Rosie, my nine-year-old Scottie (Scottish Terrier), has been trying to hide her dry dog food with the cloth mat, which is under the bowl. She also puts some food in her kitchen bed, which is near the bowl. She does eventually eat it all. I’ve been feeding her the same dry food for many years. I tried a new food, but she doesn’t seem to like anything I’ve tried. Help!
— Lenore Ilberg, Sea Cliff, NY
It’s not uncommon for dogs to hide food, toys and bones to keep them safe to enjoy later. While it’s a normal dog behavior, because it’s a new behavior for Rosie, there may be a new reason she’s doing it.
If Rosie didn’t like her food or had a medical issue, she would most likely reject her food altogether. If something changed in her environment, she might be uncomfortable eating near her bowl and so take the food elsewhere to finish. But you said she is a senior pet, and she hides her food under the mat and her kitchen bed, both of which are near her bowl.
I am thinking that as a senior pet, she may not need as much food as she used to and is choosing to hide the leftovers for later rather than leaving the food exposed in her bowl. Try decreasing her portions for a few days and feeding her smaller meals throughout the day to see if this stops this behavior.
New behaviors can’t always be understood right away, so if this suggestion doesn’t work, get back to me with more clues.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal