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How long can dogs be left alone without eating?

How long can a dog be left home alone? It's a question that many pet owners struggle with, especially if they work for an extended period of time. When you know how to take care of your animal properly, it is possible to leave them all day without any issues. This blog post will outline how long your pup can go without food or water before the situation starts becoming dangerous. 

Before we begin, we absolutely do not advocate that you test these limits with your dog or any other animal. We are exploring these questions from an academic perspective since we recognize that sometimes mistakes, disasters, or other unforseen events happen. For instance, it is not uncommon for dogs to be left alone in a house after their owners pass away and are left to wait days till they can be rescued.

What Should I Be Concerned About If I've Left My Dog At Home Alone?

Taking on a pet is a huge responsibility. If you've adopted a dog, you've committed to caring for it for the rest of its life. That means feeding, walking, and watering your dog on a regular schedule. Committing to making a furry friend a part of your family means changing many aspects of your life. While dogs can bring boundless joy and love into our lives, they can also sometimes be a source of stress.

Unfortunately, life isn't always as predictable as we would like it to be. Maybe you usually feed your dog buddy every night at 6:00 when you get home from work, but today, the boss wants you to stay late. Or maybe you normally fill your dog's water bowl every morning when you wake up, but you've decided to spend the night at a friend's house. While you can't always plan for these occurrences, you can always make sure your dog is safe.


How Long Can A Dog Go Without Eating?

In general, it is dangerous for a dog to go without eating for more than two days. A three to five day period without food will be fatal for most dogs. If you suspect you might not be able to feed your dog at his regular feeding time, and there is no one who can feed him for you, you might consider leaving an extra serving of food somewhere he can find it.

While three to five days is the max that a health dog can go without food before serious injury, you clearly do not want to stress the dog's body and if something like this happens, always take the dog to a professional for veterinary care to check for potential damage to the dog's health.

Every dog's body is unique, and every dog has a different limit as to how long he can go without food. For the most part, older, less active dogs tend to burn fewer calories than young puppies. If your dog spends most of his day on the couch, he might be able to go a few extra hours without eating. By contrast, if you have a young, rambunctious puppy, you really shouldn't leave him home alone for more than a day.

Generally, though, dogs can go without food for longer than they can go without water. If you've left your dog at home alone with no access to food or water, dehydration poses a much more immediate risk than starvation.


How Long Can A Dog Go Without Drinking?

Once you realize you've left your dog at home alone, try to think how much water they easily have access to. If you've left your dog with a full bowl of water, so that he'll have enough to drink throughout the day, then he isn't going without water until the second day of your absence.

Again, like with the question of how long a dog can go without eating, there is no perfect formula that can tell you how long a dog can go without water.

One thing to keep in mind is that bigger dogs require more access to water than smaller dogs. If you've left your chihuahua at home with a gallon of water, he'll probably be okay for a couple of days. A Labrador will drink that quantity of water in a much shorter period of time. A dog's fur also plays a role in how long he can go without water. Furry huskies, bred for ice and snow, will get dehydrated more quickly than dogs like greyhounds, which are more accustomed to arid weather.

You should also think about the climate. If you've left your dog outside on a hot and humid summer day, they can get dehydrated after just a few hours. If your dog is inside and it's a cooler climate, they'll lose water less quickly.

Much like with humans, dogs cannot go very long without access to water. After one day, most dogs will start to feel the effects of dehydration. If you're gone longer than that, it's not a bad idea to take your dog to the vet when you get back to make sure that everything is working well. Allowing your dog to go without water for three days can be very dangerous and even fatal to the majority of dogs.

How Long Can A Dog Avoid Pooping or Peeing?

The short answer is that even extremely well trained dogs will relieve themselves before causing irreparable organ damage. Frankly speaking, in those cases the body overrides the mind ... just as it would with a human. However, while dogs should have the chance to relieve themselves three to five times per day, most can hold their urine with minimal inconvenience for as long as eight hours if healthy and properly trained. The same can be said for their ability to hold their poop.

Don't Leave Your Dogs Alone For Long Periods Of Time!

If you've unexpectedly been called away from home, and you're going to be gone for more than a day, see if you can arrange for a friend to come and take care of your buddy for you. While your dog will most likely be okay for a day or two, you'll be able to relax and enjoy your time away in much more peace if you know your dog is taken care of. If you can't get anyone to take care of your dog, then try to make it back within a day or two. If you absolutely can't make it home within that time period, you should think about taking your dog to the vet immediately when you get home.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.