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Tips to prevent food guarding by your dog

American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

The tendency for dogs to guard their food is natural. If you notice your dog being defensive of their toys or bed, it is important to take action to keep it from progressing.

To prevent your dog from food guarding, the American Kennel Club recommends the following tips:

Let your dog eat in peace. Refrain from interacting with your pup while they are eating. Make sure there is an area that is designated for eating and that it is safe and comfortable. If there are kids around, let them know that the dog should be left alone during their mealtimes.

Be consistent. Rather than leaving your dog’s food bowl out all day, put your pet’s bowl down at eating time every day. If the bowl is out all day, it might make your dog think that food is a constant resource that can be taken away at any time. Check with your veterinarian about the correct amount of food your dog should be eating.


Never take the food away. Taking food away from a protective dog will only enforce the idea that your dog’s food can be taken at any point and that it is something to be protected. Even if your dog starts to growl and protect their food or toy, do not take it away.

Reinforce that food protecting isn’t needed. It's important for your pup to know that just because someone is approaching their food, it doesn’t mean that it is going to be taken away and it’s important to establish this early on. Every so often, when your dog is eating, walk to their bowl and drop in a treat. This will reinforce the notion that someone approaching their bowl is positive.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at

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