How to Stop a Dog From Leaving Food on the Floor

Her eating habits don't have to leave a mess behind.
i Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images

Face it: sometimes your dog does weird stuff that you don't understand, like taking her food out of the bowl and dropping it off on the floor somewhere. Putting a stop to her little idiosyncrasy is just a matter of figuring out why her bowl bothers her.

Step 1

Switch out her bowl. Dogs can be strangely finicky about what they eat out of, so it could be that her bowl itself is the issue. If she has a stainless steel bowl, for example, switch to ceramic or rubber. Vice versa, too—the food transferring issue could be a simple matter of texture. (But don't use plastic dishes—they can harbor bacteria.)

Step 2

Make feeding time private. Sometimes dogs move food out of their bowls to protect it from competition, so ease her little mind by separating her from other animals during mealtime. This may mean putting her and her food in a closed-off room, or even enclosing her in her kennel while she eats.

Step 3

Give your dog treats directly—never by dropping them on the floor. If food touches the floor, odds are your dog is going to make a move for it. Don't let her, though, or else she'll associate the floor with food, which only encourages her to keep up her odd little habit. When she gets a treat, give it to her directly, and if you drop a hot dog or a splatter of spaghetti sauce, clean it up before she gets her grubby little paws on it.

Step 4

Try a new type of food. For example, some dogs may carry dry kibbles around the house and leave them on the floor, but won't go to the same trouble for wet food. Experiment with varying her diet to minimize the amount of mess she creates.

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