Do you Know How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?

How long can a dog go without eating

How long can a dog go without eating is a question one asks when their beloved dog is least interested in eating or refuses to eat their favorite food. A dog cannot go too long without eating, they can easily manage without food for three to five days. Like us humans, when dogs are unwell they tend to lose interest in food. Avoiding meals once or twice might be general boredom but if you notice your dog going on without food for days together, it is a cause of concern and should not be neglected. More than anything their water intake also should be of priority. 

Dog health depends on nutritional food and clean water. These two play an integral part in a dog’s life and no compromise must be made regarding this. Contact a veterinarian if your four-legged friend has not eaten anything in two days. 

The reasons why your dog is not eating but acting normal?

why your dog is not eating but acting normal
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If your dog is not eating or drinking for a day or more and yet acting normal, there could be multiple factors affecting its appetite. Dogs are not usually picky eaters, if they like something they will eat or drink it without any fuss. But if your dog is not eating but acting normal it could mean many things and most often it is easily fixable. Let’s look at some reasons why your dog is not eating. 

1. Stress

Stress can cause dogs to lose their appetite just like humans. A sudden change in their regular life like moving into a new house or somebody new coming to stay with you can be difficult for your dog. This is a possible reason why your dog has stopped eating. 

2. Dental problems

It is common in dogs to have dental problems. If there is pain or infection it might troublesome for your dog to chew on food and ultimately will stop eating if it is causing discomfort. 

3. Nausea

Like humans, if dogs are feeling nauseous they will avoid food. Indigestion of food can make them nauseous but it is not a serious cause of concern and is easily treatable.

4. Internal obstructions

If there are any internal obstructions causing pain and difficulty digesting food then your dog might avoid eating and drinking. This should not be ignored as it will create further complications. 

5. Fussy eater 

Generally, dogs do not throw tantrums about food but at certain times they can and stop eating food. Best to lure them with some of their favorite treats and get them to eat.

6. Pyometra

Pyometra is an infection that occurs due to hormonal changes in a female dog’s reproductive tract. It is a serious condition to an extent that it can be life-threatening. Given the right treatment at the right time, your dog can make a full recovery. 

7. Cancer 

Cancer is common in dogs as many already know. It can cause a loss of appetite and general disinterest in food. It is serious and can be fatal as well.  

8. Kidney and Liver diseases 

Kidney and liver diseases are more common in dogs than we know. It is one 

There are multiple other reasons as well and if the hunger strike drags on for more than two days, it is always better to consult a veterinarian. 

What should I do if my dog is not eating? 

If a dog is not eating or drinking, it can cause anorexia which is a fatal condition. If left untreated for a long time it can cause dehydration and malnourishment. Don’t be fooled by your dog’s normal behavior and always consult your vet when your dog hasn’t eaten food or had enough water. 

What can you feed a dog that refuses to eat?

You can try to feed them their favorite foods. Coax them into eating by heating their food so when they smell the aromas they might feel like eating. You can feed level two baby food with different flavors like turkey and beef. Avoid it if they are on any special diet. Any harmful food items like garlic, onion, chocolate should be strictly avoided. 

Should you force-feed your dog?

It is not advisable to force-feed your dog but if you must you can use a syringe to feed your dog. You can do this if your dog hasn’t eaten for more than 48 hours. Make sure that this is done only after the veterinarians have guided you towards this method and you are well aware of how it is done. 

How long can a dog go without eating?

On average dogs can go without eating for three to five days. It should not be avoided if that is the case. Seek medical help as that is not an ideal situation to be in. Also, pay attention to your dog’s water intake, it is of utmost importance even over food. If your dog isn’t eating or drinking for three days or more get medical help.

How long can a dog go without water?

Similar to other animals, dogs can survive longer without food than water. They need water for survival, dogs can survive without water for three days and can continue surviving for five to seven days or more without food. 

Seek medical attention if you notice your dog not eating or drinking for 48 hours or more. Avoid forcing your dog to drink water as this may result in aspiration pneumonia. Encourage your dog to drink water but avoid any force unless advised by a vet. 

Methods for Feeding a Sick Dog

Wondering how and what to feed your dog who is sick? Try out some of these methods for feeding a sick dog and retain its health. Not all dogs are the same hence, you require multiple ways to feed a sick dog. Some methods may work or not, keep trying until and unless you find the right method. 

1. Give Your Dog a Treat

Coax your dog into eating with a dog treat. Dogs love their treats that they don’t get so often. Try giving them a treat or baby food, this might excite their appetite. You can also try human food like a piece of chicken, make sure you give only a small quantity to see if they are interested and if it goes down well with them. 

Mix these treats with their regular dry food, this might work and make them eat food. Make sure you are not giving them too much of these treats as it may call on negative effects. 

2. Change Dry Food Brands

If your dog isn’t eating or drinking, this might be because of their regular fee which has become a tad bit boring for them. Try experimenting with new brands of dry food, get a few samples from the store and give small portions of it to your dog. Trying out a new brand might just be the method you are looking for. You can also mix dry food with their wet food to get them to eat. Always try out new food in smaller quantities to check how your dog reacts to it. 

3. Use a Syringe

If all else fails try using a syringe to force-feed your dog. This is one of the last resorts to get your dog to eat. You can feed your dog pureed wet dog food or broth with the help of a syringe. This does require some skills and should be done correctly to avoid any negative consequences. You can also give them medications with a syringe if that is prescribed by the vet. Always consult a vet before taking such drastic steps. 

4. Stimulate your dog’s appetite 

Stimulate your dog’s appetite with medicinal appetite stimulants that are prescribed by a vet. If your dog refuses to eat for a few days you can try this out as it will stimulate their hunger and may get them to eat. It works on health conditions that suppress their diet as well. 

Some available stimulants, copy the hunger hormones in dogs to make them hungry, and some reduce nausea. Before trying this method consult your vet so that you can decide on which stimulant administer will suit your dog the best. Avoid self-prescription at all costs. 

5. Heat up Your Dog’s Food

When you heat any food it releases aromas, this entices dogs and makes them hungry. Dogs that are sick might have a hampered sense of taste and smell, heating their food will elevate their senses and may get them to eat. Heating food may encourage them to continue eating after the first morsel. 

6. Add Broth to Your Dog’s Food

Try adding warm broth in regular dog food that will make them hungry and add some interesting flavors to their food. The warm broth is one thing that generally works or else you can make the broth even richer by adding some meat to it. If your dog doesn’t get the broth frequently this might be a good solution and a healthy one too. 

7. Hand-feed your dog 

Dogs need comfort and care too. Hand-feeding your dog is sometimes comforting for dogs and reassures them that they have a person who cares for them. A sick dog needs comforting and hand-feeding might get them to eat something. Encouraging a sick dog with hand-fed food should soon turn into them eating directly from their bowls. It is sometimes a long process. 

8. Let Your Dog Eat Grass

Have you seen dogs eating grass? Yes, sometimes their instincts tell them to eat grass. If your dog is doing the same, let them. They sometimes have the instinct to eat grass when they are sick, as it makes them throw up. Sometimes even we feel good after vomiting because of uneasiness, same for dogs. If vomiting makes them feel better, let them do it. 

It is important to note that dogs should be well-hydrated and don’t allow your dog to make it a habit to eat grass every time they are outside. Consult your vet in this case.  

9. Take Your Dog to the Vet

Your best option to help your dog is to take it to the vet. A vet can determine a line of treatment better in person after examining the dog’s condition. Prescribing medicines or encouraging the dog’s appetite can be done by a vet. 

What Not to Feed a Dog

Feeding anything rich should be avoided when your dog is sick, it can cause them to fall sick. Try to cut down on giving them human food as treats. Make sure your dog hasn’t had harmful foods like garlic, onions, xylitol. raisins, alcohol, and many more. 

See Also

Some Healthiest Foods for a Dog

Dog food is enriched with nutrients perfect for dogs’ good health. There are human foods also that are healthy and can be given to dogs like eggs which are rich in antioxidants, proteins, calcium, and many more. For goof joint-health, Omega-3 works well for dogs. Mushrooms are also a good source of minerals and vitamins. 

Always consult your vet before making dietary changes. 

Signs of Dehydration In Dogs

Several signs of dehydration are present in dogs like:



Loss of appetite 

Losing skin elasticity

Dry nose

Gums that are dry and sticky

Dry eyes

Is your dog acting sick after getting into ‘human food’?

A change in diet may make your dog sick. Observe your dog’s health after giving them human food. Human food isn’t fit for dogs and can even be fatal. Some food items like chocolate and garlic are poisonous for dogs so your dog may have fallen sick because of human food. 


Dog health is of utmost importance and should never be neglected. A sick dog needs more care and support especially when your dog isn’t eating or drinking for a long period. Always consult a vet when your dog refuses to eat for more than 3 days and look after it well. 

Try out these methods to get your dog to eat and increase water intake to regain its health. 


What happens if a dog doesn’t eat for 3 days?

If a dog hasn’t eaten for 3 days, it can become malnourished and anorexic. Anorexia in dogs can make them extremely dehydrated and sometimes fatal. 

When should I worry about my dog not eating?

A cause of worry when your dog hasn’t eaten for more than five to seven days. And also, when your dog hasn’t been drinking water for more than three days.

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