Although not all dogs are like this, some will only eat when you are there. This might make you think, why does my dog only eat when I’m around? There could be any number of reasons. Most of them are not serious, but on some occasions, there may be an underlying medical problem that is contributing to this behaviour.
The best thing to do, rather than figure it out on your own, is to ask your vet. It may also be a good idea to keep a little journal, for example, what you were doing just before feeding time and anything else you feel may (or may not) be relevant. This can help.
Let’s take a deeper look into this behaviour. Here are the reasons why your dog only eats when you are around:
Dogs are social animals.
As you know, dogs are very social animals. When they go outside, they like to meet other dogs or are happy to say hi to a total stranger. Then there is the interaction with you. You know what a close bond you and your dog have. In some ways, they are more social than us humans. Your dog may be feeling happy that you are there while he or she eats. It may give them a sense of comfort.
Dogs can be like little children in some ways, so we love them so much. Since they are social creatures, they may like to eat in the presence of others, not necessarily just you, but perhaps with another dog. Either way, they don’t feel lonely when you are there. They think the world of you.
The dog is in guard mode.
Some dogs will not eat when you are away at work. They may eat a little bit, then stop. Upon your return, they are so happy that they will wolf the rest of it down. This may be because they feel that they should be looking after the place, especially as no one is there.
They feel that protecting or guarding the house is their responsibility, so they may not eat. Once you return, two blinks of your eyes and the food are all gone! They may be concentrating on their guarding responsibilities.
Some dogs have also been known to stay by the door until the owner comes back. Some may keep looking out the window. You may have put their breakfast down several hours ago and left for work. Your dog is now busy looking after the place and waiting for you to return. Then normal service will be resumed.
Dog wants to try new food.
Like humans, some dogs don’t like to eat the same food day after day. If your dog doesn’t like to eat on its own, maybe you should look into spicing up its meals. Try adding some excitement to its meals by introducing different foods. For instance, you may want to try raw dog food as an option. A new meal may just be what your dog needs to eat happily again.
Just like us, dogs can go through anxiety and stress as well. If this is what they are going through, it could explain why they do not eat when you are away. Some dogs go through separation anxiety. Some dogs have been known to bark or howl for hours until the owner returns.
If your dog cannot relax, then chances are, they may not feel like eating. They suddenly feel a lot better when you are around and feel more relaxed, and then they may finish their food. If you feel your dog has anxiety issues, it might be a good idea to take him or her to the vet. Sometimes medication can help to calm them down. This may end the problem.
Some dogs may be sensitive to noises and activity when you are not there. For example, someone may ring the doorbell or knock on the door. There may be noisy construction going on. The phone may ring, or some other alarm may go off. There could be a thunderstorm. When these things happen, they can affect your dog. Not all dogs are bothered by these things, but some may be sensitive to these noises.
As a result, they may not feel relaxed enough to eat. Upon your return, they feel safe and relaxed and may start to eat. Dogs can be a bit like humans. Certain things bother some people while others are completely unphased by the same things.
Sometimes, your dog may not eat because of an underlying medical problem. If your dog’s eating habits have become erratic, it is best to take him or her to the vet. There could be a medical issue why your dog is not eating. This is something that you should deal with as soon as possible. Certain medical conditions can make a dog lose interest in food. The best thing is to take your dog to the vet and do some tests.
Many dogs are OK to eat on their own. You can put the bowl down, and you can walk away, and they will finish their food. Others may not want to eat if you walk away. They want to be able to see you and know that you are there. If you’ve ever wondered why my dog only eats when I’m around, play it safe and take your dog to the vet. They can be able to offer several options to eliminate the problem.