Dog Won’t Eat From Bowl But Will From Hand! (Explained!)

A dog’s eating habits are often unique and it’s important to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Unfortunately, it is possible some dogs are not going to be as easy to feed as others. This can happen for several reasons and it becomes important for you to get to the bottom of what’s going on. This includes asking, what are the reasons for why a dog won’t eat from bowl but will from hand?

Some dogs won’t eat from a bowl but will from your hand because they associate you with safety. This can happen if a dog is hand-fed consistently at a young age. They will develop a habit and assume eating from anywhere else including a food bowl is bad or unsafe.

You will have to work on this with the dog to make sure it does get better. Otherwise, the dog will continue to want to be hand-fed.

If you are in this type of situation, it is time to look at why a dog won’t eat from bowl but will from hand. This guide will provide some of the reasons for why a dog won’t eat from a food bowl.

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Reasons for Why A Dog Won’t Eat From Bowl But Will From Hand

1. Links Hand With Safety

If a dog only eats from your hand, this means it is linking the hand with safety.

They assume being fed from your hand is going to make sure the food is safe. They will begin to use this as a verification of what they are eating and how much they are eating too.

Dogs are smart animals and they will know what works best for them. This is why hand-feeding a dog has to be controlled on your part or it will get to this stage as the dog gets used to it.

A lot of people make this mistake and it happens at a young age with dogs.

This is why you are going to have to slowly wean the dog off of this type of feeding method. Hand-feeding a dog at home is okay for a bit but it will become dangerous when you don’t have the ability to give them food. They need to be self-sufficient to some extent and that starts by training them to eat from a food bowl.

dog won't eat from bowl but will from hand

2. Developed Habit

You will have to take the time to work on the dog’s habit of being hand-fed.

Some dogs are just going to get used to eating from your hands and that is the reason they will refuse to eat from a food bowl. It just works better for them because they are used to the routine.

Dogs do like routines, so you are going to get them used to something that isn’t always ideal.

Lots of dogs can start developing habits, which can include hand-feeding. It can take a few weeks or months to get them to stop behaving like this with a concerted effort on your part.

This is precisely why you have to get the dog used to eating from a bowl quickly.

The longer you delay this, the harder it is going to be wean the dog off of being hand-fed.

dog won't eat from bowl but will from hand

3. Unsafe Food Bowl

This is rare but it is quite possible depending on the food bowl.

If you are using an older food bowl, it might have broken down and/or developed mold. This can cause the dog to not want to eat from it.

A food bowl that is laced with something and/or is broken might scare the dog away. This is common with older dog bowls making it important to change them regularly.

You will want to inspect the dog’s food bowl to see whether or not it is in good condition.

If not, then it is time to change things up to the best of your ability. You should be changing the dog’s food bowl regularly for this reason.

Related Questions

1. Why Won’t My Dog Eat From My Hand?

Some dogs don’t like eating from a person’s hand because they want to earn the treat. This means they want to walk up to it and grab the treat from the ground or out of a bowl. While other dogs may not want to be hand-fed because they don’t trust you or your scent.

2. Should You Feed Your Dog By Hand?

There is nothing wrong with feeding your dog by hand. However, it’s important to train the dog to eat from all sources including out of a food bowl to make sure they don’t become reliant on hand-feeding.

Final Thoughts

These are the reasons for why a dog won’t eat from bowl but will from hand.

Whether it has to do with safety or having a routine, it is important to look at all of your options. This is what you need to do as a dog owner.

Here’s more on dogs – tips for withholding water from dog at night, using the right dog harness, providing white beans to a dog, and using a great dog crate for home.