how long can a dog go without eating

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating? What Should You Do?

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If you have owned a dog recently and when it suddenly stops eating or drinking, you might be wondering what’s wrong with your pet. And if this goes on for more than a day, you might be thinking, why my dog is dying, and how long does it take to get better?

Although dogs are not picky eaters like cats, they sometimes act weirdly. There are many reasons why your doggo is refusing to eat or drink anything.

Anything can go wrong, from illness and depression to not liking the food and anxiety. That’s why it’s crucial to find the reason behind this, as it can severely impact your canine’s health.

As dog owners, we know how hard and heartbroken to see our beloved pets suffer. If your pet is also refusing to eat anything and you want to know how long can a dog go without eating, you’re on the right page!

Read on to know more about important information when it comes to feeding your dog and other concerns that come with it.

Today in this post, we’ll explain how long can dogs go without food and water and all the related information.

In this blog, we’ve covered:

  • How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?
  • How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water? 
  • Why is Your Dog Not Eating or Drinking?
  • How Can I Get My Dog to Eat Food?
  • How Can I Get My Dog to Drink Water?
  • When To Visit a Vet?

So, let’s know how long can a dog go without eating.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

how long can a dog go without eating

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On average, most healthy dogs can survive without food for about 3 to 5 days. But only if they’re drinking enough water every day. Also, don’t wait that long if your puppy isn’t eating anything; you should immediately seek medical help for your fur buddy. 

On the other hand, sick, underweight, and older dogs can survive only 2 to 3 days without eating food. 

How long can a dog live without food: this also depends on the dog’s breed and its health conditions. So, this can vary for different dogs. If your pooch is pregnant or has recently given birth, they need food to improve their health. 

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water?

how long can a dog go without eating

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Canines can live more without food than water as, like us, they can also get dehydrated pretty soon. This indicates that if your beloved pup hasn’t drunk anything for the entire 24 hours, you should inform your vet. Dehydration can also mean that your canine friend is ill and requires urgent care. 

Whenever your pooch refuses to drink water, look for these signs of dehydration:  

  • Panting
  • Thick saliva
  • Lethargy
  • Dry nose
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Pale gums or bright red gums

Why is Your Dog Not Eating or Drinking?

how long can a dog go without eating

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Now you know how long can a dog go without food and water, but it’s important to know the reason behind this. There could be many reasons your beloved pet won’t eat or drink anything.

Here are some of the common causes of food refusal by canines: 

1. Medical Issues

how long can a dog go without eating

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Sometimes, your pooh looks healthy from the outside, but it is actually sick from the inside. This comes in front when they stop eating and drinking. So, if your beloved pet is also refusing to eat anything, there is a high chance that something is wrong with its health.

Many health issues and problems can trigger food refusal. Here are some of the possible medical conditions in dogs: 

  • Stomach upset
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Dental issues
  • Organ failure
  • Pain
  • Parasites
  • Intestinal obstructions
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
  • Autoimmune disease

We mentioned all the above health issues as they can be why your puppy refuses to eat anything. However, don’t panic, as there can be other reasons. 

2. Mental Health & Emotional Issues

how long can a dog go without eating

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Emotional and mental problems can also be one of the major factors behind food refusal by a dog. Don’t get surprised, just like humans; these beings also have feelings and emotions. So they will lose their appetites when experiencing mental and emotional health struggles. 

3. Medications

how long can a dog go without eating

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Is your dog on some kind of medication? 

If yes, this could be the reason why your furry friend is not eating anything. Some medicines have effects that can severely affect and reduce your dog’s appetite. Sometimes, canines also may feel nausea, and that’s why they don’t eat. 

If your dog is on regular medication, check the medicine label for instructions and side effects. So you can also contact and inform the vet about these symptoms and the lack of appetite of your dog. 

4. Social Issues

how long can dogs go without food

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Do you have more than one pet? Yes, this also plays an important role! 

Your pet may not be comfortable eating with other pets. This means another pet can subtly or overtly intimidate your puppy at mealtimes. If you notice this kind of behavior, try to feed your pets in separate spaces at different times. 

This trick will not only give some time and space to all of your pets, and they will not get on each other’s nerves. 

5. Depression

how long can dogs go without food

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If you feel that your dog is suffering from anxiety or depression, you should know the reason behind this. Dogs only refuse to eat and go into depression when there is a major life change. For example:

  • Change of place
  • When they don’t get the proper attention and love.
  • Loss of friend or owner. 

6. Change in Food

how long can dogs go without food

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Another reason why your dog is not eating food is because of the change in the food taste. This is pretty commonly seen in many dogs that when they don’t like the food they won’t eat it. 

So if you suddenly change the food, that’s the reason why your pup has stopped eating. So what to do in this case? Instead of a completely new doof to your dog, try to give in small amounts and mix it with the old food. 

Here is the table of food mixing that you can follow:

  • Day One: 100% old food
  • Day Two: 75% old food and 25% new food
  • Day Three: 50% old food and 50% new food
  • Day Four: 25% old food and 75% new food
  • Day Five: 100% new food

7. They’re Picky

how long can dogs go without food

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Sometimes, dogs can be picky eaters! 

Canines also like to have good food, and when there is something they don’t smell or taste good, they refuse to eat it. So if you suspect this is the reason, find something they like. You can also try and see which food your dog likes most and start feeding that.  

How Can I Get My Dog to Eat Food?

how long can dogs go without food

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Whether it’s because of medicine, food, or illness, if you know the real reason behind your dog’s lack of appetite, it will be easier for you to understand this unusual behavior. 

Here are some easy and effective ways to make your dog eat food:  

  • Add some healthy and tasty meat to your regular dog’s food. You can try adding anything to make the food tastier, from plain baked and boiled boneless chicken breast to boiled lean ground beef. 
  • Add low-sodium chicken or beef broth to soak the regular dry food.
  • Either wet or dry, you can also heat up the food in the microwave. 
  • Try to feed your pup at the same time every day. This will create a schedule, and your pup will start eating. 
  • Stop giving too many snacks and treats to your pets. This can fill their stomach, and they will later refuse to eat food. 
  • Try different kinds of bowls, like a puzzle toy bowl, to make the food time fun and interesting. 

How Can I Get My Dog to Drink Water?

how long can a dog go without water

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Now you know how long can a dog go without water. So it’s important to learn how to make your dog drink water. Below are some useful tricks and tips which you can use to make your pup drink water to stay hydrated: 

  • Don’t give your pet flavored waters or electrolyte waters. 
  • Give them high-quality wet food. 
  • You can also add some water to the dog’s regular dry food. 
  • Try giving ice to your doggo.
  • Help them to drink water from a dog water fountain.

When To Visit a Vet?

how long can a dog go without water

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So, when to consult a doctor? When you have tried everything to get your beloved dog to eat or drink anything and still it is refusing to do so, you need to consult a vet. Though dogs can survive without eating for three to five days, don’t wait for this late. Don’t wait to see how long does it take to starve to death.

Also, if your puppy has any of the below symptoms, you should connect to your veterinarian immediately: 

  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Lethargy.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gagging. 
  • Wheezing. 
  • Coughing.

The vet may ask several questions, including: 

  • How long has it been since your dog stopped eating or drinking?
  • Is your dog on any type of medication?
  • Does your puppy have symptoms like vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea?

Also Read: How Often Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating: Final Thoughts

So this is all about how long can a dog go without eating. From traveling and change in food to depression and severe health conditions, there could be anything why your dog has stopped eating or drinking. No matter what’s the reason behind this weird and unusual behavior of your dog, it’s your responsibility to find the root cause and take him to the vet.

Give him high-quality, nutritious food, including some meat toppings. Also, make sure that there is enough fresh and clean water for your pup. Try to use the tricks and tips that we mentioned in this blog. This will make your pet happy and healthy.

However, if they have symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy and it’s been more than a day that your pup hasn’t eaten or drank anything, you should visit your nearest vet as soon as possible.

I hope this in-depth guide on how long can a dog go without eating has helped you understand your pup’s sudden and unusual behavior. After reading this blog, you’ll get the answer to your question: my dog is dying how long does it take?

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