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How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating? Know More About Your Dog’s Loss Of Appetite 

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating? Know More About Your Dog’s Loss Of Appetite 

how long can a dog go without eating

As pet parents, it is always our responsibility to make sure that our dogs remain healthy and fit for the longest possible time. If your dog has picky food habits or is fussy in general, you would know the trouble of feeding them. But your dog will eventually eat one way or the other. However, things start to get more serious when they just stop eating altogether. It becomes concerning as to how long can a dog go without eating. However, it is more important to be concerned about the reasons why your dog is not eating in the first place.  

Seeing your dog in so much pain and seeing them go through it may be stressful, but this is not the time to panic. When you are informed and aware of the reasons why your dog is not eating and the right remedies to cure it, things become much simpler, and you can take a well-calculated step to cure it right in its inception.  

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating?  

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating_

As long as your dog is still drinking water, a healthy one will still be able to survive three to five days without food. However, this is not a healthy habit, nor should you wait for that long. As the general rule states, if your dog has not eaten anything for more than 24 hours, it is time that you bring them to the vet for immediate diagnosis.  

Keep in mind that dogs suffering from any underlying health conditions or the ones that are pregnant or nursing may not be able to survive without food or water for a long stretch of time. Toy breeds like Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Maltese are also especially vulnerable as they are very prone to hypoglycemia when they do not eat.  

But, it is also particularly important to keep in mind that if your perfectly healthy dog suddenly refuses to eat, there might be some serious medical issue that you are not aware of. In that case, you need to bring them to the vet immediately.  

What Are The Most Common Reasons Behind Dogs Losing Their Appetite? 

What Are The Most Common Reasons Behind Dogs Losing Their Appetite

Just like human beings, there are a number of reasons your dog is refusing to eat. Knowing each of these reasons will help you rightly understand why your dog is not eating so that you may take steps as a responsible and informed dog parent.  


A reduced appetite in dogs is usually a sign of illness, particularly if your dog shows other symptoms all at once. However, the loss of appetite does not necessarily indicate a very serious disease; veterinary attention is needed as it might as well turn out to be something serious. Some of the more serious illnesses that may cause your dog to quit on food are – 

  • Cancer  
  • Kidney failure  
  • Various systemic infections  
  • Liver problems  
  • Pain  

Dental Disease  

Your dog might refuse to eat because of the presence of something painful in their mouth. If that is the case, it is better to get them checked once for a loose or broken tooth, gingivitis, or even an oral tumor. In certain cases, something might happen right below the gum line, which may not be seen externally, like a tooth root abscess.  

Recent Vaccination  

Luckily, there are many vaccinations available for dogs to save them from deadly, contagious diseases. While these injections have saved the lives of numerous dogs, they do come with certain adverse effects. These side effects are brief and minor, but losing appetite is surely one of them.  

Unfamiliar Surroundings Or Traveling  

If your dog had a fine appetite till you went on a trip with them or moved to a new house, there is a good chance that they are refusing to eat because of the new surroundings or because of too much traveling. Some dogs tend to get motion sickness, while others get too anxious when they go to new places.  

Pickiness Or Behavioral Issues  

Some dogs are just outright picky and deliberately do not want to eat when you feed them. In the case of others, they might refuse to eat when being fed during an uncomfortable situation, like around an aggressive dog or the bowl being placed at an uncomfortable height. Because loss of appetite usually gets triggered by some undiagnosed health condition, never choose to believe that your dog is picky without consulting with the vet first.  

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food And Water?  

While dogs can still survive without food but enough water for three to five days, quitting on both might be something you do not wish to witness in your dog. If your dog has stopped eating and isn’t drinking water at the same time, it is best to rush them immediately to the vet.  

If they do not drink water for 24 hours straight, they may be prone to dehydration. This may end up with serious health complications if left unaddressed for too long. A dog requires water for all of its metabolic activities and processes, thus making it one of the most important elements of its everyday life.  

What Are Some Ways To Feed A Dog When It Is Not Eating?  

What Are Some Ways To Feed A Dog When It Is Not Eating

There are multiple ways for you to try out in case your dog has given up on food. The method that works best for you will ultimately depend on the condition of your dog. If one of the methods does not work, you always have the option to move to the next one till you find just the right one that suits your pet the best.  


If your dog has suddenly stopped eating, the best thing you can do is to wait. Give them the space and time they need. Dogs can go for a couple of days without eating anything. Just make sure they are drinking enough water. It is normal for dogs to turn down their food every once in a while. Dogs, just like humans, are not always hungry. You can also just leave their food out for them to look at throughout the day as they slowly start to get hungry.  

Give Your Dog Some Treats  

If your furry baby has not been feeling very well, you may try to give them some treats with food that they usually do not eat. Human foods like chicken, or maybe even baby food, might also be irresistible to your dog. This may finally get them to eat something, at least. Just try out a very small amount of the food you eat at first and see if they are at all eating it. If not, try adding just a little bit more.  

You can also mix it with their everyday food to encourage them to eat their usual food with a little surprising treat. Just make sure that you are not overindulging your dog in this entire thing, as it may have negative effects on your dog’s health.  

Change Their Dry Food Brands 

If you are having a hard time getting your dog to eat their everyday dry food, changing the brand is not so much of a bad idea. Try a sample pack first and see if your dog likes it at all. Maybe a little change in taste may encourage them to eat more. Alternatively, you may try to mix some wet food in their meals, which will help stimulate your dog’s appetite more than their usual dry food.  

Serve Them Hot  

When you heat the food you give to your dog, it improves its palatability and smell. In case your dog is sick, they will have a disturbed sense of taste and smell. Food that has been heated will smell way better and may lure your dog to eat it. Heating will also improve its taste, which will further encourage them to keep on eating after the first bite.  

Add Some Broth To Your Dog’s Food 

Adding a bit of warm broth will add extra flavor to your dog’s plain, boring food. As a bonus, it will also heat the food up and make it more palatable. If you have never given broth to your pup before, there is a good chance that the shift will make them want to eat their food without any trouble.  

Try To Hand-Feed Your Dog 

Hand feeding your dog works in the same way as it does when our mothers feed us when we are sick. Hand feeding them will comfort your little one who is not in the right position and encourage them to eat more. It might take a little while for the process to accomplish fully. But we can only hope that it will get your dog to start eating from their bowl once you hand-feed them a few bites.  

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Read The Instruction Manual On Medications 

Certain medications may reduce your dog’s appetite. If your dog is on an antibiotic course, it might be one of the reasons why they are refusing to eat in their usual manner. So, make sure that you carefully go through every detail and wait for at least 15 minutes before giving food to your dog. By waiting, you will make sure that the medicine has properly coated their stomach before any food reaches in.  

Take Your Dog To The Vet 

Going to the vet is a good idea if your dog has suddenly fallen asleep and won’t eat anything. The vet may help you figure out what is bothering your dog. They also suggest what you should do to make your pup feel better. Your vet will also ensure that your dog has gotten the prescribed medications if they are needed at all. Medications will either address an illness that your dog might have or help to improve their appetite.  

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

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating When They Are Sick

While a healthy dog can easily survive for three to five days without eating anything, things may get a bit too challenging for the ones that are already sick. For example, if your dog is already weak and its organs are fighting, going without food for even just a single day would have adverse effects on its health.  

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating After Surgery? 

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating After Surgery

At times, dogs try to cope with the stress of surgery and prefer not to eat for a brief time period. This may usually happen due to nausea or grogginess from the anesthesia, or it might just happen due to pain. So, if your dog stops eating for a brief time after surgery, don’t worry about it. However, this may only last for 24 hours. If your dog still does not eat anything the next day, it is only fair that you check with your vet. See if they need any pain relief medication.  

Can CBD Help With Appetite Issues In Dogs? 

Can CBD Help With Appetite Issues In Dogs

Yes, CBD is a natural supplement that increases your dog’s appetite and helps them get back to their old eating habits. Lack of appetite may happen due to a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons why your dog is refusing to eat is because of pain.  

CBD is insanely popular for its pain-relieving properties and helps your dog take a breath of relief. In certain cases, dogs refuse to eat due to stress or anxiety. CBD also possesses certain stress-relieving properties that help your dog relax and feel calm.  

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in your dog’s body. It reduces the sensation of pain or anxiety, and helps stimulate hunger.  

The Bottom Line  

Dog owners usually worry about their pets not eating enough. Things get even more serious when they stop eating completely for a long time period. When you ask how long a dog can go without eating, the answer is three to five days. But you should not delay any more than 48 hours if your dog stops eating.  

The reasons may vary from one dog to the other, but the solutions are somewhat common. Rather than going for medications that have adverse effects on your pup, you can go for the safest and most natural CBD supplements. They will treat your dog without any side effects.

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