When your dog develops a bad eating habit, it can be a sign of a behavioral or medical problem. However, even when there are no underlying health conditions causing your dog’s poor eating habits, they can lead to various medical conditions over time. As such, it is important for you to recognize the following top dog eating habits and their possible causes of each.
Eating Habits of Dogs
- Eating too Quickly
Not only can eating too quickly cause your dog to choke or become bloated, but it can also be a sign of various health problems including megaesophagus, intestinal parasites and pregnancy. Some dogs also eat quickly if they live in multi-pet households. In order to prevent break a dog’s bat eating habits due to competition, the pet parent should provide each dog with their own food dish and feed each dog in separate rooms. Learn what to do if your dog is choking.
- Eating too Much
Eating too much, just as with eating too quickly, can be a sign of intestinal parasites or pregnancy. However, it can also cause your dog to bloat and is often a sign of boredom or stress. Canine bloat is extremely serious and could be life-threatening as it often causes the stomach to twist. Overeating can also lead to pet obesity which may also lead to life-threatening illness. Learn how to break your dog’s bad eating habits to prevent pet obesity.
- Being Picky
Has your dog always been picky? If not, this could be a medical issue and should be examined immediately by your veterinarian. When your dog is picky, so long as it is eating something, it is most often simply exhibiting a behavior problem; another bad eating habit. Picky dogs, like people, often prefer one brand or type of food over another.
- Dog is Refusing to Eat
If your pet refuses to eat any food at all, there is likely a serious medical condition involved. While there are many health problems that can cause this bad eating habit, some of the most common are dental problems, worms, food allergies and gastrointestinal issues.
- Hoarding/Burying Food
Hoarding food is actually quite common in canines and stems from the behavior of their wild cousins. In the wild, such animals as wolves and foxes often hide excess food to protect it from other species so that they can eat it later. This behavior is known as caching.
- Playing with Food
It can be quite cute when your pet plays with its food. However, it may not be so cute when the food becomes strewn all over your home. Playing with food is usually an indication of boredom or simply a playful pet.
- Carrying Food to You
When your pet carries its food to you and eats near you, it typically means that it wants company while eating. This could be due to separation anxiety problems, discomfort with the environment or simply due to the fact that the dog has always been close to the pet parent while eating. This behavior is unlike playing with food, in that when dogs play with their food, they do not always eat it.
- Dog Begging
In most cases, begging is the fault of the owner. If you offer human food to your dog regularly, you are actually teaching your dog to beg. Dogs can teach each other to beg as well simply by observing a begging dog get rewarded with food. The method of breaking this bad eating habit is simple: how to break your dog´s bad eating habits?
- Dog Grazing
Grazing is yet another bad dog eating habit that is encouraged by owners. When you keep food out all day for your pet, you are encouraging your dog to eat whenever it wishes.
- Aggression Toward People While Eating
It is critical that you do not punish your dog because he is guarding his food. This is not a learned behavior, but rather an instinctive behavior. This behavior can be eliminated with time, though. You can begin to repair this issue by talking to your dog as he eats. Once your dog is feeling relaxed with listening to you talk while he eats, you can begin tossing a treat in the bowl. Each day or several days, as long as he seems comfortable, you can take one step closer to the food dish. Eventually, you will get to the stage where you have the ability to pick up his food bowl and put it back down.
- Aggression Toward Pets While Eating
In dog to pet food aggression, it is still crucial not to punish your pet for this behavior. Using aggression to treat aggression is not a successful technique. If your dog is showing aggression toward other dogs or pets while eating, the simplest solution is to separate your dog from other pets while eating. Place the dog in a separate room prior to feeding.
- Slobbery Eaters
This bad eating habit may or may not be able to be broken. Some dogs, due to their breed, are slobbery eaters, such as the Newfoundland, Neapolitan Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux and the Basset Hound. If your dog hasn’t always drooled, this could be a medical issue. Potential causes include an object in the jaw or gum and tooth problems.
Bad dog eating habits are quite common among household pets; however, since some of them can signify underlying medical conditions, it is important for you to recognize them. The habits described above are the most common bad eating habits in dogs. When you can recognize them, you will be better prepared to solve your pet’s problem.
Learn here what to do if your dog is vomiting.
Amber Johnson, Animal Behaviorist
Miss Amber Johnson has many years of experience with pets and is a licensed pet nutrition and behavior specialist. She currently collaborates with PetPremium where she counsels clients in pet behavior and nutrition. The statements made in this article are the personal opinions of Miss Amber Johnson and based on independent experiences and could be different from the opinions of PetPremium Pet health Insurance or any other pet health insurance provider.