Some dog behaviors are funny, some are irritating, and some are a cause for concern. But where does a dog that won’t eat from a bow fall on that spectrum?
What do you do when your dog doesn’t eat from a bowl? If your dog is displaying signs of illness, consult your veterinarian first. After that, try adding food toppers or using a new food bowl. You can also feed them smaller meals or use positive reinforcement.
There are many reasons why your dog won’t eat from a bowl. Sometimes, it’s as simple as your dog following its instincts. Read on to learn more about why your dog won’t eat from its bowl and what to do.
A dog’s instinct is to drag its prey away from others to eat in peace. Because of this, some dogs don’t like to eat with others around.
Additionally, some dogs dislike the sound of metal bowls when they eat out of them. There’s also a chance the dog might not be able to eat comfortably if the bowl is too high or too low. And if you recently changed their food, it can take time to get used to the new formula.
Regardless of why your dog won’t eat from a bowl, there are a few things you can try to resolve the problem.
One of the first things you should do is schedule a visit with your dog’s vet. Studies show that a lack of appetite could be a sign that your dog is in pain. Your vet can run some tests to see if your dog may have health issues keeping them from eating.
For example, your dog may have a blockage. Treating the health issue might encourage your dog to start eating from a bowl again.
Even if your vet doesn’t find anything, seeing the vet is still beneficial. It may give you valuable peace of mind if you learn that your dog doesn’t have a health problem. You’ll know that something else is keeping them from eating, and the vet may give you some suggestions to try.
Changing their eating routine is a good way to get your dog to eat. You can find dog food toppers at a pet store and add some pieces to the top of your dog’s kibble.
The different flavors and smells may motivate your dog to eat from the bowl. You can mix the toppers so your dog won’t just eat the treats without touching the kibble. They’ll have to keep eating to enjoy more of the new flavors.
Another option to try is to get a different food bowl. If your dog currently eats out of a metal bowl, look for a plastic one that won’t make as much noise.
You might also want to look for a mat to put under the bowl to keep it from moving around. Now, it can take time for your dog to adjust to the new bowl.
Switching might not give you instant results. However, your dog may slowly start to eat out of the bowl after a few days.
When looking for a bowl, consider getting a smaller bowl. Instead of feeding your dog twice a day, feed them three times a day, but give them smaller amounts of food each time.
Some dogs can find large bowls of food to be intimidating. Smaller meals may make your dog feel like it can easily finish the food.
If possible, you can also leave out the food bowl all day. Then, your dog can eat whenever they want. Granted, this isn’t the best if you have another dog who will eat all of the food at once. They might eat the other dog’s food as well.
If your dog doesn’t eat from a bowl, it can be tempting to sit with them until they eat. However, this can make your dog feel self-conscious about eating.
You can stay in the room, but try to look away from your dog’s food bowl. Eventually, your dog may start to eat. If that doesn’t work, you might need to leave the area.
That way, your dog will have the privacy they seek to eat and enjoy their food.
If your dog has had a scary experience while eating from a bowl, such as a sudden thunderclap, it may associate the bowl with the thunder and refuse to eat from it.
Consider what may have happened in that home if your dog had prior owners. You might not get to learn the specifics, but you can ask the shelter or previous owner about the dog’s history.
In this case, changing the dog bowl and your dog’s food removes any negative associations from the past. You can also try feeding your dog in a different room of the house.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Regardless of what you do, remember when your dog eats from a bowl. You can offer positive reinforcement in the form of treats or praise.
Over time, your dog can start to associate eating with getting attention. Offering praise might encourage your dog to eat from the bowl when it understands that you see it as good behavior.