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How Long Can A Puppy Go Without Eating?

Our puppies have small tummies and can’t hold enough food from each meal. Therefore, they are to be fed frequent meals. Based on the puppy’s age your puppy can’t stand hunger from 12 to 24 hours long.

You need to have an idea about how long a puppy can go without eating as this will help you to understand your puppy’s feeding needs and respond to health emergencies.

As a veterinarian with 7 years of experience I have curated crucial insights on puppy’s ability to stand hunger based on age and in what circumstances they may have to do so.

Reasons Why Puppies Stop Eating?


You may feel confused when your puppy refuses to eat at all or starts reducing eating. A puppy’s refusal to eat often indicates underlying health issues. Before getting into how long can a puppy go without eating, take a quick look at the causes of why your puppy may stop eating.

Illness Or Injury

Pain and discomfort in puppies often reduces their appetite for food. If your puppy got injured, or any other illnesses such as puppy diarrhea, stomach issues, Parvovirus, cold or other infections they may lose their interest in food as they are under a lot of pain and discomfort.

Dietary Changes

We often have to switch puppy food for many reasons. Sudden change in diet can make your puppy uninterested in eating. It can be as simple as not liking the test. Rather than making a sudden change from dry food to wet food or puppy food to adult food, make the transition gradually.

Accordingly, the side effects from medications can also cause lack of appetite.

Stress or anxiety

Just like us our little puppies can go through stress and anxiety. It can stem from separation from their owner, sudden exposure to people and other animals, confinement, sudden change in environment or routine etc.

Dental Issues

Our little puppies are prone to dental issues. They start teething at the age of 4 weeks and as they mature they lose their baby teeth and grow adult teeth. This experience includes a lot of dental challenges.During this phase your puppy may stop eating due to the pain and discomfort.


Puppies can get infected with parasites. Parasites like Parvovirus, worms and other insects can cause illness. Due to which your puppies can stop eating.

Age-Related Change

As your little friend grows up to be a dog they will go through many changes. Their food needs may not be the same as before. The feeding requirement of growing puppies includes certain higher nutrients, whereas adult dogs need a much more balanced diet. Your puppy may stop eating as much as before due to their journey to adulthood.


How Long Can Puppy Go Without Eating?

How long can a puppy go without eating heavily depends on the puppies age and many other factors. Not all puppies are equally capable of handling hunger.

Take a look at the points below to figure out how long a puppy can go without eating and when to be alarmed.

  • A newborn puppy can go without feeding for 1 to 2 hours, a 3 month old puppy can go 4 to 6 hours without eating, and a 6 month old puppy can go for 6 to 8 hours after feeding.
  • At night your puppy can’t stand hunger for 8 to 10 hours.
  • After exercises your puppy loses a lot of energy and their ability to stand hunger drops down to 1-2 hours.
  • A sick puppy can not survive without feeding over 6-8 hours without food.

What To Do If A Puppy Stops Eating?

As now that you know how long can a puppy go without eating, you need to know necessary steps required in such circumstances. Puppy not eating can result in fatality, therefore it is important that you respond as promptly as possible. Here is a complete guide on what to do if your puppy stops eating.

  • Consult a veterinarian.
  • Check for dental issues.
  • Assess for illness or pain.
  • Adjust feeding schedule or diet.
  • Offer a variety of foods.
  • Ensure a calm feeding environment.
  • Monitor for changes in behavior or appetite.
  • Avoid force-feeding.
  • Consider appetite stimulants under vet guidance.
  • Provide appropriate hydration.

Final Words

Your puppy may stop eating for many reasons, but you can easily avoid unwanted consequences by ensuring your puppy is not going hungry for too long.

In case the hunger period persists, seek out professional help and take rapid action towards recovery.

Being an educated puppy parent empowers you to ensure your puppy’s health and wellbeing is maintained at all times.


Jessica Comstock

Jessica Comstock

As a passionate dog breeder with 7 years of experience, I've dedicated my career to ethically and responsibly breeding dogs. My expertise in genetics, breed standards, and nurturing environments has allowed me to produce healthy, well-tempered puppies, ensuring their future owners receive loyal and cherished companions.

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