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True or False: Dogs Can Survive Without Food for Two Weeks

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Photo Credit: Flickr/Michael Gil

True or False: Dogs Can Survive Without Food for Two Weeks

By Carolyn Hauck on October 08, 2015

Less a quiz question and more a pet guardian concern, is it true that dogs can go about two weeks without eating?

Abstaining from food is certainly one of the first signs for a pet guardian that something is wrong with your dog. Going without food can be a dog’s natural way of fasting for a few days when something doesn’t feel right in their bodies or it can be a sign that something more serious is occurring. Either way, it’s alarming when your dog stops eating. While you search for solutions to the health concern, do you also need to be worried if your animal will die from starvation?

We went to veterinarian Dr. John on JustAnswer for an explanation. According to him, “Chances are your dog will survive. The dog’s body will just break down the muscle and fat to make energy, and the liver will regulate its metabolism.

However, when dogs stop eating, they can become seriously undernourished and develop vitamin, mineral and electrolyte deficiencies. If you’re asking purely about survival, then the answer is ‘yes,’ they’ll most likely survive, but fasting for that long could create a very serious condition. If you’re dog has stopped eating it’s critical that he or she doesn’t get dehydrated, so make sure they are getting water.”

If you have a hard time getting your dog to drink water, Dr. Kara, another veterinarian on JustAnswer offers these suggestions:

  • Offer ice cubes, some dogs will lick those instead of drinking

  • You can give dogs Pedialyte if you’re concerned about electrolytes, although continuing to monitor water intake is the primary concern

  • If you can, have a vet show you how to do IV fluids. Maintaining hydration, is very critical, so if your dog won’t take fluids by mouth, even with a syringe, IVs would be very important. Most dogs won’t mind the needle from an IV at all, you just have to get the hang of the procedure.

And of course, make sure your dog is under proper veterinarian supervision.

Final verdict? True. A dog can survive without eating for two weeks.