How long can a dog go without food?

How long can a dog go without food? To answer this question, this blog post is going to talk about some reasons why dogs stop feeding and what to do to prevent dogs from reducing their appetite or even stop eating.

How long can a dog go without food?

A healthy adult dog can go without food for up to 3 days, but the causes for the animal reducing their appetite or even stop eating should be investigated.

Main reasons for the dog to stop feeding:

  • Heat stress;
  • Stress and anxiety;
  • Health problems (parasitic, bacterial, fungal or viral diseases);
  • Change of environment and/or routine;
  • Selective appetite;

Heat stress

Heat stress caused by high or low temperatures can cause animals to lose their appetite, but the animal cannot go more than 24 hours without eating. 

To reduce dog heat stress it is recommended to keep the room temperature between 27°C and 34°C. A heater can be used on cold days and an air conditioner can be used on hot days.

Stress and Anxiety

Many dogs live alone and in small environments like apartments. Which results in restless and anxious dogs. Stress is basically an excessive build-up of tension. Stressed and anxious dogs tend to reduce food consumption.

To improve the quality of life of these dogs by reducing stress and anxiety is indicated:

  • Increase the number of physical activities such as outings and training;
  • Increase stimulation for toys and play;
  • Have more than one dog;
  • Having contact with other dogs, such as in day care centers and hotels.

Health problems

Lack of appetite can be one of the first symptoms of many diseases and infections caused by parasites, bacteria, fungi or viruses. If the animal has no appetite and does not eat for a period of 24 hours, a visit to the veterinarian is advised. To avoid these diseases, vaccinations and worm medicines must be kept up to date.

Change of environment and/or routine

The change of environment or routine makes it a stress for the animal. Until its adaptation, the dog may have difficulty feeding. Therapies such as acupuncture can help dogs adapt better and thus not lose their appetite.

Selective appetite

Some animals stop eating their food, usually their industrial dog food, to be able to eat treats and human food. The lack of appetite is selective and the animal only feeds on what it wants to eat. 

To avoid selective appetite, it is recommended that the animal only feeds on industrial dog food, the use of human foods such as bread, cookies and others should be avoided, and dog snacks should be used sparingly.


In this blog post, we were able to find out more about how long can a dog go without food. A dog should not go more than 3 days without feeding, and if the animal stops feeding, it should be investigated with the help of a veterinarian for better treatment of the animal, avoiding aggravation of diseases and pathologies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How long can a dog go without food?


How many times a day should I feed my dog?

Food varies according to the age of the dogs. 

  • 2 to 4 months old puppies should be fed 4 times a day. 
  • 4 to 8 months old puppies should be fed 3 times a day. 
  • Healthy dogs from 8 months should be fed 2 times a day.

What is the best time to feed dogs?

There is no schedule, but it is recommended to create a routine. Feeding the dog always at the same time. The dog’s last meal should not be too late, ideally it should not be later than between 5 pm and 6 pm.

What foods can a dog eat?

The ideal is that the dog does not leave the diet indicated by a veterinarian. The foods that dogs can eat are rice (always cooked and without the seasoning), non-acidic fruits like cantaloupe, papaya, watermelon, blueberry and banana, as well as vegetables like potatoes and carrots. And skinless and boneless meats (always cooked and without seasoning) such as chicken, fish, pork, turkey and lamb.


Yeo, G. S. (2017). Genetics of obesity: can an old dog teach us new tricks?. Diabetologia, 60(5), 778-783.

Thompson, T. B. How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?.

Picture from