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Why Does My Dog Push His Food With His Nose [6 Reasons & Prevention]

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Majid Tanveer, DVM

It can be very confusing when your dog pushes food with his nose.

It might be a matter of concern if your dogs face any issues. 

It can be because he is in a playful mood. Or it can be because he is trying to grab your attention. Another reason can be his trying to save his food for later. Boredom can also be a reason to do that. Or there might be some health issue you should be concerned about. 

Whatever the reason, don’t get dizzy just yet. This article is to clear your head.

Read along!

Why Your Dog Pushes Food With His Nose: 6 Reasons Explained!

Most pups are impatient when it’s mealtime. They are hungry and want their meal if your puppy doesn’t eat right away and instead tries to push his bowl around.

He might not be starting to feel well. Or he might be thinking about something other than food because your pet cannot justify his conduct. Behavioral experts have proposed bowl attempts to push theories.

According to these notes, your dog may be throwing his bowl away. To entice you to play with him or to pay attention to him. If he finds out, he gets more attention than by doing that behavior.

Dogs are always nudging their food. They’re suddenly behaving strangely with their food. And you might be thinking, what’s wrong with them?

This issue is vast because there could be numerous explanations for your dog’s behavior.

Reason 1: Because of Your Dog’s Inquisitiveness

A dog’s curiosity is evident in its actions, similar to how kids develop an interest in seemingly unrelated topics. 

For example, your dog licks furniture and shoes. And you can say it’s their habitual personality. Which frequently results from the jolt of their heightened senses.

Their sense of smell, for example, makes them intrigued about their meal. If they keep poking their food and sniffing it, you can tell they’re intrigued.

As though they’re attempting to figure out what’s inside by smelling it.

Reason 2: Your Dogs Are In A Playful Mood

Because he is in a playful mood, your dog may be pushing the bowl with his nose. In that scenario, he wants to pique your interest even more. That is why he is attempting to do so.

Furthermore, several dog breeds have a habit of playing with their food. They enjoy playing with their food in the same way that children do. 

They show other behavior like licking other dogs or sitting on other dogs. 

Reason 3: They’re Putting It Away for Later

When your puppy exhibits this behavior, it usually indicates that he is not hungry. If they are not hungry, they typically nose away from their meal; alternatively, if they wish to store the feed for later.

In that scenario, keep a watchful eye on your dog. 

Later on, he either takes the food or noses it away. If he eats the food later, that could be the end of it. He was putting the meal aside for the latter.

Reason 4: Your Pup Is A Choosy Eater

Your dog might avoid the food because they prefer the suitable one. And they are isolating themselves from those they despise. This is analogous to youngsters removing vegetables from the food they’re eating.

The pup can be picky about their meal as well. And this may be due to their demerits in test buds.

Reason 5: Because of Boredom

Has your dog been dormant? That can be a reason behind your dog’s boredom. He might be doing other things, like scratching the floor. This could also explain why they push their meal with their nose. 

Under-stimulation is a common cause of dog boredom because their minds aren’t getting enough activity.

On account of lack of action, training, or play. Your dog may be pushing their food because it relieves boredom.

They could have fun with it by poking it to do something unusual.

Reason 6: Because of A Health Problem

Your dog may also avoid their food because of a lack of hunger. However, you can manage your appetite or intentions yourself. When you’re fed excellent food, you feel the same way. 

But, a decrease in or lack of appetite is a secondary sensation. There is always an underlying cause for both us and dogs. 

What may be the reason for a dog’s lack of appetite?

 Here some of few examples given below:

  • Nausea.
  • Illnesses.
  • Overfeeding.
  • Dental problems.
  • Stomach issues
  • Recent immunizations
  • Traveling’s effects (mainly if they’re not acclimated to it).

You can do many things to keep your dogs from engaging in this behavior.

How Can I Keep My Dog From Pushing His Food With His Nose

It can be extraordinary to notice your dog pushing food with his nose. But don’t worry; you can avoid this with a few simple measures. This is what you’ll be doing.

Method 1: Do Not Encourage the Behavior

Suppose your dogs behave this way to get your attention or a treat from you. This behavior can thus be prevented by ignoring them or not engaging them.

If he gets his way, he will serve to reinforce his conduct. To keep him from lying, you must avoid pushing him. 

You could also use a heavier bowl, so he doesn’t try to push it.

Method 2: Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an effective way to encourage desirable behavior.

You can reward him with treats, a pat, or verbal praise every time he eats without pushing his food with his nose.

Be sure to give him these rewards immediately after the act – so he associates the reward with the behavior.

You could even try providing a meal puzzle so he can forage for the food instead of pushing it.

You can provide vitamin-enriched treats or nutritious snack crackers to your dog. There are several goods on the market from which to select. 

Don’t worry; I’ve chosen some of the best items for you right here:

Product 01
Product 02

These items contain vitamins and minerals, which will significantly help your dog’s nutrition. They can also be a delicious treat for your dog.

Method 3: Contact a Vet 

Suppose your dog exhibits this habit and is a bit compulsive. Then it’s ideal if you consult a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will assist him in breaking free from his obsessive addiction.

I’ve addressed all of the essential topics on this subject. I hope this helps provide you with crucial information.


Why do dogs try to turn their food bowls upside down?

There are so many reasons why your dog frequently flips his food bowl. He may be foraging; it can also be an attempt to save the food from the danger that he believes is in your home.

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Your dog tries to bury your baby because their ancestors instilled this behavior in them. In the wild, their forefathers frequently buried food to keep it safe from other predators (a practice known as ‘caching’).

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When a pup senses that you are sad or anxious, it may bury its top to make you feel at ease. When puppies are scared, they will bury their top in you to seek shelter and safety.