7 Causes & Solutions (2022)

If your dog refuses food from the bowl and only eats out of your hand, that’s perfectly fine in the short term.

However, if your dog only eats out of your hand, this can have various causes.

In this article you will find out why your four-legged friend spurns the bowl and would rather be fed and how you can get him used to the bowl.

Dog only eats out of your hand: 7 causes

Wrong food

Has your dog eaten well out of the bowl up to now and refuses it after one feed changeit may be that he simply does not like the new food.

From the hand of its human, however, it is something special that the dog then happily accepts.

Your darling may also be spurning their usual food of late, but this is usually a rare occurrence.


In families with children in particular, it often happens that the little ones really taunt the dog when trying to teach it new tricks fatten up with treats.

As a result, he has no need to eat the food provided from the bowl, but will continue to accept food from your hand.


If your dog is new to the family or just moved in as a puppy, he needs time to get used to his new surroundings to accustom.

Maybe he has his feeding place not yet noticed.

It is also a habit if you have been hand-feeding your dog and now suddenly expect him to eat out of the bowl.


If your dog no longer eats from the bowl, this can also be an indication of illness.

problems with that gastrointestinal tract or dental problems often result in refusal to feed.

While your dog refuses food from the bowl, it usually accepts food from the hand.

However, diseases are not only associated with a refusal to feed, but are usually also associated other symptoms tied together.

A very old dog may be overwhelmed with eating out of the bowl. Be it because he is a dementia or it causes problems with his joints to eat out of the bowl.

competition in the pack

Dogs have a hierarchy. If there are several dogs in your household, you should each animal its own bowl have.

If two or more dogs share a bowl, the «weaker» four-legged friend leaves the bowl to the higher-ranking furry friend.

Place of feeding bowl

Dogs like to eat undisturbed and unobserved. The bowl in the living room and one feeding timeif everyone gathers in the living room, could therefore lead to a refusal to eat from the bowl.

You may have changed your dog’s feeding spot or schedule and he is still adjusting to his new dining room or schedule.

What can I do to stop my dog ​​eating out of my hand?

First you should get to the bottom of the cause of the bowl refusal. You should be up more symptoms Watch out for signs that your dog may be ill.

Good to know:

For example, refusal to eat, diarrhea and lethargy can indicate abdominal pain, which you should investigate and, if in doubt, consult a veterinarian.

Most other causes lie in the attitude and Upbringing your dog.

A certain amount is important regularity. Make sure the bowl is in a quiet place and belongs to one dog only. Changing the parking space every day as you please, sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes in the hallway, makes no sense.

Your dog also has an internal clock. So hold on tight feeding times.

Has your dog eaten out of the bowl without hesitation, after one feed change however, if it just gets out of hand, you should consider whether it makes sense to go back to the old food or try a new alternative.

Make sure your dog eats from the bowl next to the main meals not too many treats receives.

Can my dog ​​starve to death if I don’t hand feed him?

Like humans, dogs have a strong will to live. If a bowl refusal is not due to illness, sooner or later he will fall back on it.

It is important to make the bowl palatable to your dog and not to feed it out of your hand.

Does it make sense to hand feed the dog?

Hand-feeding your dog creates a bond between human and dog particularly close bond on.

Whether you hand feed them generally, or only occasionally or in the form of treats, is entirely up to you.

However, keep in mind that if you are not there for your dog, for example because of a trip or a stay in a hospital, feeding your dog could become difficult.

It is hardly possible for neighbors or friends to feed your dog without your presence.


In some cases, if your dog is only eating out of your hand, it is because of an illness.

Most of the time, however, it is up to you, i.e. your attitude and upbringing. With a bit of consistency, however, this can usually be remedied.

We would be happy to read about your experiences, which you are welcome to share with us in the comments.