Home Blog How Long A Dog Can Survive Without Food – Multiple Cases Explained

How Long A Dog Can Survive Without Food – Multiple Cases Explained

How Long A Dog Can Survive Without Food – Multiple Cases Explained

This is the kind of question a dog owner should never need to ask themselves – how long can a dog survive without food? There are situations when dogs are neglected by their owners, as well as situations when dogs are found wandering around as strays – they cannot find enough food to eat.

There are also cases when a dog stops eating or drinking. It happens out of nowhere. When such problems arise, you know that something is wrong. Your dog requires a vet’s attention right away, so do not delay it, hoping that it will get better by itself. Sometimes it does, but would you take the risk?

Now, why would a dog stop eating, and how long can it go?

lonely sick dog on street

Why Dogs Might Stop Eating

There are more reasons wherefore a dog could have some days without eating, but three of them are more common.

Health-Related Problems

Your dog might stop eating or loss of appetite when its teeth hurt. It may also experience nausea, so it avoids eating for a few hours. If you have just got your puppy vaccinated, a low appetite is usually a side effect. It will not last for too long. Other health problems – like parvo or pancreatitis – can become fatal if not treated right away. Do not take any guesses, but take your dog to the vet.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can make a dog feel depressed. For example, when they reach a shelter, they are taken from a warm home and thrown into a cold jail. It is a massive difference, and they cannot understand what happened to their homes.

Changing home may also affect your dog’s lifestyle and appetite, not to mention getting another pet or perhaps a baby – the dog feels like it loses most of the attention. When left alone for many hours, dogs can also get depressed.

Picky Behavior

According to Cuddle Your Dogs, most dogs will eat most dog food, as well as human food. But some of them can be quite picky. If your furry friend is used to wet canned food, kibbles may not seem so exciting, so they might reject it.

The same problems may arise if you need to change their diet due to various issues, such as obesity or diabetes. Some dogs might like a change and embrace it, while others hate it.


Now, How long can a dog go without eating before it dies??

Sick dog after a visit to the veterinary

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Dying?

Different situations come with different requirements.

When Your Dog Feels Ill

Low appetite is the first sign that your dog does not feel too well. If the affection targets the gastrointestinal tract, not eating might give your dog a little time to recover. Not eating for a few days can worsen the problem.

At this point, a dog can live longer without food for three to five days, depending on the age, breed, or medical condition. Dogs who get just enough food to handle their resting energy and nutrition needs are likely to stay alive for slightly more than five days.

When Your Dog Suffers From Parvo

Over 80% of all puppies with parvo will die if not treated right away. Most vets agree that you should not force a dog with parvo into eating. The most significant risk is dehydration, though. Forcing your furry friend to eat can cause even more diarrhea and vomit, leading to even more dehydration.

The size of the dog is critical and the dog is sick in its healing rate. They can safely go for two days without food – some dogs can live longer for up to seven days.

Hypoglycemia is another risk – more common in small breeds.

All in all, if your dog does not eat in a day or two, check back with the veterinarian.

When Your Dog Suffers From Pancreatitis

Fatty foods are more likely to cause pancreatitis – a common affection in dogs. The treatment involves giving the organ time to recover. There will be no food for about 24 hours – water can also be restricted. To help the dog survive, it will have to take intravenous fluids.

If health improves after a day, they can have mild food. Start low and add more food gradually.

Do not attempt any treatments by yourself. Your vet can make recommendations, provide prescription food, and determine whether your dog’s health improves.

If Your Dog Has A Surgery

Nausea is a secondary effect of surgeries. Dogs should not be given anything until the effects of anesthesia are gone. Always check with the doctor. If your dog does refuse to eat or drink within the first 24 hours, go back to the vet.

It can go without food for three to five days, but keep in mind – it is weak after surgery so that it might wear faster.

How About Water?

Regardless of the reason, a dog in the right health conditions can go for a maximum of three days without water. The time frame could be shorter if your dog suffers from affection or is too young or old. Therefore, if your dog does not drink anything within 12 to 24 hours, take it to a vet immediately.

Wet food is rich in water so that it might extend the time frame a bit. On the other hand, according to Jug Dog, hot weather will aggravate dehydration and reduce the time frame.

Final Words

So, What should I do if my dog is not eating? As you can see, there are multiple factors to take into consideration. The age, size, and breed will make the difference. The health status is even more critical because an ill dog will feel weaker and will live longer for less time without food.

While it is essential to keep positive, it is just as necessary to put the bad thoughts first and never make positive assumptions. Do not expect your dog to heal by itself. It might happen, but why would you endanger its life by taking such a risk?

Related Topic: How Often You Should Take Your Dog To The Vet – A Guide For Newbies Explained

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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.