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bury their food

Why Do Dogs Bury Their Food?

One of your favorite pieces of jewelry goes missing. And later come to realize it’s your pup that took it. And guess what? It’s buried in the backyard! Wow! Devastating! Does your dog have the habit of burying his/her food?Be assured that it is very normal and you have nothing to worry about. Have you ever served your pup his favorite piece of meat, and instead of settling and start feeding, you see him run to the garden and bury it?You don’t need to feel offended over the act. After a few days, when the meat is “ripe,” the dog will go back and pick it. Because one thing you need to know, a dog will never afford to forget that he buried some yummy meal in a particular spot.

Do you know how the food burying process takes place? 

Let me give you a brief if you have never seen the whole process.

  • Dogs don’t put their food on the ground while digging the hole. They dig a hole using the front paws while food is being held tightly with the jaws.
  • When he feels the hole is deep enough to accommodate the food, he releases it from the jaws straight to the hole. 
  • Next is the food covering process; he uses his mouth and nose and, at the same time, sniffs to the delicious meal they put to rest for a few days.
  • After most 5-7 days, the meal is all ready to be feasted. They head to the exact point where the laid meal is and sniffs to confirm if they are at the right spot. Then opens up the earth using the front paws the same way he did when digging the hole, to pick the all smelly meal.
  • Given the dog’s world is all about smells, all he can smell is a sweet aroma coming from the meal. 
  • Picks the meal, takes it to a clean surface, and shakes the soil attached with lots of love. He is likely to go to the extent of playing with the meal a little bit as he salivates and prepares full appetite for the significant feasting event in the next few seconds or at most minutes. When he can’t wait any longer, he sits and gives a goodbye look at the meal.  
  • What follows, you can’t believe that your pup is going to enjoy the meal more than he could have, when it was fresh! 

Huh! The whole process is just adorable to watch. I hope you experience it too, in one of these beautiful days.

6 Top Reasons Why Dogs Bury Their Food

1. Ancient History

The cute pups you do see around the compound nowadays. Back in the days (origin), it used to be wild. They survived through aggressive means of hunting on prey. When the dog was to get lucky and come back home with extra food for one meal. They could always keep some for a rainy day. Given not all days, he is going to get lucky, and dogs were intelligent animals from the beginning.

Keeping knowledge was always around…For today’s breeds, you can call it a genetic effect since they don’t have to get worried about how to find the next meal. But still, they insist on having to bury some for next time’s use.

2. Surplus Food

You can also call it overfeeding. If you always provide your pup with excess food, they are likely to develop a tendency to have to bury some for the next day’s use. Dogs are brilliant animals. They know that once they are full and there are left-overs, they are going to need the food after a few hours to soothe the hunger, which will be setting in sooner or later. And, at that moment, the caregiver may not have served the meal. Or, if the meal is served on time, it might not be as delicious as the one available mostly, if it’s one of his favorites. 

Some dog breeds like; basset hounds, beagles, Labrador retrievers… to name a few, tend to be over-eating. They are taking you to the point where you need to take it seriously and consult a vet depending on your pup breed and give you a prescription on meals intake per day.

Pups get it hard to bury commercial food since most cases are not packed in large pieces. To enable the dog to hold it with the jaws to the garden to conduct the food burying process, you went through earlier. For the bones, they will always bury them if they are big enough, even if the pup has eaten all the flesh leaving just a dry bone.

3. Anxiety

Dogs also like humans do get stressed, which leads to anxiety. Food burying anxiety can be caused by competition over a limited amount of food…Your pup might be trying to save some food given eating on the sport. He is not likely to get enough. If you have many pups in the house, you are likely to experience this behavior. Where survival for the fittest syndrome applies. Even if you feed the pups enough food, the moment food lands on the eating area, each dog runs to bury some food before they return to feed on the respective place. It should not worry you since it is in their biology.

If your pup is newly adopted, and it is not yet familiar with the new feeding area. It is likely to be anxious during feedings, which can result in food burying habits, with the idea of feeding in a private area. All you need is to give your pup some time to adjust to the new environment. Sooner before you know it, your dog will start feeding at the right place, reducing the food burying habit.

Sometimes, when your pup gets mad, he can take his food, dig a hole vigorously to soothe his feels, and bury his food. Once done with the process, he comes back a happy pup.

4. Possessiveness

Dogs can get so defensive on their possessions. It can go to the extent of rubbing their smell on all their belongings. If you have two or more dogs at home, you are likely to find one more self-centered dog… Who keeps hiding almost everything which belongs to him, the defensive behavior can lead to food burying so that he doesn’t have to share. And when he goes pick the hidden food, it is 99% sure that he is going to eat the food alone with no sharing. Sometimes this behavior gets so annoying. It is best if you have your pup undergo training to break the habit before it gets worse to an extent where the dog won’t let fellow dogs feed on anything, without chasing them away. Then goes ahead, hiding the food. 

5. Instinct

The food burying behavior in dogs, in some cases, is more than the pretending act. “Back up Plan” makes a perfect term to describe the action. If you come to think about it… your pup never goes a day without a meal. But, he has that mindset that he needs to keep some food for future use. And you wonder, what future is this pup thinking about and who told him that anytime soon am planning to stop feeding him. All of these questions can get overwhelming. But you need to take things easy. The behavior is genetic, and there is less you can do about it. 

Remedy: The best thing to do is to let the pup undergo training to ensure the food burying habit controlled. But, one thing I can promise you, the habit won’t stop entirely since it is in his DNA, it will only go slow on the food burying habit. 

The instinct brings about the idea of burying anything considered valuable by the dog, like toys, jewelry, to name a few. It gives your pup the feeling that their adorable belonging is secure and safe from any harm or damage.

6. Boredom

When humans get bored, they find several activities at their disposal to pass the time. Like; reading, watching television, to name a few. But, when it comes to dogs, they can’t enjoy such privileges. And, they will try to find a new hobby to keep themselves occupied. Guess what? Some of the new hobbies might not go so well with you.

You will be shocked coming home only to find your favorite carpet tone into rugs—courtesy of your pup. The reason being, trying to bury a leftover meal! 

Disappointing, right? It would be best if you found a way to get your pup entertained and release the excess energy. To keep at bay destructive activities and facilitate harmony between you and your dear dog.   

Tips On How To Stop The Burying Habit

Dogs tend to bury anything vital to them. If plenty of stuff starts missing from the house, which your pup likes playing with, including your belongings. And you discover your dog buried them in the garden. You need to take action from the word go to try putting an end to the damn habit. Also, if your pup becomes aggressive due to possession, it’s time to look for a remedy to break down the habit.

Home Remedy Include:

  • First, you need to discover the reason behind the burying food habit. For example, if you are more generous (overfeeding), you need to cut down on the amount of food you are serving the pup.
  • Suppose it is because your pup gets bored and decides why not dig a hole and bury anything at my disposal and keep it safe. Find a way to keep your dog occupied. Like taking a walk, playing a fun game, to name a few. An activity that can help your pup get rid of the excess energy.
  • Also, keep your pup occupied, especially when you are not at home or when you don’t feel like playing with him. It’s a good idea to find some fun toys.
  • Additionally, you can teach your pup on what is appropriate for him to bury. Because the burying behavior has a genetic meaning, it’s not possible to eliminate it. 
  • It would be best to show and teach your pup the appropriate place to dig for the burying exercise.

Here is a simple tip on how to achieve this: 

Wait until your dog starts to dig up to bury the desired item. Call their name until they pay attention. Then show him the right place to dig. It would be best if you did this 2-3 times only. And Pap! You are all done. Your pup now knows where to bury his food, bones, and toys, name it all.

It helps prevent the dog from tearing stuff in your house like the carpet to create a hole to bury items like food or his toys.

  • If you offer too many snacks to pup you, they will likely have leftovers which can trigger the burying urge. You need to cut on snacks and provide just a little, which the pup will eat to finish. 
  • It would be best if you bought a variety of toys. But you should limit the number of gadgets they access at one play session. By doing this, you reduce the chances of the dog going to bury the toys since they don’t find a surplus of toys. Plus, providing variety, breaks the monotony of playing with the same toys repeatedly, making the game more fun and exciting and giving the dog the chance to yarn for the next play session.
  • Pay attention to your dog as often as possible. It helps reduce the lonely feeling for the dog. Talk, massage, play, take time to try and understand your dog. That way, the bond between you and the dog will grow strong. And he will be spending more time with you other than going to the backyard and bury food, toys or household items.

If you have tried all the above remedy tips, and your pup doesn’t seem to go slow on the pace at which he is burying food or in general (items), you need to consult a vet to give direction on the best way forward.

Final Thoughts

Now that you are better equipped with the possible reasons why the dog buries its food… next time you see this, you won’t be left thinking hard. The burying habit in dogs can only be controlled not eliminated… The behavior is genetic. It is best before you add the new member to the family (dog)… you put into consideration finding a suitable place where they can bury stuff. Don’t forget to train them on the right burying area…we discussed simple tips on how to achieve this above. It will help prevent your items like the carpet, sofa from being destroyed… when the burying instincts knock anything is possible!