Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
Who hasn’t chuckled at their furry friend’s adorable antics? Take my Molly, for example, who has this whimsical habit of tucking her food in like a newborn under a blanket.
Is your dog covering its food with a blanket too? As peculiar as it sounds, it’s not entirely uncommon, and there are some compelling reasons for it.
In this post, you will learn all about the intriguing reasons behind your dog’s mysterious habit of hiding its food and what you can do to curb this behavior.
- Why is My Dog Trying to Cover Its Food? 6 Main Reasons
- Why Does My Dog Cover His Food With a Blanket or Towel?
- Why Do Dogs Try To Cover Their Food With Their Nose?
- Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats in My Bed?
- Why is My Dog Hiding Food and Not Eating?
- Why is My Dog Trying to Bury His Food Bowl?
- Why Does My Dog Bury Food in My Bed?
- How Do I Fix My Dogs Territorial Behavior Over Food?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: Dog Covering Its Food with a Blanket?
Why is My Dog Trying to Cover Its Food? 6 Main Reasons
Have you ever caught your dog meticulously covering its food? It may seem puzzling, but there’s a fascinating explanation behind this quirky behavior.
From preserving their meals for later to finding comfort and asserting ownership, dogs have an instinct that drives them to cover or hide things that they see as valuable.
Let’s uncover the many reasons behind this intriguing canine habit.
1. Instinctual behavior
This hiding behavior may not be as mysterious as you think.
Your pet’s habit of covering their food could be traced back to their ancestors’ practice of burying their extra food.
It’s like when we store our leftovers in the fridge so we’d have something to eat later.
In short, it’s a survival instinct so they’d have something to munch on when things get tough.
2. Resource guarding
Some dogs cover their food as a way to assert ownership and protect it from potential threats.
When they hide their food, they believe that they’re ensuring their precious meal remains undisturbed by others.
3. Security and comfort
The act of covering food can also provide some pets with a sense of security and comfort.
It is as if they’re creating a den-like environment for their meal.
If food is something they find comfort in, your pet may feel compelled to keep it close, like a security blanket.
4. Food preservation
Food is an important resource to dogs.
Your furry pal may think that covering the food will keep it fresh for future meals, thus preserving that precious resource.
This behavior is often seen in pets who do not have regular meal times or are provided with limited amounts of food.
5. Stress or anxiety
Just like us, our pets can also feel stressed or anxious.
And when they are under that kind of pressure, they act in ways that allow them to take control of their situation.
Hiding their food may be their way of gaining control and creating a sense of order in their life.
6. Breed characteristics
Some dog breeds are created for hunting or scavenging.
These dogs may exhibit a stronger inclination towards hiding their food.
Breeds like the Siberian Husky, Shiba Inu, and Beagle could have retained their ancestral instincts, making them more prone to engaging in food-hiding behavior.
So, if your pet belongs to one of these breeds, their inner hunter or scavenger might just be at work when they start covering their meals with their blanket.
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Why Does My Dog Cover His Food With a Blanket or Towel?
One of the main reasons for this behavior is that it is their way of protecting their valuable property.
In short, it’s their unique way of establishing ownership over their food.
Just like how some dogs are protective of their toys or their owner’s shoes, being able to hide their food gives them a sense of comfort and safety, ensuring that their precious meal remains theirs and theirs alone.
It’s like having their own little food treasure trove, tucked away for later enjoyment.
Why Do Dogs Try To Cover Their Food With Their Nose?
Dogs often use their noses for many purposes. That includes trying to cover their food. But why do they do that?
This act could be rooted in their ancestor’s practice of preserving their food.
Our furry pals may try to cover their food with their noses to imitate the act of burying it for later consumption.
Their ancestors may have used their paws to dig into the soil to create a hole for food storage. That nose-nudging action that you observe could be the modern version of that.
Why Does My Dog Hide His Treats in My Bed?
Your pet might view your bed as the Fort Knox of hiding spots for their beloved goodies.
Just like how we keep our most valuable possessions in the safest places, your pup could see your bed as the ultimate vault for their treasures.
Another possible reason is that they’re hiding these treats in your bed as a show of affection.
By leaving their food in your bed, they may be trying to share their resources and offer you a special gift.
It’s their unique way of saying, “I care about you and want to provide for you.” So, if you find treats tucked away in your bed, consider it a sweet gesture from your furry friend.
Why is My Dog Hiding Food and Not Eating?
If your dog typically eats their food eagerly as soon as it’s served, but now they are choosing to bring its meals somewhere else to hide it, that could indicate a sense of insecurity or unease around its food resources.
In simpler terms, they may feel unsure about their access to food and are trying to secure it by hiding it away.
Maybe your pet feels worried about their eating environment.
Did anything change? The area may have become too noisy or has a lot of foot traffic.
They may choose to hide their food in their bed, a place they perceive as a safe haven.
Or is there another animal that could be challenging them for their food?
If another pet often tries to steal away your pet’s meals, hiding it somewhere could be their solution to prevent the others from getting their paws on the food.
Additionally, an inadequate diet could lead to hunger, prompting them to hide food to communicate their need for more nourishment.
Negative past experiences, such as being neglected or traumatized, can also contribute to this behavior as a survival habit.
Why is My Dog Trying to Bury His Food Bowl?
When your dog tries to bury their food bowl, it’s reminiscent of its well-known behavior of burying bones.
This action serves a dual purpose: ensuring they have a future food source and asserting ownership over their prized possessions.
It’s their way of saying, “This is mine, and I’ll do as I please with it. So keep your paws away.”
Why Does My Dog Bury Food in My Bed?
Your dog’s inclination to bury food in your bed could stem from multiple reasons.
Firstly, they might view your bed as a safe place. Who better to protect their property than you, their pack leader?
Additionally, your bed could hold a strong association with comfort and security for your pet.
If they feel anxious about eating their meals in their designated area, bringing their food to your bed could be their way of seeking a sense of security and reassurance during mealtime.
Or, they could be offering it to you as a thoughtful gift. They might see food as something precious and giving it to you is a way to show their affection.
How Do I Fix My Dogs Territorial Behavior Over Food?
Tired of your furry friend’s territorial behavior over food? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some positive solutions!
Establish a feeding routine
Consistency is key. And in this case, it could be the one that unlocks your pet’s desire to guard their food.
If you set regular meal times for your furry pal and make sure to stick to them, they learn to anticipate mealtimes.
Your pet is reassured that food is coming and they do not need to hide any of their leftovers as a guarantee for the next meal.
Separate feeding areas
If your pet is being extra-territorial about their food, it could be because others have been trying to take it away from them.
To fix this problem, set a designated feeding area for each pet in your household.
This solution helps prevent competition and reduces the need to guard their food so closely.
You can use separate bowls and place them in different corners of the room. Or, if you have the space, feed your pets in separate rooms altogether.
Use food-dispensing toys
Keep your pup engaged and mentally stimulated during mealtime by using food-dispensing toys.
These interactive toys make your dog work for their food, keeping them too busy to think about hiding or covering their meal.
Gradually expose your dog to situations that trigger their territorial behavior.
For example, if they are wary of others snatching their food away, you can try approaching their food bowl while they’re eating.
Start at a distance and reward them for calm behavior.
With time and repetition, they’ll learn to feel more relaxed and less possessive of their food.
Practice food sharing
You can also teach your pet the reverse and instead of trying to keep the food for themselves, have them learn to share. Sharing is caring anyway!
Offer them treats or small portions of food while they’re eating, rewarding them for allowing you to approach their food.
This helps build trust and reinforces positive associations with food sharing. Sooner or later, you can try having your other pets approach their food bowl.
Punishment can make territorial behavior worse. Plus, it creates a negative association with food.
Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training methods to encourage desired behavior during mealtime.
Seek professional help
If your dog’s territorial behavior persists or escalates despite your efforts, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
They can provide specialized guidance and develop a tailored behavior modification plan for your furry friend.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can dog food affect dogs’ behavior?
Yes, the quality and composition of dog food can impact a dog’s behavior. If the food is not addressing your pet’s needs, it could cause nutritional imbalances that can contribute to some behavioral changes. The same is true if your pet has sensitivities to the food you feed them.
Do medical conditions affect the appetite and behavior of my dog?
Yes, it can. Certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal issues, hormonal imbalances, or pain, can affect a dog’s appetite and behavior. Any health problem that causes them discomfort can make your pet eat less or even skip meals.
Is it normal for dogs to be territorial over food?
Some degree of food-guarding behavior can be considered normal, as it stems from their survival instincts. However, excessive or aggressive territorial behavior should be addressed to ensure a safe and peaceful mealtime environment.
Is it safe for dogs to eat food that has been covered or buried?
Generally, it is safe for dogs to eat food they have covered or buried. However, it’s important to consider factors like the freshness and condition of the food. If the food has been left out for an extended period or shows signs of spoilage, it’s best to discard it to prevent potential health issues.
In Conclusion: Dog Covering Its Food with a Blanket?
While it’s a funny quirk, it’s rooted in instinct.
And remember, with patience, understanding, and a sprinkle of training magic, we can lovingly navigate these idiosyncrasies.
Check out these other dog behavior articles too:
- Dog sniffs another dog and then attacks
- Why does my dog look at me when it eats?
- Dog overprotective of new puppy
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.