How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food?

There are two scenarios of this question.

#1 You ran out of dog food due to any reason, let’s assume, an immediate lockdown was imposed on your city and you couldn’t arrange enough food for your fur baby.

#2 You have plenty of dog food, treats, and other eatables but your dog refused to eat. 

However, in both scenarios, you are exactly where you need to be. Reading this article will help you out and provide you with the best solutions in this regard. So, let’s get started.

How long my dog can survive without food?

The answer to this question will entirely depend on the breed and age of the dog. As you know each dog breed is different from the other regarding its temperament, physical power, and living requirements. Some breeds are very hard and can go for 4 to 5 days easily without food because they were bred for such harsh circumstances. For example, the Lycan Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Australian shepherd, and many others. 

On the other hand, if we talk about small size dogs such as Pug and Corgi, they are not much active and their tolerance level is low. So, they can give you a tough time if you don’t feed them for a certain time.

Remember, there should be enough freshwater available and accessible to your dog without any hurdle.

I ran out of dog food, what should I do?

If you run out of dog food and can’t go outside in the near future due to a heavy snowstorm, lockdown, or any other reason, the first thing you should do is don’t panic. Secondly, there are a plethora of human foods that your dog can eat such as boiled chicken, boiled meat, fish, fruits like apple, banana, oranges, vegetables such as asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower, and much more. So, you still have a lot of feeding options for your dog.

The eatables that are not listed in this article can be searched easily on Google. Simply Google for the food item whether it is safe for dogs or not, and you’ll get the instant answer. You can also take guidance from your vet. In the worst-case scenario, when you run out of all kinds of food, your dog can still survive for up to 5 days but make sure you have enough supply of freshwater for your fur baby.

What should I do, my dog refused to eat?

Like Humans, your dog can also lose its appetite. Usually, it isn’t lost for a longer span of time but if it happens for a longer span of time or frequently, you should look for the right solution asap. Because your dog can’t talk to you regarding its health condition, losing its appetite for a longer period is a big indication that something may be bad with your dog and it could be serious. Therefore, pinpointing the problem is essential and your vet can figure it out.

Read Bad Breath in Dogs

There are various reasons that stop your dog from eating and the most common of them are mentioned below.

Reasons Why Your Dog Stop Eating?

Your dog doesn’t like its regular food

Yes, they do have likes and dislikes just like humans. Also, sometimes they are bored of the same food every day so you should change its food brand and add some different kinds of treats in its food such as seedless watermelon, banana, orange, cauliflower, peanut butter, and you have countless options here.

Your dog got some health issues

Losing of appetite can also be the result of some health-related problems. There are various health issues in which your dog refuses to eat. Some common health conditions are upset stomach, different infections, gingivitis, etc. See your vet who can figure out such problems and treat your dog accordingly.

Stress and anxiety

Behavioral issues such as stress and anxiety could also be among the reasons behind the loss of appetite in your fur baby. It is recommended to train your dog for different situations, as well as, stay home alone for a certain time to avoid stress and anxiety.

In such a case, you should help your dog to decrease its stress by exercising him. Physical contact, massages, calming shirts, and walks are also effective in such scenarios.

Separation from other animals or humans

The dogs are wonderful creatures and they not only create strong bonds with humans but also with other dogs and animals. So, if your dog was rehomed from another owner it may be missing its previous owners or pets. Likewise, if you had another pet that is no longer staying with you due to any reason, it may also result in your dog’s loss of appetite.

dog walk for loss of appetite

Dog on a calm walk (credit: Sober Rabbit via Flickr)

In this scenario, you really can’t do anything. But you should take your dog for walks and spend some quality time to distract him. As you know, love can do wonders and your love and attention at this crucial time could be beneficial.

Picky One

Some dogs are very selective regarding their food. They refuse to eat until you give them their favorite food. If that is the case then you should try other foods until you succeed in discovering your pup’s choice. Make sure your dog is not addicted to food that is not healthy and less beneficial in a long run.

Travel or change of location

If your dog was properly eating before you traveled or moved along with your dog then most probably, it is the reason behind your dog’s such behavior. Many dogs have motion sickness issues and traveling in a car may make them uncomfortable. Also, if you have moved to a new location, it may make your dog confused and worried so it won’t eat. 

In either case, you shouldn’t worry much as it usually ends in a couple of days and your dog would be feeling well.

Steps you should take if your dog suddenly stops eating

  • Wait for a day and let your dog fast for a certain time because it may be due to an upset stomach and by not eating for a certain time, the upset stomach may be recovered. If the condition exists for more than that, you should talk to your vet.
  • When the dog has been examined by the veterinarian and is physically fit, you must then address the problem on your own. You can pinpoint the cause by spending more time with your dog. It might be a chance of anxiety or stress. Changing the environment sometimes also brings back the appetite.
  • Treats and other human food such as chicken, vegetables, fish, etc. can help to take your dog’s appetite back.

Final Thoughts

Whatever is the reason, in either case, you should try to spend more time with your dog. Make sure you have enough supplies and the availability of water for your dog. Also, always get dog food and supplies when you feel the available food would last for 2-3 days, and don’t wait for it to finish.

A healthy dog can go longer without food for 3 to 5 days unless it is consuming the right amount of water. While without water it can survive 2 to 3 days but that may result in some life-threatening conditions. Water deficiency can cause kidney failure and other organs to stop working.

Recommended read – Can we use Sudocrem on Dogs?