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7 Reasons Why Your Dog Lays Down To Eat + 3 Tips

Why Does My Dog Lay Down To Eat

Is your dog so good at multitasking?

Very skillful, I must say, because they can rest on the floor…and stuff their face with food at the same time.

I know, it can be an endearing sight. But some situations might get you worried sick.

Are they just lazy or is there something wrong with them?

Keep on reading to discover:

  • Whether you should be worried about this behavior or not.
  • What makes that position favorable for pups and older dogs.
  • 3 tips on what to do if you’re worried that your dog is eating in this way.
  • And so much more…

Why does my dog lay down to eat?

Your dog lays down to eat because they feel more comfortable by doing that, it’s their way of protecting their food, or it’s a habit they developed in the past to adapt to a certain situation. They may also be feeling tired, too tall for their bowl, suffering from an illness, or of old age.

Why does my puppy lie down to eat?

Your puppy lies down to eat due to their intuition to hold and guard their food, exhaustion after a fun playtime, or a feeder that’s too high for them to reach. They may also prefer to stay in that position because it’s more relaxed and secured.

7 reasons why your dog lays down to eat

#1: It’s more comfortable

No, they aren’t lazy.

They seem like one. But they may keep on doing it because they feel comfier.

It might be different for every dog. Because some will stand up while eating raw and wet food but lay down when it’s time for kibbles.

You might also notice that lay down every time they gnaw a bone or chomp their favorite toy.

Why do they do it?

Because munching those things takes a lot of time.

Of course, they don’t want to be standing there for too long. It’ll hurt their feet. And it’s not fun.

Also, by doing it, their paws can hold their food down for them. So they can chew for as long as they like.

In short, they’re just being logical. And there’s nothing for you to worry about. 🙂

They’ll be fine. As long as they’re happy and healthy.

#2: Your dog guards the food

“Everything that’s encircled by my paws is all mine.”

Does your dog lay down and also act fierce?

Like they’re going to attack anyone who will come near them?

If yes, the behavior might be due to their instincts. And it’s a common thing in dogs.

Especially to puppies who are more likely to protect their food at all costs. Because every feeding time is like a battle with their sibs – fighting for grubs.

They might also do it to survive in a dog shelter.

A study in the US says that annually, there are 2,000 dogs who have this behavior. With a prevalence rate of 7% to 30% per shelter.

Discover also: Why does my dog always lay on top of me?

#3: It’s an old habit

Does your dog eat and drink like that ever since you’ve brought them home?

Well, it’s possible that they got it from the place they lived in before.

If they came from a shelter, they might have been in a cage for so long. And since it’s too small for them, they couldn’t even stand up even while eating.

So they may have lived like that for many months. And as a result, they always lay down to eat and do it unconsciously.

Don’t fret. They will grow out of it in time…with a little help from you.

#4: Your dog feels tired

“Phew. Whatever.

I’m just going to rest and eat here at the same time.”

Have you seen your pooch using their food bowl as a pillow?

Well, there’s no arguing that laying down has got to be one of the most comfortable positions ever.

And we, humans, tend to lie down on the bed when we’re too tired and need to recharge.

So, it might also be the case for your doggy. Particularly when the behavior doesn’t happen that often.

And you’ve noticed that they only do it after a fun playtime in the yard. Or a long tiring walk outside.

They might be so hungry but don’t have the energy to stand anymore. So they just tumbled on the floor and decided not to care anymore.

#5: It’s the height

Your Dog Lays Down To Eat Due To The Height Of The Feeding Bowl

No, not your dog’s height. I’m talking about their feeding bowl.

If it’s still a pup, it might be because the dish is so high for them. That’s why they get their food from the basin and eat it on the ground.

But if it’s already a dog, it might be the opposite. Their food bowl might be too low for them.

This reason is more possible for larger breeds like Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Retrievers, German Shepherds, and many more. 

They don’t want to strain their neck and suffer. Because eating is supposed to be comfy, right?

So they choose the better option. And that’s to lay down and eat.

Note: If your dog is a large breed, you may want to reconsider getting a raised-feeder. Because PetMD says that it may cause bloat to dogs.

#6: Your dog’s in pain

Aside from settling down on the floor, does your pooch show any changes in behavior? Like being restless or walking unsteadily?

Dogs don’t usually show they’re in pain. They won’t also complain if something’s not right with their body.

And as their dog parent, it’s important to notice such things. So, if they’re having trouble walking or standing up, there must be something else.


“Aww. Your dog is so cute and chubby!” you might’ve heard this more than once.

Yes. They may look so adorable with those bouncing bellies.

But wait…being fat may also have consequences for your buddy.

“How can you say that a dog is obese?” you might ask.

Well, it depends on their breed and age. They’re considered one if they’re 15% heavier than the ideal weight as per research.

So, the reason why they’re more comfortable to lay down is that their body’s too heavy. And it makes it more difficult for them to get up like before.

Apart from that, obesity can also lead to a lot of medical issues – like osteoarthritis and joint problems. And both of those may also be the cause of this behavior.


This condition is due to the loss of cartilage. Or the tough layer that protects the bones.

If it’s gone, bones will rub against each other. And as a result, those joints will swell and hurt.

As dogs get older, they’re more prone to many illnesses such as this one. And most of them will have troubles in their lower spine and limbs.

Large breeds and obese dogs are more likely to suffer from this. As well as those who are old, had a past injury, or have a parent who’s also affected.

Cruciate ligament injury

This is the result when the tissue that connects the bones in the knee is damaged. It will hurt a lot and affect their ability to walk or get up.

Massive dogs are prone to this as their weight may impair their ligament. But it can also be due to genetics. Or a recent injury in the legs.

Hip dysplasia

This happens when the joints that connect their hips aren’t of the same size. Making them loose and uneven.

Like osteoarthritis, it’s also more common in huge and overweight dogs.

Although you must consider other factors as well. Such as the quality of food and the number of activities you give to your dog every day.

Check if they have any of these symptoms as listed by VCA:

  • Limping.
  • Avoiding stairs.
  • Walking wobbly.
  • Have weak hind legs.
  • Often prefers to sit and lay down.

Neck and back pain

Your dog might be having a hard time lowering their head due to this problem.

A previous injury, wounds, or an infection around the spine might have caused this. And these are the other signs you should look out for:

  • Fever.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Unwilling to eat.
  • Struggling to move their head.
  • Walking slowly and with difficulty.

#7: It’s their age

Old Dog Meme

Do they seem like they’re in great pain too?

There’s a possibility that your dog is considerably old and finds it hard to stand up while eating.

It’s usually a sign of aging. Since their legs might not be as strong enough as before. So getting up these days will be extremely difficult for them.

Lowering their head will also be just as painful. And they would really like it if you skip their daily jogs and playtime.

So, that might be the reason why they prefer to lay down while eating or drinking. Because it puts them more at ease.


Older dogs may also suffer from slipping issues. 

Because of their dry paws, their grip on any surface they’re walking on will be weaker. And this will make getting up so hard.

3 tips on what to do if your dog lays down to eat

#1: Just let them be…

If, and only if, your dog seems happy and healthy, allow them to lay down and relax while they’re doing their thing.

You don’t want to stop them from doing something they enjoy, do you?

Also, only let them be if you’ve observed and confirmed that:

  • Your dog still loves to eat.
  • They didn’t show aggressiveness.
  • Their weight is just right for their age.
  • They can easily stand up and walk straight.
  • There are no changes in their behavior and appearance.
  • Their head and neck can be touched and moved with ease.

#2: Get them in a healthy weight


If you’ve weighed your dog or it’s pretty obvious that they’re on the heavy side, maybe it’s time for some diet.

Well, don’t you worry. You’ll not be going to starve your pooch.

You can just cut out on those treats and snacks and measure every food you’re giving them.

It’s also best to ask your vet first and let them check your dog’s current condition. By doing this, they can give you a new meal plan that’s best suited for them.

Note: If you live with other people, ask them to not give in with those “puppy-eyes.” So they won’t be getting extra nibbles on the side. 

#3: Take them to the vet

Did you notice other symptoms and changes in your dog?

If so, it seems like a medical issue. So better consult your vet immediately before it gets worse.

By doing this, you’ll know if the behavior was due to their old age or an illness. And you’ll also be able to give them proper medication and care.

#BONUS: Train your pups now

Now, does it bother you that your pups are laying down? And that they always seem so hungry and eat very fast?

If that’s the case, you need to do some interventions and training.

Puppies do that because they’re used to competing for food. So they hurry up and always feel wary of the people around them.

If you have many dogs, you can distance them from each other. And feed them one by one.

By doing this, you’re not going to make them scared of not getting enough food. So, fewer worries for your pup!

Also, you can try feeding them using your hand. Make a schedule and only feed them at those times.

Then you can slowly train them to eat in a bowl suited for their needs.

Tip: A shallow bowl is for small and short-snouted dogs. While a deep one is for dogs with long snouts. There are also unique-shaped feeders for those who have long ears.