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Scatter Feeding for Dogs: A Natural and Relaxing Way to Feed Your Canine Companion

Are you looking for a way to make feeding time more fun and interesting for your canine companion? If so, scatter feeding might be just what you need!

Scatter feeding is a simple and effective way to feed your dog, which involves scattering small amounts of food around your home or garden, encouraging your dog to use their sense of smell and practice natural behaviour and scentwork.

What is Scatter Feeding?

Scatter feeding is the act of scattering your dog's food around your home or garden, rather than feeding them from a bowl. The aim of scatter feeding is to encourage your dog to use their sense of smell and search for their food, just as they would in the wild. Scatter feeding also helps to slow down your dog's eating, which can be beneficial for their digestion and overall health.

Scatter feeding is a form of scentwork, which is an activity that involves using your dog's sense of smell to find hidden objects or treats. Scentwork can be a fun and rewarding activity for dogs, as it allows them to use their natural abilities and provides mental stimulation.

How to Get Started with Scatter Feeding?

To get started with scatter feeding, you'll need to make sure you have enough space for your canine companion to search for their food. You can scatter their food indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference and the weather conditions. Start by scattering small amounts of kibble or treats in different areas of your home or garden, encouraging your dog to use their nose to find the food.

Benefits of Scatter Feeding

Scatter feeding offers many benefits for your canine companion, including:

  1. Encourages natural behaviour and scentwork: Scatter feeding allows your dog to practice natural behaviors, such as sniffing and searching for food. This helps to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated, which can improve their overall wellbeing. It also helps to develop their scentwork abilities.

  2. Slows down eating: Eating too quickly can lead to digestive issues and other health problems. Scatter feeding helps to slow down your dog's eating, which can improve their digestion and reduce the risk of choking.

  3. Promotes relaxation: Searching for food is a natural and relaxing activity for dogs. Scatter feeding can help to reduce your dog's anxiety and promote relaxation, especially if they are prone to stress or anxiety.

Dropping a few small treats on walks can be a great way to help your dog relax and enjoy their time outdoors. This technique can be particularly helpful if your dog is nervous or anxious when out on walks. By dropping small treats on the ground, you can create positive associations with being outside and provide a distraction for your dog. It also encourages your dog to use their natural scavenging instincts, which can be mentally stimulating and enjoyable for them.


Scatter feeding is a fun and natural way to feed your canine companion and promote their scentwork abilities. By scattering their food around your home or garden, you can encourage your dog to use their sense of smell and practice natural behaviour. Scatter feeding offers many benefits, including improved digestion, mental stimulation, and relaxation. So why not give it a try and see how your canine companion enjoys their new feeding routine!

About NICE

The National Institute for Canine Ethics is a membership-based organisation that promotes ethical and humane treatment of dogs. NICE is ABTC and UK Dog Charter Accredited.

By joining, members show their commitment to upholding high standards for dog care and welfare. The institute offers two free webinars each month, covering a range of topics related to canine health and behaviour, to provide members with ongoing education and support. If you are passionate about dogs and want to make a difference in their lives, the National Institute of Canine Ethics is a great community to be a part of.

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