4 min read


Why Do Dogs Toss Their Food Around



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Toss Their Food Around




Has your dog just thrown his food across the floor? Has he tossed it into the air so high it landed half way across the room? Makes you wonder what he's doing, doesn't it? Have you just had to duck out of the way of a flying missile which turned out to be a piece of your pet's kibble? It's actually quite amazing how far a dog can toss his food when he's in the mood for doing it. Has his strange reaction to his dinner made you wonder if he doesn't like what you're feeding him? Or are you questioning why he's playing with his food rather than eating it? When your pup does something like that it can make you think all kinds of things. So why do dogs toss their food around?

The Root of the Behavior

Some dogs just love throwing their food around. If your pup starts flinging his biscuits after he's been chowing down on his dinner for a while, he may simply have satiated his appetite and not wanting to eat anymore, has decided to play with the remains. While there's nothing basically wrong with that, though some of that quite pricey kibble will end up getting wasted when you have to clean it up and throw it in the trash. That's not good for your finances and can be really frustrating if you've just finished cleaning.

If your dog likes to toss his food up in the air, he could well be following his natural instincts. By doing what he's doing, he may be showing you how he's mentally substituted real prey in his mind for the food you're giving him. It's a common practice for many wild animals to toss something they've caught and killed in the air. Nobody is really sure why they do it, but they do. It could be part of the aftereffects of the excitement from the hunt or they could just be trying to make sure the prey is dead, but until the day animals talk, any answers you might find are pretty much based on supposition.

Apart from all the complicated explanations, there is always one simple and straightforward answer to any question, including the one about why your dog is tossing his food in the air. You might need to consider your pup is throwing his food around because he quite simply doesn't like it. Dogs can't actually turn around and tell you when they don't like the taste of something. Nor can they verbally let you know they're bored with having the same flavor of kibble day after day because you're on a budget and purchased the economy priced sack, but they will find some way of expressing how they feel. Yes, you guessed right, they'll do it by tossing their food around.

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Encouraging the Behavior

Dogs do get bored with their food when they eat the same thing every day. Who wouldn't? Everyone enjoys at least some minimal variation in their daily diet and your dog is no different. It can often work out more economical in the long run to buy smaller packets of different flavors which you can interchange on a regular basis. It might seem initially more costly, but it'll work out much cheaper than throwing lots of your dog's food away after he throws it around.

When your dog begins to act as if he's in the wild and tosses his food around as if it were prey he'd caught, he may well be suffering from having too much time on his paws. That doesn't mean he's started wearing a watch by any means, but rather that he's bored. Try not to feel too guilty, it's often hard to find a balance between all your responsibilities of work, home life, and exercising your pup.

Dogs are by nature playful creatures. If your pup eats well but half-way through his dinner starts tossing his food in the air, it could be because you're over-feeding him. No-one wants their pet to go hungry and we can often, quite innocently and with very good intentions, be over-generous in the portions we provide. As soon as your dog is full, well, anything is fair game as a toy and that includes any leftover food.

Other Solutions and Considerations

If you're not sure of your dog's correct nutritional requirements, the best thing to do is consult with his veterinarian when you can. They'll be able to advise you on the right quantities of food to give your dog and what type of food is best for his particular breed. If your dog seems to be under the impression that you're not spending enough time exercising him and he's getting bored with being home alone, why not have a word with a professional dog trainer? They'll be able to advise you on the correct exercise regime to suit your pet to keep him healthy, happy and contented enough to stop throwing his food around.


Yes, dogs do like to toss their food around and it could be for one of several reasons. Either they're bored, playing, or don't like the taste of what you're trying to feed them. There is, as always, another solution. If your dog doesn't like his kibble, book him a table at a five-star restaurant and take him out to dinner for a big fat steak instead.

Written by a Chihuahua lover Liz Correal

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/20/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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