How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating?

It can be difficult for pet owners always to take care of their pets and their needs. You will often be unable to anticipate or understand what your dog needs. An issue of particular concern for many owners is how long can a dog go without eating.

One of the first signs that something is wrong with your dog is that they stop eating. Their increasing hunger could make your pet feel worse. In severe cases, it can damage their health and even be fatal.

That is why it causes pet owners so much distress.

The article will look at how long dogs can go without food, why they might stop eating, and what you can do about it.


how long can dog live not eating

How Much Food Do Dogs Usu​​​​ally Need to Eat?

It is important to note that different dogs have varying nutritional requirements. It varies by their age and energy levels. For instance, active dogs like boxers need to eat more.

Size is also a big factor. Small dogs need less food than large dogs.

The most critical nutritional requirement that needs to be fulfilled is your dog's energy needs. The following are the general calorie guidelines for dogs per day

  • A 10-pound puppy needs 990 calories.
  • A 10-pound inactive adult dog needs 296 calories.
  • And, a 10-pound active adult needs 404 calories.
  • A 10-pound pregnant dog needs 518 calories.
  • A 10-pound senior dog needs 327 calories.
Their needs increase equivalently as the weight of the dog increases. For instance, a 30-pound active adult needs 922 calories.

Besides this, they need to consume enough protein for their developmental stage. There are also a variety of minerals and vitamins that they need to keep them healthy.

If your dog stops eating they are going to miss out on all the nutrients they need. You need to get them eating enough as soon as possible.

Remember that if your dog isn’t drinking it is a much more immediate issue and you should immediately take your dog to the vet.

Why Won't a Dog Eat?

The first sign that your pet is ill is often that they stop eating or eat far less than usual. Other signs are changes in behavior, lethargy, vomiting, or any other signs of discomfort. If your dog has a few of these symptoms, there is cause for concern.

If you are struggling to find out why your dog is this could be helpful.
how long can a dog live once they quit eating

However, this isn’t the only reason that your dog isn’t eating. Here are several other reasons:

  • Your dog is a very picky eater. Sometimes nothing is wrong, and your dog is just fussy.
  • You have changed their food, and they don’t like or aren’t used to the new food.
  • There is something wrong with their food. Their food might be expired or could have gone off.
  • Your pet is feeling very stressed. Dogs usually don’t want to eat when they are worried or scared of something.
  • Your dog is recovering after surgery and might be feeling unwell from the medication or procedure.
  • Your dog has cancer and is feeling uneasy. The medication that you give your dog for cancer can make them nauseous.
  • After eating something, they shouldn’t, like grapes or chocolate they can have an upset stomach.

No matter why your dog quit eating, you shouldn’t let your dog go without food for too long.

The faster that you find out what the root of the problem is the faster you can remedy the situation.

If you are struggling to find out why your dog is not eating, the video below could be helpful.

How Long Can Different Dogs Go Without Food?

No matter the reason, it is a serious problem if your pet isn’t eating. Dogs can only safely go without food and water a short time before it becomes ill or before it dies.

It is estimated that most dogs can survive for three to five dies. In the extreme, they can potentially go without eating for a week and only water.

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You should note that this is only an estimate. The following are dogs that will probably not be able to live as long without eating:

  • Pregnant dogs
  • Diabetic dogs
  • Active and energetic pets
  • Dogs with health issues like pancreatitis
  • Old dogs
  • Sick dogs

Pets that are fitter, younger, and in better health can cope for longer than weaker dogs.

A sign that your dog needs to be fed soon is if they are starting to lose weight and are underweight. Underweight dogs might have loose skin and have bones that are showing or sticking out.

You should never intentionally withhold food from any dog.

Dangers of Dogs Not Eating?

The longer your pet goes without food, the worse it is. If the problem can become severe enough, your dog can suffer from starvation and can even pass away.

how long can my old dog go without eating

Besides dying, lack of food can cause several other problems namely:

  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Increased aggression
  • Reduced alertness
  • Lethargy

What to Do if Your Dog Isn't Eating?

The first thing you should do if your dog stops eating is to take them to a veterinarian. Your vet will check whether your pet is ill or is suffering from a medical condition. They can prescribe some medicine for your pet or advise you on what course of action to take.

Luckily, there are several steps you can take at home to help to remedy the situation. The solution depends on what the cause is.

An excellent place to start is to try to give your dog a different food product especially wet or canned food. The chances are that if they are only fussy, they will begin to eat once you give them something they like. You can try to give them some of their favorite treats. If this doesn’t work, they are likely sick.

To ease your pet back into eating you can give them products like this gel. You can also start off by feeding them rice with cooked chicken breasts.

And More?

Especially while your dog is sick, you shouldn’t force them to eat if it makes it nauseous. If it comes to a dangerous point, your vet will be able to give them a drip or a feeding tube. Products like Tomlyn’s Nutristat high-calorie gel can be a temporary alternative.

After your dog’s initial unwillingness has passed, you can transition them to a regular diet. If you fed your pet chicken, rice or a gel such as Nutristat you can change their diet by slowly introducing their regular dry food back in. Start by giving them a quarter of their normal food and three-quarters of the gel etc. Gradually increase the ratio of regular food until they are back to their old diet.

Putt​​​​ing them on a diet of high-quality dog food is a crucial step in their recovery. You should be aware that low-quality dog foods are more likely to give your dog digestive upset which will stop them from eating. You will be surprised at how many problems can be solved by changing the products that you give them.

Here is some further advice on feeding a dog that won’t eat.

Conclusion - How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating

Hopefully, this article will help you figure out how long a dog can go without eating.

You need to keep a close eye on your pet whenever there is a change in their eating habits. You should figure out whether they are sick or only a fussy eater.

If they don’t eat for more than a day, it is time to schedule an appointment with your vet. Remember that three to five days is the maximum amount of time that they can go without food. They can go far less time without drinking water.

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