Food and water are essential for a dog’s health and survival. With this in mind, it is important for us dog owners to give our dogs access to good-quality food and clean drinking water.

However, there may be times when dogs undergo a period of appetite loss and refuse to eat or drink water. This naturally causes worry for pet owners. We might wonder: What could be wrong, and how long can dogs go without eating food or drinking water?

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  1. How Long Can Dogs Go Without Eating
  2. How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water
  3. How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food and Water
  4. FAQ
  5. Conclusion

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Eating

As long as they are still drinking water, a healthy dog can go from three to five days without eating. However, you shouldn’t wait that long. As a general rule, if your dog has not been eating for 48 hours, you should bring them to the vet for a proper diagnosis.

Note that dogs with certain underlying health issues, as well as those who are pregnant or nursing, may not be able to live without food and water for long periods of time. Toy breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese, and Chihuahuas are also particularly vulnerable because they are prone to hypoglycemia if they don’t eat.

Meanwhile, it’s also important to keep in mind that if your dog with a healthy appetite suddenly refuses to eat, it may be a symptom of a serious medical issue. If so, they need to be brought to the vet immediately.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

Just like how water is important for us humans, water is essential for our canine friends too. The fact is, dogs are prone to dehydration if they are not able to drink water for long. In particular, they can be seriously dehydrated if they don't drink water for 24 hours. Puppies are even more prone to getting dehydrated.

As dog owners, we should look out for signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Panting;
  • Dry nose;
  • Dry gums;
  • Lethargy;
  • Dry and sunken eyes;
  • Vomiting (which may or may not include diarrhea);
  • Skin elasticity is lessened;
  • Thick saliva;
  • Appetite loss.

To watch out for signs of dehydration, a great pet camera like the Petcube Cam can be a lifesaver. With its innovative features, the Petcube Camera helps you monitor your dog 24/7 and be able to detect when something's amiss. When it comes to dehydration, you have to address it quickly to prevent complications. Severe dehydration can be fatal since it can lead to the shutting down of vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart.

Detecting signs with the help of a pet camera like the Petcube Cam can go a long way. If you notice the symptoms above, it is important to give your vet a call immediately.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food and Water


Food and water are important for a dog’s survival and health. If your dog isn’t eating or drinking water, it is best to have them checked by a vet to determine the cause of their aversion. As was mentioned earlier, a dog can go for 3-5 days without food, as long as they are drinking water.

But if they aren’t drinking water in as little as 24 hours, they may be prone to dehydration, which can cause serious complications if not addressed as soon as possible. A dog needs water for the metabolic processes and activities that occur in their body, making it extremely important.

Some Ways To Encourage Your Dog To Eat

  • Warm up their food;
  • Offer bone broth;
  • Suggest their favorite treat;
  • Give wet food;
  • Try hand-feeding them.

How To Get Your Dog To Drink Water

  • Put ice in their water bowl;
  • Pour some bone broth into their water;
  • Consider a water fountain for pets.


How long can a sick dog live without food?

In general, as long as they’re drinking water, healthy dogs can last for 48 hours without food. However, it isn’t ideal, especially if your dog is sick. How long a sick dog can survive without food also depends on the illness, so there’s no set timeline. If your sick dog isn’t eating and drinking (especially), it is important to bring them to the vet to determine the cause and the corresponding treatment options.

How long can puppies go without food?

Because a puppy's body is still developing, they won't be able to hold up for long without food. However, how long they would last also depends on the puppy's age and breed. Puppies below eight weeks of age shouldn't go beyond 5 hours of not eating. Meanwhile, puppies over 2 months old can generally go 12 hours without eating.

How long can a dog go without food before dying?

If your dog isn't eating, you shouldn't wait more than 48 hours before calling your vet. While dogs can survive 3-5 days without food, periods of starvation can cause long-term damage to your dog's vital organs and can be life-threatening.


There are a variety of reasons why a dog may not be eating or drinking. For example, they may be feeling sick, nauseous, in pain, anxious, stressed, bored, or simply because they don't like what you're feeding them, among other possible reasons. However, food and water are essential to a dog's life. Because of this, it is important to determine what is causing their aversion.

Healthy dogs can last 48 hours without food, given that they are drinking water. On the other hand, healthy dogs can only go 24 hours without water. Note that dogs such as those who have an underlying condition, those who are pregnant or nursing, puppies, and small breeds need food and water sooner.

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