Why does dog play with his food

If you are a concerned pet parent and eager to learn about why your dog plays with his food you are on the right web page. It may be frustrating for you but once you gain insight into why do dogs play with food, you will be easily able to break this habit. Dogs tend to exhibit a plethora of weird behaviors especially during their meal times; the most interesting one is mixing the playtime with their mealtime and playing with their food.

 Therefore, this article will help you explore some of the reasons why your dog exhibits such a weird behavior of playing with his food instead of eating it.


If you find your dog resorting to some undesirable behavior like playing with his food it could simply be because of boredom. A bored dog may find it fun to spill the food bowl on your favorite antique rug. What could be better if he also ends up getting your attention?

Wild Instincts

Dogs are born with strong instincts which guide their behavior. In the wild, canines depend on their hunting skills to survive. Although domestic dogs do not require such skills to get food, they enjoy more stimulation than the households provide. Therefore, if you are wondering about why your dog plays with his food then chances are that your dog is only driven by his instincts and mimicking the feeding behaviors of his ancestors.

Lack of exercise

If your dog has a habit of playing with his food instead of eating it- you may find it cute in the beginning but playtime and mealtime are different and the two timings should not overlap. It is essential to train your dog to eat his food rather than play with it. You can do this by scheduling a small exercise routine right before mealtimes. This will help to drain the excess energy and encourage your dog to eat his food instead of playing with it.


Moreover, you must also make sure to avoid feeding your dog immediately after a strenuous exercise as this can lead to fatal consequences.

Dogs are protective of their resources.

When you think that the dog is playing with his food instead of eating it, the reality could be that your dog is trying to protect it and save it for later consumption. Apart from playing with food, dogs also tend to roll in their food. You might get baffled by this behavior of your four-footed friend but all he is trying to do is protect what he thinks belongs to him. Playing with his food and rolling on it will leave his scent on the food and the food bowl. This will prevent other animals from touching it. Dogs really are intelligent creatures!

Lack of a feeding structure.

Is the dog food too readily available in the house? If your dog tends to play with his food instead of gobbling it down, the chances are that it is too full to eat. You may have failed to develop a fixed feeding structure for your dog leading it to munch on food now and then.

You can schedule mealtimes, preferably twice a day, and reinforce this practice until your dog understands that it will only get to eat during the scheduled timings.

Canine Anxiety

Anxiety could be another significant factor causing your dog to play with his food. Dogs are food-driven creatures and live with an eat-while-you-can mentality. Therefore, if your dog tends to play with his food rather than eat it, it is worrisome behavior. Anxiety about food could be leading your canine to act out in such a way.

You can combat this by establishing fixed timings for meals, walks, and play.

Do you spend enough time with your dog?

Another reason why your dog might be playing with his food is that you are not spending enough quality time with him. Chances are that he is foregoing his meal times to enjoy playtime with you. Dogs know mysterious ways of communicating with their companions.

Therefore, a reason why your dog exhibits such behavior could be not having you enough around him. Spending some quality time with your dog will help alleviate any anxiety your dog has about being left at home alone.

There are many merits as well as demerits of such behavior. You must train your dog to stop playing with his food if the behavior starts to negatively impact your dog’s health.

Quick tip-

If you make your dog work for his food, he may be more inclined to eat it rather than play with it and spoil it.



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