Food Addiction in Dogs

Do you have more than one dog? Or do you visit other dogs regularly? Then you have probably experienced the quarrels about feeding your pet with other food around despite there being enough for each dog! But what can be done about it? Does this mean your dog is addicted to food?! Food addiction is, strictly speaking, a survival instinct of the dog, since food is one of the essential resources to defend. Therefore, the dog’s behaviour with regards to food is often developed in the animals that have already suffered in their life under food shortage.

 Through these dramatic experiences, they tend to defend their food particularly strong. Therefore, when around other dogs and food is involved, dogs tend to protect their food with life and limb!
Food Addiction in Dogs

Food Addiction is Not a Power Struggle

The theories that the fight for food is a power struggle are not true. Even ‘lower-ranking’ four-legged friends will defend their food from others without questioning their ranking position.

My Dog has a Food Addiction: What Should I Do?

As a dog owner, what can you do about your dog being able to eat in peace when surrounded by other four-legged friends? Or the moment when your dog starts to eat another’s food?

First and foremost, it would be useful if you separate the dogs during feeding and let them eat in different places. This will ensure the dog is at peace whilst eating and away from other dogs. If this works for your dog, you will be able to slowly bring the dogs together. For example, starting off separate rooms, before feeding in the same room, to slowly bringing their bowls together. However, it is important not to rush this process. It can become a very long and drawn out process. Also, depending on the temperament of your four-legged friend or the other dogs around, it may never work! However, it is worth a try!

Food addiction is a tricky behaviour to tackle. If you have tried the above, we recommend that you contact a dog trainer and work with their support to solve the problem.

Owner Impact on Dog Eating Habits

The dog owner can become a potential danger in the eyes of the dog when it comes to food. For example, did you ever take the food away from the dog because of time pressures and they hadn’t finished their meal? Or was there ever a situation where you wanted to punish your dog for their behaviour and stolen their food from them? If so, this may be the case as to why your four-legged friend is aggressive towards you when it comes to food and eating.

Even a lack of confidence can move your dog towards this behaviour. We recommend that when your dog is eating, just leave them to it! This will ensure that they don’t experience the feeling that they have to protect their bowl from you.

No matter what the cause of the additive and/or aggressive behaviour, it is important not to press the dog while they eat. This can be achieved by leaving the room where they are eating and not to disturb them. Only when your dog is done with their food should you enter the room again to remove the empty bowl. Over time, the four-legged friend will learn that they no longer must defend the food from you.
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