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Why does my dog sit to eat?

If your dog is undergoing training, it is possible that it will pick new behaviors. As such, there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if your dog suddenly starts eating while seated, it can be confusing. Should you be concerned when you notice your dog eating while seated? What answer are you supposed to give to your friends and neighbors when they ask about this awkward behavior? Probably they have some health issues, or they are just OK and nothing to be worried about.

To help you understand the cause of the sudden behavior of your four-legged friend, we have prepared this detailed article. It will answer this and many other possible questions that might be worrying you concerning your dog. Read this article to the end and understand why your dog’s eating and sitting behavior.

Why Does My Dog Sit To Eat?

Does your dog eat while seated? Why does my dog sit to eat? Like reasons why your dog sits to eat are associated with health issues like having stomach problems, sore legs, or back pain. If none of the medical issues stood up, it might be a matter of comfort, and there should be nothing to be worried about.


It is possible that your dog eats while seated because it is comfortable that way. It might not be regular behavior, but dogs usually do what they enjoy. Dogs are creatures of habits and will try to build a habit that is most suitable for them, which might include sitting down while eating. Thus, in this case, it can be a matter of personal preference and nothing to be concerned about.


If your dog is undergoing training, it may pick some behaviors that might seem awkward to you. These behaviors might include sitting while eating. If this behavior becomes a norm, then your dog is comfortable and is enjoying its new habit. Similarly, if you are training your dog to sit before eating, it may be new behavior resulting from adhering to the training. The behavior might continue for a while and then stop, or it can develop to become permanent behavior.

Health issues

 A sudden change of behavior in your dog, including sitting while eating, can result in health problems. Your dog may be distressed. Some health issues that may cause distress include back pain, leg sores, or stomachaches, among others. When seated, does it express signs of discomfort? Observe closely to understand if it has health problems. If you cannot determine the cause of such behavior, visit the veterinarian for a medical checkup. The vet will examine internal and external health factors that could have led to the sudden change of behavior in your dog. If all health issues are ruled out, sit back and relax as your dog is perfectly fine.

The height of the bowl

How tall is your dog? Generally, tall dogs are not supposed to eat from a bowl on the ground when seated. If your dog is one of those tall breeds, his behavior could be attributed to this physical structure. As it stretches to reach the food bowl, this could cause some level of discomfort. In this case, try elevating the bowl level so that your dog can comfortably reach its food.


When does your dog sit to eat? Is it after a long walk or after training? Your dog might be sitting down to eat because it has been a long day and needs to rest. If it only sits to eat after such tiresome activities, then it is possible that your dog is just tired and has nothing to worry about.

Old Age

How old is your dog? If your dog is getting older, it might become difficult to remain standing while eating. This could be why they just started this behavior suddenly as he ages; its strength is fully drained, and he cannot stand anymore.

Why Does My Dog Sit Down To Drink?

Similar to sitting while eating, your dog might drink while seated for the following reasons.

Natural behavior

It is a common behavior for domesticated canine animals to sit while drinking. Wild dogs are always on the move and have no time to sit down to drink; however, for a domesticated dog, they are relaxed and are not in a hurry to hunt for food as the master provides it. As a result, they will usually sit down and eat their food.


It is possible for your dog to sit down to drink because it is lazy. Some dogs are born lazy, while others become lazy over time. For instance, the bullmastiff and the English bulldog are generally born lazy. They will eat and drink while seated. Thus, if your dog is one of such lazy dogs, there is nothing to be worried about. However, if it is a sudden behavior, consult with the veterinarian as it could be health-related.


It is possible that training is to blame for the sudden change of behavior in your dog. If you always train your dog to sit down so that you can reward it with food or water, they might misinterpret this to mean that sitting is necessary whenever the dog eats or drinks, and hence results in sitting whenever they drink. In this case, there is nothing to worry about, allow it to continue with its behavior, and with time, it might stop or permanently adopt it if it deems it comfortable eating and drinking.

Health problems

Some health issues can lead your dog to start drinking while sitting. One of the common issues could be arthritis. About 25% of the canine family gets affected by this disease at one point in their life. It causes pain in the legs, resulting in mobility issues. If you notice your jovial dog has stopped jumping up and down or no longer likes long walks after a whole day sitting in the house, arthritis could be affecting its mobility.

Another health-related issue could be that it is experiencing trouble swallowing. Diseases like myasthenia can make swallowing more difficult and even cause fatigue. This will result in the dog sitting down whenever it is drinking. It is best to visit a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is It OK For My Dog To Sit And Eat?

Yes, it is OK for your dog to sit and eat, and there should be nothing to worry about. However, if, for a minute, you think your dog’s behavior is attributed to health problems, it is best to visit the veterinarian for a full diagnosis. When is it OK for your dog to sit while eating?


Just like human beings, dogs have their favorite position while eating. If your dog sits down while eating, it could be a matter of preference as it is its comfortable position; in this case, there should be nothing to worry about. It is OK behavior and should be encouraged. Let your dog enjoy its comfort zone.


Is your dog undergoing some dog training? Is it possible that it is getting confused, making it  sit every time it has its meal? Some training can be confusing. For instance, if you are always instructing your dog to sit before a meal, it might mean that it has to sit down every other time while eating or drinking. You can correct this behavior early or let it be, and it will stop with time. As such, it is OK for your dog to sit while eating.

Height of the bowel

Where do you place the dog bows? How tall is your dog? If your dog is tall, it can be challenging to eat or drink from the ground while standing. This is because it can be filtered into the bed to the bowl. As a result, it might result in sitting down. In this case, it is OK for your dog to eat while sitting. However, you can promote its comfortability by considering raising the bowl’s level if you want to stop it from sitting while eating.

Old age

How old is your dog? If your dog is getting old, it is likely to start sitting down while eating as it does not have enough energy to remain standing for long. As such, setting down to eat in this case is OK, and you should not be worried about a sudden change of behavior.


If your dog is tired, it is OK for it to eat while sitting down. It is important to determine what the dog was doing before eating. Has it just arrived from a long walk or tough training? If this is the case, it is possible that your dog is tired and would like some rest. However, since it is hungry at the same time, it might end up eating while seated.

It is sick

Is it possible that your dog has some health issues? If your dog is hurting, either its legs have sores or has some backaches, it is OK to sit while eating. However, it is advisable to have it checked by a veterinarian and have proper treatment.

What to Do About My Dog Sitting Down To Eat?

Take it to the vet

One of the reasons why your dog is eating while seated is because it is sick. It is best to have it checked by a veterinary for all health problems causing discomfort. It might be given pain killers to reduce pain and other curative medicine. After a while, your dog will be back on its feet, and it will start eating again while standing.

Avoid feeding your dog immediately after a tiresome day.

If this behavior is really bothering you and your dog usually eats while seated after a tiresome day, you can avoid feeding it immediately. After that long walk or strenuous exercise, allow your dog to cool down and relax for a few hours before feeding. This will provide ample time to relax and recover the energy necessary to support its standing while eating.

Elevate its bowl

The height of the dog and the bowl’s position is another reason that makes your dog eat while sitting. Some breeds are just tall, and if your dog is in this category and its bowl is always on the floor, that might be the reason why it sits. To resolve this problem, try placing it at a higher level. This will ensure that it does not strain itself by bedding over its food. If the bowl is almost at the same level as the dog, there will be no reason to eat while sitting.

Allow it to sit down.

If your dog sits down while eating due to old age, there is probably not much of a solution in this case. The only thing is to try and make it as comfortable as possible while eating. No matter how annoying the behavior might be annoying to you, this calls for greater understanding.


Dogs are very good at obeying their master’s instructions. If this behavior of eating while sitting is annoying and you cannot tolerate it, offer your dog proper training. You could hire a professional trainer or train them yourself. For instance, you can instruct it to stand and then tell it to eat and punish it whenever it sits down. With proper training, your dog will completely abandon the behavior and eat while standing.

Factors to Consider When Determining Why Your Dog Eats While Sitting

When did your dog start eating while seated?

Determining when the dog started the behavior is essential in determining the cause. Is it regular or occasional behavior? Also, was it a sudden change, or has it developed over time? Answering such questions will assist you in understanding the reason for its behavior change.

Has there been a change in behavior other than eating while seated?

 It is essential to determine other possible changes that might have occurred. This will help you establish a correlation and possibly establish the cause and, ultimately, the solution.