Vigorous tail wagging and body shaking excitement are the typical reactions dogs exhibit at the sight of food. They have many awkward habits in expressing different emotions but barking isn’t the reaction you’d expect from your dog during mealtime.
It’s startling when your pet starts barking each time you pour them food. Is it normal? Should you be worried? It’s probably led you to wonder “why does my dog bark at his food?.”
Read on to find out.
Top Reasons Why Dogs Bark at Their Food
It shouldn’t be a cause for alarm when your dog barks at his food. However, if the situation gets out of hand, you might want to pay attention and assess the situation. Below are common reasons why your dog barks at their food:
1. Super Excited To See His Food
Food instantly improves your dog’s mood—instead of jumping around, rolling on the floor, or wagging their tail, a dog may prefer to bark. It’s how some express how happy they are.
Pups can bark at their food out of excitement, and there’s little you can do to change the behavior. They’ll grow out of it eventually.
If the barking becomes aggressive, consider training to calm them down. Order him to sit and stop barking. Only pour his food if he obeys.
Your pet will learn that calmness will get him rewarded with food.
2. Afraid or Feels Threatened
Resource guarding is a common reaction dogs have if they feel threatened. If the dog growls, lunges, barks, or starts biting other people, they feel uneasy and want to make it clear that “I don’t want to share my food or risk my food being taken away.”
Punishing or scolding your pet for resource-guarding will worsen the behavior. Instead, consider showing them there’s no threat to their space or food. How?
Start small by throwing a piece of chicken into their bowl while standing a safe distance away from your pooch.
As time advances and you feel comfortable enough, pour kibble on your palm and let your pet eat from your hand before pouring the rest of his meal into the bowl. They will slowly stop seeing you less as a threat and more as a positive influence.
You may also seek the help of a professional trainer to help make your dog feel more secure around his possessions.
3. Dog’s Food Has Been Changed
Suddenly changing your pet’s food may create confusion that makes them bark at the sight of new food. After all, it has unfamiliar scents and flavors that may make your pet uneasy.
Picky dogs do not like it when you offer them something different but have no choice but to eat it because they’re hungry. Therefore, they express suspicion and frustration at their food by barking.
Gradually introduce a new food by mixing it with usual meals. Continue decreasing the old food and pouring in more of the new before transitioning entirely. That will eliminate the barking and keep your pet from experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
4. Afraid of Something
Your dog’s barking could be a form of anxiety. For example, changing your pet’s usual feeding spot or using a new shiny bowl could trigger barking due to unfamiliarity. He may get startled by his reflection in the bowl or feel uneasy about eating at a different spot.
Give it some time, and the barking and growling will stop as your dog gets used to the new bowl or feeding spot. Try a plastic bowl or a larger one to see if the barking stops.
5. Schedule Is Off
Forgetting to feed your dog at the usual time means he’s probably hungrier and angrier. But even overfeeding could cause him to bark to say no more.
Feed your dog on time daily. Plan the meal schedule, so you don’t overfeed or underfeed them.
6. Experiencing Separation Anxiety
Another potential answer to the question, “why does my dog bark at his food?” is separation anxiety.
Pouring food for your dog right before you leave for work could trigger separation anxiety. Therefore, they soon start associating food with negativity. They will bark at you and their food as a sign of displeasure.
You may even notice that your pup refuses to eat until you’re back.
Change the feeding time. Feed your pet about an hour before you leave at a different spot in the house where they can see you. When you leave, hide some treats in easy-to-find places around the house or bring out toys and puzzles to keep them occupied in your absence.
7. Behavioral Problems
Canine Compulsive Disorder is one of a series of neurological issues that could cause behavioral irregularities in dogs. Such problems are hard to diagnose but if the barking also comes with other symptoms like pacing, tail chasing, spinning, obsessive licking, and fly biting, your pet may have a behavioral problem.
Consult a vet to keep track of your dog’s symptoms and get insight into available solutions. In dogs with mild neurological issues that cause behavioral irregularities, special dog training can help modify their behavior. In severe cases, your dog may be placed on medication.
8. Reaction to Boredom
Pent-up energy can cause your dog to become frustrated enough to bark at his food for the simple reason that he’s bored. Barking works as an outlet for his boredom and displeasure owing to a lack of mental and physical stimulation.
Consider creating a schedule to regularly run, play, or take strolls with your dog. Do some research to find out appropriate exercises and mental stimulation activities for your pet’s breed.
One option is to speak with a dog trainer to get advice and tips on what will work for your dog. In addition, try to feed your pooch after their daily activities to discourage boredom-related barking.
9. Dog Is in Pain
A broken tooth, gum disease, and stomach problems are a few health problems that will make your dog bark at his food. Your pet is likely aware that eating will result in pain, so they see food as a threat.
Other health complications like kidney disease, upset stomach, or abdominal discomfort may cause your dog to bark at their food because they associate feeding with pain. If your dog goes longer than 48 hours without eating, rush him to the vet immediately.
Consult a vet for a full body examination if you notice your pet painfully whining or cringing while eating simultaneously. If they favor one side of the mouth, there’s a good chance they have a dental issue that needs addressing.
Visiting a vet is imperative because it helps rule out other possible causes for abnormal barking. The vet will recommend appetite stimulants and appropriate medication to help treat and alleviate discomfort.
So, now you have nine potential answers to the question, “why does my dog bark at his food.” Of course, your dog barking at his food is not the reaction you’d expect from your beloved pooch. However, it turns out that this is a common thing that most dog owners grapple with from time to time.
If you’re still unsure why your dog is barking at his food, visiting the vet will help eliminate different health concerns, possibly find the culprit, and solve the issue. Thankfully most of the reasons behind your dog’s barking aren’t serious causes for concern. So, cheers to happy mealtimes and lots of fun memories with your dog.