How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food And Water

Being a pet parent, we are sure that you must have at least once wondered how long can a dog go without food and water?

Food and water are vital to survival. Any living organism must eat and drink water for the body to perform the processes necessary for survival. But have you ever

Our pets are no exception. Doesn’t matter if it is a dog or a cat, you must feed them regularly with high-quality options to keep them healthy. However, sometimes it so happens that despite taking good care of them, our pets suddenly start refusing to eat food or drink water.

If your pet has been refusing food and water for a few days in a row, you must be wondering what’s wrong with them? Or, you may also be thinking that exactly how long can a dog go without food and water.

If you are stuck in these thoughts, you have come to the right place. The post briefs you on how long can a dog go without food and water along with some common reasons why your dog may be refusing to eat food or drink water. Explore!

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food And Water - 1

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?

Well, a healthy dog can go about three-five days without eating. But, that’s just an objective estimate. The answer to the question demands a subjective approach.

How long can a dog go without eating depends on what health the dog is in. If your dog is healthy, he may go about five days without eating, but only if he has been drinking plenty of water meanwhile. Without water, he may collapse before five days.

On the flip side, when sick, a dog may go about three days without eating, while you are feeding him enough water.

Apart from that, factors such as the activity levels of the dog, the age, and the breed are also of paramount importance. For instance, a puppy may be able to go longer without food as against an adult dog.

Changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR) often lead to an increase in the caloric requirements of the dog. Thus an increase in RMR indicates that your dog cannot go five days without food – maybe less depending on how high the RMR is.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water?

At most, a healthy dog could survive up to three days without water. However, please note that ‘healthy’ is the key term here.

A dog who is without food may die of dehydration even before the third day.

Apart from that, how long can a dog go without water – this depends primarily on weather conditions. While a dog may not need to drink water that frequently in colder regions, a dog in warmer, humid weather conditions may find it difficult to survive even two days without water.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food And Water - 2

Why is My Dog Refusing to Eat and Drink?

There could be a multitude of reasons behind your dog refusing to eat.

Underlying Health Issues

More often than not, dogs who are sick refuse to eat or drink water. Thus, if your dog has been running away from food for 24 hours or more, make sure you take him to the veterinary clinic.

Also, meanwhile ensure that he has been drinking enough water, as dehydration may pose other serious problems.

Your dog may be in some kind of pain if he is constantly refusing to eat or eating very less. See if he has hurt himself somehow. And yeah, we cannot rule out the possibility of the dog having dental problems.

The Change of Environment

Have you recently moved to a new place? Well, if yes, then this may be taking a toll on your dog’s mental health.

Your dog may be finding it hard to adjust to the new environment and thus losing his appetite due to stress. Check for other symptoms of depression, just to be sure. Is your dog being lethargic or sad? Is he just insisting on being inside the dog house?

You could even try taking him out for a walk to help him adjust to the new place and see if he eats once he is feeling confident again.

Your Dog May Be Extremely Picky

Have you been experimenting with dog food of late? Have you fed something new to your dog? Picking a diet for your dog can be a challenge. If you’ve wasted money on new foods trying to find something your pooch will eat, you’re not alone.

When picking food for your picky eater, start by focusing on their instinctual love of meat and fat flavors. Look for diets that list meat as the first ingredient.

A pro tip – If your dog is fed up with his regular food, you could also try some human food for dogs, for a change.

Change of Weather

Sometimes, it so happens during winters that dogs (or even humans) don’t feel thirsty enough. Thus, if it is the winter season, and your dog is drinking less water than usual, you should not be worried.

However, if he’s not drinking water at all and not eating food, it’s time for you to get involved.


Aging is also a factor behind your dog not eating food or drinking water. Older dogs may avoid drinking water. It indicates that the dog doesn’t require a lot of water for the body’s processes and must drink a minimum, just to support survival.

However, make sure that even if your dog is aging, he must maintain an adequate hydration level. If drinking water is tough for the dog, you could even consider switching to moist food, after the vet’s prescription.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Food And Water - 3

Final Word

Having a pet can be a life-changing experience. However, it also becomes overwhelming sometimes.

Dogs can’t speak and you must decode what problems they are facing just by observing their actions or dietary habits. Keep up with your research about dog behavior. There is a lot to discover and learn, especially if you are a new pet parent.

Answers to all the questions such as “how long can a dog go without food and water” or “how to stimulate my dog’s appetite” are freely available across the internet. Just don’t lose your calm and strive to be the best pet parent that you can be. Good luck!

Leave a Comment