How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

Dogs can typically survive without food for three to five days, depending on their age, health, and size. However, it is important to note that this is not ideal for their health and well-being. Like humans, dogs need proper nutrition to thrive and maintain health. Going without food for an extended period can lead to serious health issues and even death.

The exact length of time a dog can go without food also depends on individual factors such as their activity level, metabolism, and underlying health conditions. For example, a young and active dog may withstand not eating for longer than an older or sedentary dog.

It is important for dog owners to be aware of their pet’s eating habits and to seek medical attention if they notice a decrease in appetite or refusal to eat for an extended period. If a dog is not eating for more than 24 hours, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

Dogs can go without food for three to five days but it is not recommended for a dog to go more than 24 hours without food. Some dogs may be able to survive longer, but it can be dangerous for their health and should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. Dogs can become easily dehydrated and suffer from weakness, organ damage, and possibly death if they go too long without food. It is important to consult a veterinarian if your dog is refusing to eat for an extended period.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food But Drinking Water?

A dog can typically go without food for about 3 days, but they should never go without water for more than 24 hours. It is important to seek medical attention if your dog is not eating or drinking for an extended period, as it can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating When They’re Sick?

Dogs need to eat regularly, especially when they are sick. However, every dog is different and the length of time they can go without eating can vary depending on their overall health and the severity of their illness. In general, healthy dogs can go without eating for three to five days, but puppies, old dogs, and dogs with certain health conditions may need to eat more frequently. If your dog is not eating for longer than 24 hours, it is important to consult a veterinarian for further advice and treatment.

SEE ALSO: Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating After Surgery?

It depends on the dog and the type of surgery they had. In general, most dogs can go without food for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. However, it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for their specific post-surgery care, including when and how to start reintroducing food. Some surgeries may require a longer period of fasting, while others may allow for a small amount of food soon after. It is important to monitor your dog closely and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Reasons Dogs Stop Eating Or DrinkingEAT 1

There can be several reasons why a dog stops eating or drinking. Some potential reasons include:

  1. Illness or Injury: If your dog suddenly stops eating or drinking, it could be a sign of illness or injury. Dogs are instinctively wired to hide their pain or weakness, so they may not show any obvious signs of discomfort. It’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
  2. Change in Routine or Environment: Dogs are creatures of habit and can become stressed or anxious when there is a change in their routine or environment. This can include moving to a new home, a change in their feeding schedule, or the addition of a new pet or person to the household. If your dog’s eating or drinking habits change suddenly after a change in routine or environment, try to provide them with a calm and familiar space and keep their routine as consistent as possible.
  3. Dental Issues: Dogs can experience dental problems, just like humans. If your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort in their mouth, they may avoid eating or drinking because it causes them pain. Check your dog’s mouth for any signs of dental issues such as broken teeth, gum inflammation, or bad breath. If you suspect dental issues, take your dog to the veterinarian for a dental check-up.
  4. Side Effects of Medications: Some medications can affect your dog’s appetite and thirst levels. If your dog recently started a new medication, check with your veterinarian to see if this could be a potential side effect.
  5. Age and Health: As dogs age, their appetite and thirst may decrease due to changes in their metabolism and activity levels. Some health conditions common in aging dogs, such as kidney disease or cognitive dysfunction, can also cause a decrease in appetite. If your dog is getting older, it’s important to monitor their eating and drinking habits and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes.
  6. Behavioral Issues: In some cases, dogs may stop eating or drinking due to behavioral issues. This can include picky eating habits, food preferences, or anxiety around mealtime. It’s important to establish a consistent feeding routine and provide a calm and stress-free environment for your dog during meals.
  7. Heatstroke or Dehydration: If your dog is not eating or drinking, it could be a sign of heatstroke or dehydration. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated, especially during hot weather or after strenuous activity.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Won’t Eat?

  • Rule out any medical issues: Before trying to address your dog’s lack of appetite, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical issues causing the problem. If your dog’s lack of appetite is accompanied by any other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or weight loss, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
  • Check the food: Make sure the food you are offering your dog is fresh and hasn’t expired. Also, consider changing to a different brand or type of food to see if your dog prefers it. You can also try adding warm water or low-sodium chicken broth to make the food more appealing.
  • Make feeding time more enjoyable: Creating a positive association with mealtimes can help encourage your dog to eat. Try feeding your dog in a different location or using a special bowl or plate. Playing calming music or adding a few drops of essential oils known to stimulate appetite, such as ginger or peppermint, can also help.
  • Stick to a routine: Dogs thrive on routine, and this also applies to feeding times. Try to establish a consistent feeding schedule and stick to it. This will help your dog maintain a healthy appetite and better regulate their digestion.
  • Avoid table scraps: While it can be tempting to offer your dog table scraps or treats as a way to entice them to eat, this can make things worse. Human food is often higher in fat and calories, which can lead to an unbalanced diet for your dog and contribute to your dog rejecting their regular meals.
  • Consider hand-feeding: Hand-feeding can be useful for dogs who are picky eaters or have a decreased appetite. This allows you to control the amount of food your dog is getting and also allows you to praise and encourage them as they eat.
  • Try different feeding methods: Some dogs may have trouble eating from a traditional bowl. If this is the case with your dog, try using a slow feeder or puzzle toy to make mealtimes more engaging and enjoyable.
  • Consult with your veterinarian: If your dog’s lack of appetite persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide further guidance on how to address the issue.

How to Get Your Dog to EatEAT 2

The mealtime experience should be a positive and enjoyable one for both you and your dog. However, sometimes dogs can be picky eaters and may refuse to eat their food. It is important to address this issue and find ways to encourage your dog to eat regularly. Here are some tips on how to get your dog to eat:

  1. Stick to a Feeding Schedule: It is recommended to feed your dog at the same time every day. This will establish a routine for your dog and help them to anticipate mealtime.
  2. Feed High-Quality Food: Make sure you are feeding your dog high-quality food that is appropriate for their age and breed. Cheap, low-quality food may not be as palatable for your dog and could lead to a lack of interest in eating.
  3. Add Variety: Just like humans, dogs can get bored with eating the same thing every day. Try adding different flavors or textures to their food, such as mixing in some wet food or adding a spoonful of plain yogurt.
  4. Warm Up the Food: Some dogs may prefer their food to be warm rather than cold. Try microwaving their food for a few seconds before serving to enhance the aroma and make it more appealing to your dog.
  5. Use Meal Toppers: Adding meal toppers, such as cooked meat or broth, can help entice your dog to eat. Just make sure to limit the amount of extra toppings to avoid overfeeding.
  6. Keep Mealtime Stress-Free: Make sure your dog feels safe and comfortable while eating. Avoid loud noises or disturbances during mealtime, and try to feed your dog in a quiet, calm area.
  7. Give Treats Sparingly: If you give your dog treats throughout the day, they may not be as interested in their regular meals. Try limiting treats to only special occasions or as rewards for good behavior.

What to Feed A Sick Dog With No Appetite

When a dog is sick and has no appetite, it is important to feed them a diet that is both nutritious and easy to digest. Here are some options for what to feed a sick dog with no appetite:

  • Boiled Chicken and Rice: This is a classic home remedy for sick dogs and is easy to make. Boil boneless, skinless chicken breasts and shred them, mix it with cooked white rice and a little low-sodium chicken broth.
  • Homemade Broth: Instead of giving your dog plain water, try making a bone broth for added nutrients and flavor. Simmer bone-in chicken or beef with vegetables like carrots, celery, and parsley. Strain and cool before serving.
  • Pumpkin or Sweet Potato: These ingredients are gentle on a sick dog’s stomach and can help regulate digestion. Cook and puree them before mixing them with boiled chicken or rice.
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese: This is an easily digestible protein and a good option for dogs with upset stomachs. Mix it with a little boiled rice or offer it alone.
  • Baby Food: If your dog is hesitant to eat, try offering them some pureed baby food. Stick to flavors like chicken, beef, or sweet potato.

SEE ALSO: Can Dogs Eat Edamame?


Q. How long is it OK for a dog not to eat?

A. In general, it’s not normal for a healthy dog to go more than 24 hours without eating.

Q. What happens when a dog doesn’t eat for 3 days?

A. If a dog goes without eating for three days, it’s considered a serious medical condition known as anorexia. Anorexia in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including illness, infection, pain, stress, or anxiety.

Q. Is it okay for a dog to go 24 hours without eating?

A. In most cases, it’s not a good sign if a dog goes 24 hours without eating.

Q. Can a dog survive 5 days without food and water?

A. It’s highly unlikely that a dog would survive for five days without food and water. In general, most dogs can only survive for a few days without access to water, and even less without food.

Q. How long can a dog go without water?

A. On average, a healthy dog can survive without water for about three to four days.


In conclusion, a dog can survive for three to five days without food, but it is not recommended to withhold food for more than 24 hours. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that a dog has access to clean water at all times. If a dog is refusing food for more than 24 hours, it is important to seek veterinary advice as this could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Overall, it is crucial to provide regular and balanced meals for a dog to maintain their health and well-being.

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