How long can a dog go without eating?

In this short article, we will answer the question “How long can a dog go without eating?” and will show you what to do if your dog doesn’t want to eat.

How long can dogs survive without eating is not a question any dog owner should have to ask. Unfortunately, there are instances in which dogs are neglected by their owners and instances in which dogs must live as strays.

Additionally, there are instances where dogs cease eating as a result of a health issue, stress, or dietary preferences. In any event, dogs that eat can be stressful for both owners and animals. 

Here, we go over some possible reasons why dogs might become less interested in food as well as how long a dog can go without eating.

How long can a dog go without eating?

While a dog may survive longer than 20 days without eating, unlike other animals, doing so will result in multiple organ failure, cachexia, as well as other issues such as neurological dysfunctions. Animals, especially domestic animals, unfortunately, experience a lot of cruelty. 

This is partly because people are not properly socialised with animals and because there aren’t any laws that forbid or punish animal abuse in addition to population control initiatives like castration campaigns.

Animal abuse is illegal and also highly unethical because, for the most part, animals do not want to harm their human companions.

The time a dog can go without food diminishes if they are unwell or already have health problems.

Other elements including the dog’s activity level, water consumption, and even climatic change should be taken into account.

For example, a dog’s respiratory, urogenital, and cardiovascular systems must work harder to keep cool in high ambient temperatures, thus he will need more energy to adapt to these changes.

What could be the reason why my dog won’t eat?

Depression, anxiety, medical issues, or dietary preferences can all cause your dog to avoid food. You might be curious about how long dogs can go without eating when they lose their appetite. Fortunately, a lot of cases of appetite loss can be treated quickly. 

However, if your dog goes without food for longer than 48 hours, it’s necessary to take them to the doctor.


Dogs can battle depression just like people do. Perhaps you recently welcomed a new baby home or experienced a family loss. Your dog is acting aloof and uninterested, which is not typical of him. 

Similar symptoms to those of human depression can also be seen in canines. Lack of appetite or complete rejection of food is one of the most concerning symptoms. If your dog has just gone through a significant shift and has stopped eating, it can be depressing.

A medical issue may be the cause of depression. Remember that a health issue may be indicated by a dog’s depressive symptoms.

Your first course of action should be to ask the vet to perform a thorough examination. A pet with arthritic pain may be withdrawn and lethargic, or they may not want to play or go on walks. 

But even if we are unable to ask our dogs whether they experience depression, there are instances in which this is the only medical explanation.

Dogs normally do not require a prescription for antidepressants to treat depression, in contrast to people. Instead, major issues with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and some forms of violence are frequently treated with antidepressants. 

The drug shouldn’t be used in place of another form of treatment. It should be used with a programme to change behaviour, though.


Two of the main causes of dogs not eating are stress and fear. Major life changes, like moving houses or meeting a new family member, can stress out your dog. Fortunately, stress-related loss of appetite usually subsides rapidly. 

Make sure your dog is getting enough water and eating his preferred goodies in the interim. Consult your veterinarian for help if your puppy isn’t handling stress well or if it hasn’t eaten in more than 48 hours.

Separation anxiety is another offender. The behaviour starts soon after the owner dies, which is one of the primary criteria that sets this sort of worry apart from other behavioural issues. 

Within 30 minutes, more frequently in the first few minutes, it normally begins. Screaming, howling, barking, disruptive behaviour, fidgeting, improper faeces, and escape attempts are just a few examples of these behaviours. Not every dog will exhibit one of these signs. Anorexia, vomiting, and acral dermatitis are some of the less common symptoms.

Health Conditions

Many illnesses are accompanied by a very poor appetite. Dogs occasionally don’t want to eat when they’re feeling poorly, just like people do. Chest infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. 

A few conditions that can make your dog refuse food include urinary tract, cancer, kidney, and dental issues. If your dog is experiencing significant or ongoing pain, he might even refuse to eat. 

If your dog is exhibiting different symptoms of disease and isn’t experiencing despair or anxiety, a health issue is probably a cause. In situations like this, you must schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your pet will require a comprehensive physical examination from your veterinarian. Obtaining a blood sample to check for disease symptoms may be part of this process. To determine if a lack of appetite is causing weight loss in your pet, the animal may also be weighed.

He doesn’t eat any food.

Occasionally, there is no other explanation than the fact that your dog is a finicky eater! Dogs who are picky eaters frequently do so because they have consumed too many leftovers or goodies.

Your dog may refuse to eat your bland kibble to gain more food. Avoid offering your dog leftovers and rewards during mealtimes if this describes him. Your dog should learn from this that there are no other possibilities. 

Set aside 30 minutes to prepare your dog’s dinner. Remove the meal if it isn’t consumed at this time. Put the food in when it’s time for the dogs to eat, and remove it after 30 minutes, whether or not the food has been consumed.

If your dog suddenly becomes demanding without any prior warning, a medical condition can be to blame. Keep an eye out for symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, and weight loss in your pet. 


In this short article, we answered the question “How long can a dog go without eating?” and have shown you what to do if your dog doesn’t want to eat.


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