How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food?

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Every other living being out there needs food and water for survival. The lack of nutritious food and clean water for any living being is going to end up making them sick and eventually death. Our little four-legged fur babies are included in the list. Ever wondered how long can dogs go without food? It is not surprising to know that dogs need equal care when it comes to food for healthy living. 

Sometimes dogs tend to avoid food for various reasons. This behaviour is not good for the health of your dog. Dogs need proper food that is balanced and nutritious for their survival. Is your dog not eating food recently or has been eating little to nothing amount of food? Are you wondering how long can dogs go without food and water? Worry not, we have all the answers to your dog-related queries. 

Every dog has a different personality and mood that can be difficult to understand at times. Dogs need good food as much as they need attention and love for being healthy and happy. Dogs are generally playful beings that enjoy playing outdoors but for that, they need to be well-fed. If you have been observing your pet not eating well or turning their noses away from their favourite food it could be something serious but oftentimes it is not. 

It is always better to read and learn more about how long dogs can go without food or water. This will help you understand and help your dog if such a situation arises. There could be various reasons for it that we will be exploring here. 

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Eating?

dog laying not eating

It is not unusual to be bothered by the question ‘how long can dogs go without food ?’ for any dog owner. We have the answers to your worries. A dog that is healthy can survive for 5 days without eating. This is only possible if the dog has access to clean water and is drinking water properly. Plenty of water can allow a dog to survive more than 5 days as well. There have been instances when dogs have been able to survive for up to 7 days if they had water to drink but no food. This should be avoided to keep a dog healthy and fit. 

If you are wondering how long can sick or injured dogs go without food or water or how long small dogs go without food and water, a dog won’t survive for more than 3 days without food and even less than that if there is no supply of fresh water. Being hungry for 5 days or more for a sick or injured dog is going to wear him off and leaves less scope for survival. It is always best to seek medical advice if your dog has not eaten for more than 3 days. 

Why has my dog stopped eating? 

This question is probably why you are here. Dogs sometimes stop eating for various reasons that may not be related to any underlying conditions. But at times it can be an indication of something serious. Seeking a vet’s advice and investigation might reveal the real reason why your dog has stopped eating but worry not we give you some possible reasons that your dog is avoiding food. 

1. Medical conditions 

There is a long list of medical conditions that can keep your beloved dog from eating. Yet, there are some commonly seen medical conditions that could be a reason that your dog is not eating that are mentioned below:

  • Infection 
  • Allergies 
  • Tummy upset 
  • Arthritis or injury pain 
  • Dental problems 
  • Presence of parasites
  • Autoimmune disease 
  • Other major conditions like cancer, organ failure, diabetes, and many more. These conditions are serious and require immediate care. 

2. Mental Conditions 

Pretty much like their human friends, dogs also suffer from mental conditions that can make them lose their appetite. It is common for dogs to suffer from poor mental health that can affect their overall health and well-being. Some of the mental conditions are anxiety and depression are common in dogs and can be treated. 

3. Depression 

depressed dog laying on the floor

As mentioned earlier, depression is commonly seen in dogs that can cause a general loss of appetite. Common signs of depression include your dog not being playful like other energetic dogs. A change in their sleeping pattern can also be an indication of depression. Observe your dog’s sleeping pattern, whether they sleep a lot or not at all. Or sleep when they are supposed to play otherwise. 

If your dog is not enjoying the things that he generally would enjoy like their favorite treats or toys, it could also indicate depression. This behavior should be observed to seek medical help. Your vet can recommend ways to correct this condition. 

4. Anxiety 

Dogs also suffer from anxiety due to many factors. Dogs that have anxiety will exhibit certain behavioural changes along with loss of appetite like :

  • Trembling
  • Growling
  • Aggression
  • Barking
  • Hiding 
  • Tail tucked between legs 
  • Running away 
  • Not being able to go out without getting panicked
  • Does not like being touched 

Spending more time with your pets is recommended. Dogs suffer from anxiety when they are separated from their favorite person or a change in place can also trigger anxiety. Making a comfortable space for your dog will also help. 

5. He’s Picky 

It is not just cats but dogs can be picky eaters too. If this is the case, you can try out different foods that your dog enjoys. This requires patience and a wide range of dog food. 

What you can do 

Whatever may be the reason for your dog to avoid eating, you should always consult a vet in this situation. A medical professional is the best person to investigate the root cause of loss of appetite and give the correct line of treatment for it. Be there for your dog. Sometimes dogs need medication or simply take time to get used to their food. Be patient. 

How can I get my dog to eat?

You can try to get your dog to eat by introducing small quantities of new food and see whether he likes it. You can try giving them chicken broth, most dogs enjoy it. Consult a vet to give your dog hunger-enhancing medications. 

Create a safe space for your dog to eat and be comfortable. Use their favorite bowls to feed them. Be patient while trying out different foods. 

What to feed a sick dog that will not eat? 

Dogs are influenced by their sense of smell, you could warm up food to realize the aromas that could make your dog want it. Dogs also enjoy meat and fruit flavors, you could try giving them small quantities of dog food in their favorite flavor. You can also apply a tiny amount of dog food to their mouth, realizing it is food might help them ask for more. 

Remember to avoid force-feeding a sick dog, it may worsen their condition. 


Now that you know how long dogs can go without food you are prepared to handle this situation with your beloved pet. It requires patience and perseverance to deal with dogs that won’t eat. Dogs require your love as much as food. 

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