Have you ever watched your dog eating and wondered why he does what he does? Does he paw at his bowls and look at you expectantly? Does he take his bowl and drag it somewhere else? Does he take mouthfuls of food and eat it elsewhere? Does he snack all day? Has he stopped eating altogether? Here are some things it can mean:
If you have a dog that is consistently free fed, he will likely get used to always having food in his bowl whether he’s hungry or not. It can be a source of anxiety to him if he does not have any food or water as it can act as a sort of security blanket. He likely just wants to know that he can still decide when his meal is on his own. He might paw at an empty bowl of water or food to let you know he wants more.
Many dogs take their food from their bowl in mouthfuls and eat it somewhere else. This tends to be leftover genetically from their wild days when they had to sneak around to eat their food in a safe place and in a pack situation that they would have enough to eat. He may do this even if he’s the only pet in the house. It’s just instinct. It can also mean that they don’t like the noise that their bowl makes and so they choose to eat their food elsewhere. Or, in some cases, they may just want to be near you. If you think this is the case try sitting with them and see if they still walk away while eating.
Speaking of free-fed dogs, some dogs may have issues with this when others won’t. Similar to goldfish, some dogs just don’t know when to stop eating and will end up with weight and health problems due to overeating. If this is the case, feed him twice a day a set amount and ensure yourself that he is getting fed properly.
If you happen to notice that your pet has stopped eating completely on his own please take him to your veterinarian as this can be a sign of a bigger health problem.