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Why Does My Dog Carry His Food Bowl Around – Is It Normal?

Classic doggy behavior includes lots of tail wagging, running around in circles, and licking their favorite human’s face. But, if you’ve noticed your canine pick up its food bowl to carry it around its puzzling. You’re likely scratching your head wondering, why does my dog carry his food bowl around?

Dogs carry their food bowl around when they are experiencing hunger, nervousness, and teething problems. They also carry the bowl around to change feeding spots, an age-old canine instinct. Some dogs carry their food bowl because you’ve encouraged the behavior. 

That may seem like a lot to take in at once – which is why this article is devoted wholly to explaining the possible reasons behind this puzzling canine conduct. All you need to do is scroll down to discover more!

Reasons Your Dog Carries Its Food Bowl Around

You may find your puppy’s food bowl carrying habit adorable or annoying. But, no matter your personal feelings, chances are you’re super curious about why your canine is behaving that way.

Even though pet experts haven’t wholly cracked doggy behaviorism – they have managed to pinpoint a few exact reasons behind your pooch carrying its food bowl. Here’s what they are. 

Hankering For A Meal

One of the usual culprits behind your pet moving around with its food bowl is hunger. If your pet seems to appear in your periphery with its bowl in its mouth and mealtime is just around the corner – your dog is reminding you ‘it’s food time, human!’

However, if you see your pet carrying the food bowl in periods between chow time – it could be your pet’s feeling a little underfed. This could be for various reasons; for example, perhaps the brand of dog food you’re giving your pup isn’t providing it the adequate amount of calories. 

A more worrying cause is the presence of parasites, like roundworms. Either way, a quick visit to the vet ought to fix your canine right up. 

An Attack Of Nerves

Canines can act out of character if they’re uneasy or feeling anxious. That’s why another possible reason why your dog has suddenly taken to carrying its food bowl around at times – it could be a sign of nervousness. 

Dogs can feel anxious at various points in their lives and for different reasons. That’s why you’re going to have to do a little sleuthing to discover what’s causing your pet to feel agitated. It could be that you’ve moved homes recently or added a new pet to the family (much to your dog’s dismay). 

One of the best ways to calm your pup’s ruffled proverbial feathers is to spend some extra quality time with it and shower it with TLC. 

Teething Problems

Taking care of a fur baby can be a lot like looking after an actual baby. Itty bitty doggies go through a teething period, during which their achy gums need some relief. That’s one reason why your pup can be using its food bowl as a chew toy. 

A sure-shot method of detecting teething problems in young canines is to look out for other objects (like your shoes, for example) your canine’s tried to gnaw on. 

Invest in a high-quality chew toy designed to help pups with teething woes aid your puppy during this time. 

Change Of Scenery

Dogs can have their quirks too, which is why a possible explanation for your canine’s food bowl carrying habit can be that your pet wants you to change the location of the bowl. 

Perhaps the steel bowl keeps slipping on the tiled surface, or maybe your pet wants to feed somewhere closer to you. Additionally, if there’s a designated area where your canine generally likes to set its food bowl – you can be sure your pet wants a change of scenery as it eats. 


Back in the day, canine ancestors survived by hunting for their food. And because food is always a precious commodity, it wasn’t uncommon for them to ‘hide’ their kill to keep it safe from other predators. 

Despite thousands of years of evolution, it’s possible your canine feels the urge to carry around its food bowl to keep its food supply safe. This type of behavior is even more likely if there’s another pet contender around for your dog’s food. 

Unwittingly Encouraging The Habit

Think back to the beginning of your canine’s perplexing food bowl habit. Is it possible that you may have topped up your pup’s bowl thinking it was hungry? 

If you did, you might have unknowingly encouraged your canine’s food bowl carrying. How? That’s simple. You see, canine behavior linked to food is easiest to reinforce – especially with positive reinforcement. That’s why it’s likely your pet feels you ‘rewarded’ its food bowl carrying with giving it more yummy stuff. 

The good news is, you can train your dog to understand that carrying the food bowl around is not likely to win any favors from you. 

Is It Normal For Dogs To Carry Food Bowls Around

The internet is teeming with questions from pet parents worldwide, all asking the same question – why is my dog carrying its food bowl? It’s safe to say this habit is pretty prevalent among canines. 

Until the day we figure out a way to understand doggy language, we may never be sure why dogs like carrying their food bowls. 

However, viable explanations surround this canine habit – ranging from age-old hunting instinct to pets wanting to be closer to their owners. 

Why Does My Dog Pick Up His Empty Food Bowl

Your canine may be lugging its empty food bowl around simply because it’s hungry and wants to remind you to feed it. Dogs are pretty intelligent in their own right and like to stick to their timetable. So, if your pet likes to move to and fro with its food bowl near feeding time, you can be sure it wants its meal. 

Why Does My Dog Hide His Food Bowl

There can be two possible reasons behind your dog wanting to hide its food bowl. Reason one revolves around your canine’s hunting instinct, which means your dog wants to hide its food away from possible snatchers. 

If you have more than one canine in your household, it’s also equally likely that your pet’s getting a little territorial over its property. We all agree that sharing is caring, but sometimes your pet may not be in a very giving mood and wants its meal all to itself. 

Why Does My Dog Pick Up Her Food And Eat It Somewhere Else

Have you noticed your canine’s food bowl slide easily on hard surfaces? If yes, then perhaps your dog is moving its food bowl to a spot where it can eat in peace – without the bowl moving. 

Additionally, if you’ve just moved or recently changed the location of your puppy’s feeding bowl – your pet is simply trying to tell you that it doesn’t like the new arrangement. 

Why Does My Dog Carry His Water Bowl Around

Your canine may be tipping over its water bowl for various reasons, but the most probable causes are: the water is stale or dirty, your pet felt like wetting its fur due to the heat, or that your pup was feeling just a little bored. 

Whatever the reason, tipping the water bowl is a pretty popular pastime for canines, which is why it’s always wise to invest in a weighed-down water bowl. Additionally, always remember to regularly change the water in your pet’s bowl to ensure clean drinking water. 

Other Considerations

Pet parents are a conscientious bunch when it comes to taking care of their furry companions – and that’s precisely how things should be. However, if you feel there’s a more severe explanation behind your pet carrying its food bowl around – you can go over the following pointers for some direction. 

A Sudden Change In Appetite

Dogs can experience fluctuating appetites, and most of the time, there’s no cause for concern. For example, your pet may suddenly want to eat more in winters because its system uses up more energy to maintain body heat. 

However, a surge in or lack of appetite, along with wanting to carry around the food bowl, may be linked to a health condition. For instance, if your pet seems to want to eat more than usual (signified by lugging around the food bowl) and shows signs of weight loss – you should have your pet checked by the vet asap for diabetes. 

Conversely, if your pet is displaying a lack of appetite but insists on carrying its food bowl – there may be an anxiety problem. Even a minor change can throw your pup off its track and cause some emotional disturbance. The first thing to figure out in such situations is the source of your canine’s distress and address it adequately to make your pup feel at ease. 

When To Get Professional Help

If you’ve tried to figure out the cause behind your canine carrying its food bowl or tried to train it to eat in a particular location without moving its bowl – without much success – you can turn to the professionals for help.

Dog behaviorists can help you understand why your pup is behaving in a certain way and highlight helpful and practical techniques to help them stop. It can be a win-win solution all-around. 

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