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Posted on 06-24-2015

Does your dog ever hide bits of food around the house? Or put his toys in a pile and then guard them? If so, your pooch may have a hoarding habit. Hoarding is actually a fairly common behavior in our canine friends. In this article, your local Woodland Hills vet discusses hoarding behavior in dogs.

Why Dogs Hoard

When Fido lived in the wild, he never knew when or where he would get his next meal. So he developed a habit of storing extra food to eat later. Dogs often buried their food to keep it safe from other predators, so this is also one of the reasons Fido likes to dig! Now that Fido lives indoors, he doesn’t have to hunt his dinner, but as they say, old habits die hard. Your canine pal might be hiding rope toys under couch cushions instead of storing part of his dinner, but it’s the same instinct.

Why Is Hoarding An Issue

Even if you think your canine buddy’s habit of putting tennis balls or snacks under his bed is fairly harmless, it should still be addressed. Hidden food will begin to rot, and no one wants to find a smelly, unsanitary surprise under a pile of toys or cushions. Fido may also tear up a carpet or furniture looking for a good hiding spot for his stash, which probably won’t go over too well. Hoarding can also lead to food aggression, which can be very problematic, and even dangerous.

What To Do

Since hoarding is an instinctive behavior, it’s difficult to get a dog to stop doing it. You may have better luck making sure he can’t stash things than trying to change his habits. If Fido is hoarding his toys, the easiest thing for you to do is keep his playthings in a toy box, and only give him one or two at a time. Remember to change them out frequently so he doesn’t get bored! If it’s food that your pooch is stashing, you’ll need to take a few additional steps to address his behavior. Put your canine pal on a scheduled mealtime routine, rather than give him a 24-hour buffet in his food bowl. Make sure your dog is a bit tired before dinner, either by taking him for a long walk or having a vigorous play session. Have Fido sit still for a few moments before feeding him. As soon as he’s done eating, take the bowl away until the next mealtime.

As your local Woodland Hills vet clinic , we are here to assist with all of your pet care needs. Please contact us any time we can be of assistance!

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