If your dog won’t eat out of their bowl anymore, it’s likely due to one of the following reasons: The food has changed, the bowl is dirty, you got a new bowl, they were startled while eating. Placing a few treats in their bowl should train them to eat out of their bowl again.
Ask yourself the following questions: Was there a change in food? Is it a new food bowl or mat? Did you recently change the location of the bowl? When was the last time you cleaned the bowl?
One day, your dog decides they don’t like the idea of eating out of the bowl anymore. They take their food out of the bowl to eat it, making a mess on your floor, or they stop eating their food altogether.
There are many reasons dogs stop eating out of their bowls. More often than not, there’s nothing to worry about. Once you can pinpoint the cause, you will be able to fix the problem and have them eating out of their bowl again.
What You'll Learn
Change in Dog Food
A dog would refuse to eat out of its bowl because of a change in food. Your dog may not like the new food you’re giving them, whether it’s the flavor, texture, or how it makes them feel.
Even if your dog likes the food, a sudden switch in food can cause them to get an upset stomach. This is particularly common with senior dogs who are on the new food for health reasons.
Dogs will sometimes refuse to eat even if they like the new food; it’s not uncommon for them to gradually adjust over time and start eating again.
If your dog doesn’t improve within two days, call your vet for help immediately, as your dog may have an illness causing the loss of appetite.
When changing your dog’s food—whether the brand of food or just the flavor—you should slowly introduce it to them. Not only is this a better way to transition them to the taste and texture of the new food, but it is also better for their digestion.
Don’t throw away the new food just because your dog doesn’t want to eat it right away. Instead, try mixing just a little of the new food with your dog’s favorite food first, then increase the amount of the new food you give them.
If your dog still refuses to eat the food, then it might be time to try another brand or type of food. Be sure you consult with your vet and read the dog food label before changing foods, especially if you know or suspect a health issue is involved.
If all else fails and you can’t get them to eat, give canned dog food a try. Dogs often love eating canned food just as much as we do!
However, you should only feed them canned foods until they start eating regular kibble again; while canned foods are very healthy and safe for long-term use, it does not provide everything dogs need in their diet and would not serve as a suitable meal replacement or supplement while switching back and forth between different types of foods.
A New Food Bowl or Feeding Mat
Another reason your dog may have stopped eating out of its bowl is a change in the food bowl or mat that your dog no longer likes.
Dogs can be picky, especially if they’ve gotten accustomed to where they eat. Maybe your new bowl smells funny, or the mat feels strange to your dog.
It may take a little time for your dog to get used to the new bowl or mat. Try to feed your dog near the new mat first, then try moving it closer so they get used to it.
If the bowl is making a funny noise as your pup is eating, that could also be why they aren’t eating out of it. The sound may be annoying your dog enough that they no longer want to eat because of it.
Make sure there’s nothing in the way of them getting to and from their mat or bowl. You may also try switching bowls or mats around if you notice there’s something wrong with them, like cracks in them or strange odors. That could be what’s keeping your dog away from their food, and maybe they’ll come back to it if there’s something different about where they eat.
Sometimes it’s all down to where you’re feeding your pup. If you’ve moved the bowl to a new location, this is likely the reason they stopped eating out of the bowl.
Maybe your dog preferred the privacy they had before you moved the bowl, or maybe there’s something in that area that the dog doesn’t like now. Perhaps you have multiple dogs, and now they can’t eat in peace, away from each other.
Try moving the bowl to a different area and see if your dog will start eating out of its bowl again. However, make sure you consider why your dog isn’t eating before making drastic changes, as it could be due to stress or illness rather than location.
If you think there is nothing wrong with where you’ve placed the dog bowl, look at all the new additions since you got your pet. New floors or walls, or pieces of furniture could deter dogs from wanting to eat in certain places. This is because they don’t recognize these new objects as safe enough for meals yet.
Negative Experience With The Bowl
One explanation for a dog’s refusal to eat from a particular bowl is a negative association with that bowl. Dogs, like humans, have memories and associations with specific objects. For example, if your pup was recently sick after eating from their food dish, they might associate being fed from that dish with being ill and will refuse to eat there as a result.
The best way to combat such an association is by retraining your dog to associate the dish with positive feelings instead of negative ones.
This can be done by placing something positively enticing in the bowl each time you feed them. For example, try putting small treats or peanut butter in their dish, so they associate it with great tasting food rather than something revolting.
Once your dog gets used to associating these tasty treats with their feeding station, you can begin putting actual dog food back into it again.
If you think that might be too much work just to get your dog to use its original bowl again, then perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. Dog bowls are relatively cheap. Get a new one you think they’ll like and doesn’t make any strange noises.
The Bowl is Dirty
If your dog has stopped eating from their dish, there is a chance it’s because it is dirty and simply needs to be washed. It may be covered with food or water, have an odor they don’t like, or have old food on there that is not appealing to them.
To make sure your dog continues to enjoy their meals, make sure you regularly wash and sanitize the dish. You may also try cleaning it with lemon juice or vinegar. Just be sure to thoroughly wash it after to get rid of the scent.
It’s also good practice to wash the dog bowl every day, even if it doesn’t look dirty. The term “licking the bowl clean” doesn’t mean the bowl is “clean.” The bowl may have leftover food and saliva from your dog that will start smelling over time. Keep your dog’s bowl fresh, so they want to keep eating out of it.
Retrain Your Dog To Eat Out of The Bowl
Dogs are just like people in that they can develop many weird habits. If your pup has suddenly started refusing to use their bowl, you may wonder if they’re sick or if something else is going on.
Fortunately, it’s often easier than you think to retrain your dog back into using its dish. Here are a few tips for getting it done:
- Move the bowl to a different area or different room
- Wash the bowl thoroughly
- Use a different bowl and/or mat.
- Change the food you’re feeding them
Dogs typically develop preferences about where they like to eat and drink, so it’s essential to think about what your dog likes. For example, do they prefer to eat on their own, away from people and other pets? If you’re unsure about your dog’s preferences, supervise their feeding times to understand when your dog will and won’t eat out of its bowl.
It’s also helpful to keep your dog’s feeding area relatively free of clutter so that they can find their dish easily. Finally, remember that patience is key! If your pup just isn’t interested in eating at first, don’t give up—try again later or set out a few treats for them the next time you fill the dish.
Sometimes dogs will eat only one part of their meal out of boredom, so give them lots of toys and bones while making sure not to fill up on treats too much as that will ultimately decrease the amount of food eaten during dinner time!
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