How Long Can A Dog Go Without Having Food or Drinking Water?

Is this a strange question or what? Which dog lover would leave their dog without food?

I have learned from my past research that dogs eat grass whenever they are thirsty.

I can only think of one reason that a dog would go without food and water; if the owner died the dog would remain beside him until help arrived. Most dogs are very loyal to their owners so I can believe such a loyal dog would remain guard over his owner’s dead body.

However, there may be other reasons why a dog would go for a long period without food or water.


How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating Or Drinking Water


A Dog Go Without Eating Sometimes

From personal experience, my Mom’s dog went without eating for a week while she was caring for me during the paralysis of my lower body. She was so frightened that she did not go home to feed her dog. However, there are many plants and grass in her yard where the dog was able to access grass.

As we live in a tropical region, rain often fell and so the dog had water to drink. On the flip side of the coin, if your dog refuses to eat food from his dish, the dog is either sick in the body or tired of that particular brand of dog food.


Read: How Do You Stimulate A Dog’s Appetite?


If A Dog Is Sick He Will Stop Eating

Once a dog becomes sick, he will more than likely stop eating. If our puppies chew on bones too early, they tend to swallow their teeth. This causes the puppy to stop eating and eventually die. There is a disease called Canine Distemper is caused by a virus which attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system of dogs.

If you see your dog dragging his two back legs and he stops eating, it is a touch of Canine Distemper. The vet can extend the life of your dog with medication but your dog will eventually die from lack of nutrients and the maturing disease. 



In dogs, Pancreatitis is caused by a diet rich in fat, blunt trauma, diabetes mellitus, a history of eating bad foods, obesity, and hypothyroidism. You may see your dog vomiting repeatedly, hunching its back, experience a loss of appetite, diarrhea, dehydration, distention of the abdomen, fever, or weakness; these are symptoms of Pancreatitis. Take your dog to the vet immediately. This action will save his life.



Parvo, known in scientific terms as Canine Parvovirus can affect your pet in two different forms. The intestinal form is the more common form and the cardiac form is the less common form. The intestinal form is shown by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and loss of appetite. The cardiac form attacks the heart muscles of unborn fetuses and very young puppies.


Can Dog Eat Rice?

It May Take A Dog A While To Eat After Surgery

If you have had surgery, you will remember that you were quite hungry as soon as you wake up. You were not allowed to eat but you were hungry. The body of your dog will take a couple of days to recover. That is normal for your dog.

A vet may force-feed him but it takes a while for the muscles, especially if it is a stomach surgery, to recover after surgery. It is best to resume normal behavior slowly. Liquids are best for your dog after surgery. You can pretend that you have a new baby and feed your dog from a bottle.


Check: Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate?



Dogs Can Go A Few Days Without Drinking Water

I have seen dogs go a few days without water but they ate grass. When dogs go too long without water, their tongues hanging out and they try hard to get your attention. My ‘Big Mama’ would bark at me in a high pitch until we got her some water. She would sometimes knock over her water dish and this would send her into a high-pitched barking frenzy. She would not stop until we attended to her need for water.

If a wild dog does not have water to drink, it will walk until it finds some source of water; a pond or river will then be its source of water.


Dogs Become Dehydration Without Drinking Water

Each dog has its level of tolerance. Most domesticated dogs will become dehydrated in less time than wild dogs that can roam wherever they like. After four days, most domesticated dogs will become dehydrated without drinking water.

However, wild dogs, have developed a tougher core so they will be able to go longer than four days without water. If your dog becomes dehydrated, take him to the nearest vet immediately. This is very important as vets understand how the digestive system of a dog works better than we do. We may harm our dog by forcing him to drink a large amount of water in a short time.


How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water When Sick? 

Sick dogs need more liquids than healthy dogs. Therefore, it is vital to report within 1 to 2 days if your sick pet is not drinking water. If your dog has a stomach ailment, it may be the reason why your dog is not drinking water. If your dog has vomiting and diarrhea, then he is losing fluids at a very fast rate.

This needs to be reported to your vet so that a method of getting liquids into the body can be determined. If you follow the vet’s instructions, your dog will be up and about in a short time.


Popular Read: Can Dogs Eat Ketchup, Mustard, And Mayonnaise?



How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water After Surgery? 

Most humans do not get water directly after surgery. Therefore, it is best to look for signs of when your dog is ready to drink water after surgery. A good recommendation is to leave the water dish at a location where the dog will not need to move too much or strain his body to drink water. He will first just dip his tongue in the dish of water then start drinking slowly. This should occur within two days after surgery.

Be patient with your dog after surgery just as you wish someone would be patient with you after surgery. 


Seek Professional Advice If Your Dog Refuses To Eat Or Drink

This should not be taken lightly. If you live on a farm, there are many poisonous creatures that you impulsive dog can eat and cause harm to himself. Just last week a friend of mine lost her dog to a poisonous toad. She has eaten the toad and started to show a lack of appetite. My friend gave her some lime juice and other home remedies. She recovered for one day only and then she died the following day.

Dogs like to eat everything that moves. During some seasons of the year, it is best to kennel your dogs at night rather than let them become curious about other living creatures and cause their death.


Learn: 39 Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat 


Sometimes It Is Normal For Your Dog To Be Lethargic Or Tired

There are several factors to consider. The age of the dog and the line of work of the dog. Farm dogs work hard during the day so it is understandable that these dogs would be tired at the end of the day. Bulldog breeds do not run around all day. It is not in their character to do so. A Chihuahua dog loves to be active, so if you see a lethargic or tired Chihuahua, then take him to the vet. Some dogs like the greyhound enjoy lying about the house during the day and a little exercise at the end of the day.


Large Dog Breeds You May Find Rare

Each Breed Of Dog Has A Specific Characteristics

Some of you may be reading and shaking your head and thinking, “My dog does not behave like that at all”. This reinforces my point that it depends on the breed of the dog.

I need you to be aware that there are extenuating circumstances and that cruelty to dogs is not my aim in writing this information to share. I need you to be alert in any change in your dog’s behavior and visit your vet with him immediately.


Hopefully, some of this has been meaningful to you and other dog lovers. Feel free to share and let me know in the comments section how you feel about this information.

If you have additional information, add it to the comments section as well.

Other Dog Food-Related Topics
1. Best Dog Foods For Diabetic Dogs

2. Can Dogs Eat Edamame?

3. Best Dog Food For Golden Retriever

4. Can Dogs Eat Cheerios?

5. Is Your Puppy Ready For Adult Dog Food?
6. Can Dogs Eat Sunflower Seeds?

7. Can Dogs Eat All Types Of Radishes? What You Need To Know!

Best Low Sodium Dog Food Brands

We have partnered with to offer the best deal on high quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *