You love your dog and treat them as one of the family. If they stop eating, it is right for you to become concerned. As a responsible fur parent, you need to know how long can dogs go without eating? The answer to this fundamental question is that a healthy dog can go without food for three days as long as they drink water. You may think that a healthy dog should have a healthy appetite. But it is unwise to leap to any conclusions.
5 Reasons Your Dog Isn’t Eating
Although it is right to think that a healthy dog should have a healthy appetite, the reasons why your pooch is not eating may or may not owe to physical illness. There may be many reasons why your fur baby is not eating. Here are 5 of them:
- Dental. Gum disease, a loose tooth, an oral tumor, or the presence of a foreign body may be the reason why your dog has stopped eating. If you notice excessive drooling or a wince of pain when they try to eat, then they may have a problem with their teeth or gums.
- GI Issues. Your dog may be suffering from a gastrointestinal issue. Dogs, like humans, can develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other stomach problems. If your pooch has such a condition, they may skip meals or paw at their food.
- Stress. Yes, dogs can get stressed. And, like humans, if can affect their appetite. Sudden changes such as a long road trip or moving into a new home can stress out your dog and cause them to lose their appetite for a while.
- Depression. The loss of a loved one or a litter mate can bring on such depression. If you notice that lethargy accompanies loss of appetite, it can be an indication that your dog is indeed depressed.
- Illness. And finally, it may just be that your dog is sick. The loss of appetite can be a sign that your pet has a mild cold-like illness or a serious disease. It is possible for dogs to develop cancer, pancreatitis, kidney failure, and a host of metabolic diseases.
What’s The Best Way To Feed A Sick Dog?
There are several ways to get your dog to eat. Here are 5 of them:
- Wait. If your dog is not eating, the best thing to do is wait. Keep leaving food out for them, give them a couple of days, and be sure to supply them with plenty of drinking water. They may get over their mood or condition in a day or so and start eating again.
- Give them a treat. A small piece of chicken will be irresistible to your pet, and it is a reasonable and perfectly safe way to get your dog to eat again. You should mix this with their existing dry food to encourage them to follow their normal diet and eating schedule.
- Change dry food brands. Your dog may not be eating because they don’t like the dry food brand you feed them. Try a top brand and see if they go for it.
- Add broth to the dog food. Mixing warm broth with the existing dog food can enhance the smell and palatability of the latter. It adds additional flavor, which your dog will love.
- Hand feed them. Dogs can be pouty and attention-seeking. Feeding them by hand may bring the kind of warmth, comfort, and personal attention that they want, and may encourage them to eat.
Vets Advice For Dog That Aren’t Eating?
In the end, the best way to deal with a dog who is not eating is to take the advice of a qualified veterinarian. Here is some advice that may help:
Let them eat grass. “If your dog won’t eat its normal food but keeps trying to eat grass, you should let them. Eating grass can make your dog vomit, which may be a good thing”, advises Dr. Bilal Qasim. He goes on to explain that your dog may be following their instincts. They may know that eating grass and vomiting will make them feel better.
Do not ignore the loss of appetite. “Anorexia for more than 24 hours should not be ignored, as it is often a warning that something else is going on”, says Dr. Ellen Malmanger. For example, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Check the food. “Check that the food hasn’t gone off or has an odd smell to it. If food has been left out or not stored in an airtight container, then it will go rancid after a while”, advises Dr. Laura Sullivan. Dogs have a very acute sense of smell. So they will smell lousy dog food before you do.
FAQs – Most Common Questions About Dogs Not Eating
A healthy dog can go without food for three days.
They should still be alright as long as they drink plenty of water. However, you should have them checked by a qualified vet.
Yes. As long as you supply them with water.
There will be a loss of moisture in their gums, which will cause the latter to become dry, sticky, and pasty.
When should I contact my vet?
If your dog goes two days without eating anything.
In summary, you should not think the worst if your dog does not eat. However, if their loss of appetite persists after a couple of days, you should contact a veterinarian. They are the only persons qualified to assess your pooch, tell you the problem, and recommend a course of treatment.