I have a dog that I rescued six years ago and a six month old bitch also rescued from the street very young.

The problem I have with the puppy, not eating enough or none at all, the vet said she is healthy and good condition and not to worry about her, which is easier said than done in my case. He suggested feeding her different puppy food that are in the market but that didn't work unless I hand fed her.

I consulted a professional dog trainer, and like some of you said, he suggested to put the food down and to wait, and as soon she moves away, to remove the bowl and not to give her the food back until dinner time or breakfast as the case may be.

I eat before my dogs, I don't feed them scraps, they get all the exercise they need, what's more they keep me in shape.

However, all said, I worry terribly when she goes four or five days without eating, and so I give in and start hand feeding again and so the vicious cycle starts again for a couple of weeks until I'm confident she has replenished her puppy fat again.

I would appreciate if any of you reading my plight, can give me a more permanent solution to my problem.

  • 1
    I would get a second opinion and consult a veterinarian specialized in behavior, it is very weird for a dog to go 5 days without eating unless handfed. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 15:59
  • No way I buy a dog (especially a puppy) will refuse food for 5 days unless hand fed. That is approaching starvation.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 22:19
  • You will never found a dog that has starved to death next to a bowl full of food. As long as the dog has access to water, let it eat when it likes. I have never understood why people remove the food bowl for their dogs. Dogs don't have a social need or expectation to eat at a specific time together with their humans. One of my dogs never eat during the day, instead he wakes up 2-3 in the night and eat. Why should I stop him from eating in a way he is comfortable with? Maybe he just prefers to eat when it is dark and silent.
    – d-b
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 9:14

2 Answers 2


Are you certain there are no other food sources? Could she be eating the older fogs food and you don't notice?

Does she not poop during long stretches of not eating? Did this "days of not eating" happen right when you got her or or repeatedly since then? If the former, it might just be transitional stress. If the latter, it might just be her way of telling you she has trust issues (abuse? Neglect?) and needs extra love and rehabilitation.

What's the puppies relationship with the older dog like? Have you tried separating the two during feeding?

Something to try:

Introduce the bowl with the hand feeding. See if you can feed by hand with the bowl under your hand. Once the pup starts eating, slide the food of your hand and in the bowl - keeping your hand in the bowl if need be. Also have more food in the bowl so there's more there if the pup wants to continue eating.

One of the comments suggested a vet behaviorist. I second that idea.

Another suggestion is to stay present with her feeding and use a reassuring voice. Maybe spend some time building her confidence before feeding - especially if there's dominance issues with the older dog. Maybe sit with her in your lap while you feed so she feels protected, safe and the general affection of touch/contact?

Does the pup drink enough water? How regular are the bowel movements?

A side-note more about training: consider only feeding her out of your left hand. Most people are right handed. That way you avoid the right hand moving = food association which might eventually lead her to act out with strangers that gesture with their right hand.

It's good that you don't feed them scraps and separate your eating time from theirs. Also good to put the food bowls away, out of sight when feeding is done. Lastly, keep a regular schedule for feeding time - establishing and maintaining a routine for feeding, exercising, pooping/peeing will go a long way towards good pup behavior.

Do both dogs have their own established "spot" (crate, pillow bed, blanket?)


Your dog could have been a house dog before you rescued him at some point in his life so maybe his owners trained him not to eat from bowls or plates some owners do that.they let the dog eat from the floor so as one of the comments said the dog could have been abused.It's obvious your dog needs a lot and a lot of attention. Try to hand feed the dog and slowly reach your hand to the food bowl and put your hand in it so he gets used to the bowl.of course praise him and give him more attention when he approuches.

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