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Why do dogs hide or bury food?

¿Por qué los perros esconden o entierran la comida?

Lobo Azul |

It is likely that those who have a dog as a pet have probably curiously observed this at some point: it buried or hid its food in different parts of the house or the garden, an event that goes unnoticed considering that the animal could be entertaining itself in this way. However, the act carried out by the dog of hiding or burying food or other objects is not a simple game for the animal, but goes much further.

So, if you frequently observed your dog hiding his food, or some other object, this article will surely pique your interest, as we will mention the possible causes and how you can prevent this behavior from continuing to be present in the canine's life.

Why dogs bury food: Causes

In principle, it must be clarified that, although this is a very common behavior in dogs, it does not represent a lack of education or any alteration in the animal's behavior. On the contrary, the reasons are usually multiple , but it is considered a common aspect in dogs. The dog, in addition to being a practice recognized throughout history as a symbol of survival, due to its growth as a wild animal that could go through food shortages.

dog hides food

Survival instinct

One of the first reasons why dogs adopt the behavior of hiding food is because of the survival instinct. Years before they could be domesticated, the canine survived in the wild, that is, they did not have comforts in terms of food, but rather they had to hunt it and protect it from other animals to ensure their food.

This need for protection led dogs to intelligently store various amounts of food underground in order to have reserve portions in case shortages returned again. Although some time has passed since this event, and currently domesticated dogs receive their food regularly, the animal's instinct remains latent to hide or bury the remains of its food, as a protective impulse .


Suspicion of food in the presence of other animals outside the house can cause the dog to adopt the behavior of hiding surplus food. This behavior is also associated with the survival instinct and the period of scarcity in which wild dogs remained long ago, because the presence of other animals surrounding their food made them be in a state of alert, which is why they bury or hide their food. Food was the first option to protect it.

dog buries food


The dog's compulsive need to hide or bury its food or other objects in various places in the house is also known as "hoarding." In specific cases, relating more to prevention. The constant shortage of food that the dogs experienced in their wild times made them worthy of the necessary techniques for storing food, to prevent dying of hunger in case the lack of food arose again. That is why, although it was many years ago, the animals' habit of being cautious does not change and it is still seen how they hide their food.

This behavior not only shows the ability of dogs to try to stay prepared in the face of a food shortage, but also reveals the intelligence and attitude of the animal , to foresee situations that are currently almost non-existent because they are domesticated animals.


When it comes to hiding objects other than food, you can see that not only is this a survival instinct, but this is also a common form of entertainment for dogs . This way there is nothing to worry about, just make sure that they do not hide things in inappropriate places.

dog buries playing

When is this behavior common?

As has been seen throughout history, there are different reasons why dogs hide or bury food. Currently these causes can be summarized in three simple reasons:

  1. When there are more than two dogs inside the house, they are forced to hide their food from other animals.
  2. When you feel that they are providing you with little food and you feel the need to bury or hide some for later.
  3. When you try some food that you had not eaten before.

These are the most common reasons why dogs hide or bury their food today. If you live in a space with a garden, it is likely that the dog will feel more freedom to do this practice, because it is perceived in the open air and without limitations to bury and hide its food and belongings.

dog buries food

How to avoid this behavior?

Although it is not an alteration in the dog's health, hiding or hiding food can be annoying, as it spoils the garden or, alternatively, hides it in inappropriate places in the house. That is why, if you want to avoid it, you can follow the following recommendations:

Fixed meal times

Trying to maintain a constant schedule during meal times will make the canine's biological clock adapt to receiving food at the selected times. This will help you feel satisfied and not have to hide the food for other times. It is always recommended to feed twice a day, so he will not feel that you are giving him little food.

Pay attention to your reactions

If for some reason you must modify or change the dog's food, keep an eye on his reactions. It is likely that starting to give a new food could cause the dog to become alert, which it does not like, and for this reason it hides or buries it. That is why you must keep an eye on the animal's behavior.

Following these recommendations, it is very likely that the canine will not see the need to let out its compulsion to bury its food so frequently and only when it requires fun or entertainment will you be able to visualize this behavior.

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