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How Long Can Dogs Go Without Food? | Reasons for Loss of Appetite in Dogs

As a dog parent, you worry about their health and may have wondered about random questions like ‘How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating’ or ‘how do I know if it still loves me? But suddenly, your dog has started to refuse to munch on its favorite treats. Or has it refused to eat anything at all? Indeed, it is a thing to worry about. You have decided to search for probable reasons and ways to help them. We recommend you read this how long can dogs go without food article until the end to get your dog back to eating.

Why Isnt My Dog Eating?

Have any idea why isnt my dog eating? A term for loss of appetite in dogs is called “Anorexia.”It is two types= of Pseudo-anorexia, where the pet cannot eat due to a physical problem. True anorexia is when a pet no longer has the desire to eat. Several factors play a key role in pushing pets toward anorexia. Let us look at the factors responsible for why isn’t my dog eating?

#1 Mental Distraught

Humans can express their anxiety through speech, while animals through their behavior. Dogs suffering from anxiety or fear can limit their food intake. Your dog may be having a hard time adjusting to your new place. Change in their favorite bedding place can also lead to anxiety. Too much commotion at your place or introducing a new pet member in its vicinity and seeing your attention divided, which used to be on them, may bother it. Some believe it’s the superiority complex kicking in due to the presence of some other animal. This distress goes away after a few days, but if not, they would require behavioral modifications.

#2 Dental Complaints

Pain is gruesome when we have our wisdom teeth removed. The same is with our furry friends. Not wisdom teeth, but any related condition like jaw pain or tooth problems can be stressful for your dog. A sudden halt of chewing food after a few bites can be a likely cause. Especially if it is a puppy, and it’s teething, it’s normal to refuse food. Prolongation of refusal, though, must not be ignored. Also, take them to the vet for dog dental cleaning.

#3 Pregnancy And Heat

Some owners have revealed that loss of appetite is quite apparent when their natural cycle heats or during the dog pregnancy test. But, of course, that should never be neglected. Dog not eating is a warning sign during these phases to see the vet.

#4 Humidity

Temperature affects all living beings. If it’s summer and scorching heat along with a dog that has anorexia, you can consider this factor too. They tend to cut down on foods due to high temperatures.

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#5 Food

One of the reasons for the refusal of food can be treats. Dogs love their treats because they are tasty. If you spoil your dog with treats now and then, then your dog can be a picky eater. Most possibly, it may be looking forward to the treats of the day. New dog parents must feed them lesser treats to get them accustomed to their food. Another thing with food is if it is unappealing. It means that either the food has expired its date or it is unflavored. Your dog may have outgrown the taste. Switching dog food is mainly recommended. There is never knowing unless you try.

#6 Underlying Disease

A common assumption or diagnosis of serious anorexia is an underlying disease. Like us, animals lose their appetite due to any disease they suffer. Kidney and liver dysfunction, dog pancreatitis, cancer, and diabetes are among the major causes of appetite loss. Although not life-threatening, parasites can also be a reason. Stomach parasites like roundworms can be a likely cause. Another look-up is if dog throwing up and having diarrhea. Early signs of gastrointestinal disease in dogs may also be the culprit.

Resting Vs Basal Metabolism Rates

  • Often used interchangeably, Resting Metabolism Rate (RMR) is the total amount of energy the body uses while resting. Or we can say when the body is doing a low-effort activity. They include normal day-to-day activities. For example: eating, walking short distances, sleeping, or panting.
  • Basal metabolic rates(BMR) refer to the calories or energy needed to perform the basic function at rest. Like- as breathing, digestion, and blood circulation.
  • Identifying the rate at which the RMR and BMR metabolism rate takes place helps the dog intake the proper amount of calories required to function. If your dog’s metabolism is slow, it may result in loss of appetite because the body is not using enough energy to digest what it has eaten earlier.
  • Keeping track of its metabolism rates means balancing its diet. Another aspect of keeping a check would mean any extra calories and fats are not accumulated in their body.
  • Metabolism plays a crucial role in converting food into useful energy to perform vital functions in the body. Increasing the RMR means more calorie requirements means less fasting for your dog.
  • Therefore, adding or deleting certain food from their diet is necessary. Adding high-protein food and a low-calorie best dog diet plan will accelerate their metabolism.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating?

Now the question appears for how long can a dog go without eating? Based on the observation, they estimated that a healthy dog can survive three to five days, too, if they are drinking plenty of water. They can go without food for a few days, but it is impossible to survive without water. While an unhealthy dog- say, a dog with a major health condition or just sick – can barely make it past a day or two. Moreover, it also depends upon the type of breed they are.

What To Feed a Sick Dog?

Now we have reached the part of the article where you have a role to play, apart from taking the dog to the vet. When it is established that your dog is sick, take the initiative. Feeding a sick dog can be challenging, as who likes to eat when dogs are sick? But food, along with drugs they are prescribed, is quintessential for its healing process.

Before feeding any food that you presumed would help them may be the opposite. Approval from your vet is always recommended what to feed a sick dog. If there are no major illnesses involved, you can try the following:

#1 Chicken And Rice

Firstly, you need to learn recipes for bland food for your dog. It will come in handy when they fall sick. A simple chicken and rice recipe with no added flavor or seasoning will do best. Make sure to cook both ingredients thoroughly. Uncooked food will aggravate the condition if they have an upset stomach. You don’t need to stir their digestive engine but ease them up. Bland food like this may or may not have high nutritional value, so consult your vet for prescriptive food that will taste good and nutritious and not irritate the stomach lining.

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#2 Eggs

Vets often recommend pet parents opt for a high-protein diet for their dogs. An egg is an excellent source of protein and completely safe for your dog. They are also low in fats. It is a perfect combination to feed your sick dog. Scramble some eggs and mix them with their rice or other food products. It is also very easy to digest.

#3 Bananas

Bananas are food that works well with a dog’s upset stomach. Mesh up a few pieces of sliced banana and serve it as an add-on. If this is the first time your dog is eating a banana, you might as well observe it a few hours after feeding.

Keep an eye on how they react to it. Do not, by any chance, feed the peel because they are harder to digest. Things can get reversed for bad easily. Be cautious enough and maintain moderation. Introducing new food to your dog is not bad if done in moderation. If your dog is still a small puppy, ask your vet about feeding the banana. To make them delicious, you can prepare various dishes with bananas, like peanut butter and banana cupcakes, banana cookies, and frozen banana slices.

#4 Smelly Food

Old dogs don’t bother having food when it doesn’t have a particular smell. Dogs love smelly food. Try adding smelly fish to their bowl to make them eat it. If a dental problem makes your dog sick, this food is favorable as they are soft and would not hurt your dog to chew them. Heat them for more aroma to reach their nose from where they are. It might be a discomfort for you, but don’t worry, it will cure your dog’s problem.

#5 Pumpkin and Sweet Potatos

Nutrients like vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and magnesium are high in pumpkin. Their high fiber content help dogs with constipation. Sweet potatoes also, like pumpkin, have high fiber and other nutrients. But just like we mentioned, keep it bland when feeding them.

#6 Baby Food

Believe it or not, dogs can eat baby food. They are great in smell and taste to your dog. But keep in mind that much baby food contains high carbohydrates and fats, which, given in a small amount too, can cause harm. Check the food regarding its nutritional value and only then feed it to them. Please don’t make a habit because making them eat is only the first step. Cut down the baby food as soon as they return healthy.


Not eating food is concerning, but sometimes they start eating normally again. Whining for dog favorite treats and withdrawing from its routine food is also understandable. You can experiment with food by mixing ingredients to make it enticing. Don’t panic when you can alter some habits. But if it persists, a vet is our best option.