How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food & Drinking Water?

Dog Food

Are you worried about your dog’s health and wellbeing? It’s quite usual to have concerns regarding your dog’s health, especially when they are continuously refusing to eat food and drink water. As a dog owner, you would definitely want your dog to eat well, enjoy food, and stay healthy. So, if you know how long can dogs go without food, what causes them to experience appetite loss sometimes, and how can you encourage them to eat food, you could do the best for your dog. In this article, we will also discuss how long can dogs go without food based on various factors, including their size, breed, age, and health issues. So, stay tuned with us.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Eating Food?

Like any other animal, dogs also require food and water for their survival. As long as a dog is otherwise healthy and drinking water, it can survive around 3 to 5 days without eating food. However, if your dog has been rejecting food for more than 48 hours, you need to take them to the vet for a thorough examination and diagnosis.

Sometimes, dogs can survive for a longer period without eating food, however, this can cause irreversible damage to their bodies.  Therefore, you should understand that whenever a healthy dog suddenly stops eating food, this can be an indication that they require serious medical attention.

Also, dogs with pregnancy or certain health issues may not survive for a long period of time without food and water. Some dog breeds are more vulnerable than others. For instance, Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Maltese are susceptible to hypoglycemia, without food and water. Therefore, when your dog has not been eating food for more than two days, it’s best to visit your veterinarian for a check-up.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Drinking Water?

Water is more essential than food for a dog’s survival. Without drinking water, dogs can not survive for a long time as they become dehydrated very quickly. If your dog is otherwise healthy, they can live around 3 days without drinking water. However, they will start feeling unwell after 24 hours and sometimes, it could result in permanent damage to their organs. This is why if your dog refuses to drink water for more than 24 hours, you should immediately visit your veterinary clinic for a proper diagnosis. Initially, you can encourage your dog to drink water by adding a slight amount of low-salt meat stock to the water, providing them with rehydration liquid, or syringing water into their mouth.

Factors to Determine How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food?

Even though a dog can generally live around five days without eating food, their survival time span can vary depending on various factors like health issues, breed, size, and age. Water also plays a crucial role in your dog’s survival as they can become dehydrated very quickly.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food Considering Their Size?

Compared to larger dogs, smaller dogs can live for a shorter period without food, because of their faster metabolisms. Smaller dogs, such as Yorkies and Chihuahuas can live up to two to three days without food. Toy breeds are susceptible to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, in the absence of food. In that case, you must immediately contact your vet.

Due to a larger body mass and slower metabolism, larger dogs can live longer than smaller dogs without food.  Larger breeds like Great Danes can survive for around five days without eating food. However, apart from the size of the dog, several other factors such as their medical conditions, ages, and activity levels also influence the survival period of a dog. Therefore, you should consider all these factors while estimating how long can a dog go without food.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food Considering Their Ages?

Puppies require food more frequently than grown-up dogs, to support their body growth. Therefore, you should never let your dog go without eating for more than 12 hours. In comparison to a grown-up dog, puppies have a smaller amount of fat stored in their bodies, making them vulnerable to becoming hypoglycemic very quickly. Sometimes your puppy may refuse to eat food just because of a recent vaccination, teething pain, or worms, sometimes, the reasons can be more serious like low blood sugar level (signs of tiredness or shaking). Therefore, it’s always better to consult your veterinarian whenever your puppy refuses food for more than 12 hours.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food When They Are Sick?

It is quite obvious that a sick dog will not live longer compared to a healthy dog. However, the proper answer to how long can a sick dog go without food would be that depends on their underlying medical conditions and their size. In general, they can live up to 3 to 5 days depending on their medical condition and size.

Even though a sick dog may refuse to eat food, they require food more frequently than ever to recover their health. Therefore, you should try to find out why your dog is not eating food and also encourage them to eat.  Several health issues, such as digestive issues, nausea, mouth pain, stress, medications, and other types of illness can also cause your dog to experience appetite loss. However, fasting for 12 hours to 24 hours can be beneficial to most dogs with diarrhea. Even though fasting can help adult dogs to have a break in their digestive system, it can be harmful for puppies. Therefore, if your dog is showing a sign of appetite loss, immediately contact your vet to find out the underlying health issue and get the best solution for your dog.

How Long Can Diabetic Dogs Go Without Food?

As diabetic dogs can not properly regulate their blood sugar levels, fasting for a longer period can pose a serious threat to their health. This gets even worse and sometimes, life-threatening if your dog is taking diabetes medications, like insulin, or if it’s a puppy with diabetes.

The lack of glucose can cause diabetic dogs to experience a rapid drop in their blood sugar levels. This health condition is called hypoglycemia, which can eventually result in coma, seizures, and even death. Therefore, you should make sure that your diabetic dog is eating food regularly, otherwise, ask your vet for advice.

What Causes Your Dog to Stop Eating Food?

Your dog may refuse to eat food mainly because of three reasons-

  • They are experiencing some kind of medical issues.
  • They have cognitive issues like anxiety or depression.
  • They are choosy.

While sometimes they refuse food because of their painful feeling, weakness, nausea, and anxiety, sometimes they may reject a food just because the food is not tasty enough, or they are bored with that food. Therefore, you have to find out the actual reason behind your dog’s behavior. If you are not sure about the seriousness of your dog’s condition, consult your vet and get your dog examined.

How to Encourage Your Dog to Eat Food?

First of all, if you find any sign of illness or unwellness in your dog, you should immediately get them treated by your vet. However, if you think that it’s just the current food that your dog doesn’t like to eat or become bored eating the same food, you might have to switch to something tasty and exciting for your dog. Sometimes, introducing your dog to a different flavor of dog food can help your dog to start eating again. As processed dog foods are not always healthy, you can try to provide your dog with home-cooked food with human-grade ingredients. Home-cooked dog foods can be tasty and healthy and you can add different flavors to them. Therefore, you can encourage your dog to eat food by offering them their favorite food. If your dog does not even eat their favorite food, then their condition should be diagnosed by a veterinarian.


How long can dogs go without food before dying?

If it has passed 48 hours since your dog had their last meal, then you must contact your vet immediately. Even though a dog can live up to 5 days without food, fasting more than 48 hours can result in long-term reparations to their organs.

What happens if your dog does not eat for 3 Days?

Fasting for 3 days will surely make your dog sick and weak. Initially, their body will consume energy from fat reserves and then move to muscle. After three days of fasting, some of their organs may stop functioning, which could eventually cause death.

Can a dog live a day without eating food?

It is possible for a healthy dog to go a day without food, without having any serious health issues. However, if the dogs are sick or unwell, then even fasting for one day can be risky for them.


Your dog can stop eating food for various reasons. They might experience a health issue like nausea and pain, or a cognitive problem like depression or anxiety. Conversely, sometimes, it is simply because they don’t like the taste of the food. In this situation, introducing a new variety of dog food or a different flavor will encourage your dog to eat the food. Therefore, you have to find out the actual reason why your dog has stopped eating and take action accordingly. As food and water are essential for the survival of your dog, you should ensure that your dog is eating food and drinking water regularly. If they don’t eat food for more than 48 hours, consult your vet to identify the underlying medical issue.