You found the perfect paw-covered dish at the pet store, but your pooch won’t eat out of it. Instead, he grabs a mouthful of grub and drops it carefully on the nearest carpet. It could be that your picky pal just doesn’t like his new saucer or that it frightens him. Sometimes the quirk is just a result of genetics.
Clinging to His Roots
Your furry friend’s ancestors have to hunt for their dinner and then let the pack leader eat first. All the other pack dogs get to pull away whatever is left and drag it off to a safe spot to dine. While your pooch certainly doesn’t have to go hunting for dinner, he still has that instinct. So when he gobbles up his food and lays it out on the carpet, he’s following his nature. So speculates Colleen Oakley on VetStreet, the website of the "Compendium" veterinary journal.
Carpet for Comfort
Eating off the soft carpet could just be more comfortable for your canine companion. The dog may consider the carpet more like the outdoors than the bowl, more natural than on the sterile kitchen floor. He may find it difficult or uncomfortable to squeeze his face and ears into that bowl, or the dish could be too high for him. By feasting off the carpet, he can relax when he eats -- maybe even lie down. Make sure he has a bowl big enough to fit his head in. You could try elevating it a bit, if the dog is not a deep-chested dog, to see if the dog adjusts and forsakes the carpet cruise for each mouthful.
Possibly From Fear
Maybe one time your furry pal took a bite of kibble from his stainless steel bowl and it flipped over, startling him. Maybe his tags hit the dish and make noise he dislikes. Rather than taking the risk of enduring a blood-curdling clink again, he prefers to grab a mouthful of his kibble and place it on the quiet rug. He feels he can feast in peace this way.
In some cases, moving food around can be a sign of weakening vision, speculates Dog trainer Laura Garber in a Q&A on the Today show website. Your fuzzy chum relocates his kibble because it’s too difficult for him to see in the bowl, Garber suggests. After spreading it out on the carpet, those dark pieces of food become clearer against the light-colored flooring. Other times, changes in eating habits could be a sign of an underlying chronic health ailment. The next time you go in for a checkup, let your vet know about the new quirk, just to be on the safe side.
By Melodie Anne Coffman
About the Author
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.