How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating

Just like humans, dogs need their daily need for food and water. Food consumed is burned down as energy and utilized by the body to function its various organs. However, what if a dog stops eating? How long can a dog go without eating? Or without water? If you have such questions in mind, then you have come to the right place!!

Research says that the number of days that a dog can live without eating depends on various factors, such as the age of the dog, the dog’s weight, or if there are any underlying conditions. Generally, a healthy dog can go up to at least five days without eating. In some cases, it may even go up to weeks. However, this won’t be the case for water. Without water, a dog can hardly live for just a few days and may die of dehydration. Even though your dog is not eating solid food, it should be willing to drink water to survive. This brings us to the next question-

Why is my dog not eating?

Humans don’t eat/ lose appetite when they are sick, but that is not always the case in dogs. Dogs may lose appetite or stop eating altogether due to various reasons. The most common reason being, sickness, dogs can also stop eating due to mood or environmental changes. Let us look at some of the factors because of which your dog may have stopped eating.

1. Medical condition

A dog may stop eating if it has some underlying medical condition. If your dog has not eaten anything for more than 24 hours, it is advised to visit the vet. There are several sicknesses due to which your dog may have lost appetite. Some of the common ones are-

  • Stomach infection
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Dental problems such as gingivitis
  • Parasites
  • Pain because of wounds
  • Other serious illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, etc.

If along with loss of appetite, your dog is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, then she/he needs immediate medical attention.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is another reason because of which your dog may be not eating well or have a suppressed appetite. Several factors can trigger anxiety in a dog, and you should watch out for such symptoms. Some symptoms that indicate an anxious dog is-

  • Excessive barking
  • Growling
  • Tucking the tail between her legs
  • Aggression
  • Trembling
  • Running away from crowded places
  • Aversion to touch
  • Looking for corners to hide

If you notice such symptoms, it is obvious that your dog must be anxious. In such cases, you can either take her to the vet and see what can be done or make your dog feel safe and protected everywhere you take her.

3. Depression

Yes!! Dogs can even feel depressed, just like us. The reasons for depression in dogs can be many. Losing appetite because of depression is also very common among dogs. Some tell-tale signs point that your dog may be depressed. Some of them are-

  • They tend to be inactive and don’t like playing around at all, but instead like to be left alone.
  • They become indifferent to treats or toys they once loved.
  • Their sleep schedule may change, and they may start sleeping during the day while being awake at night.

It should be noted that these symptoms are also commonly found in other medical conditions. So, it is best to take her to the vet.

4. Stress

Stress is another common factor that can lead to loss of appetite in dogs. It is quite easy for dogs to be stressed out, especially due to changing weather conditions. Summers are the time for dogs to generally remain under stress due to heat making them uncomfortable. Some other factors of stress in dogs are-

  • A new environment
  • New pet at home
  • Change in his meal timing
  • While introducing a new food item
  • Sound of loud firecrackers or explosives
  • Inability to find a female during mating season( in case of males)

There are supplements available that are specially meant to reduce stress in dogs. In such cases, it is best to administer medicines or other supplements to your dog.

5. Picky eater

Dogs are known to be picky-eaters in general. They would only sniff and walk away from food they don’t like. In case you are on the course of finding the perfect food for your dog, there may be times that your dog will stop eating. In other instances, your dog may not be liking the food you’re giving him, so he will rebel by not even licking it. If you think this may be the case, then it is best to change her diet altogether.

How long can a sick dog go without eating?

Depending on the dog’s medical condition, the days may vary. If the sickness is due to a gastrointestinal infection, then it is best to keep the dog away from food or water for a few days. Intravenous fluids can be administered in such cases. With IV, dogs can go up to 48-72 hours without food or water. If the condition becomes become, the vet may begin with some light semi-solid food and check the progress.

When dogs suffer from digestive system problems, they tend to vomit out everything they eat, and that can make them really weak and uncomfortable.


The metabolism rate in dogs is really high compared to humans, because of which even a day without food can make them feel very weak. Your dog may not be eating due to many reasons, and your first duty as a pet parent is to identify why? And when? Keep track of the time your dog stopped eating, and reason out why that could be happening.

Try to introduce foods that you think your dog may like or play around more with them so that they become tired and crave food. Do whatever you think is best, but make sure your dog is not left untreated.

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