We hope that you are not planning to test how long a dog can go without food. Nonetheless, this is a question that all dog owners need to know the answer to.
It can help you prevent issues and risks and provide a better life for your friend. Also, sometimes your pet may refuse to eat for a long period of time. All combined, you need to know how to react, and this answer can help you significantly.
How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food?
In general, a dog can last up to 5 days without any food. Most can last up to 7 days, but this is very dangerous and not something you should do. Keep in mind that we are referring to healthy dogs who still get plenty of water to drink.
A dog that has some health-related issues cannot last more than 3 days without food. In some cases, it is possible that he will last for five days, but once again, this isn’t something you should try.
Both, healthy and non-healthy dogs can last much shorter without water. Of course, a dog that has a medical condition cannot last without water as long as a perfectly healthy dog.
Why Is Your Dog Refusing Food?
In most situations, a dog will refuse to eat due to some issue. If he doesn’t eat anything for a few hours, you don’t have anything to worry about. But if he refuses food after 48 hours, you should take him to the vet. It is probable that he has some medical issues. If he has diarrhoea and is vomiting, take him to the vet immediately.
There are a few reasons why a dog will refuse to eat. We have divided these into sections so you can easily understand them.
Due To Medical Issues
Your dog may suffer from an upset stomach, have an allergy, an infection, parasites, an autoimmune disease, or be in pain. If just one of these issues appears, he will likely refuse to eat until the problem is solved.
Depression and Anxiety.
If your pet is depressed or anxious, he will likely refuse to eat. Now you need to look for changes in his behavior. For instance, if he is depressed, he will not eat and may sleep the entire day. He will act sad and avoid playing.
If a dog is anxious, he will show other symptoms such as aggression, barking, growling, hiding, and so much more. You should try to spend some time with your pet, give him more freedom, and go for a walk. Usually, these things can help depressed and anxious dogs recover.
He Doesn’t Like The Food
Believe it or not, this is one of the most common reasons why dog owners are scared and believe their pet has a severe problem. If you switch to a different food or your dog refuses to eat the old food, the odds are that the problem is in that food.
It may be too old or moldy, or he may just not like the brand or the new taste (if you got him a new food). The easiest way to test him is to give him something else to eat. If he eats, the problem is in the food. Replace it, and you will be perfectly fine.
What You Should Do When Your Dog Doesn’t Eat?
In all cases, as you saw above, the actions remain the same. You need to look for the symptoms and try to understand why a dog doesn’t eat any food.
The first thing you must do is examine the stomach of your dog. Touch and gently press it. If he is in pain, you will know it. It means that your dog has an upset stomach, which is why he is refusing to eat. Also, check the gums of a dog. They must be moist and pink. If they are not, it means that your pet has some health-related issues.
The next thing to do is to check for food. This has been explained already, so we are not going to repeat the step. We can only add that some dogs have a sensitive stomach and can develop allergies to certain foods. Once that happens, they will obviously refuse to eat.
It is important to check for mental problems as well. For instance, if you change something in the recent period of time, a dog may be under a lot of stress and he will show that. As mentioned earlier, he will be depressed or anxious all the time.
This is common when you change your home, adopt a new dog or other animal or when you take him on a vacation. Sadly, vacations can be stressful for dogs. It is worth noting that your dog must get food at the same time, every single day. If you are too busy and simply don’t have the time for that, you will need a pet sitter.
A more affordable option is a dog feeder.
Tips for Feeding a Dog That Refuses to Eat
Try Different Foods:
If your dog is refusing to eat its usual food, it might be worth trying a few different varieties. Some dogs can be fussy eaters and prefer certain types of food over others. Experiment with different brands, flavors, and textures to see if there’s something else your dog prefers. Just ensure that any new food is still nutritionally balanced and safe for dogs.
Create a Feeding Schedule:
Dogs thrive on routine. Having a regular feeding schedule can encourage your pet to eat at the set times. This is especially important for dogs that are grazers and tend to eat their food throughout the day. By setting specific meal times, you can train your dog to eat when food is provided.
Make Mealtime Fun:
Sometimes, making mealtime a game can encourage a reluctant eater. Puzzle feeders, for example, can stimulate a dog’s mind and make eating more enjoyable. Similarly, you could try hand feeding your dog, or using their food in training or play sessions.
Use Appetite Stimulants:
There are natural appetite stimulants available for dogs that can help encourage them to eat. Foods such as chicken broth or fish oil can be appetizing to dogs and can be mixed with their regular food to enhance the flavor. Some dogs might also be tempted by human food, but it’s essential to make sure any food given is safe for dogs and not too high in fat or salt.
Warm Up the Food:
Warming your dog’s food can make it more appealing. The heat can enhance the aroma of the food, making it more enticing to a picky eater. Make sure to mix the food thoroughly and test it before giving it to your dog to ensure it’s not too hot.
Reduce Treats and Table Scraps:
If your dog is refusing to eat their regular food, check their intake of treats and table scraps. If your dog is filling up on these, they may not feel hungry at mealtimes. Reducing these extras can help ensure your dog is hungry and more likely to eat their meals.
When You Should Take Him To A Vet?
When you should take a dog that refuses to eat to a vet Many of you will take him as soon as he misses one meal.
There is no need to do that. Instead, you should wait up to 48 hours if there are no other symptoms. During that time, you can change the food and examine the food as we have explained above. Usually, the problem will solve itself, and there are no severe issues.
If your pet has diarrhea, vomits, or doesn’t move, take him to a veterinarian as soon as you can. If his stomach is hard and in pain due to the same,
Frequently Asked Questions How Long Can Dogs go Without Food
My dog hasn’t eaten in 3 days, should I be worried?
If your dog hasn’t eaten for more than 48 hours, it’s time to consult your vet. It could be a sign of a serious illness. Even if your dog seems fine otherwise, prolonged fasting can lead to malnourishment and other health issues.
Are there certain breeds more prone to fasting or not eating?
Some dog breeds are known to be pickier eaters than others, such as the Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier. However, prolonged refusal to eat is unusual and generally a cause for concern regardless of breed.
My dog isn’t eating but is drinking water, is that okay?
While it’s a good sign that your dog is staying hydrated, not eating can still be a cause for concern. It’s always a good idea to consult your vet if your dog refuses to eat for more than a day or two.
Should I change my dog’s food if they are refusing to eat?
While it might be tempting to switch up your dog’s diet if they are refusing to eat, it’s essential to first rule out any medical issues. If your dog is consistently refusing to eat their food, it’s best to consult your vet.
Can I give my dog human food to encourage them to eat?
While certain human foods are safe for dogs and can be used as appetite stimulants, not all are healthy or safe for dogs. Always consult your vet before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet.
What health issues can arise if my dog doesn’t eat for an extended period?
Prolonged fasting in dogs can lead to malnourishment, weight loss, weakness, and other serious health conditions like hepatic lipidosis (a liver condition). It’s essential to seek veterinary care if your dog is refusing to eat.
Is it normal for a dog to skip a meal occasionally?
While dogs, like humans, may not always feel hungry, frequently skipping meals could be a sign of an underlying issue. It’s always best to keep an eye on your dog’s eating habits and consult your vet with any concerns.
Are there any natural remedies I can try to stimulate my dog’s appetite?
Certain foods like chicken broth or fish oil can act as natural appetite stimulants. However, it’s always best to consult your vet before trying these remedies.
My dog is eating grass and refusing to eat food, what does that mean?
While eating grass is common in dogs and usually isn’t a cause for concern, if your dog is doing it excessively or in place of their food, it could indicate gastrointestinal distress. Consult your vet to rule out any underlying issues.
What should I do if my dog hasn’t eaten but seems otherwise okay?
Even if your dog seems fine, not eating for more than a day or two is unusual and warrants a vet visit. It’s better to be safe and rule out any potential health issues.
The Final Word
How long can a dog go without food? Well, now you know the answer, and we hope you have memorised all the rest you need to know.
Try to remember that your pet may have some issues with his health, his mind, or his food. These are the three main reasons why he doesn’t eat, and each one has a lot of sub-reasons.