Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Remember that part of the behavior they develop is their ability to “train” us. Although a change in food type may entice him, fish oils can also help, but really if you leave food for him to eat for a fixed period of time only… Eventually he will learn to eat it. I can consult with you much more in depth regarding training and nutrition. 2 topics I really enjoy.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Separation anxiety is one possible clue as to why your dog wants to be hand fed, and that condition has many contributing factors. If your pup is a rescue, for instance, and certain triggers upset them, they might want to be hand fed as a form of comfort.
There are several reasons why your dog may eat from your hand instead of from their bowl. It could be that the bowl is uncomfortable, that they`re bored, or that they`re already full from snacks. Alternatively, your dog may just enjoy the experience of eating from your hand more than eating from their bowl.
Add a Homemade Topping to Your Dog`s Kibble

There are some simple homemade choices that you can add to your dog`s kibble that may make it more palatable and even healthier. Cut up or puree fruits or vegetables, like carrots, green beans, and apples. Unsweetened canned pumpkin has fiber and may settle an upset stomach.

The biggest reason for this behavior is instinct. Dogs have this natural pack mentality and depending on factors such as breed, training and family line, some dogs have this instinct more strongly than others.
Human conditioning: Your dog might be eating out of hand because of conditioned behavior created when they were sick or acting picky, during a switch in dog food, or they came from another situation—such as a shelter, foster family, previous owner, or breeder—where hand feeding was the norm.
Your dog wants some company

“Dogs find that meals are more fun with others,” Semel tells The Dodo. “By nature, dogs are social creatures and the company can motivate them to eat.” If you don`t mind hanging out while he eats, there`s no harm in being in the room during mealtime.

As for eating off the floor, many dogs take food from their bowl and drop it onto the floor or take it to another location to eat it, so there is something instinctive about the behavior and nothing to worry about if he does this. But you shouldn`t have to dump the food on the floor to get him to eat.
Although many pet owners would feed their dog tidbits and treats off the floor, it is a definite no-no and there is no such thing as the mythical five-second rule. If food has been dropped, don`t eat it — and certainly don`t give it to your dog.
Fortunately for pet owners, dogs are just fine eating dry dog food. While many pets prefer wet dog food, because it is more palatable, that doesn`t mean that dry food isn`t a healthy option for dogs.
It is recommended that puppy food is soaked from the age of 3-4 weeks up to 12 weeks. However there is no set rule for this, some puppies or even older dogs will always prefer to eat dry food when soaked and it is providing your puppy or dog with more water intake, so certainly nothing wrong with that!
“This appears to be an urge to take their food to a quieter or more secure area to eat in peace,” Wilson told The Dodo. “One of my dogs, PJ, would not take a mouthful away but would pick up her entire bowl to move to a quieter dining spot if she felt stressed.”
Dogs have several reasons for staring at their owners, like to communicate with and understand us. Some dogs stare to manipulate owners, as in with begging for food or asking to be let outside. Training and dog sports are good ways to turn focused staring behavior into a positive experience.
Your dog may associate her bowl with a traumatic or negative event that took place while she was eating. Your dog`s bowl may be in a noisy or uncomfortable location. Bowls that slide across a tile floor may frighten your dog. Your dog might be overfed and not hungry or may be bored with the same food all the time.
Frequently, the cause of a dog`s finicky eating isn`t a result of its behavior. It`s usually the result of humans feeding table scraps or too many treats. Not only does this increase the risk of obesity, but it also can encourage finicky behavior.
The number of meals a dog eats per day depends completely on the family schedule. Dogs should eat at least two meals each day, about 12 hours apart. But a breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule is an equally great option. If more than 12 hours elapses between meals, the stomach can become hyperacidic causing nausea.
While your puppy is eating, be sure to pet them, talk to them, and touch them while they are eating. They may get annoyed with you at first, but if you keep doing this while they are eating, eventually they will be comfortable being touched and interacted with while they eat.
Do you ever wonder whether your furry friend gets bored of eating the same food? Dogs have fewer taste buds than humans. So, while they will more than appreciate a mouthwatering meal when it`s served up to them, they won`t necessarily grow tired of eating the same food every day. For a limited time at least anyway.
Although a loss of appetite in dogs doesn`t necessarily indicate serious disease, prompt veterinary attention is important because it could be a sign of significant illness, including cancer, various systemic infections, pain, liver problems, and kidney failure.
How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food? Dogs can usually go three to five days without food, however, this is not ideal. If your dog has gone two days without food, it is highly recommended you call a veterinarian if you haven`t already. More important than your dog eating is their water intake.
Some animals have developed unusual eating habits, such as rocks, wood, plastic, strings, rubber bands, and more. This problem, called pica, is defined as the persistent chewing and consumption of non-nutritional substances that provide no physical benefit to the animal.
Try moving your dog`s bowl to a quiet area for him to eat, away from other pets or children. If you are using a shiny metal dog bowl, try a plastic or ceramic version. A larger than necessary dog bowl can help, as can a dog bowl with lower sides.
Most experts agree that as long as there are no medical concerns, allowing your dog to sit while eating is not an issue. Determining the reason behind this act may be difficult. Most dogs will work out on their own what is the most comfortable option for them.
Elevated feeders may increase the speed at which a dog eats, and this can further elevate the risk of GDV. In the study, a faster speed of eating was significantly associated with a higher risk of GDV. Eating off of the floor or a ground-level bowl can facilitate slower eating for dogs.
Do consider adding water to dry kibble. There are plenty of dogs and cats that love their dry kibble. But if your pet has begun showing less interest in the food, it may be time to add a little “gravy.” It`s real simple, too.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Hi my puppy won’t eat unless it’s dry food out of my hand and wet food of the floor please help
ANSWER : A. Remember that part of the behavior they develop is their ability to “train” us. Although a change in food type may entice him, fish oils can also help, but really if you leave food for him to eat for a fixed period of time only… Eventually he will learn to eat it. I can consult with you much more in depth regarding training and nutrition. 2 topics I really enjoy.

Q. My 20 month Cavalier doesn’t eat unless I let him eat from my finger, then he eats. Sometimes he will only eat once a day and leave his food.
ANSWER : A. It is possible that your dog is just not satisfied with his current food, or may be a picky eater. There are several things you can try to encourage your dog to eat.

The first step is to remove any additional treats or people food that may be more enticing to your dog than his own meal. If you feel you must give him some form of treat, be sure to place them directly in his food bowl and mixed with his regular diet. This allows him to get some snacks while also “forcing” him to try out his current meal to get the reward.

Enticing your dog to try his food by adding a pet-safe gravy or even a few treats of plain boiled chicken mixed in can help. Be sure to mix the foods thoroughly so he must explore his own food before getting the treat.

Some small breed dogs may also have a hard time with certain bowls and their collars. If there is a metal name tag on the collar and a metal bowl, the clinking sound can sometimes scare off dogs and make them not want to eat from their bowl. Using a bowl of a different material, or removing the collar prior to a meal may help with this issue.

Your dog may also just not be into his current food and may like another variety better. You can try a new variety by gradually switching over a period of 7-9 days, slowly adding in more new food and removing old until it is switched. This change may encourage him to try out meals again, and the slow changeover will allow his body to adjust to the new diet without digestive upset.

Q. Cat was vomiting for a few days. Took to vet, received anti-nausea medicine 2 days ago. Drinks and no longer vomits, but won’t eat. I’m worried
ANSWER : A. If your cat has been feeling nauseated, it is possible that the nausea, or just general illness is making him want to eat less. However, you can try enticing him to eat with a few tricks geared to cats.

Warming up wet foods or even bland people foods such as plain chicken or boiled hamburger can make food more interesting to cats. Cats tend to go for aromatic rather than flavorful foods, so making the food as “smelly” as possible may encourage your cat to take a bite. Bland foods are also good for helping to soothe upset stomachs, which may still be happening if your cat had recently had a vomiting episode.

However, if enticing your cat to eat does not work, or he continues to refuse to eat any food, it is best to contact your local veterinarian for more care and testing. Cats can become very ill if they refuse to eat for more than a few days, and finding the underlying cause can help your cat feel better.

Q. What solid food should I start 4 week old Pit Bull puppies on?
ANSWER : A. A puppy food designed for large breed puppies can help with rapidly growing bones and joints and can be given in a wet form easily to puppies learning to eat solids. You can also provide a dry kibble for them to try and should moisten it with water or some formula to make it easier for the puppies to eat and digest. As the puppies grow and their teeth come in, they will begin to eat and explore more of the solid food on their own.

Mom should also be on a Puppy formula while nursing her puppies as it will provide extra nutrients to both her and babies while they are in a very rapid stage of growth!

Q. My cat can only eat strained baby food consistency food. What do I add to strained meat to give her what she needs? She is a torti Persian 5 lbs
ANSWER : A. You should be offering her some wet cat food. Any brand is okay, but you could find a high quality food if you look hard. Cats prefer getting their water from their food, so it’s important to use wet food for a cat instead of just dry food. It’s okay to feed her white meat chicken, and things like that if you want, but you should definitely be feeding some sort of CAT FOOD.. and I bet wet food would be appealing to her considering it’s very moist, like baby food. You can even mash it up further, and look for a food that is really liquidy.

Q. Hi I have two cats that are a year old. I constantly have dry food in their bowl, but how many sachets of wet food should I give them?
ANSWER : A. They do not require wet food if they have sufficient, complete formula dry food; most cats will self regulate their intake of dry food. You can use sachets as a treat or regular meal but it will be important to monitor their body weight and make sure they are not becoming overweight with the addition to ad lib dry food; you may have to restrict their dry food if this is the case. Every brand is different in its feeding recommendations also so it is impossible to advise about ‘how much food’. Your vet tech can recommend if they need to gain or indeed lose weight and can advise in relation to specific brands for your cats

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. How much dry kitten food should my 16 week old kitten be eating?
ANSWER : A. It would actually be better to feed your kitten canned food, as dry food has a lot of carbohydrates. Cats are obligatory carnivores, and not carb-eaters. In order to give you an amount to feed for dry food I would need to know which food you are feeding as they are all different. I suggest you check on the cat food bag. If the bag does not give you an amount, I would not trust it to be a complete food. You should then get a food from a reputable company such as Hill’s Science diet, or similar. As for wet food feed three times daily around 2oz each time, best to feed the pate style food.