How Long Can a Pet dog Live Without Food?

dogs are one of the most adorable reptiles out there, and they make for great pets. Low maintenance and not demanding at all, make being a pet owner seem so easy. They’ll be your companion for years and will not require your fussing around and nor are they clingy for constant companionship.

However, dogs are also rare pets to have, and so when it comes to finding them from other owners, there isn’t a strong pet dog support group you can refer to when you have questions to ask about your dog.

dogs live long lives; some go on to live 80 years at a stretch. But to live a long healthy life, they also need to have a healthy, well-balanced diet. Out in the wild, dogs don’t get the chance to feed often, and so they’re keen to gobble up the food you give them and seem to want more.

One problem all pet owners face, regardless of which pet they own, is what to do with your pet when you have to travel and don’t have anyone to watch over them in your absence. If you’re someone in that position, that’s probably led you to the question, how long can dogs go on without eating food? 

There are a lot of factors to weigh in while answering this question, so we can’t give you a general definitive answer. You’ll be most surprised to find out as you read that wild dogs and your pet dogs have so much in common yet are very different. This sounds like a very confusing statement, so read on to find out what we mean by it.

What do dogs eat?

Perhaps one major requirement your pet dog has from you is that you take care of their diet. dogs, both wild and pets, can live over 50 years, but your pet dog night requires some extra care. This is mainly because they have been domesticated, and their survival instinct might not be as sharp as their wild counterparts.

Diet also plays a very important role when it comes to how long they can survive without eating, and we’ll explain that in a bit. First, you need to make sure you know what you just want constitutes a healthy balanced diet for your dog.

To start, commercially available dog pellets are perhaps the safest food you can offer them; they have all the nutritional requirements that a dog needs and won’t disintegrate too easily when given to your dog to eat. These constitute 25% of their diet.

Fruits and vegetables are a part of your dog’s diet as filler food, but they do hold a great deal of nutritional importance. Make sure you feed them to your dog properly washed and are fresh. Dark leafy greens are the preferred option in vegetables, and all kinds of melons and berries are safe fruits (to name a few).

Feeder insects and fish are an important part of your dogs’ diet as well. They make up the other 25% of their diet and are an important source of essential nutrient protein. They also have a well-balanced amount of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium and vitamins such as vitamin A.

Wild dogs vs. Pet dogs

Now, this is where the major difference comes into play. Wild dogs can go for long periods without having had a proper meal. This coping mechanism is known as hibernation and is also called brumation. This is when dogs enter into this state where they use very little of their energy, and their metabolism slows down a great deal, and this happens especially during the long cold winters. Whatever they had eaten before their hibernation lasts them throughout the winters. Depending on where they live, winters can stretch up to 6 months at a time. So technically, wild dogs can go 6 months without having eaten food!

However, pet dogs don’t go by that same standard. They don’t even hibernate! This is because of a few reasons that include:

  • Domesticated dogs don’t need to store up energy or food, considering that their owners constantly feed them. They don’t have to worry about the possibility of not having a food source.
  • The temperature of their environment indoors doesn’t change as drastically as it does outside.
  • Pet dogs are exposed to healthy, UV light rays all the time.

So, in essence, a wild dog can go up to 6 months without eating, but that formula doesn’t apply to pet dogs because their lifestyle varies differently. Though we hope if you do have to go away for 6 months, you take your dog with you or leave it in someone’s care!

Pet dogs:

To determine how long your pet dog can survive without food, the first thing that needs to be considered is how old your dog is. A healthy adult dog, who has been well for the duration of his life, will be able to go months without eating and will survive. 

Younger dogs, and to be more specific, baby dogs will not be able to survive that long in comparison. This is because they need food and their protein intake, in particular, more frequently than grownups do to develop and grow. Not eating at such a young age will only result in unfortunate results.

Another factor to consider when you plan to leave your dog alone is their access to clean water. While dogs can do for a long duration without food, they will not be able to survive that long without water. At most, they will manage 12 hours to 24 hours. 


If you plan to leave your dog for a long time, you can install an automatic food dispenser for your dog. You will have to make sure to provide easy access to clean water. Good luck!

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