How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food | vic-l

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food

It is hard to imagine how living creature are able to survive without food for even a day. A surprising fact is that food is not the most essential ingredient to life, at least for a short window of time. That includes dogs and us, humans as well. Instead, the key elixir of life is water. Living organisms cannot survive without water for even a day, but without food, that is manageable.

For most healthy dogs, they can last at least to 5 days without food. This amount varies among dog breeds due to various reasons. They can be innate ones like their different lifestyles and metabolism rate, or external ones like change in surrounding temperature and humidity. Let’s take a look at these factors in a bit. First we examine why they might go on “hunger strike” in the first place.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating?

Dogs are essentially descendants of wolves. After eons of domestication, they evolve and differentiate substantially enough to be classified as another species. However, a large part of their biological make-up is still intact. This means that their bodies are biologically constructed for a hunting lifestyle much like their ancestors. And a hunting lifestyle means that these animals are used to living a couple of days without food. This is because while hunters hunt everyday, not everyday is Sunday. They usually succeed in catching a prey days apart, in between which they survive and carry out their usual hunting activities without food.

Hence, there is no harm if your dog does not get food up to 5 days. Note that not having access to water is a totally different and more severe issue than food deprivation.

However, it should raise an alarm if dogs, being domesticated and fed regularly as they are, are saying no to food. Here are some of the reason why dogs are not eating.

Mental Conditions

Dogs are creatures with a heart. Just like us, they have feelings. And with feelings, they are likewise subjected to the mood changes associated intangibly with the mind. These changes may thus affect their diet and eating habits, positively and negatively. Let’s look at those that may cause your dogs to avoid food.


Dogs can get anxious easily. The most common cause if due to separation from their owners. This is because dogs take after their wolves ancestors that live in packs. Hence, if left alone, they do not feel right, giving rise to separation anxiety.

Anxiety, being a form of stress, will simulate the secretion of adrenaline to prepare for a fight-or-flight scenario. This will temporarily shut down appetite and dogs to stop eating.

Dog owners tend to make the mistake at this point, thinking that it is the dog food is the culprit for causing the dogs to not eat. They may thus change food. However, a better solution is to give the dogs some calming treats to fend off anxiety.

I will recommend getting Zesty Paws Calming Bites as it has been widely verified to do wonders to countering anxiety in dogs. Its main ingredient is Suntheanine, a common ingredient for inducing relaxation. Such a calming treat is often the solution to the problem right at its core. It will will help dogs to relax and stop adrenaline secretion, hence allowing it to gain back its appetite.

Note that anxiety causing loss of appetite occurs only in the short term. Long term anxiety, on the contrary, causes overeating due to a different mechanism and abnormal secretion of another hormone.


Dogs may also suffer from depression due to multiple factors. Maybe a change of rules in the house, or losing their favorite toy due to frequent biting. Depression is commonly associated to loss of appetite, although there are far and few evidence to prove the connection even among humans.

Dental And Health Problems Inducing Pain

If a dog experience pain during eating, naturally it will start to eat less so as not to face such an undesirable sensation. This pain can be caused by a variety of factors, from trivial ones like toothaches, to the more grave ones like mouth tumor.

These problems are concealed. The only solution is prevention. Make sure you take your pooch to visit the vet regularly for checkups to prevent these problems from plaguing poor Fido before it is too late.

Recovering From Diarrhea

Some dogs are exceptionally prone to diarrhea. This is especially so for puppies across all breeds. After an upset stomach, dogs tend to lose appetite and will avoid eating. This can be worrying as they will lose some days of nutrients that will affect their health in the long run, although they can last up to 5 days without eating any food.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach is highly recommended for dogs with sensitive stomach, especially if they are recovering from diarrhea. It uses a formula made to be promote digestion and nutrients intake. It also ensures a balance gut microbiome, which are good bacteria that will protect your pooch’s gut from the onslaught of bad bacteria, along with facilitating digestion. All these are achieved without sacrificing the taste of the kibble, enrich with the flavor of chicken.

New Environment

Not being in a familiar setting for the daily affair of having a meal can give dogs quite a bit of scare. Such apprehension can be cause by things like a change in the usual dog bowl that is used to serve the meal, the location of eating, or even the amount of food.

Give it a day and your dog’s appetite will be back to normal. Your canine friend would not say no to food after a prolonged starvation even if it is not familiar with where or what to eat.

New Food

Sometimes, there is a need to change the diet of your dog. Maybe it has developed an allergy to chicken and his meal has to change to phase out any traces of chicken meat or fats. A drastic change in their meal will undoubtedly cause them to be on tenterhooks and consume little from the new menu.

This will not be a problem if you got your furry friend a substitute that it deems more delicious that the old meal. However, if you did not strike the lottery, there are ways to help dear fido get accustomed to its new diet.

Introducing food topper. Dog food toppers are like condiments to our human meals. They add flavor and taste to bring out the umami from each mouthful. I would recommend experimenting with different dog food toppers as early and regularly as possible to find out what works well with the tastebuds of your four-legged friend.

The K9 Natural Food Topper is exceptionally exquisite It is made of all natural ingredients. It gives an extra boost to muscle growth with its rich amount of high quality protein from its grass-fed lamb tripe from New Zealand. Along with a host of other enzymes, bacteria and amino acids that will do wonders to your canine friend’s immune system, it does more than filling your dog’s stomach and satiety.

Having a food topper that you know your dog will love will come in handy for situation like changing their diet. It will help to maintain the dog appetite since they are still eating something that they are familiar with and in love with. Of course, make sure you have a variety of food toppers so that you will at least have alternatives to pick from should your pooch’s favorite food topper, with reference to the example given, contains chicken.

Picky Eater

Every owners’ worse nightmare is to have a dog that has an attitude even when they are being fed. Picky eaters are difficult to please and finding the right food will be challenging. If they do not like the menu of the day, they may choose not to eat it, even if that means starving.

The best solution is to find a dog food that your pooch likes. All I can say is good luck with that. I will advise starting with small portions of dog food for experimental purposes, and choose different meat to see which meat suits your dog’s tastebuds the best. Once you have some candidates, you can start to work around with different brands of the chosen meat.

The ACANA Regionals Dry Dog Food is hands down one of the best tasting dog food in the market. It is completed with a mixture of lamb and trout that will bring out a sensation of freshness in taste. Made of high quality natural ingredients farmed right of Kentucky USA, its protein-rich, carb-limited recipe conjures a gourmet befitting the lifestyle of a dog. Nutrition wise, it will provide all the necessary nourishment your dog will need in their typical ay to day activities.

It will also work using the food topper as described above.


If you dog is under medication, certain medicine will make your dog lose their appetite. Do check with your vet if the medicine given is expected to produce such a behavior.

Factors Affecting How Long My Dog Can Go Without Food


Breeds that have a more active lifestyle and are biologically outdoor bound tend to last a shorter of time without food. This is because their constant movements burn so much energy that they have to replenish their energy tank as soon as possible. This is especially so for puppies who very curious of the world they are born into and always seeking exploration adventures. Coupled this with the fact that they are at the key stage of exponential growth, they are constantly in need of food and nutrients and would not last too long without it.

Hunting dogs like Weimaraner and Beagles are some examples of breeds that have an active lifestyle due to their breed’s biological attributes. Working group breeds like Rottweiler and the Siberian Husky are another energetic examples.

The brachycephalic dog breeds like pug and the bull dog tend to exercise less due to their breathing difficulties, hence they are more chill and burn less energy to last more days without food.

Metabolism Rates

Breeds also differ in their metabolism rates. Giant dog breeds have different metabolism rates than toy breeds due to their size. Higher metabolism means more energy burnt and thus the more crucial need to replenish them. Dog with higher metabolism rates will not last more than a couple long without food without compromising their healths.


A growing puppy will require a lot more nutrients as they are growing. They are more curious and thus more active. Senior dogs tend to have less energy and move around less. They may also be plagued by past injuries and illness or declining health. They can thus last a longer period of time than puppies without food.

Lifestyle And Environment

Dogs that have a very active lifestyle will tend to require more energy. For example, if they take walks often or are sledge dogs in snow climates countries, you bet that they will not last even a day without food.

This is especially so during winter. Dogs may shiver due to the cold. The jerking of the muscle requires energy, which will make the dogs hungry for food even if they are not moving much at all.

Final Thoughts

Although dogs can last a handful of days without food, we should still be concerned if our four-legged friends are behaving out of line and skipping meals. Experiment with different methods to get their appetite back, and if all fails, turn to your vet to check if it is anything serious.

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