If you have a dog or puppy that seems to ignore its dinner, or is uninterested in eating food at all, you may be concerned about its health, wellbeing, and how long it can survive shunning its food.
Many dogs go through stages where food can be uninteresting for them. As a pet owner, you know how much your dog can enjoy its food and beg for more, so when they seem to not care about what is put in front of them, it can be a little alarming.
So, you may be wondering how long can a dog survive without food?
How long can a dog survive without food?
Typically speaking, a dog can survive without any food for around three to five days. However, this is not healthy or ideal, and can be dangerous for your dog.
If your dog has gone more than two days without food, then it is best to inform your veterinarian and seek the advice of a professional.
In addition to this, you will need to ensure that your dog is intaking enough water as without food and no water, your dog can become very unwell and dehydrated.
It is best to keep in mind that if your dog is quite unhealthy and yet is not eating, then it may not be able to survive a few days without food, and you should call a veterinarian immediately.
Why won’t my dog eat its food?
There are a number of reasons why a dog may refuse to eat or may seem completely uninterested in food. Some older dogs tend to lose their appetite, or simply cannot face eating as much as they used to, which is entirely normal and not too much to worry about.
Similarly, if a dog has a stomach upset or digestive problem, then they may decide not to eat. Usually if a pet has suffered from sickness and diarrhea, they may not feel up to eating for a day or two.
Again, this is quite normal, but any longer without food would result in them needing medical care, so keep a close eye on their habits.
A dog may also refuse its food because of problems within its body that you are unaware of. If this is the case, you will want to check your dog for any symptoms that may be affecting its ability or desire to eat.
The first point to check is the stomach. You should try lightly pressing on your dog’s stomach to see whether it causes them discomfort, or if there is a hard feel to it. If your dog is in pain, then you should take them to the vet immediately.
In addition, you may want to examine your dog’s gums for any signs of an issue. A dog’s gums should always be pink, and rather moist. If not, then this could be a sign of dehydration or that your pet is unwell, and needs medical attention.
Another reason your dog may not be feeling the urge to eat is if it is suffering from stress or anxiety. Just like humans, dogs can become depressed, and may not want to eat their food.
This could be due to a big change in the dog’s life, such as losing a fellow furry companion, or if there are changes in its routine such as its owner going on vacation or moving house.
If your dog is suffering from a big change in routine, or you are moving to a new environment, make sure that your pet has their home comforts.
This means bringing their favorite toys, bed or blankets so that they feel safe and comfortable. This may reduce any levels of stress, and the dog may decide to start eating again.
Finally, one of the most common reasons a dog may refuse food is if it does not like the food. If you change their dog food or diet drastically, they may refuse to eat the food and will not eat.
In addition, you may be able to tell if the food is going to make them sick or could have bugs in it if your pet refuses to eat it.
Dogs will always need to be weaned off old food and onto a new one, and a drastic change or switch in its diet can cause dogs to shun the new food.
How to get a dog to eat
When trying to coax your dog to eat, make sure that you know when they stopped eating. This way, you can determine at which point it is best for you to take them to the vet.
If a dog is unwell, they may refuse to eat for about 48 hours due to ill health, and it is not much to worry about. Any longer periods of time without food definitely are concerning, and should be handled with care and by a veterinarian.
Sometimes, if your dog refuses to eat it is for a good reason. There may be a problem in their digestive system, and they need to wait for it to move along before eating more. This means that it is perfectly okay for your dog to skip a meal or two before you need to worry.
If your dog refuses its food a few times, then it may be because they do not like the dog food you are using. If this is the case, then simply switch the food until you find the right fit for your dog. Dogs can have specific dietary needs just as humans do!
You can also add in some human food as a treat, and mix it with your dog’s food to encourage them to eat, and then slowly remove the human food after they become used to it.
Dogs can survive without food for up to a week if they are not already in poor health, however after 48 hours, if your dog is still not eating, you should seek the help of a professional.
In any case, if your dog seems unwell or seems to not act like its usual self, then you should call a veterinarian for advice or medical attention.