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Lucylu always takes a walk before she will eat her food from her little dish...she has been doing this for 3 or more years. All of a sudden I would take her for her walk she would come in and head for the dish and then stop and run to the living room and sit by the sliding glass door. So I then tried hand feeding her and she would eat a little bit of very thin sliced cooked chicken meat. Then after a couple of days walking she would enter the house and then go hide in the living room. It is not that she is not eating for she eats a little. It is as though she is afraid of the dish. It actually used to belong to my little teacup Yorkie that Lucylu grew up with. However, Lucy has been eating from the dish for a year after my Bennie died. Lucylu has gone to the vet for her checkup every year and every year she is doing great. It is like she is scared of the dish. I can put the dish down by the dinner table or hold it out to her and she runs away.doge

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Please do not start hand feeding her. That only causes more problems than it solves. See related questions:
My dog adopted the Habit of “Hand Feeding”
I have to hand feed my dog
Dog refuses to eat unless fed by hand

First of all, try feeding her from a different bowl or dish. If she starts eating normal portions again, she doesn't like her usual dish anymore. Maybe it made a clattering sound which scared her or the dish isn't really clean and has a bad odor (think about cracks or scratches that are hard to clean).

Monitor very exactly how much she really eats. If you usually use a measuring cup or a scale to measure her daily meals, continue to do so and see how much is left at the end of the day. If you eyeballed the amount of food on her usual dish, do so and then transfer the amount to her new bowl or dish.

Let her decide when she wants to eat. Don't act as if her refusal to eat is anything special. You come home from your walk, you put food into her dish or bowl, you give her time for herself and ignore her for a while. Don't try to force her to eat by hand feeding her. That will make it even more likely that she refuses.

If she doesn't eat her usual amount, the most common reasons are:

  • It's very hot where you live right now. Dogs lose their appetite just like humans when it's too hot.
  • You changed food brands and she doesn't like the new one.
  • She is nearing the end of her life. I'm sorry to tell you, but old dogs often start eating less food or become finnicky. Our own dog lived well over a year in this stage and we had to change food brands regularily or she would refuse to eat.
  • There might be a medical problem. Lack of appetite and changes in behavior like hiding away, avoiding being touched or sudden aggression are warning signs that there is an underlying medical problem. Please consider having her checked again by a vet and tell the vet about her lack of appetite so they can search for the cause. It could be anything from a simple stomach flu or a bad tooth to a tumor or obstruction.
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    This is a great answer, it hits on all the things I was thinking about. Just want to add to the last point - one reason old dogs stop eating is dental problems. If you currently feed her kibble or something she has to chew, try giving her something very soft that wouldn't hurt her teeth.
    – Griffin
    Jul 8 at 19:26
  • @Griffin Yes, teeth are also a good idea, I added it to the answer. It's one of the things a vet should look for, though.
    – Elmy
    Jul 8 at 19:32

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