How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating With Or Without Sickness


Chances are, you’re visiting this page because your dog hasn’t had a meal in over 24 hours. Or, perhaps, you’re extremely concerned because your furry friend has disappeared into a remote location, prompting concerns about the duration a dog can go without eating. Alternatively, you might be facing an issue where your pet at home consistently refuses to eat the meals you provide, lasting for a timeframe that appears unusual.

Here it’s easier to calm oneself if he knows for how many days his dog will be able to survive without food. So, let’s explore all this in detail today as to why dogs stop eating and how long they can go without food.

Probable Reasons Why Dogs Stop Eating

Sometimes it’s normal for pets to avoid food for a while, which we consider abnormal. So it would be best first to rule out that it’s not normal. Once you’re satisfied that it’s not usual for him to stop eating, identify the probable reason by looking at the following scenarios.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Your dog may have any of the following health conditions if he’s not taking his meal.

Digestive Iissues

Pancreatitis, Diarrhea, Colitis, Small intestinal malabsorption, Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), Acute gastroenteritis, Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and Colitis are some diseases that might bar him from eating or drinking anything.

An upset stomach can develop from something your dog has eaten during the walk or rotten food at home. If, along with this, your dog is down against its sleeping schedule, you should consult a vet who will do a complete physical exam followed by checking blood sugar to rule out life-threatening hypoglycemia.

Dental Problems

a person checking dog's teeth

Gum, endodontic, tooth decay, and other dental problems may cause suppressed appetite. Preventing gum disease is the best solution by keeping his teeth clean. Regular tooth brushing, teeth cleaning treats, proper diet, dental chews usage, and regular vet checkups can prevent this.

Illness or Illness Recovery

Infectious diseases, including parvovirus, and pancreatitis, can take him away from regular meals. Also, if he has undergone any surgery, it would take some time for him to get back to his routine owing to pains and mild sedation. However, if the dog continues to stop eating, it’s time you consult your vet.

Your Dog Swallowed Something

Dogs are voracious animals, and they try at least everything they can take into their mouth. Sometimes they cram down any toy, cotton, or similar inedible things he may avoid eating. In such a situation, a dog skips meals as that object might be struck in his intestines.

The Dog’s Food is Rotten

Many dogs are picky eaters, but sometimes they must say NO to spoiled food. An expired pack of kibbles or not-so-boiled chicken broth makes him sniff and leave. You may confirm this by tossing a treat over to him. If he eats it, something is wrong with the food, it means.

Do You Know?
An ice cube can also be a treat for your dog if dipped in some flavors


Like humans, dogs’ bodies react too after they are vaccinated. So if your dog isn’t eating for up to 24 hours, it’s because of that vaccine he had been given. So appetite loss is a common symptom after vaccination.

Behavioral/ Cognitive Problems

Change in Diet

a kids eating spaghettis along with a dog eating the same

Although your dog is a picky eater, you made him accustomed to human food or some wet food, which you later can’t afford or do not give him for other reasons. And this is the most common reason most dog owners complain about later.

Change of Place

a dog sitting beside some packed home items

If you moved to a new place where the surrounding is not conducive for most dogs, or on the contrary, you are the new owner of this dog, and he may not eat for a while.

New Adaption

A dog grieves

Dogs are more emotional than any other animal. The loss of their owner or leaving their previous dog owner is a serious blow to their emotions. While stressed about being with a new owner, they can refuse to eat anything.


dog peeping outside a car window

Some dogs also feel motion sickness, as humans do, so they can’t take anything given to them after traveling in a car.

Soft Measures to Make Him Eat

So, try making him eat with these soft measures step by step.

Stay Calm and Wait

Before calling a vet emergency, try making him eat with out-of-the-way methods because it’s possible the reason can be an upset stomach or a behavioral problem after which. he would continue eating as before.

Test Him With a Treat

Offer him his favorite treat. If he responds, it’s good news. All you need to do now is to change the food.

Change His Kibble Brand

If your dog stops eating, change the brand of your dog food. He may be weary of eating his current dog food, or the same may not taste him that well.

Feed Him Yourself

Depressed dogs tend to refuse food quite often. If he’s depressed, because of separation anxiety or else. He may need your attention. So feeding him with your hands may make him forget his worries.

Heat His Food

Try warming his food to let him experience the smell first, as a dog likes to eat what smells good. Also, adding boiled water to this food may soften it, making it more attractive to him.

A Bit Tough Measures To Feed Your Dog

Use Syringe

If, after trying all lenient measures, your dog refuses to eat food it would be best to try force-feeding your dog when the above methods are not working. You may use any wet food or his favorite broth in the syringe. Here, it’s pertinent to mention that you should at least have some experience doing this. Otherwise, don’t do this on your own.

Allow Him to Eat Grass

The grass is not canine food, but it makes them throw up whatever food he has in their stomach. Pica can be the reason your not isn’t eating, so eating grass may help him at least lessen the effect of those acids burning in the stomach

What Foods To Give When Your Dog Isn’t Eating

Plain chicken, fish, beef with the least salt, chicken or beef broth, steamed or boiled butternut squash, bone broth, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin can be given to pups who have stopped eating.

Common Signs When Your Dog Needs Urgent Vet Check Up

If you notice persistent appetite loss in your dog, or the dog vomits or has swelled face – all of these are serious conditions and life-threatening, and it’s time to get him to the vet immediately because that’s a sign of organ failure.

Or, if your pet has missed more than three meals, it’s time to seek medical advice.

The Bottom Line

Their survival time is too limited for pets because they have no fat reserves. A pet can go as long as 12 hours without any food. On the other hand, an adult dog can survive without eating for 2-3 days. The dog expert, Cesar Millan, suggests starting with the simplest when your dog isn’t eating. Take him for a long walk so that the tiredness can work as an appetite stimulant, add some wet food to his bowl and put a lid on it. This retains the food smell and works as a kind of suspense for him to remove and see what’s in it. And still, if the dog isn’t eating, get him medical advice as soon as possible.

Has your dog ever refused food for a person that made you worry? If yes, share your story in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

Normally 3-5 days are considered max. by which a dog can survive without eating

What are the signs that your dog is going to pass away?

Pain, dog’s appetite loss, dull eyes, throwing up, weight loss, and other symptoms showing a weaker condition means the dog is saying goodbye to this world.

What do you give a dog that won’t eat?

Sweet potatoes, bland chicken with white meat, baby food, and human food can be if your dog isn’t eating.

What happens if a dog goes a day without eating?

One missed meal is not a problem. If he’s a pup, it’s a serious case, and you must consult immediate veterinary care. But for healthy adult dogs, you may try some measures to make them eat, including a food change.

How long can a sick dog live without food?

For a normal dog who has suddenly stopped eating, 3-5 days is a reconsidered normal. If he’s sick because of some serious reason, the survival time may lessen even further.

How long can a dog go without food but drinking water?

Most healthy dogs can go for 3-5 days without eating but can go for 72 hours maximum if they do not drink water.

How long can dogs survive without water?

Without water, the dog would undergo severe dehydration, and dogs can survive for 2-3 days. So keep your dog hydrated even if you have to force-feed it.

How to force-feed a dog who won’t eat?

Using a syringe containing chicken broth or other liquid food may work. Also, sprinkling clam juice and tuna water over the dog’s food after warming it may attract the dog to eat it.

How long can a dog go without eating cancer?

If cancer he’s been with causes pain, sick dogs won’t eat anything and can go for 3-5 days just.

How long can a dog go without eating after surgery?

After the surgery, your dog can go without food for up to 24 hours.

How long can a small dog go without eating?

Young puppies or small breed puppies go less without eating than bigger dogs. A usual time of 24 hours is considered normal.

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