How to Prevent Food Aggression in Dogs

Do you have a dog who is food aggressive? Many dogs are protective of their food and can sometimes become aggressive because of it, but this is not a good behavior for a family pet. If your dog is food aggressive, you’re not alone.

In the article below, you’ll find some ideas for preventing or reducing food aggression in your dog. You can use this information to help improve your pet’s behavior surrounding her food and make it easier for the family to interact with her as well. Read on to find out more.

6 Tips For Preventing Food Aggression in Dogs Include


Stay in the same room while your dog eats.

This first step is sometimes enough to help dogs slowly calm down from food aggression. Dogs who have only mild food aggression will quickly realize they are not going to have their food stolen when a human family member is nearby.

Staying in the room with your dog while she eats is also a good way to monitor the way she eats and ensure she isn’t eating too fast. Eating too much too quickly can cause a dangerous condition called bloat.

Owner watching dog eat Mishawaka

Stand near your dog and talk to her while she’s eating.

Some dogs may be very uncomfortable with this at first, but standing close to your dog and making general conversation with her while she eats is an important step to take. This stage of dealing with food aggression makes your dog realize that her food isn’t constantly being threatened just because someone is nearby.

Work up to standing right next to your dog the whole time she eats. This may take a while, and it’s important for you to watch your dog’s body language throughout the process as well. If she becomes tense or looks like she may bite or snap, take a step back and try again the next day.

Try practicing with treats.

Your dog may be less aggressive about a single treat than she is with a lot of food in her dish. You can practice standing near her and touching her treat while she eats it rather than trying with a dish of food. In some instances, this can be enough to make dogs understand their food is not being threatened.

Consider hand-feeding for a while.

Hand-feeding can be a great way to bond with your dog. It can also help her understand that having her food touched is not a bad thing, and it can even sometimes be a good thing. If your dog shows signs of trying to bite while hand-feeding, she may not be ready for this step yet; otherwise, you can give it a try.

If your dog is not interested in being hand-fed her regular kibble, try it with some wet food or some high value treats. She may be more likely to take food from you when it’s something she’s more interested in eating.

Touch the dog’s bowl without moving it while she eats.

A dog who will let you touch her dish while she’s eating is well on her way to becoming less aggressive about her food in general. Touching your dog’s dish is an important step, and if you can get to this point, you are almost finished training her to stop being food aggressive at all.

Watch your dog for signs that she may be growing tense when you touch her food dish. Do not push her to this stage until she’s ready, and take a step or two back if she starts to growl or raise her hackles at you.

Eventually, work up to removing food from the dish.

After you work through all the other tips on this list and get your dog used to the idea of having her bowl touched while she’s eating, you can practice removing a few pieces of kibble from the dish. Make sure she understands that she will get the kibble back in a couple of minutes.

Additionally, be sure you work slowly up to this step so you don’t risk getting bitten by your dog. If your dog starts to show signs that she is getting aggressive when you try to remove her food, do not proceed until she has gotten more comfortable with the idea.

Dog being aggressive


Although these tips can help you get a good starting point when it comes to managing your dog’s food aggression, you may need more professional assistance as well. Your vet might be able to recommend some medication to help your dog calm down in certain instances, or may have other suggestions as well.



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Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic is a full service, AAHA accredited veterinary practice located in Mishwaka, Indiana. In addition to general wellness care like vaccinations and wellness exams, we also provide holistic veterinary care such as acupuncture and a variety of alternative medicine options.