Did you know that as many as 20 percent of dogs display some form of resource guarding? Food guarding, or food aggression, is one of the most common types of this behavior. A local vet offers some tips on how to handle this issue in this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO animal clinic, serving Louisville, CO and surrounding areas.
Get Fido Fixed
If your canine buddy hasn’t been fixed yet, that really should be the first thing on your agenda. Fido tends to be much less aggressive once the hormonal urges have been resolved.
Dogs almost always do best when they are kept on a steady routine. Feed Fido at the same time every day. His schedule for walks and playtime should also stay as consistent as possible.
Create A Safe Environment
When dealing with any behavioral issue in dogs, it’s important to know where that behavior is coming from. In many cases, food aggression comes from the experience of having to compete for food. If you have more than one pooch, it may be helpful to feed them in separate areas.
The good news is that food aggression can often be resolved, whether through desensitization, training, or simply changing Fido’s feeding routines. Hand feeding can also help Fido feel safer about his dinner, and it’s also good for bonding. Another method that can be useful is dropping treats into your furry pal’s bowl. However, the proper tactic may vary, depending on the severity of the issue. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Know Warning Signs
Growling, lunging, and biting or trying to bite are clear indications of food aggression. However, they aren’t the only ones. You may also see more subtle clues. Fido may raise his hackles, show the whites of his eyes, or tuck his tail between his legs.
Address The Issue
It’s important to understand that food aggression can become dangerous. Larger dogs are of course the bigger risk here, but even a Chihuahua can bite. (Chihuahuas tend to see themselves as full-sized wolves, but that’s another topic.) Because there is an element of aggression involved—hence the name—we recommend getting professional help. Ask your vet or a professional behaviorist for advice.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO animal clinic, serving Louisville, CO and surrounding areas.