How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?

Sometimes it can happen that your dog does not want to eat. As a result, your pet will be listless and probably just interested in sleeping. This behavior is not worrisome in itself, as it may simply be that the dog is purging naturally and will soon be eating normally again. But at what moment should we worry? How many days can a dog go without eating? You have to pay attention and find the answer here.

How long can a dog go without eating?

The exact number of days a dog can go without food depends on the size and physical health of the animal. Age is also a key factor in determining how long a dog can go without eating. Taking healthy adult dogs as a reference, it can be stated that the largest can endure around 14 days without eating; At the opposite end of the scale, we have small dogs, which only last 7 days.

On the other hand, puppies and elderly dogs, as well as adults with certain conditions, will resist much less time. The constitution of these three types of dogs is weaker than that of healthy adults. Therefore, if your dog goes more than a day without eating, we advise you to monitor if he has any other symptoms and, if necessary, go to the vet.

And without drinking water?

We already know how many days a dog can go without eating but… And without drinking water? A dog can go without drinking water for just 24 hours. After that period without fluids, he will begin to become dehydrated and, if he continues without eating or drinking, the consequences could be fatal.

The lack of fluid intake can cause serious problems in pets. For example, liver failure, as the liver is very delicate and is one of the first organs to feel the consequences of not drinking fluids. Along with the liver, the kidneys are also key in the consumption of fluids. Kidney problems vary and there may be kidney stones, kidney failure, urinary tract problems, etc. Kidney-type conditions, once discovered, require meticulous lifelong treatment.

If your dog does not drink water, it can be due to multiple causes, most of them easily detectable. It is possible that the dog has a gastrointestinal problem that, as in humans, causes dehydration; therefore, you should offer your pet water in small doses in case of diarrhea and vomiting. Diabetes also causes dehydration, as do otitis and conjunctivitis.

Is it bad to leave a dog without eating for a day?

It has already been analyzed how many days a dog can go without eating, according to their size and taking into account that they are healthy adults. You know, then, that if he goes 24 hours without eating, nothing serious will happen, but it is not recommended either.

In the case of diseases such as diarrhea and vomiting, it is perfectly understandable that the animal does not want or cannot eat any food. Except for very specific situations, a dog should not go more than 24 hours without eating. It is not bad that he does not eat for a day, there will be no serious consequences for his health (if he is a healthy adult dog); but, even so, we advise you to try by all means to get your pet to eat. And pay special attention to other symptoms like not wanting to drink water or being crestfallen – they can be symptoms of a more serious condition.

What can you give a dog that does not want to eat?

Now that you know how long a dog can go without eating, it is important that you find the reason why it does not eat and look for a solution.

There are many reasons why a dog does not eat. The first to rule out is the change of diet. If you have recently changed his feed, and you have not done it gradually, it is logical that your dog does not want to eat. That is why we recommend that you start a transition between foods progressively. When the change of food is abrupt, by veterinary prescription (occurs, for example, with kidney diets), the dog may reject the new food at first.

If you have a puppy that has just come home and does not want to eat the special feed for his age, you can try mixing it with wet food. This type of food (which dogs love), you can also give to dogs that have just had an illness or to elderly dogs. Keep in mind that, in the case of this last option, many times they stop eating not because of a lack of appetite, but because of problems with their gums and teeth; this could prevent them from shredding the feed and eating easily. Even so, if the problem is in the mouth, you should still take your dog to the vet because it can create an infection and should be treated.

So, the most common reasons why a dog does not eat can be the following:

  • Oral or gastrointestinal problems:
    It often happens that dogs grab certain things that they shouldn’t and get stuck in their gums, preventing them from eating. The best thing you can do to rule out this option is to check your dog’s mouth and throat properly. Also, they may have gastrointestinal problems either because of what they ate or because of obstruction. If your dog has diarrhea or vomits, it is common that he does not feel hungry and you should take him to the emergency vet if his condition does not improve within 24 hours.
  • Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection:
    If your dogs go out often, they can get an infection that causes a lack of appetite that is why vaccinations are important to prevent parasites, salmonellosis, parvoviruses, etc. Take your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Cancer and organ failure:
    Other reasons why your dog does not want to eat may be due to symptoms of developing the disease. There are several medical reports where it is specified that many dog owners have noticed certain behaviors that have not been normal when their dogs eat or drink water, before receiving a diagnosis.

Also, the owners, before receiving the diagnosis, have noticed that their dogs had lost a lot of weight. This generally happens when the animal has cancer and is in pain, the lack of appetite in these situations is normal. If the dog is already in treatment, the medications may influence the appetite.

  • Anxiety or depression
    Many dogs that are left alone at home for many hours suffer from depression and/or anxiety, although depression or anxiety can also be due to other causes such as the death of their owner or even a dog or cat friend. Because of this, dogs may stop eating.
  • Sudden changes in diet
    This has a lot to do with the reasons mentioned above. It may be due to the change in the dog’s diet, for example, when you change the brand of food, they usually stop eating it. Generally, dogs tend to get used to a particular food and if it is changed suddenly, it may take time to eat again.

    In case you have no choice and need to change the brand of your dog’s food or even the flavor, you can try adding some additional flavor such as cooked meat juice or chicken pieces mixed with their own food. On the other hand, if you want to change the food, you can do it little by little.
  • Your dog may be bored
    Yes, dogs also tend to get bored when they eat the same meal every day (we are talking about the same flavor). Many dogs that have already tried other foods will know more about what they want and whatnot, so here you can also do what was mentioned above and add small pieces of cooked meat to their food for a change.

What to do if your dog does not eat?

If you have noticed that your dog has not eaten in 24 hours, then check him starting with his mouth, then slowly feel his chest and stomach to see if it hurts. If your dog is in pain, perhaps he will want to bite you as a defensive reflex or will directly prevent you from touching him. The best thing you can do is go to the vet whether you have checked him or not after 24 hours.

Although you already know how many days a dog can go without eating, and that is quite a few, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian if your dog has been without appetite for more than 24 hours and the situation does not improve, because his health could be at risk.

Do not forget that, under no circumstances, you should give your dog treats, chocolates, fatty foods, or homemade stews that contain salt or sugar; you can’t offer him bones either. It is the veterinarian who can recommend a type of diet according to the possible pathologies of your dog in case he rejects his usual food.

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