How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating When Sick?

Technically, a sick dog can go for about 24 hours without eating.

However, whether or not they should is a different issue. But before we go ahead and look into this, it is important that we look at the things that could make a dog refuse to eat and the safe time for observation before help is sought from reliable sources.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating When Sick
Image by Isa KARAKUS from Pixabay

Why Do Dogs Stop Eating?

In most cases, dogs will usually find it difficult to eat when sick. As a matter of fact, that a dog is not eating is one of the major symptoms that a dog is sick. It shows, in most cases, that all is not well with the dog.

However, aside being sick, dogs could stop eating when they are mourning a loss. Be it the loss of a human or animal close to their heart, dogs, like humans, find it difficult to eat when grieving. They could also become sick during the grieving period.

It is also important to point out that some dogs won’t eat when all is not well with their gastro intestinal system. 

As opposed to the other cases mentioned above, the dog not eating for a few days when they have this medical condition might actually help their health condition improve.

Cheshire Animal
Image by Carabo Spain from Pixabay

What To Do When Your Dog Stops Eating As A Result Of Sickness

We are of the opinion that your first point of call should be your veterinarian. Since, in most cases a dog not eating is as a result of sickness, the smartest thing to do is to get your dog treated first.  

You could check out this article on what to feed a sick dog to get some other ideas on how to entice your sick dog to eat.

When Should I Become Concerned Or Worried That My Dog Isn’t Eating?

For a sick dog, start getting concerned once your dog does not eat for over 48 hours or thereabout. Your dog needs food to get well in the first place. So, if they are not eating at all, call your vet.

It is reported that a healthy dog can go without food for 3-5 days. Some dogs can even go without food for longer than that period.

However, two things. One, that a dog can survive without food for that long is not enough reason to allow your dog stay that long without food. If they’ve not eaten anything throughout the day, you’ll need to do something.

Two, even if your dog refuses to eat, make sure that they stay hydrated.

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Precautionary Measures

Now, the most important step in all of this is to ensure that you don’t have to ask this question anytime soon.

Since we have established that your dog starving and not eating for days is bad for his health, we encourage you to stay on top of your dog’s feeding habits and ensure, not only that he is eating enough, but also that he is getting all the nutrients he needs.

Finally, it is better not to tempt fate at all. If your dog is sick and isn’t eating, report such case to your vet immediately, instead of waiting for the max time. It is better safe than sorry.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating When Sick? — FAQs

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water When Sick?

How long a dog can go without water when sick is dependent on a number of factors including the breed and size of your dog and what kind of sickness they have.

Logically, smaller dogs can go a bit longer without water than bigger dogs. And if your dog’s sickness is kidney related, he’ll need water quicker than other sick dogs.

That said, dogs can generally go a couple of days without water. But a sick dog would probably only be able to do between 24 and 48 hours.

How Do You Hydrate A Sick Dog?

The following are ways you can hydrate a sick dog:

  • You could try being there to encourage your dog to drink. Your presence might be it for them.
  • However, if they aren’t drinking from their bowl, try giving them some water from your palm.
  • You could also try giving them ice cubes or some doggy ice pops.
  • Products like pedialyte that contain electrolyte could also be a good idea.

However, the most important thing is to get in touch with your vet.

What Do You Feed A Sick Dog With No Appetite?

Here are some meal ideas you can feed a sick dog:

  • Wet Food: The smell of it should encourage your dog to want to have a taste. Plus, it is easy to chew and swallow. So, dogs have problems with their jaw or throat.
  • Bone Broth: You could add bone broth to your dog’s dry food to make it a bit more appetizing. This could also encourage them to have a taste.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Boiled sweet potatoes could be a good idea if your dog has diarrhea considering that sweet potatoes are rich in fiber.
  • Baby Food: This is also easy to swallow.

How Do You Get A Sick Dog To Eat?

Here are ways you can get a sick dog to eat:

  • You could try switching brands to see if your dog has just stopped liking the current brand.
  • You could also try switching prominent ingredients. That is, if you were feeding your dog a chicken meal, try venison or turkey.
  • Switching from kibble to wet food could also work.
  • Some people also recommend feeding your dog broth using a syringe. However, do not try this without first consulting with your vet.

What To Do If My Sick Dog Vomits?

You might need to call your vet immediately, depending on how sick your dog is. That said, your dog vomitting might be a good sign and the beginning of their road to wellness.

However, you generally just want to refrain from giving your dog any food for a couple of hours, just to be sure. Do not stop giving them water, though. And do not give them any over-the-counter drug. Call your vet!

Do Dogs Know When They Are Sick?

Certainly, dogs know when they are sick. And if you’ve been with your dog for some time, you’ll be able to notice the change in their behaviour. The only snag is that they cannot directly tell us what the problem is.

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