Whether it’s under a piece of furniture or in their own bed, you may have noticed your Shih Tzu hiding bites of food. But why do Shih Tzus hide food? This stems from behaviors that wild dogs engaged in years ago. And while your Shih Tzu may have access to plenty of food, ingrained behaviors are hard to change.
Why Do Shih Tzus Hide Food?
There are a number of reasons that your Shih Tzu might be hiding their food and other things as well.
Here are some of the most common.
1. It Comes Naturally to Them
It may seem like odd behavior to you when your Shih Tzu takes food out of their food bowl and hides it away under the bed or some other place, but it makes complete sense to them.
Hiding food or their favorite toys or something else is normal canine behavior.
In the wild, they needed to hide their food to keep it safe and other dogs and animals away from it.
This natural behavior helped keep them alive.
2. They Are Saving for a Rainy Day
Food was not always available before dogs became domesticated.
So, when they had food, saving some of the excess food became a common dog behavior.
It was important for their survival.
Certainly, as pet owners, you give your Shih Tzu plenty of food and treats, but the idea that one day there might not be enough spurs them on to hide a little just in case.
When I got my Shih Tzu, Sammy who was a rescue she was terribly underweight.
She had almost been starved to the point of death.
Don’t get me started on people who abuse animals!
Anyway, I always leave dry food out for my dogs and I’ve never had a dog overeat food treats.
But when she came to live with me, she would go into the kitchen about every five minutes and get a bite of food.
As she was so underweight, I let the behavior continue, but I was concerned she would start to overeat.
That never happened.
Once she got to her appropriate weight, she stopped eating so often and she never became overweight.
Even so, she still goes into the kitchen just to make sure there is food available.
She still worries that she will have to go without.
And, yes, she will take a mouthful of food and find a good hiding spot for it, so she knows for sure she will be okay.
3. They Don’t Want Someone/Something to Steal Their Food
Sometimes, this instinctive behavior comes from having more food than they can eat at that time.
If they are full or have no appetite due to health issues, they may hide their food, so another animal in the household can’t steal it later.
Going back to when does were wild, they would need to protect their food from others in their pack and other animals that might be looking for an easy meal.
This natural instinct could mean the difference between life and death.
4. They Are Bored
Sometimes a Shih Tzu just gets bored.
You’re out all day at work or running errands and they don’t have a lot to do.
Sure, they’ve got some great toys to play with, but you know how it is.
Even your favorite hobbies can become boring sometimes, so can your Shih Tzu’s daily activities.
By hiding their food, they can play a little game with themselves when they have to go and find it later.
5. They Are Stressed
This hiding behavior can be an indication that your Shih Tzu is stressed.
This could be due to a medical issue or maybe just something going on in your household.
By hiding their food, it gives them a sense of control.
And this can help relieve their stress.
If you worry that your Shih Tzu is stressed out, a visit to the vet is always a good idea to find out what the root cause is and to ensure there isn’t a hidden medical issue.
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6. Looking for Attention
Take a moment and think about how you respond to your Shih Tzu hiding food.
Do you find it cute and make a big show of it?
If so, you are actually encouraging your dog to hide food.
Dogs love attention and Shih Tzus are no different.
If you heap positive attention on this behavior chances are you will see more of it.
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To Sum it All Up:
Hiding food or toys is normal behavior for Shih Tzus and all dogs. There are a number of reasons for it such as being stressed, keeping it away from other dogs, or just looking for attention. This common behavior for the most part isn’t anything to worry about.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.