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How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating or Drinking? (2023)

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Dog owners are often concerned about how long can a dog go without eating or drinking.

how long can a dog go without eating or drinkingSometimes dogs refuse food. It could be due to a medical or behavioral reason. Be that as it may, dog owners who realize their pet hasn’t touched today’s meal will feel alarmed, especially if they have a healthy eater on their hands.

All living things need food to survive. Without it, everyone would get sick and eventually die. Your dog is no exception; he must eat a balanced and adequate diet to stay healthy and strong.

According to the vet, healthy dogs and cats can go without food for three, four, five days, much longer than that.

Food isn’t the biggest problem, but water is. If your dog is not eating or drinking water, this can be a major problem. If your dog has a medical condition such as a kidney problem, take your pet to the vet immediately. These dogs need immediate medical attention because of their illness.

How long can a puppy go without eating? Newborn puppies can go without food for 2 hours to 3 weeks after birth. Older puppies can go without food for up to 5 hours before needing to eat and drink again.

The exception to this is how long puppies can go without food at night since they sleep.

As a dog owner, you should read a lot about why they might not eat and what you can do to get your pet’s appetite back in no time.

Understanding a Dog’s Metabolism Rate

Understanding a DogUnderstanding a puppy’s metabolic process can explain why good dog food is important to their overall well-being.

Like us humans, animals have different metabolic rates, and their energy requirements vary from pet to pet. Nevertheless, puppies will consume at least one full meal per day.

In other words, some puppies can eat all day long without their normal meal but will eat during the day. Most healthy dogs cannot survive a day without eating. A dog needs a combination of dry and wet food every day to get all the essential nutrients.

Metabolism refers to the process of converting food into usable energy. The process involves the digestive system, muscles, nervous system, and endocrine system. Even when you are asleep, your system needs the energy to pump, breathe, and digest blood.

The calories required to ensure the proper functioning of these background systems are called the basal metabolic rate. Food intake increases significantly with various physical activities. A dog’s metabolic process works the same way.

Limiting calorie intake is crucial, but it’s best to see your doctor ensure a safe, gradual change. When a dog’s body system senses that it is hungry, it switches to starvation mode. This allows it to conserve energy by decreasing metabolism and converting muscle tissue into energy. That’s the opposite of healthy weight management for dogs.

It is strongly recommended that you work with your doctor to determine how many calories your dog needs each day to maintain his metabolic process and allow him to lose bodyweight healthily.

Aside from the problems of Hunger Mode, you already know how hungry puppies can beg, scour the house for food, and drive you crazy. Therefore, proper nutrition and physical activity are vital to maintaining a healthy metabolic process in your dog.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?

All dogs are individuals who differ from each other in a million different ways.

This makes it difficult to make general statements about how long a particular dog can go without food, and veterinarians usually treat inappetence (decreased appetite) and anorexia (food). refusal on a case-by-case basis.

That said, most healthy dogs will survive for about 3 to 5 days without eating food.

Underweight, sick, very old, or very young dogs may not last as long and require veterinary care earlier than the 3-5 day guideline.

Similarly, pregnant dogs that have recently given birth or breastfeeding require more food than regular puppies in good health.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

No matter why you wonder how long can dogs go without water, keep in mind that a healthy dog can go without water for up to three days. The duration may be less than three days if your dog has a particular illness or is very old or very young.

So if your furry friend doesn’t drink water in a day, take him to your vet. as soon as possible. Wet food contains water, so this can extend the menstrual period a bit. However, hot weather can reduce hydration levels and shorten the time frame.

Reasons a Dog Won’t Eat

Reasons a Dog Won’t EatWhy is my dog not eating? This is probably your most pressing question. The answer is not easy; there are several reasons why your dog has stopped eating. Some require just a simple vet visit, and others may require a longer healing process. Read some of these reasons below.

1. Medical conditions

Medical conditions that can cause decreased appetite in dogs to include:

  • Stomach upset
  • Poisoning
  • Allergies
  • Depression
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Problems with teeth, gums, or tongue
  • Tumors
  • Parasites
  • Autoimmune and neurological diseases
  • Problems with internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys, lungs)
  • Recent vaccination

What to do? – Consult a vet immediately!

2. Mental Health or Emotional Issues

Dog Stress, anxiety, depressionStress, anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional health conditions can cause dogs to stop eating. This is not surprising – people often lose their appetites when they experience the same struggles.

Fortunately, mental and emotional health problems are often treatable. You can only do this by simply figuring out what makes your dog feel sad or on the dump and making the necessary changes in many cases.

For example, if your dog is. Depressed, you may find that simply playing with him more time, treating him to a super cool new toy, getting more exercise, or having a fun outing can help him feel better.

Likewise, if you do. If he determines that loud noises or a nearby construction project worry him, playing soft music or white noise can help him relax.

3. Food issues

There are some food issues to be aware of if your dog refuses to eat. First, check if the food has gone bad. If not, consider whether you’ve recently introduced new foods that taste or smell different from the old food. Also, dogs will often refuse to eat if you go from home-cooked meals or wet dog food to kibble.

Another thing to consider is the ingredients of the food. If your dog is sensitive to one or more of them, the food may be untouched. There is also a chance that you have a picky pet or that you are overfeeding your dog. Also, please pay attention to the temperature of the food you serve, whether it is too hot or too cold, which can cause your dog to skip dinner.

4. Picky Eating

Dog Picky EatingCats have a reputation for being picky eaters, but dogs can also be picky about their food. When this happens, you can only try different foods until he decides he likes one, and then you stick with it. This requires a lot of patience, as you could waste a lot of money looking for a diet that he can work with. However, be diligent, and you will emerge victoriously!

5. Medications

Some medications can reduce your dog’s appetite or make him feel sick and therefore uninterested in food. If your dog is on medication regularly, check the label first for language warnings.

It is also a good idea to contact your vet and let him or her know that your dog seems to have lost his appetite.

Not only will this keep your vet informed, but your vet may be able to change your dog’s prescription to a different medication that won’t upset his appetite.

6.Changes in Lifestyle

Many dogs refuse to eat when they first arrive at the shelter because they are depressed, going from a warm, happy home to a cold, loud jail cell of sorts.

But changes don’t have to be that depressing to impact a dog’s appetite. A new home, a new baby or pet, being left alone too long, changes in routine.

These can all lead to depression, and it may take your dog a little while to feel up to eating again.

7. Social Issues

If you have more than one pet, it’s important to consider whether social disharmony is causing him to stop eating. For example, another dog may subtly or overtly intimidate him at mealtimes.

If you determine that this is why your dog is not eating, you may need to feed your pets in separate rooms or at different times.

It can also be useful to give your pets some more “ space.” For example, you can take them apart for a few hours every day to keep them from getting on each other’s nerves.

What You Should Do If Your Dog Suddenly Stops Eating

Since decreased appetite has different effects on individual dogs, use your due diligence in determining the steps to take for your fasting puppy.

Here’s what to do if your dog suddenly stops eating:

  • Avoid Panic: Keep in mind that dogs usually stop for a short time without experiencing serious side effects. If it seems fine with your dog, fasting for one or two days is no problem.
  • Identify why your dog does not want to eat. If you find out why your beloved dog refuses to eat, take the necessary steps to restore his appetite.
  • Attract Them With Their Favorite Treats: You need to determine if your dog is just a picky eater by feeding him. Give them their favorite treats. If he devours them, pickiness is the root of the problem.
  • Do not leave your dog without food for extended periods of time. Make sure to seek help if your pup doesn’t eat within 48 hours.

How Can I Get a Picky Dog to Eat Their Food?

There are many ways to get picky dogs to eat. Try one of the following:

  • Give delicious and nutritious food
  • Make sure the food smells good
  • Add some warm water, bone broth, or wet food when giving your dog a treat.
  • Offer homemade food
  • Reduce the number of treats and avoid eating from the table
  • Praise the dog for eating the food
  • Walk or run your pet before eating

What Do Vets Do for a Dog Who Won’t Eat?

What Do Vets Do for a Dog Who Won’t Eat?If your dog’s food refusal lasts longer than two days (or if he’s showing other troubling symptoms while also refusing food), then you’ll want to take your dog to the vet.

Once you get there, your vet will likely be there. Find out why your dog has stopped eating.

This usually means performing a physical exam, taking a medical history, and possibly ordering various diagnostic tests. With luck, your vet can diagnose the cause of the problem and recommend an appropriate treatment strategy.

If your dog is suffering from a serious health problem or is not starting to eat voluntarily, your vet can insert a feeding tube.

This allows the vet staff to ensure that your dog remains adequately fed while working to diagnose and correct the problem.

What Should You Do When You Leave Your Dog Alone at Home?

As a general rule of thumb, your dog needs twice as much water as food every day. If you leave your dog at home alone, provide plenty of water.

If your dog stays outside on a hot day, provide extra water and ice and try a shady area. An automatic water bowl is best because it refills automatically and is more difficult to spill. Make sure that the bowl you are using does not tip over easily.

Depending on how long you are gone, you may also want to leave food or give food when you get home. Ideally, you can have someone come over to check on your dog if it’s a scorching day.

If you are going to be away for more than 24 hours, have someone come to feed and water your dog or take your dog on board so that he receives proper care. Leaving your dog without food or water for 24 hours can cause serious health problems and should be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a dog die from not eating?

Yes, a dog can die from not eating, just like humans. Although they can go without food for several days, they can show signs of illness. If your pup is not eating for 24 hours or more, contact your vet.

How do you stimulate a dog’s appetite?

You can naturally stimulate a dog’s appetite, or you can take medication. Only do this after consulting a vet. Natural options include offering your pup’s favorite food, rotisserie chicken, or trying acupuncture.

How long can a dog go without water after surgery?

Your dog may not feel like eating after surgery because he feels nauseous. That should improve over time. Just keep offering water, but don’t force it. If your dog does not drink within 24 hours, contact your vet.

What happens if a dog doesn’t eat for a day?

If a dog doesn’t eat for a day, there’s nothing to worry about. Provided your dog does not have diarrhea or vomiting and does not want to eat, it does not matter. But if he is no longer eating, take the dog to the vet.

What can I feed my sick dog that won’t eat?

Most vets recommend the boiled chicken with white rice or white meat on the rotisserie for feeding a sick dog who doesn’t want to eat. Other options include sweet potatoes, unseasoned pumpkin (no pumpkin pie filling!), Bone broth, and meat-based baby food.

How long can a dog safely go without water?

In general, dogs should drink at least 1 ounce of water for every pound they weigh. For example, a 50-pound dog should drink at least 50 ounces of water per day.

Although a dog can go without water for up to three days, it is probably in bad shape. Form. On hot days when the dog is outside, even a day without water is too much.

How long can a puppy go without eating after birth?

For the first two to three weeks of your puppy’s life, they will only focus on eating, sleeping, and keeping warm. When your puppy is born, he will be blind and unable to walk. However, this doesn’t stop them from finding food!

With their keen sense of smell and a little poking from their mother, the puppy will be able to find a nipple to suckle on. For the next several weeks, your puppy will cuddle his mother’s nipple every two hours.

Why won’t my dog eat food but will eat treats?

Chances are, your furbaby is spoiled or picky. Some dogs skip meals and wait for treats simply because they prefer the taste of treats.


At some point, you may notice that your pet is not interested in the food you are offering. A dog that is not eating or drinking can be a sign of an underlying problem. Do yourself and your pet a favor by talking to your vet about your dog’s diet and eating habits.

You will be happy to help your dog early enough. Even if your pet is not showing any signs or symptoms of a serious health problem, it is important to let your vet know.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.