What Does It Mean When a Dog Noses Away His Food?

"I'm not too hungry now, but I could use this later on."
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Canine behavior is as bewildering as it is endearing, one of the reasons dogs continue to delight and fascinate their human owners day in and day out. If your sweet pooch has a habit of nosing his food bowl away, he's not a weirdo -- he has his reasoning.

Stashing Away

Your dog's behavior of nosing away his food could be a hint of his wild heritage. Life in the wild isn't about easy food as it is for the typical domestic dog, after all. If your pet, for whatever reason, is too full to eat his meal, he might try to "bury it" for later enjoyment. Though your dog might not be hungry at the moment, he's fully aware that what's in his bowl is valuable. By nosing away the food and pushing it off to a clandestine nook, your dog is essentially trying to conserve it for a later point -- when he actually does need it and is hungry. Your dog doesn't want to give the sustenance to others -- whomever they might be -- so instead he opts to store it away.


By nosing away his food, your dog could also just be having a little simple fun, investigating his surroundings and using his bowl as a toy of sorts. If your dog realizes that nosing his food bowl piques your curiosity -- and leads to your focusing more on him -- it might even inspire him to amp up the behavior and do it more often.

Health Concerns

This nosing behavior is often an innocuous one, but exceptions are always a possibility. For instance, some dogs nose away their food because they're sick and have either no appetite, or a reduced one. Appetite changes can signify a handful of medical ailments in canines, from kidney disease to heartworm and cancer. If your pet seemingly out of the blue has zero interest in eating, instead preferring to push his food bowl using his nose, it's time to take him to the veterinarian for a thorough checkup. If you have any health concerns at all related to the nudging, the vet is the individual to consult.


If your dog is doing it for fun or for storage purposes, nosing away food isn't usually a big deal. If you'd rather your dog stop and focus on his meals instead, however, you might want to invest in a food bowl that is a little sturdier -- and therefore not as easy for your pet to nudge away.

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