Dogs are weird. I love having both Matilda and Cow because between them, they have so many fun quirks. But it was actually my childhood dog who would sometimes carry kibble in his mouth, run over to the rug, and eat them one by one.
I’ve noticed in many of my dog related groups on Facebook that this is a very common habit. How mysterious – why would dogs do this?
I have some theories, and some possible solutions in case you would like your dog to stop getting food residue on the floor.
She’s Cold And Wants To Eat On The Carpet
Does your dog only do this during winter months? Maybe she’s feeling too cold to stay on the tile while she eats, so she runs over to the carpet for the luxurious feeling of the fibers beneath her paws while she dines.
Solution: Place a small, cheap rug under her bowls, large enough for her to stand on while she eats. A welcome mat might do the trick.
She Wants To Be With You
After you feed your dog, do you settle down in another room? Perhaps your dog is so clingy that she wants to keep an eye on you while she eats. If your dog is not the clingy type, it could be a habit that carried over from her wild ancestors.
For all wild animals, eating is a vulnerable time. Animals need to be on alert for predators and those who might try to steal their food. If your dog wants to be close to you while she is eating, maybe it’s because she trusts you to keep watch over her. This is a big possibility if your dog is insecure, or if you have other dogs who might steal her food.
Solution: Stay close to your dog while she eats. Or, relocate her food bowl so she can see you.
She Wants Privacy
On the contrary, it’s possible that your dog thinks that you are going to snatch her food at any moment. This is likely true if she is a rescue from a bad situation who has not lived with you long enough for you to gain her trust.
Solution: Keep her food bowl away from high traffic areas. If she feels secure in her crate, she can eat inside it. In the meantime, build your bond with plenty of quality time.
Dogs have ultra-sensitive hearing, particularly when it comes to high-pitched sounds. The clink of her metal tags hitting her metal or porcelain bowl might be irritating to her.
Solution: Remove her tags before eating. Stainless steel and porcelain are the best materials for food bowls because they are easy to disinfect. So, while using a plastic bowl would stop the noise, plastic tends to get scratches that harbor bacteria.
She Misses The Challenge Of Foraging
Maybe she’s just moving her kibble because she’s bored. Carrying food can simulate foraging. A dog in the wild would find food and carry it close to their den, somewhere safe where they can eat it. While your dog no longer needs to scavenge for food, she may feel the need to engage those instincts.
Solution: Feed out of a food puzzle, Kong toy or even a flat plate with the food scattered across it. You can also use pieces of kibble as training rewards.
She’s Not Really That Hungry
It’s also possible that your dog doesn’t really enjoy her food, or she’s not that hungry, so she feels the need to carry it around to save it for later.
Solution: You can make your dog’s food more palatable by adding fresh foods, or you may switch to one meal per day.
Just Because She Can
If you can’t figure out why your dog is carrying her food from her bowl to the floor, and none of the above reasons seem to fit, there may be no logical explanation.
You can try making it more difficult for her by feeding a raw diet or adding warm water, eggs, canned food, sardines, goat’s milk, broth, or another moist additive to her food. These fresh additives are healthy, and will make it more difficult for her to carry her food. She may also find her food so yummy that she will want to eat it right away, rather than saving it for later.