How Long Can a Dog Live Without Food?

Any dog that can go for two or more days without eating and with no temptation to eat means that there is something wrong and only a veterinary officer can help by identifying the problem. Generally, depending on the breed and environment a dog can go without food for three to five days.

The only reason you are reading this is to confirm how long a dog can live without food because yours has refused eating due to illness and not that you are trying an experiment just for fun. We will try to understand how a dog’s digestive system works so that the question gets the right answer.

How Much Can Your Dog East in a Day?

Like humans, dogs too have unique metabolic rates amongst themselves and the amount of energy needed in a day varies which makes our question lack a direct answer. However, dogs will feed on at least one balanced meal in a day. That is to say that some dogs can go a whole day without food but grab a treat here and there. In most cases, a dog that is not sick cannot go for another day without feeding. Any given day a fog needs a mix of wet and dry foods to get all the nutrients.

Also read: Top 10 Best Airtight Dog Food Container – Compared & Reviewed For You & How Many Kittens Can a Cat Have in a Litter?

How Long Can a Dog Live Without Food?

The period of “starvation” depends from one dog to the next. The following factors generally influence this period:

  • Age of the dog
  • The physical and mental strength of the dog
  • The timing of the dog’s last meal
  • State of health or wellness of the dog
  • Hydration levels of the dog

Without having so much to say, a healthy dog can live without food for three to five days in all circumstances. This assumption caters for puppies, the elderly, and the unhealthy. However, conditions such as age (in terms of puppies and sick dogs) may not last the entire period as that of a healthy dog.

It is unusual for dogs to refuse to eat if you suspect a loss of appetite, seek medical advice immediately. Your dog may be suffering from some illness that needs a vet’s attention. Do not be surprised that some dogs may not be in the mood to eat, as they get ready to die (due to age).

Here are Some Reasons Why Your Dog Refuses to Eat

Sickness

A sick dog loses its appetite consequently affecting its metabolism. Refusing to eat and lack of appetite may signify a more significant problem. A dog that has not eaten anything for 24 hours should be taken to the veterinary clinic. As you head to the vet, make sure the dog’s hydration levels are reasonable if not near normal. Look for signs of pain and their deworming schedule is on course.

Dental Problems

Dogs that turn their nose up when they see a meal may be having an underlying dental problem causing them difficulty when eating. Look at your dog’s mouth for any sign of dental problems.

New Environment

Some dogs may take time before adjusting to new surroundings. Some may be adjusting to the long breaks without food when moving from point A to B. watch if the dog can eat once they have settled. You may need to carry the dog’s toys to help him acclimatize to the new setup.

Behavioral Problems

Trying to relate dogs’ behavioral problems with no or reduced appetite is tricky, but here are some hints that you can use to analyze the pet’s behavior:

  • Dirty bowl
  • New food or they do not like what is on the menu
  • Is the dog feeding amongst aggressive dogs?
  • The height of the bowl should not be too high
  • Is the dog dehydrated?

The Three Phases of a Dog that Does Not Eat

Pet lovers cannot stand the sight of a starving dog, and this explains why starving is a miserable existence. When a dog enters starvation, these three phases will affect the dog’s appearance and behavior as starvation progresses from phase I to phase III.

Phase I

This stage happens within the first 24 hours, which does not indicate any serious change in the dog. Internally the glycogen will start to be depleted as they replace the absent nutrients from food. The blood sugar at this stage should be normal to keep the dog’s metabolism at a healthy level.

Phase II

As the dog’s glycogen store starts to diminish, the body starts to look for other sources of energy within the body (gluconeogenesis). The dog is becoming unhealthy and unstable with very little energy that only keeps it alive. If you still do not know what is ailing your pet, take your dog to the vet because death looms at this stage.

Phase III

At this point, the dog has started breaking remaining fats into energy, and the effects of a starving dog are now visible. The liver also releases ketones into the bloodstream as a form of energy. Since the dog has no other external source of energy (food), at this stage the dog needs medical attention if none is given, it will eventually die.

Read another article on: What to do if your dog eats a corn cob?

Finally

We all know that all living things derive their energy from what they consume. For your dog to be protective and perform all its day-day activities, give it food. Energy is consumed even when they are sleeping because the energy needs to be active to keep the dog alive.  As a rule of the thumb, never experiment on how long your dog can last without food because the more you delay them, the higher the risk of shutting your dog down with hunger.

At any given point, you notice that your pet is not eating or interested in what you are providing. This behavior could signify some underlying issues. Do your dogs a favor, visit a veterinarian, and ask for advice. You will be happy and be content by helping your pet early enough. There is no need of counting on days only for things to worsen for your pet. Sometimes waiting for two days may not be reasonable unless the dog does not show any signs of a severe condition, but make sure the vet is aware.

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