Dog Lays Down to Eat: What it Really Means

You’ve noticed that your dog lays down to eat? Is this natural behavior or does it point to something that you need to be concerned about? We take a deep dive into this issue and look at the possible reasons why your dog could be doing this.

In short, Your dog laying down to eat can be due to a number of factors. It is a natural posture that was inherited from its ancestral lineage and is a healthy way of eating.

The concern comes when your dog has been eating in a standing position before but recently started laying down to eat. In this article, we will look at all the possibilities and what to do if it’s cause for concern.

What Does it Mean if Your Dog Lays Down While Eating?

Naturally, a dog is meant to eat its food laying down. This is an instinctive protective and watchful position that dogs in the wild take in order to protect their prey and watch out for any other predator that may want to steal their food.

The dog would naturally put its prey between its paws in a lying-down position and eat from there. In this position, the jaws, head, and spine are all aligned in such a way that there is minimal strain on the dog’s muscles.

If your dog has always taken this position, there is no need for concern and you should actually be pleased that your dog eats this way naturally in light of all the benefits just highlighted.

If, on the other hand, this is a behavior which you have recently seen your dog taking up, there could be a number of reasons why this is happening.

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The first reason is that your dog is simply tired from an active day and is simply resting. This is common, especially as dog’s age.

They find this position more comfortable than eating from a standing position and there really isn’t much more to it. Another, more concerning reason could be that your dog is in some sort of pain or discomfort.

You need to make sure that you watch them for any signs that they might be in discomfort. If the discomfort continues over two to three days you need to visit the vet to make sure that the problem is diagnosed and taken care of.

Is it Good for Dogs to Eat Lying Down?

There are a lot of advantages that your dog derives from eating while laying down as already mentioned in this article. It is actually the best position for him to eat in.

When a dog bends down to eat, a lot of pressure is put on its muscles and because of the way the upper and lower jaws operate, there will be an imbalance between the flexor and extender muscles in that area as well as along the spine and in the legs.

This weakens these muscles and when it happens over an extended period of time, your dog will begin to develop some health issues which will affect its posture and gradually cause pain and other related ailments.

This is the point when your dog may start to lie down when it’s time to eat because the pressure on their bodies is now too much for them and eating from a lying down position is best.

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This issue will affect larger dogs more than it will smaller ones because smaller dogs are closer to the ground and experience less strain than their larger counterparts.

For this reason, some specialists recommend elevated feeding bowls which allow the dog’s shoulders to be at the same level as the feeding bowls thereby significantly limiting the amount of pressure that the dog experiences. Another thing that is associated with this is bloating. One of the Best Elevated feeding bowls is by Pet Zone Designer (Check Current Price on Amazon)

Though there is a vicious debate around this issue, there are those that believe that there is merit to it. The argument is that when a dog eats with its heads down, it is in an unnatural position and it leads to bloating.

The most agreed-upon cause of bloating though is when dogs engage in activity soon after eating. This school of thought states that there is no proven link between bloating and dogs eating from a standing position.

To counter the effects of bloating, you need to make sure that your dog is not active for at least 30 minutes to an hour after eating a meal.

There are some props that you can use to occupy your dog after meals. Bloating can seem like a minor issue but in dogs, it can lead to serious discomfort which.

What To Do If My Dog Lays Down to Eat

For all intents and purposes, it is ideal for your dog to eat while laying down as long as it is a habit that they have always had. If they are a puppy doing this, there also isn’t cause for concern. The problem arises when an older dog starts doing this out of the blue.

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At this point, you need to be monitoring them closely to make sure that they do not have any health issues that you need to be concerned about.

I’ve already mentioned that a major cause could be that your dog is just tired. This can happen due to a lot of activity during the course of the day leading to tiredness when it’s mealtime.

It could also mean that age is catching up with your faithful companion and muscle or joint pain is catching up with them.

A more concerning issue could be that your dog is suffering from some serious pain or is sick to the point of not being able to stand while eating. If you observe that this continues for a couple of days or so, make sure to take your dog to the vet and have him checked out.


Though there may be a need for concern when your dog lays down to eat, there are more advantages to your dog taking this natural position when they eat.

As a matter of fact, you want to encourage it as much as possible so that you promote good posture and prevent possible health issues as your dog ages.

A good practice is to give your dog a bone to chew on or a chewy toy that they can play with. Not only does this promote the natural feeding position but it also helps to strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums.

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