If you want to know why dogs hide their food, you need to think about why they aren’t eating them in the first place.
Dogs eat to satisfy their hunger, and they eat to keep their body strong and to survive. So, if they are not eating the food, it’s probably that they are not feeling hungry.
Of course, there could be more reasons behind this behavior. The following are several reasons why a dog hides their food.
- It is possible that a dog hides food simply because he is not hungry at the moment.
- A dog might hide their food to keep it safe from other pack members.
- Other times, a dog might hide their food because they are afraid of being punished for eating it.
- Some dogs also hide their food to feed it to their children.
- Finally, a dog might even hide their food because they are worried that they may not find any food in the future.
In fact, hiding food is an instinctive behavior for dogs. It is derived from their ancestors living in the wild who had to survive without being fed by humans.
Obviously, if your dog is hiding his food excessively or if he has become insecure about his foods, then it can be concerning. It is best to seek the assistance of a veterinarian to help resolve the issue.
Table of Contents
This Is Dog’s Instinctive Way of Ensuring He Has Food on Hand
Dogs have a natural instinct to hide their food for future consumption. The purpose of this is to ensure that in case of hunger, they will always have food available.
Instincts like these are hardwired into their brains as a means of survival and are what their ancestors had been practicing in the wild.
That is, when they find any food, they may not eat it right away if they are not hungry. Instead, they may hide it in a safe place, such as a den or a hole for future consumption.
Therefore, if you find your dog hides his food, it could probably be because he is not hungry and to keep the food for later consumption.
What you can do is to review his diet plan to make sure that he is not overfed.
What is the recommended amount and frequency of feeding for dogs?
The answer to this question will vary depending on your dog’s age, breed, gender, size, energetic level, as well as any health issues he may have. Based on these criteria, here are some general guidelines:
Puppy Feeding: How Often?
Puppies generally need three to four meals a day (every 6–8 hours). A puppy’s activity level is higher, so they require more calories.
Adult Dog Feeding: How Often?
Feed your dog every 8 to 12 hours if they are over 5 months old. The reason why your dog should eat twice a day rather than once a day is due to stomach acid and bile buildup. In the absence of food, your dog will become nauseated and vomit.
Senior Dogs Feeding: How Often?
Ideally, senior dogs should be fed twice a day just like adult dogs. They, however, are fed less because they burn fewer calories and are less active.
Consult your veterinarian to find out how much and what kind of food your senior pet should be eating for a healthy weight.
How much food should you feed your dog?
Knowing your dog’s estimated adult weight will allow you to determine how much food to give him. A large breed dog typically weighs 50 to 150 pounds, while a small breed weighs less than 20 pounds.
With his weight in mind, you can use this calculator to determine how many calories he will require each day and come up with a diet plan to meet his needs.
Previous Experiences of Hunger Make Him Hide His Food
Having been abandoned, stray dogs often have to suffer from hunger because they can’t get food to feed themselves.
Therefore, if your dog used to be a stray dog before he gets rescued, he will have to undergo a period of hunger and that will make him develop a habit of always hiding his food so that he gets to eat them whenever he feels hungry.
You may have to be patient and train him to get rid of this habit. The best way to do this is to come up with a routine feeding schedule so that your dog knows that you will always come at a certain time to feed him.
This will ease his anxiety that he had to keep some of his food for his next meal.
The Food Was Too Much for Him to Finish
If you had been overfeeding your dog, he could have been too bloated to finish up the food and to avoid any punishment from you, he will hide the food.
This is often the case if you have been feeding your dog more than 3 meals every day on top of giving him treats throughout the day.
He knows that you will get angry with him if he does not finish up the meals and that makes him hide the food to avoid punishment.
It is important to know how much and often you should feed your dog so that he will get just the sufficient amount of food to stay healthy and sustain his daily activities.
Here are some of the signs that your dog may be overfed:
- Trying to vomit but failing to do so.
- Panting heavily.
- Feeling restless.
- Incessantly drooling.
- An abdominal swell.
- An appearance of swelling in the chest.
- Feeling tired all the time.
- Having no appetite.
Dogs Hide Food So Their Children Can Eat It
In some cases, dogs hide their food to feed it to their children. They do this so that their children will not go hungry.
This is often the case if they had been stray dogs or living in a rescue home where food is scarce, and every dog is fighting for food.
In this case, the mother dog will probably not want to eat her food and to hide them to feed their puppies.
She will hide her food in a place that is safe for their children to consume them.
This instinct to protect their young from hunger will still be with her despite that she and her puppies are well taken care of by you.
What you need to do is to make her see you as her pack leader, the one that will take good care of her and her puppies and that will make her relinquish her duty to reserve food.
Fear of Punishment to Give Up His Food
Dogs might hide their food because they are afraid of punishment. He could have stolen some foods that he knows that he is not supposed to have and to avoid punishment, he hides them.
This often happens when your dog loves the food very much (as he might have eaten them before) and to ensure that he gets to eat them again, he stole and hid them in his “secret” hideout.
He is trying to avoid the punishment of being made to give up his food by hiding them.
Prevent Other Pack Members from Getting to the Food
When a dog hides their food, they are typically doing so to protect their food from other dogs. They are not willing to share the foods with their pack members.
Although you may feed your dog adequately, he can get worried if there are other dogs in the family that he sees as competitors.
If he leaves his food sitting out, other dogs in the home may try to take it for themselves. Hiding it is his way of preventing this from happening.
This behavior is often a sign of insecurity, and it happens when your dog feels that he is not “strong” enough to safeguard his food. He’s trying to hide the food from another pack member that may be bigger or more dominant than him.
He is nervous that another dog will steal his food, and he might eat his food quickly or hide the food in an attempt to prevent this from happening.
This is often the case if the dog is in a home with several pets.
It is important that you correct your dog’s behavior as soon as you discover it. Failure to do so will only create a cycle of insecurity and bad behavior in your dog.
Instead, it is best to remove the food from the hiding spot and then make sure to keep your dog away from that area.
Let your dog know that by not hiding the food, he will be able to have access to his food at all times in his crate.