Dog is Not Eating but Still Drinking Water – Top 3 Reasons Why

Have you ever been around a dog that isn’t eating anything but is still drinking water? This type of situation can happen occasionally and a lot of pet owners are perplexed as to what’s going on. Here are some common reasons why your dog isn’t eating but is still drinking water like normal.

1. Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

Your dog might have an upset stomach and this is what’s causing him not to eat but still drink some water. It could be something as simple as some nausea or digestive issues caused by eating too quickly or eating too many treats. You should be not giving him treats during this time to encourage him to eat his food. People can get an upset stomach from a number of things, and dogs are the same way.

He might have ran around outside too much, got too hot, or possibly ate a few pieces of grass. It’s possible he went outside and ate a bug or insect that is causing the issue. If your dog is known to get into trash or eat anything on the floor, he might have just tried out eat something nasty and now has an upset stomach. Regardless, he needs a little bit of time to recover from the gastrointestinal upset and knows to avoid food during this time.

2. Your Dog Has a Gastrointestinal Infection

A gastrointestinal infection could be an issue and you should take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect it’s an infection. Many different digestive disorders could cause an infection including colitis, pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, and malabsorption in the small intestines.

Infections could cause diarrhea, nausea, and other symptoms in your dog. A lot of digestive disorders clear themselves out within a couple days, but if you see other symptoms that aren’t clearing up, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. The veterinarian might prescribe some antibiotics or other medications to clear out the infections if they are lingering for too long.

3. Change in Routine or Environment

Various changes in routine or environment can cause your dog not to have interest in his food. Changes in the food itself could be an issue, especially if your dog is a picky eater. If they didn’t have the normal dog food you buy and you bought something similar, it might be different enough that your dog won’t touch it. Environmental changes also could be the issue, such as stress from moving to a new environment or adding another person or pet into the home.

Your dog loves routine and hates when even the smallest change is made. Making changes in routine or environment needs to be slowly done if possible so that he still has his high confidence level. Changes that you might not even think about, such as feeding in a different area of your home, could be enough to deter your dog from eating.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?

A dog can go without food for five days or even longer, as long as your dog is still drinking water. There is still discussion about just how long a dog can go without eating, but most veterinarians think the window is between five to nine days. So as long as your dog is still drinking water, don’t worry if it’s been a day or two since he chowed down on his kibble. If you notice that your dog stops drinking water and also isn’t eating, this is the time to be concerned and get to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Stories from Pet Owners

Here are some stories of experiences by fellow pet owners who faced the same situation of dogs that drank water but stopped eating for an extended period of time.

Story #1 – Adopted dog not drinking

We adopted a Shih Tzu that’s about five years old. It’s out first time owning a dog and we have been super excited about her joining the family. It’s been about seven months since and I am concerned because she isn’t drinking as much water as we think she should be drinking. I currently use a standard dog water bowl that sits in a holder. I tried using different bowls in the past such as a bowl that sits on the floor and also tried filling up the bowl to various levels. None of this have changed my dog’s drinking behavior. She does drink water when we accidentally spill it or have the faucet running. She just doesn’t drink that much from the bowl.

Story #2 – Playful Puppy is not eating

One week ago, our playful puppy stopped eating his kibbles. We were able to briefly recover his appetite by giving him boiled chicken and squash instead. Around two days ago, we noticed he hasn’t been eating much again despite drinking plenty of water. He remains active and playful so not sure what to make of this situation.

Story #3 – Suddenly stopped eating

I have a six months old Aspin dog. Two nights ago, he was fine and eating like he normally does. Starting yesterday, he stopped eating. He is usually excited when he smells food but hasn’t been showing any enthusiasm since yesterday. He seems pretty low energy at the moment. He won’t eat anything I give him whether that’s dog food, chicken liver, rice, or even sardines. He will drink water when we give it by hand. Aside from the lack of appetite, we did see more discharge coming from his eyes. His poop also seems more like diarrhea than anything solid. Will be taking him to the vet but anyone know why my dog is like this?

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • Thomas Meyer | 05/01/2022

    I have a 15 yrs old toy poodle, who hasn’t been eating only drinking water. He’s lost most his teeth and I spoon feed him. We have been homeless for almost 2 years living outdoors. I’m disabled and on Social Security and I can’t afford a vet. He’s all I have left in this world. We’ve been Abandoned by our family & friends. And we’re both gonna end up doing out here.

  • Julie | 17/01/2022

    How is your little poodle Tom? I hope he/she has improved. I’m so sorry to hear about your present situation. May God bless both of you.

  • Joanne Lehman | 22/05/2022

    Please let me know how you and your dog are, I’d like to help you out, it wouldn’t be much but I would still love to help you out, please reach out to this forum and ask them to email me.

  • Beth Morris | 18/01/2022

    Hello Thomas.
    I’m touched by your story, how is your poodle doing? I’m going through a similar situation. I have a 15 year old puggle who stopped eating 5 days ago and will only drink water. May I ask where are you from? I would like to help if I can.
    God bless. Beth

  • Paula Michelle | 26/01/2022

    How is your poodle doing?
    Where are you located. If you need assistance with getting veterinarian care please let me know. I would like to help.

  • Joan | 17/02/2022

    Hello Tom – Boy, I just read your note and I wish I could be right there for you. I love animals so much (probably more than humans). I have a 12 yr. old Bichon who I adopted and am going through stuff with him as well. May God bless you.

  • Ajay Sharma | 27/01/2022

    My Boxer has not been eating for 9 days and was having a lot of water, But today suddenly he has some calcium biscuits and a little food also I have given him Digene syrup. I hope he gets fine. Any Vet can suggest what else do I give to make his health matter, the age is around 12 years. Please suggest.

  • Caroline | 28/02/2022

    Hi, how’s your boxer? We have an 11 year old that hasn’t eaten for 5 days, she’s drinking on and off, am so worried. The vet is just prescribing anti sickness tablets as her bloods are ok.

  • Aubrey | 17/02/2022

    hi I had an aspin dog, she turned 1 year in this February and after two days she vomits a yellow bile and she stops eating her meal but in this day she didn’t vomit yellow bile and she slowly eats just a few boiled chickens and i am still hand feeding her could it be because turning 1 year affected her appetite? or she just got some kind of sickness, I’m very worried I know at this point I should take her to the vet but I can’t afford to because I’m still a student and my parents can’t afford vet expenses

  • Elana Torres | 27/02/2022

    My six year old English Manchester is only drinking water. Initially he threw up for two days. I gave him the recommended Pepcid and he no longer vomits. But it is now day three and he still only drinks water. I have been giving him broth and peanut butter. I can’t afford a vet. He is overweight. This is not like him. I don’t know what to do. I love him so much.

  • jackie Green | 09/03/2022

    MY Australian cattle dog stopped eating 3 days ago she just drinks water. I am besides myself she is about 11 years old and very mellow. She keeps on sleeping and I am heart broken. My son does not want to take her to the vet in case the vet would give him bad news that she is about to die. Is it normal that she is not eating?

  • Craig | 08/04/2022

    My dog threw up yellow bio the other day and has also stopped eating for 2 days..she drinks water ..and she managed to eat two of her favourite treat sticks ..but that’s it .mm her paws feel colder than normal and day 1 her gums were very pale ..they are back to normal colour and she seems subdued …I’m a little worries this a tummy bug that’s going around …Will go vets next few days if it dosnt improve …..

  • Tara poole | 04/05/2022

    My family lost a pet dog after one year and now his friend smaller dog will not eat only drink.I gave broth .he drinks water.He is so depressed and hasn’t ate in 9 days.Now vile coming up.We cant lose him to.He is missing other dog.Is this normal or something wrong.

  • sandipkhankal | 07/05/2022

    My 4 months jerman Shepard dogs not eaten any food from last 2 days. Doctor given treatment but no improvement shown. Drink water only.

  • Judy Glays | 14/06/2022

    My chihuahuas 16yrs old and all she’s bin doing is drinking water she eat food that we falls on floor and if we give her a treat she will go and bairy it someware and eat it later otherwise she’s been acting normal she does sleep alot but I just figure that’s because of her age

  • Cherie | 16/08/2022

    My dog is 10. He stopped eating. He drinks a lot of water. After a few day of not eating, I took him to vet. He is now on antibiotics. Will have a ultrasound on liver tomorrow. It’s hard when you are on fixed income but I find some way to pay.

  • Pete | 25/09/2022

    My American bull dog has been off her food for about 3 days now. Drinking more water than usual. She seems ok with herself but not eating. What could be the problem?

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