11 Must Know Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes Food With His Nose


Why does my dog push his food with his nose? Those who have watched a dog pushing food have certainly asked themselves this question. It seems that many different dog breeds demonstrate this behavior. Let’s get to the root cause of your dog’s behavior.

First, Watch This Adorable Dog Pushing Food With His Nose:

11 Reasons Why Your Dog Pushes Food With His Nose

Why Your Dog Pushes Food With His Nose

Domesticated dogs display dozens of unusual behaviors, and pushing food with their noses is definitely one of them. Any dog owner who has watched their dog push their food with their nose will want to know why they do this. So, why does my dog push his food with his nose?

It turns out that there may be a few reasons why dogs behave this way. Pushing food with their nose may be one of the instinctual behaviors of dogs. A dog’s curiosity may compel them to push its food with its nose. A dog’s boredom may also cause it to perform this behavior. Health problems such as dental problems and vision loss could each be an underlying cause of this behavior.

Let’s get into more detail about why most dogs seem to push food with their noses.


A dog’s curiosity could be the reason that it pushes food with its nose. Young dogs and other dogs that are not used to eating food out of bowls are especially likely to push food with their noses. Your furry friend may also simply be playful and enjoy pushing food with their nose.

Because Of Boredom

Your dog’s boredom could be another reason why it is pushing its food with its nose. Dogs who are seeking attention from their owners may try use this tactic to prompt a reaction from their favorite person. If your dog frequently pushes its food with its nose without eating it, you may have an attention-seeking dog. Try playing with your pooch and seeing if this reduces the behavior.

They Don’t Feel Like Eating

Some dogs that aren’t hungry have been known to push their food with their nose. They may do this around dinner time as a way of conveying their lack of appetite. If this is an infrequent occurrence, it is not cause for concern. However, if you notice that your dog doesn’t seem to be eating much, you may want to take them to the vet.

They’re Being Picky

We’ve all met dogs who are picky eaters. If you know a dog that doesn’t seem to enjoy eating a certain type of kibble, it may push its food with its nose. This is a dog’s way of telling you that it may want you to change brands of food.

They’re Just Playing With Their Food

Some dogs simply enjoy playing with their meal. If your pet seems to be enjoying themselves when they push their food with their nose around your kitchen, then they are likely performing this behavior for fun. When dogs push their food for this reason, owners should allow their furry friends to have fun before enjoying their meal.

Your Dog Pushes Food With Its Nose For Safety Reasons

A dog may want to give its food bowl a little push with its nose to make sure that the bowl doesn’t pose any danger before eating. This may sound silly, but many dogs are excessively cautious and sensitive for a variety of reasons. A quick push of their food bowl with their nose will put their nerves at ease. 

Your Dog Pushes Its Nose Because of Poor Diet

A poor diet could be one of the several reasons that your dog is using their nose to push food. No matter how smart an owner believes their dog is, we have to remember that dogs are still animals. This means that owners have to pay special attention to the behaviors that a dog is displaying.

If a dog routinely displays the same behavior, it could be trying to send its owner a message. A dog that doesn’t eat and instead pushing its food with its nose could be trying to tell an owner that its food is providing it with enough nutrients. Owners can start to feed their dog a new food to see if their behavior changes.

Your Dog Pushes Food With Its Nose Because of Its Natural Instincts

Sometimes there is no specific reason as to why a dog pushes its food other than the fact that many dogs have a natural instinct to push their food with their noses. Prior to domestic dogs existing, the wild ancestors of dogs would frequently use their noses to nudge, sniff, and assess food items.

Wolves hunt for their meals and often use their noses as they dig in to their meal. These animals still display many of the same behaviors that are displayed by domestic dogs.

Next time you notice your dog pushing its food with its nose, remember that this behavior may simply be instinctual and not purposeful.

Your Dog Enjoys Playing With Its Food Bowl

If your dog seems to enjoy playing with the bowl more than eating its next meal, your dog may simply love to play with the bowl that you have given it. Bowls that are a certain shape or material may be appealing to some dogs.

This could prompt your dog to think it’s playtime any time that it’s dinner time. To test whether the bowl is the reason behind your dog pushing its food with its nose, try serving your pet a meal in a new bowl. Specifically, a heavier bowl may work best.

Breed-specific Traits

Breed-specific traits may explain why your dog is pushing their food with their nose. You may find that some dog breeds are more likely to display this behavior compared to other dog breeds.

Perhaps a certain breed of dog is not tremendously motivated by food. This could make the dog more likely to play with its food during times when it isn’t ready to eat.

Your Dog Could Have A Medical Issue

No owner wants to hear that their dog could have a health problem. However, responsible dog owners should make themselves aware of any possible health concerns that their dog may have.

It would be wise to take your dog to the vet if you think that it may have a medical issue. Let’s examine the possible medical issues that could explain why your dog is pushing its food with its nose.

They Could Have Dental Issues

A dog that pushes its food with its nose and doesn’t seem to enjoy chewing its food may have dental issues. Dental problems are common in dogs that do not receive dental care of any kind. Owners can give their dog dental chews, brush its teeth, or take their dog to the veterinarian for regular teeth cleaning to prevent dental issues.

They Could Have Vision Problems

A dog’s sense of smell is far superior to its vision. For this reason, their nose may guide them to their food before they even catch sight of their meal.

Dogs with diminished vision are especially likely to push their food with their nose because it may help them to understand where their food is located. This behavior may also help them to pinpoint exactly how much food they have.

Why Does My Dog Nudge Her Food Bowl?

dog pushing food bowl away with nose

Instead of pushing food with her nose, your canine companion may instead try to nudge their food bowl. This behavior may not be enough to move a bowl of food, so you may wonder why your dog bothers to do it. Your dog could be nudging food with his nose to feel the texture of the food.

Remember, dogs don’t have fingers like humans. Instead, they often rely on their noses to feel objects. A dog’s nose is highly sensitive. Dog noses can obviously excel at detecting smells.

However, most people don’t realize that a dog’s nose also functions similarly to how human hands function. For this reason, your dog may nudge her food bowl prior to eating.

Why Do Dogs Try To Turn Their Food Bowls Upside Down?

You may notice that your dog tries to turn their food bowl upside down after pushing it with their nose. This behavior can be frustrating for an owner, as this often results in a mess being made. If your dog is a picky eater, it may display this behavior to convey that it does not want to eat the food that you have given it. You can try to adjust your dog’s diet and see if this puts an end to your dog tipping its bowl over.

Why Do Dogs Use Their Noses To Do Things?

You may have noticed that dogs seem to do a lot of different things with their noses. Whether they’re using their nose to smell, find food, or touch their dog food, noses are integral to a dog’s existence. So, why do dogs use their noses to do so many different things?

Well, dogs are the descendants of wild animals. The wolf ancestors of dogs used evolved to have noses that are highly capable of performing an assortment of feats.

In the absence of hands to help them feel their way around the world, the ancestors of dogs developed their incredible noses to help them navigate the world via smell and touch. Our modern dogs now enjoy the benefits of having wonderful noses.


Dogs are remarkable creatures that are adored throughout the world, but sometimes they do random things that cause their owners to become confused. Pushing their food bowl with their nose is definitely one of the behaviors that cause owners to question what is going on inside their dog’s minds.

After reading this article, you can now answer the question, “Why does my dog push his food with his nose?”. As discussed in this article, there are dozens are reasons why dogs display this behavior.

A dog’s curiosity, playfulness, boredom, or cautiousness may prompt it to display this behavior. However, it is also important to keep in mind that many of the reasons as to why dogs may push food with their nose are simply ingrained in a dog’s nature.

While most of the reasons that a dog pushes food with its nose are harmless, owners should pay attention to their dog’s behavior. A dog may be trying to convey dental pain, malnourishment, or vision problems if it’s pushing its food with its nose.

If you think that you dog may be experiencing pain, it is a wise idea to take your canine companion in to the vet.