Many devoted pet parents wonder why their dogs insist on taking food out of their bowls, sometimes carrying it to other places before eating. Rest assured, this behavior is entirely normal. So, why do dogs engage in this puzzling conduct? Let's delve into a few possible reasons:
1. Your Dog Wants to Protect or Hide Its Food
Problem: Do you often step on scattered dog food, find dog treats between sofa cushions, or unearth bones while tending to your garden?
Reason: Most of the time, we consider our dogs sweet, cute, clever, and entertaining members of our families. However, these behaviors serve as reminders that our furry friends are descendants of wolves before human domestication.
This unique habit is an instinct, deeply ingrained despite centuries of living in human households. In the wild, where food competition is intense, a wolf might carry its share of food to a safer place to consume it without engaging in conflicts with other wolves.
Advice: If you have multiple dogs, try feeding them separately to see if it helps. In a single-dog household, feed in a relatively secluded space, close doors, or block room exits to prevent your dog from carrying food elsewhere. Feeding in a designated area makes cleanup easier.
You can also try placing the food near where your dog sleeps, providing a sense of security, allowing them to eat directly from the bowl without feeling the need to take the food away.
2. Your Dog Doesn't Want to Eat Alone
Problem: Some dogs carry their food away because they prefer the company of other dogs or their human rather than eating alone. Why is that?
Reason: Dogs, like humans, can feel lonely. If you place your dog in the kitchen to eat alone while you're in another room, they might bring the food to where you are.
Dogs naturally crave companionship, so they may just want to see you or be close to you while they eat. While dogs are part of the family, they typically don't eat meals with the family. Taking food to where you are might indicate a desire to better integrate into the family.
Advice: If your dog tends to take food away or seems reluctant to eat alone, try sitting with them during meals. Even if you're busy working, having your presence nearby, perhaps with a laptop on a nearby table, can make them happier, and they might not feel the need to carry the food away.
3. Your Dog Dislikes a Metal Bowl
Problem: Does your dog carry food away when using a metal bowl or plate?
Reason: In this case, your dog might dislike the noise produced when kibble hits the metal surface or the sound of their teeth hitting the bowl's edge.
The discomfort caused by the collision of dry dog food with the metal bowl or the noise created when a dog's teeth touch the metal edge can make them uneasy, prompting them to move away from the source of the noise to enjoy their meal in peace.
Advice: This issue is easily resolved by switching to a plastic or ceramic bowl. This way, your dog won't be startled by the metallic clinking sounds, allowing them to eat peacefully.
4. Your Dog Doesn't Like Hard or Shiny Surfaces
Problem: Why does your dog take food to the carpet or sofa to eat?
Reason: If your dog prefers softer and more comfortable surfaces like carpets or sofas, they might dislike eating on hard or shiny floors.
Some dogs simply enjoy the cozy and comfortable feel of eating on softer surfaces, possibly indicating a preference for a luxurious dining experience.
Advice: To accommodate your dog's preference, create a comfortable dining area with a soft mat or cushion. Making their dining space more comfortable may satisfy them, and they may no longer seek alternative dining spots.
These insights are drawn from personal experiences and observations. Dogs have different personalities, and if you encounter issues beyond the mentioned reasons, feel free to share them, and we can collectively analyze and find solutions. Dogs, in their seemingly inexplicable behaviors, surely have their reasons.