The Dog Pretends to Bury Food Before Eating

"I love my food so much I want to save some for later."
i Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

It's a regular ritual. You give your dog his dinner, but rather than just wolf it down, he first pretends to bury it. Why does he do that? Don't worry -- there's nothing wrong with your dog, or with the food you give him. It's a throwback to ancient times.

Ancient History

Back before canines became man's domestic companions and food came out of a can or bag, dogs had to hunt for their meals. If the animal killed prey that was too large to consume at one sitting, he would hide it for another day. Hiding it consisted of burying the remains. This prevented other canines in the pack or other predator species from devouring that dog's dinner. Although your precious pup has never had to worry about where his next meal is coming from, his instincts tell him otherwise.


Sometimes a dog's instinct to bury food might go beyond pretending. You could find kibble or treats squirreled away in various parts of your house. If it becomes a problem because your dog is ruining carpets or furniture with his indoor digging, limit the amount of toys or treats you give him. In addition to digging, your dog could take an item of clothing, towel or similar object and put it over his stash.


Your dog might take items outside and actually bury them. Although that's difficult to do with canned food, it's not with chew toys and other treats. If you have more than one dog, this behavior could result from attempting to hide treasured items from each other. Your dog might not just bury his edible item or toy in the dirt, but constantly dig it up and rebury it. Unless he's ruining your yard with his digging, it's not harmful.


Sometimes your dog might pretend to bury food because he's more interested in something else going on in his environment at that time. He might also do it because there's too much activity in the house at the moment. That's especially true of more timid canines. If your dog does this frequently, consider changing feeding times to when it's quieter in your household. Perhaps serve canine dinner at a different time than human meals.

the nest