Dogaspet is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.

How To Stop Dog From Scavenging At Home (Complete Guide)


How To Stop Dog From Scavenging At Home

Owning a dog is a huge responsibility and it involves knowing what’s best for your companion in every way possible. While they’re fun to have around the house, dogs can be quite reckless. This is especially the case when they develop a taste of scavenging and eating things they shouldn’t.

“How do I stop my dog from scavenging” is just one of the many questions you’ll get especially if you have a playful puppy in your hands.

Table of contents

How To Get My Dog To Stop Eating Everything

Some dogs really love to eat every food and every thing within their line of sight. While this may seem like a minor annoyance at first, scavenging could result in a variety of physical and behavioral problems.

Consider this – what if you develop for eating everything on sight? Dirt, branches, and even things that are bad for you? Think of the medical bills. Here are a few tips on how you can stop your dog from eating everything.

Provide a Nutritious and Balanced Diet

Provide a Nutritious and Balanced Diet

Establish a regular feeding schedule for your dog and stick to it. Avoid leaving food out all day as free feeding can encourage scavenging behavior. Measure out appropriate portions for each meal to prevent overeating.

Giving your dog the nutrition and diet it needs is one way of keeping their mouths satisfied.. If your dog is well-fed and satisfied with their regular meals, it may be less inclined to scavenge for food elsewhere.

The diet of your dog will depend on its size and how much energy it spends per day. While there’s no exact way to determine the perfect diet for your dog, it’s good to consult with a veterinarian about this.

Remove Access to Inappropriate Items

Remove Access to Inappropriate Items

Keep your dog’s environment clean and free from items that they may be tempted to eat. Store food securely disposes of the trash properly, and keep household items or non-food items that may be dangerous or tempting to your dog out of their reach.

If you’re going outside for a long time, make sure to leave your dog its favorite toy. Giving them a toy that’s very hard to destroy is a good way of keeping them busy. Dog toys are made from various materials so test each one out first.

If their mouths are busy, you don’t have to worry about scavenging at all.

Supervision and Training

Supervision and Training

Whether it’s within the confines of your home or in new environments, you need to keep an eye out for your pup. Once they’re trained and disciplined enough to avoid scavenging, then you can be less attentive.

One way to correct their behavior early on is by saying commands like “leave” or “no” whenever they try to scavenge. Reward them with a treat or even a belly rub if they follow.

Try not to scold or punish your dog if they ever scavenge. It’s very unlikely that they know the reason behind the punishment. In worst-case scenario, they develop anxiety.

The key to correcting a dog’s language is by being consistent. Dogs can be very hard-headed when it comes to learning new things but with enough repetition, they’ll every lesson into a nice habit.


Environmental Enrichment

Environmental Enrichment

Experts recommend walking your dog at least twice a day, 30-45 minutes each (1). The more energy you take away from them, the less they’ll scavenge!

Provide your dog with plenty of physical exercises and mental stimulation to reduce boredom and anxiety, which can contribute to scavenging behavior. Offer puzzle toys, and interactive feeders, and engage in regular play and training sessions to keep their minds engaged.


Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s scavenging behavior persists despite your efforts, consider consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist for further guidance and assistance in addressing the issue.

This is a last resort though. Make sure to try all of the steps above before tagging in the Cesar Milan of your area.

Why Do Dogs Love To Scavenge?

Now that you know how to control they’re scavenging habits, let’s talk about why they scavenge in the first place. In truth, their curiosity is just one of the reasons why they develop this habit. It can be caused by a lot of factors, including some that you should be concerned about.

Instinctual Behavior

Instinctual Behavior

Dogs, like their wild ancestors, have an inherent instinct to scavenge for food. Because they’re so adept at hunting and scavenging, dogs were eventually tamed by our ancestors to help with finding food. 

Some species of prehistoric canine evolved to become the lovable companions we have at home. While their physique and appearance have changed, they’re scavenging nature stuck with them still.


Dogs get bored or anxious just like us. If they are not mentally or physically stimulated enough, they may resort to scavenging for food as a way to cope with their emotions or alleviate what they’re feeling.


With all the energy they spend throughout the day, it’s no surprise that dogs get peckish from time to time. Unlike us, however, they can’t exactly from Uber Eats, can they? 

Once dogs become hungry, their instincts will kick in and they will try to look for food wherever they can. Be it scraps in your garbage bin or inedible objects on your loan, they’ll eat it so long as it keeps their tummy full.

Actually, dogs will still scavenge for food even when they’re full. It’s what instinct dictates after all. Their strong sense of smell makes it so easy for them to find food even from a distance.

Why Is It Important To Stop Them From Scavenging?

Scavenging behavior is annoying for us pet owners but it’s dangerous for our dogs. There are lots of reasons to stop your dog from scavenging but here are the most important ones:

Ingestion of Harmful Substances

Ingestion of Harmful Substances

Dogs may come across various items while scavenging. We’re talking about spoiled food, non-food items, garbage, and even chocolate! Needless to say, these are things that can cause serious problems for your dog both short-term and long-term. 

In some cases, it can even lead to fatal consequences.

If you think your dog has ingested something that it shouldn’t have, make sure to pay a visit to the vet as soon as you can. Dogs can go for years without showing any signs of gastrointestinal problems but a closer look will reveal that their stomachs are full of bad things.

Risk of Accidents or Injuries

Believe us when we say that dogs will try to bite anything they can get their jaws on if they’re hungry. In some cases, they can fracture their tooth if they bite on something hard like a rock. 

Fractured teeth can result in unbearable pain and infection for your dog. If an extraction is needed, then your dog will have a harder time eating in the future.

Dogs have a stronger bite than humans. Despite this, their teeth are actually weaker than ours and are more prone to fracturing. The enamel on their teeth is 6 times thinner than ours.

Risk of Accidents or Injuries

Aside from this, dogs will scavenge food even in dangerous areas. At home, they could ingest sharp objects in your garage or in the kitchen. This behavior can also bring them to open roads, construction sites, and more. Lots of dogs have been lost due to the fact that they were looking for food and got lost.

Lastly, dogs are also prone to coming across other scavengers while they’re looking for food. Wild animals like raccoons skunks, and other dogs are serious threats to your dog’s safety. Scavengers can be very aggressive so your dog could get into a fight with them.

Behavioral Issues

What most don’t know is that scavenging leads to behavioral problems too. Dogs that have scavenging habits develop food and resource guarding, possessiveness, and aggression. 

Dogs with this problem aren’t just aggressive towards other animals or pets inside your home, they can turn their aggression towards you as well – but they don’t mean to.

Stopping Your Dog’s Scavenging Behavior Is A Must

Scavenging might run through the veins of your dog’s prehistoric ancestors but that doesn’t mean they need to have the habit too. Proper training and attentiveness on your end are more than enough to keep your dog from scavenging.

Preventing this isn’t just good for your dog. It’s also one way to keep your dog by your side for a long long time.

Written by

Tim Smith
With years of experience writing about dogs, this author is a go-to source for insights on the furry friends. A lover of all animals, this writer's work has been published in many respected publications.
The Ideal Dog Routine Written By Vet
Add Years to Your Dog's Life With Our Free E-book!

Not only does this routine build their confidence and reduce the likelihood of behavioral disorders, but it can also result in a longer, healthier life!