Your dog may be trying to “bury” their food bowl to keep it safe and prevent other animals from getting to it. Another possibility is that your dog is simply trying to cover up the smell of the food. 

By burying their food bowl, they may be trying to reduce the strong odor that emanates from it. Some dogs may be experiencing discomfort while eating or are anxious, and covering up the food may give them a sense of security and privacy. 

While it can be confusing to see your dog burying their food bowl, it’s important to remember that this behavior is not unusual. 

If you’re concerned about it, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian to ensure no underlying health issues.

Dog Digging

Why Does My Dog Bury Food In My Bed?

Finding your dog burying food in your bed can be a bit disconcerting, but this is another example of a behavior that stems from your dog’s ancestry. In the wild, dogs would bury food and other treasures to keep them safe and hidden from predators. 

This behavior has been passed down through generations of domestic dogs, and sometimes they may try to bury their food in unusual places, such as your bed. Another possible reason your dog buries food in your bed is that they strongly connect to you and your scent. 

Dogs are pack animals and strongly desire to be near their pack members, including you! By burying their food in your bed, they may be trying to connect themselves and you or simply feel more comfortable and safe in a place that smells like their favorite person.

While this behavior may be frustrating, it’s important to remember that it is an instinct for dogs. You can redirect your dog to a more appropriate place to bury their food or provide them with a designated spot for digging, such as a sandbox or outdoor area. 

Can Dog Food Affect Dogs’ Behavior?

Yes, the type of food you give your dog can affect its behavior. Certain foods can cause dogs to experience mood, energy levels, and overall behavior changes, like in humans. 

For example, some dogs may become hyperactive or restless after consuming high-sugar or high-fat diets, while others may become lethargic or moody. 

Additionally, some dogs may be sensitive to certain ingredients in their food, such as wheat, corn, or soy, which can cause digestive issues or allergic reactions. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and any changes that may occur after switching their food. 

Notice any unusual behavior or symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive itching. It may indicate that your dog is negatively reacting to their food. 

Consult your veterinarian to determine your dog’s best diet and rule out any potential health problems.

Are There Medical Conditions Affecting The Appetite And Behavior Of My Dog?

Several medical conditions can affect the appetite and behavior of your dog. These conditions can range from minor issues, such as dental problems or gastrointestinal upset, to serious illnesses like cancer or kidney disease. 

If your dog is exhibiting changes in appetite or behavior, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out any manifesting health problems. 

Some common medical conditions affecting your dog’s appetite and behavior include dental disease, gastrointestinal issues, thyroid problems, and diabetes. Dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, can cause pain and discomfort while eating, which may lead to a loss of appetite or changes in behavior. 

Gastrointestinal issues, such as inflammation or infection, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Thyroid problems and diabetes can also affect appetite and behavior, as they both affect the body’s metabolism and can cause changes in energy levels and mood. 

If your female dog is in heat, her appetite may also be reduced.

Dog Not Eating

Is It Normal For Dogs To Be Territorial Over Food?

It is normal for dogs to be territorial over food. This behavior stems from their ancestry as pack animals, where they needed to compete for limited resources to survive. 

In the wild, dogs would need to protect their food and other valuable resources, such as prey or den sites, from other predators or members of their pack. This behavior has been passed down through generations of domestic dogs, and many dogs may still exhibit territorial behavior regarding their food. 

“While it may be normal for dogs, it’s important to establish good feeding practices in your household to help prevent conflicts or aggression over food.” 

World of Dogz

This includes feeding your dog in a designated area and providing them with a quiet, calm space to eat without interruption. 

It’s also important to teach your dog basic obedience commands, such as “SIT” and “STAY,” to help them learn to wait patiently for their food and respect your authority as their owner.

How Do I Fix My Dogs Territorial Behavior Over Food?

Here are some tips to help fix your dog’s territorial behavior over food:

  • Set up a designated feeding area: This can help your dog associate a specific location with mealtime and may help them feel more secure and less inclined to protect their food.
  • Establish good feeding habits: Stick to a regular feeding schedule and avoid free-feeding your dog daily. This can help your dog learn to expect and anticipate mealtime and may help them feel less anxious or aggressive around their food.
  • Teach basic obedience commands: Training your dog to follow basic commands, such as “SIT” or “STAY,” can help them learn to wait patiently for their food and respect your authority as their owner.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog for good behavior around their food, such as waiting calmly for their meal or not growling or snarling. This can help reinforce good habits and reduce aggressive behavior over time.
  • Seek professional help: If your dog’s territorial behavior over food is persistent or aggressive, it may be best to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to help address the issue.

Following these tips and establishing good feeding practices can help reduce your dog’s territorial behavior over food and create a more harmonious mealtime environment.


Is Food-Covering Behavior More Common In Certain Breeds Of Dogs?

There’s no clear evidence to suggest that food-covering behavior is more common in certain breeds of dogs. Individual dogs may be more prone to this behavior based on their upbringing, past experiences, and personal preferences.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Food That Has Been Covered Or Buried?

In general, it’s safe for dogs to eat food covered or buried as long as it hasn’t spoiled or been contaminated. It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and diet to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition and not overeating or consuming unsafe items.

Can Dog Food Cause Bad Behavior?

While dog food alone may not directly cause bad behavior, a poor diet or nutritional deficiencies could contribute to health issues that may impact a dog’s behavior. 

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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.

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