It can be very confusing when you give your dog its food, and it just stares. But before worrying too much, did you know dogs are like humans? They can be picky, they can be allergic to the bowl material, or they could be sick. All these are some of the reasons your dog could be staring at its food.

Therefore, it is essential to observe when it happens and how frequently it happens. But above all things, if you notice this behavior happening frequently, it is best to rule out sickness first. Then, visit the veterinarian for diagnosis before deciding on the next best course of action. 

Why Does My Dog Stare At His Food?

Dental problems

When your dog has dental issues, it becomes challenging to chew and swallow the food. In most cases, if you detect a bad breath emerging from your dog’s mouth, there is a possibility of a cavity. You can take a look inside, but it can be challenging to see the broken tooth. Thus, the best thing is to take it to the vet for a professional checkup and guidance.

Allergic to the bowl material

Did you know that dogs have allergies? It is a common problem among dogs, more than you might think. For example, some dogs are allergic to plastic or ceramic bowls. The allergy usually affects lip and nose infections, resulting in discoloration of the lighting of pigments. Thus, the dog will associate the pain with the bowl and end up staring at the food. So, for example, if you serve your dog in plastic material and refuse to eat, but when you put the food in another bowl, it eats, it is a sign it is allergic to that type of bowl.

Does not want to eat alone

Believe it or not, dogs feel lonely. If the dog always feeds alone, it can become lonely and boycott eating until another pet, or you start eating. Try and understand its stare and develop a mechanism to resolve the issue. For example, you can try eating at the same time with your dog to eliminate the feeling of loneliness. You can also bring a new pet so that they can always feed together, eliminating boredom.

It is picky

Dogs have their favorite meals, and if you change, they might sniff and walk away. However, they seat around staring at the bowl, waiting for you to put something else. Understand your dog’s eating preferences and maintain consistency. If you have offered your dog a meal that it has never eaten and despite being hungry, it stares, it is a great sign they are picky.

Another pet or dog stare 

Does your dog stare at its food? Could you have recently brought a new pet or dog into the house? It can be emotionally disturbing for a dog to eat while being stared at by another dog. Thus, your dog will end up not eating a thing from its bowl. When feeding them, create physical and visual distance to give them a space to enjoy their meal comfortably.

Environmental changes

It has been documented that dogs can become stressed when they encounter major life changes. For instance, the introduction of a new pet can result in your dog becoming stressed and confused. Thus, it will end up not being able to feed properly. You can, however, offer training on how to coexist with a new pet. Other major life changes can be a new baby or a spouse, which can intimidate your dog from eating. Allow the dog to spend time with your baby or new spouse to get acquainted and develop confidence and return to its feeding habits.

Why Does My Dog Stare At His Food Bowl?

They see their reflection

What type of bowl does your dog use? Does it reflect on an object that comes near or over it? In that case, your dog might be staring at its bowl as it can see itself inside. You might even notice that they are barking at the bowl after a long stare. After some time, your dog will get used to the bowl and stop staring. However, if the stare prolongs to the extent that it fails to eat, consider changing the bowl.

It is hungry

If your dog is hungry, it might stare at its bowl. It uses this non-verbal cue to let you know you need something to eat or drink. In other cases, it will look at you and ensure your eyes meet them and look at its bowl. Especially if you are eating, it will keep looking at you and then at the bowl. Try putting some food into the bowl and see whether the stare will stop.

The bowl is new to them

If you adopt a strayed dog, it is likely to stare at its bowl. In such a situation, your dog does not understand the purpose of the bowl. This is because it was used to eating from the floor. In this case, training is recommended to resolve this issue effectively. During training, you might notice it is taking its food off its bowl as it thinks it is a bad thing to eat from a bowl. Be patient, and if you have another pet in the house, you can serve them in their bowls in the dog’s presence as part of training.

Guarding the bowl

Dogs are very territorial and would not like to share their bowl with another pet. When it comes to their food bowl, it’s no different. This might happen more frequently after introducing a new pet into the house. The dog will stare at its bowl to ensure the other pet does not eat from it. There is nothing to worry about, and as they get acquainted, he will get comfortable and stop being too territorial, hence ending the story.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Staring At Food?

The tips on how to stop your dog from staring at the food depend on the cause. Each cause will have its remedy. To solve the dog stare problem, the following are some of the tips you can use to make the dog stop staring at its food.

Identify the course of the course

The first step is to understand the reason your dog stares at the food. Is it health-related issues, behavioral issues, environmental changes, or is it just being picky? You can achieve this by observing its behaviors for several days and, most importantly, when it starts. If you cannot detect anything, have it checked by the vet to eliminate health problems first.

Visit the veterinarian

When your dog starts staring at its food, your first instinct is that it is untrained. However, if you have previously trained your dog, the sudden development of such behavior can be confusing. Before you get angry and start punishing the dog or forcing it to eat, it is best to visit the veterinarian. The vet will conduct a medical checkup for the possible causes of such behavior and offer medical solutions if necessary. If it is healthy, you can relax and consider other possibilities.

Avoid using bowls with reflection

When a dog sees itself in the bowl, it does not understand it is reflection. This can cause it to stare at the food from afar. While most dogs might get used to the reflection, some might not. If your dog is among the few who cannot let go and is scared of the reflection, the best solution is to avoid using metallic bowls instead of switching to a plastic or wooden bowl.

Keep the other pets away

When another pet stares, it can be very uncomfortable for the dog to eat its food. The dog will end up staring at its food, an indication that it is interesting but feels intimidated by the stare of the other pet. Thus, when feeding time, keep the dog in a separate room from the other pet. You can also try feeding the two pets at the same time to avoid staring at each other.

Avoid drastic changes

Dogs like consistency, and when drastic life changes occur, it can scare them to the extent of not feeding. Suppose it’s environmental changes like introducing a new baby into the house or a new pet. In that case, it is essential to allow the two to spend as much time as possible together to get acquainted and eliminate awkwardness.

Also, if you are trying to introduce a new meal to the dog, do it bit by bit. Start by mixing the new dish with its usual food in small quantities until it gets used to. For example, if you pour a whole bowl of serials that your dog is not used to, it will end up staring at the food.

Why Does My Dog Sit By His Food Bowl?

It is guarding the bowl

Most dogs will sit by their bowl as a way of protecting it from being taken away. This behavior might develop after you introduce a new pet to the house. The dog will result to sitting by the bowl to ensure the other pet does not use it. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate any changes that might have occurred leading to the development of this behavior.

It is hungry

When your dog is hungry, it might result in sitting around its bowl. This behavior is usually non-verbal communication telling you you are hungry or thirsty. For example, does your dog sit in its bowl after a long walk or after playing in the park for long hours? It could also be an early morning after waking up. If you have not fed your dog for the last few hours, the reason for such behavior is hunger. Feed your dog, and it will get away from the bowl.

He is seeking your attention

When your dog is the only pet around the house, and you do not have time to play with it, it might develop loneliness and a feeling of abandonment. In such cases, your dog will do everything possible to get your attention, including sitting by its bowl. Such behavior will get you wondering whether you are hungry, leading to paying attention even a little bit.

Why Does My Dog Sniff His Food And Walk Away?

It is not hungry

When your dog is not hungry, it might sniff the food and walk away. This indicates that it has seen the food, but it is not interesting at the moment. When did you last feed it? If it was less than four hours ago, it would probably still be full and would not eat more food. Before concluding it is full, be sure it had eaten few hours prior.

It is thirsty

When your dog sniffs the food and walks away, it can indicate that it is looking for something to drink. Try providing an extra bowl of water or porridge and see whether it will be of interest. If it drinks, the problem was thirst and nothing to do with the food.

It is sick        

If your dog acts interested in its food but then walks away, it could be sick. It could be stomach issues or tooth problems. The best way to rule out this problem is to visit the veterinarian. If it has a cavity in its teeth, it can be challenging to eat, and that’s why it is acting interested in the food, then leaves it. Also, stomach problems can hinder your dog from enjoying its meal. Has it checked for possible health complications before offering any remedies.

It is picky

If your dog sniffs the food and then walks away, it is possible it does not like its food. Have you altered its diet? If you have introduced some foods that your dog is unfamiliar with or does not like, it will sniff and walk away. Try maintaining consistency in feeding your dog. If you must change its diet, introduce the change in small bits until it becomes familiar and develop a liking of the food.

Why Does My Dog Leave Some Of His Food?

It is full

If your dog eats and then leaves some of its food in the bowl, that is an indication. It leaves the food to save for later when it gets hungry. It is possible that it had something to eat in the field or someone has been feeding it during the day. Thus, when you feed it in the evening, it is likely to eat and leave some.

It dislikes the food

When your dog does not like what you are feeding it, it is likely to eat a small amount to get by while leaving the rest in its bowl. Try feeding its favorite food, and if it eats it all, it is a clear indication it dislikes its current food.

Injured mouth

If your dog’s mouth has some infection or bruises, it might not be able to finish its food. If it is a sudden behavior to leave its food in the bowl, it is best to visit the vet for a professional checkup.

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.