Food is among the few things in this world that is both a necessity and a delicacy. This applies to most species, to some extent. Fully grown dogs can go for about 5-8 days without food, provided they’re hydrated, of course. But puppies, on the other hand, are a completely different ball game. How long can a puppy go without eating?
Puppies are frail, tiny, and vulnerable, which is part of their undying appeal. They need almost constant care, round the clock. Under normal circumstances, puppies should be fed frequently, throughout the day. However, if they aren’t fed, their survival depends mainly on their age or whether or not they have some underlying health-related condition. We’ll discuss all of these things, starting with their ages below:
How long can newborn puppies go without food?
Typically, newborns should start feeding almost immediately after birth. In fact, for the first few weeks, all they do is sleeping and eating.
Newly born pups can’t survive without food and would only last a few hours, which is why they require feeding after almost every few hours, throughout the day. That’s very much similar to human babies. Isn’t it?
Moreover, newborn puppies can’t control their body temperature either, for which they rely on skin-to-skin contact with their mother.
Two-week-old pups and their eating needs:
This is the age when fluffy balls finally begin opening their eyes. They look adorable. Like cute, little potatoes.
How long can a two-week-old puppy go without eating? As far as their food intake is concerned, pups need to eat every 2-3 hours. If they’re not fed, their health can take a turn for the worse.
Three-week-old puppies and their eating demands:
At this point, these adorable little critters will learn to stand and wobble around a bit. Some tough pups may even start walking a bit at this age. They may think that they’ve grown but they still need plenty of care.
How often should a three-week-old puppy be fed? They should be fed every 4-5 hours and must never go over 5 hours without food. By the end of the week, these puppies will still rely on their mother’s milk, but they’re more than ready to transition to watered-down puppy kibble.
Eating habits by the fourth week:
By the fourth week, the puppies should have a lot more confidence with their movements and they’ll also grow more and more comfortable with their kibble. While they still can’t control their body temperature just yet, they’re far more resilient than how they used to be.
Thus, four-week-old puppies need to be fed every 5-6 hours but in uncertain conditions. Or in other words, puppies can go without eating for 7 hours.
Fifth to the sixth-week old puppy’s eating habits:
How long can a puppy go without eating, at this stage?
By now, the puppies will gravitate more towards dry food as opposed to their mother’s milk. The amount of kibble that they eat, will increase, whereas their interest in milk, will go down.
However, their feeding times will remain rather unchanged, they still need to be fed every 6 hours or so, but if they’re hydrated; they can survive for a lot longer.
Besides, the maturing puppies’ curiosity for their surrounding will grow along with their playfulness. They’ll try to sniff prod and poke around their surrounding environment to know more about it. Sadly, they’re also going to leave a lot more messes at this age.
Seventh-week puppy and his food demands:
At this stage, you’ll be dealing with a completely different pup. This isn’t the same frail little animal from before, no. Now it’s a grown little boy whose giddiness is even higher than before.
Puppies will still try to have milk, but by this time their mothers will deny them and shun them away. They’ll be eating almost completely dry food. Kibble and bits will be their favorite meal.
By this time, they’re able to regulate their homeostatic temperature, meaning that they’re less likely to be clingy. However, this means that their curiosity will rise exponentially. They’ll run, frolic and play all day and they’ll demand far more attention than before. Their feeding patterns will likely remain unchanged i.e, they’ll still want food at 6 hour periods but their ability to survive without food will see an increase.
Twelve-week Puppies eating habits:
How long can a puppy go without eating at the 12th week? At the start of the week, the puppies will require food around 3-4 times a day but the amount of food they need require increases dramatically. The energy balls will be a lot more active and their puppy playtime will be their highest priority.
Moreover, the reason for giving them 3-4 meals is because while they may seem bigger, their digestive systems are still developing, and adding unnecessary burdens will only cause problems like gastrointestinal ailments and other stomach disorders.
Also, this ensures that the dogs defecate a lot less, which makes cleaning up after them, a lot easier on their owners. Their taste palate will also improve which means, they’ll be a lot more open towards new tastes and flavors. At this age, they can probably last well over 10 hours without food, provided they’ve had full meals before and are completely hydrated.
We can understand from the above that the initial weeks for the puppies are extremely important. The mother’s milk has an extremely delicate value which is needed for the growth of the little critter. In 1984, a study of beagle mothers showed the following details about the mother’s milk:
* 23% dry matter
* 9.5% fat
* 3.8% sugar
* 7.5% protein
* 146kcal/100 grams.
The above nutrition value ensures that the puppy’s weight will double by the end of 9 days. For the first few days, the milk’s composition is very different. It’s called colostrum and it’s a highly proteinous form for milk that helps in kick-starting and boosting the pup’s immunity.
How do I know if my puppy isn’t eating enough?
If it’s a litter of newborns, then keeping an eye on the particularly weak and frail pups is a good indicator. The weaker pups should be physically placed on their mother’s nipple.
In older puppies, we should watch their stomachs. If a pup is full, their stomach should be nice and round, anything else along with inactivity means that they’re not eating enough.
Common reasons why a puppy won’t eat
Some puppies show eating disorders or move away at the sight of food. Why the pup won’t eat?
* Poorly formed jaws make it difficult to chew foods. As a result, puppies avoid eating.
* Being full of gas the puppy’s appetite declines.
* Cold body temperature means your four-legged companion is sick. Who likes to eat with an illness? Nobody!
* Infections can disturb bodily functions. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and pain which is too much to handle for the little fellow.
Conclusion… How long can a puppy go without eating?
Keeping these things in mind, we can safely improve and monitor the eating habits of our adorable little fur babies. But when you ask how long can a puppy go without eating? It depends on his age and health condition. In general, smaller, weak puppies need care from mummy-doggo and food every few hours. However, anyone about the eighth week is slightly more stable with high chances of survival.