How Long Can a Dog Go without Water or Food?

Have you ever had this question – how long can a dog go without water or food?

The health of dogs is very much similar to human health, so from this, it can be said that it is very much dependent on the dog’s health how many days can a dog go without food or water.

According to some vets, healthy dogs can go up to five days without food and water while according to most of the vets the maximum time period to which dogs can live without food & water is three days.

Other factors must also be considered which could reduce the amount of time your dog can go without food like- activity level, climatic conditions, resting metabolic rate (RMR) which may affect caloric requirements.

In this post, we will help you to determine how long can your dog go without water or food!

How long can a dog go without food?

how long can a dog go without water or food
How Long Can a Dog Go without Water or Food?

Complications which may cause due to not eating

  • Agitation– It is a state of anxiety or nervous excitement.
  • Dehydration– It occurs when the body loses more liquid than it takes in, and the body doesn’t have enough water and fluids to carry out its normal functioning.
  • Lethargy– A state of sleepiness and inactivity and a lack of energy & enthusiasm.

Reasons why dog refuse food

There are many reasons because of which a dog may refuse food but some of the most common reasons due to which a dog may refuse food is:-

  • Dental Illness- Dental illness may cause the dogs to refuse food because it’s painful and uncomfortable. Dogs may also develop the same dental issues as of humans like-
  1. Gingivitis
  2. Cavities
  3. Broken Teeth
  4. Oral Tumors
  5. Loose Teeth

If you have ever been through a toothache, cavities, you would know how painful & uncomfortable it could be. It’s the same experience for dogs.

  • Vaccination- Vaccinations play a very important role in the life of your dog, they prevent disease and illness. But some vaccines may also have side effects on dogs because of which they may face a loss of appetite. Fortunately, these side effects are temporary and last only for a few days.
  • New Environment- This is one of the most common reasons because of which a dog refuses food, it mainly occurs because of the entry of new family member or change in environment.
  • Illness- Many illnesses and diseases can cause a dog to lose his appetite, including cancer, kidney failure, systemic infections, liver complications, and pain. Most of the dogs refuse food if they do not feel well. If your dog has gone through the same for 48 hours or more, you should get him to a vet as soon as possible.
  • Picky eater- Some of the dogs are picky eaters. If they don’t like the taste of the food, they will not eat it. There are some experts who recommend waiting for it but if you don’t like doing this to your dog you may change the flavor or brand of food.

What to do if your dog refuses to Eat?

If your dog has refused to eat for 48 hours or 2 days, it’s time to rule out any serious medical issue and take him to vet. By that time you could do other things also to encourage your dog to eat.

  • Schedule Feeding Times- Ideally you want to feed your dog twice a day. Most trainers and experts recommend putting dogs on feeding schedules. By doing this you could know is your dog really hungry or not during the meal time.
  • Creating a calm environment- If the nearby environment of the dog causing him to lose his appetite, you should try to create a calm environment near him during meal times. If then also he doesn’t have its meal then try to change the size of the bowl. Also, try to move bowl in different positions to see if he will eat.
  • Stop Feeding treats- Some dogs will refuse to have their normal meal if they were given a lot of treats. Treats taste so much better than normal boring food that dogs want to have as many treats as possible.

You can cut back to treats again if you see your dog having its normal meal.

How long can a Dog go without food when Sick?

It is often seen that when the dogs don’t feel well, they stop eating for their faster recovery and it actually helps them out to get well, but only for a small period of time. However, a couple of days or more without food can make the situation worse.

In 2015, a research was done on 490 dogs presented at the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition who was hospitalized for at least one day at Barcelona’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. After examining the different parameters, researchers found that dogs that ate at least enough to meet their resting energy were able to discharge early as compare to the dogs that didn’t eat anything and had worse outcomes.

How long can a dog go without water?

how long can a dog go without water or food
How Long Can a Dog Go without Water or Food?

Signs of a Dehydrated Dog

We all know that dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluid than its taking in. By which we feel thirsty and crave for water and that’s the same case with dogs too.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Reduced Energy levels
  • Panting
  • Dry looking eyes
  • Dry nose & gums
  • Loss of skin elasticity

These things can easily be identified with naked eyes in dogs but others, like skin elasticity, require a simple test.

To test dehydration in your dog, gently pinch his skin with your thumb and forefinger. If the skin springs back to its normal position this means that your dog is well-hydrated while on the other hand if it takes longer to spring back at its normal position this means that your dog is dehydrated.

What to do when your Dog refuses to drink?

It may be because of the following reasons that your dog doesn’t drink water:

  • Less Exercise
  • Unfamiliar Surroundings
  • Disease and Illness
  • Aging
  • Fear and bad experiences

Things to do to make your dog drink water are:-

  • Change in position- You can simply change the position of the bowl in which your dog is drinking water.
  • Mixing Food- Another thing which you can do for the same is mixing wet dog food in the water. Even though your dog is not drinking water but he could happily drink it when it is mixed with food.
  • Clean water bowl- It is one of the simple things that you could do for your dog and it might work also.
  • Contact vet- If all these things don’t work you should meet the vet as early as possible.

How long can a Dog go without water?

Dogs can go several days without water, the same as of humans but they will not be able to make it longer without water.

Generally, dogs drink twice of water as much of food each day. Suppose a dog eats 3 cups of food each day then he will drink 6 cups of water each day. If the weather is warmer, then he may need more water. Coming back to the question, dogs can go one or two days only without water. If your dog hasn’t drunk anything in the last 12 hours then you should get him to the vet as soon as possible as it may lead to his death. The vet will be able to determine the reason for the dehydration of your dog and will help him to re-hydrate.

So that was our answer to your question about how long can a dog go without water or food. We hope we have clarified your doubts regarding how long a dog can survive with these two main things, it’s signs and what you can do to make your dog eat or drink.

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