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Why Does My Dog Leave One Piece of Food? 4 Reasons & What to Do

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on April 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

Why Does My Dog Leave One Piece of Food? 4 Reasons & What to Do

Animals exhibit a lot of perplexing behavior that we don’t understand. One of the most curious behaviors you might notice in your dog is leaving one kernel of food in their bowl when they are done eating. Since your dog can’t use words to tell us why they are doing so, we have to make an educated guess as to why he is doing that.

Keep reading to find four reasons your pup could be leaving a single morsel of food at the end of every meal.

The 4 Reasons Why Your Dog Leaves One Piece of Food

1. They Are Conserving Food

Your dog may leave one morsel of food in their bowl to conserve food. This could be a behavior carried over by your dog’s ancestors. The general idea is that if they save a little bit of food from their meal, they’ll have something to eat the next day.

Dogs have an instinct to conserve food because they don’t always have easy access to food in the wild. Your dog’s ancestors may have habitually conserved food to ensure that they’ll always have food to return to and won’t go hungry.

You might also notice your dog carrying his food to other areas of your home and storing it for later use. This behavior has been genetically ingrained in them from their wild ancestors. When wild dogs hid their food, they always knew they’d have something readily available for eating if they didn’t have a good hunting day.

Havanese dog eating
Image by: Boryana Manzurova, Shutterstock

2. They Don’t Want an Empty Bowl

Your dog might leave a kernel of food in their bowl simply because they don’t like seeing an empty bowl.

It may be that your dog has started to associate hunger with an empty bowl. By leaving a little bit of food in their bowl at the end of the meal, they won’t be able to make that association.

Dogs can also sometimes be afraid of their reflection staring back at them from a stainless-steel bowl. If this is the case with your pooch, leaving one piece of food in their bowl will make it difficult for them to see their reflection.

3. They Are Not Hungry

Another potential reason for leaving a piece of food in the bowl is that they are no longer hungry. Many dogs can self-regulate and know to stop eating when they’re satiated, even if that means leaving one single kibble left over. This may be a more likely scenario if you’re offering too much food. Try giving your dog a slightly smaller portion at their next meal to see if they will eat everything.

Dog not eating
Image by: Pixabay

4. They Don’t See It

Finally, the fourth and final reason your dog is leaving one piece of food in their bowl may just be that they can’t see it. Many dogs are unable to see down because their nose and snout are in the way, blocking their view. This blind spot can make it difficult for your dog to see toys, treats, or his food—even if it’s literally right under their nose.

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Final Thoughts

Dogs exhibit a lot of strange behaviors, and leaving a single morsel of food behind in their bowl is one of those things we may never completely understand.

If you’re noticing that your dog begins leaving more and more food in his bowl at the end of their meals, you may want to make an appointment with your vet. Any changes in appetite should be assessed to confirm there isn’t something more serious going on with your pup’s health.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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