If your dog has been leaving food in its bowl, this post will show you likely reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog leave food in its bowl? Likely reasons why your dog leaves food in its bowl are that it is not hungry, it has a mouth injury or that it does not like the food.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog leaves food in its bowl and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog leave food in its bowl?

Below are likely causes and what would make them more likely.

It is not hungry

A likely reason why your dog leaves food in its bowl is that it is not hungry and saving the rest of the food for later. This would be more likely if your dog does not leave food in its bowl when it has not been able to eat in a long time such as first thing in the morning. It might also be a sign that someone has been feeding it their food during the day and it has resulted in your dog not being hungry in the evening.

Injury

Another possible cause is that your dog has a mouth injury or infection. This would be more likely if your dog has started leaving food in its bowl suddenly and if it has been bleeding in the mouth. If this seems likely, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet.

Illness

Another possible cause is that your dog has an illness that has resulted in it not being hungry. This would be more likely if your dog has stopped eating as much suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill such as vomiting a lot or being fatigued. Again, in this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

It does not like the food

It might also be the case that your dog has a problem with the food itself. This would be more likely if your dog has started leaving food since a change in its diet and if there is food that it eats in its entirety.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your dog has always left food in the bowl

If your dog has not always left food in its bowl, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to illness, a mouth injury, a change in what you have been feeding it or someone else giving it their food during the day.

What is different when it does not leave food in its bowl

If your dog does eat all the food sometimes, it would also help to consider what is different when your dog does eat all the food. For example, if it does eat all of it when you feed it different food, it might be the case that it does not like what you are currently feeding it.

What to do about my dog leaving food in its bowl?

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Feed it less often

If you are currently letting your dog have access to food throughout the day, it would likely help to feed your dog less often instead. Doing this should result in your dog eating all the food since it will be hungrier when it comes to feeding time.

Ensure it is getting the right diet

It would also help to make sure that you have not been feeding it too much, that you have been feeding it the right food and that nobody else has been feeding it without you knowing.

Get help

If your dog has been behaving unusually in other ways or it seems to be due to injury or illness, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert help tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out injury or illness as a cause.

This post may contain affiliate links. Petdogowner may be paid a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. This has no effect on the price that you pay and we are very grateful for any support.

Most Recommended For Dogs

Best Dog Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program - If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link.

Best Dog Treats

Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult dogs.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.