Is fasting healthy for your dog?

Category : Pet health

Is Fasting Healthy For Your Dog?

Observing the feeding behaviour of the wolf, the dog’s closest relative, it becomes apparent, that wolves Periodically fast, simply because they were not able to find any prey.

Even the wolf does not consciously fast out of health reasons; the effect remains the same. The dog as our companion does not need to fend for himself anymore. Good caretaker feed their dogs a healthy raw food diet, which is readily available. In this article, I will introduce you to the health benefits of fasting your dog for one day per week.

WHY IS FASTING HEALTHY FOR DOGS

Particularly those people who feed their dogs on a raw diet show great interest, in feeding dogs as naturally as possible. This means nothing comes out of a can or a bag. Even there are some voices among the raw feeder who suggest a dog on this kind of diet does not need to fast, read on and I will explain, why even a dog on the most natural diet will benefit from one-day fasting per week. (And what is right for the dog, applies to humans just as well!)

HEALTHY REASONS TO CONSIDER

  • If you withhold food for one day the week, you give the digestive tract of your four-legged friend the chance to take a break from breaking down foods.
  • On the other hand, while the gut takes a healthy break, it can grow good bacteria – a cornerstone for well-functioning digestion. The dog’s metabolism gets a boost and begins to burn fat faster, making sure, your dog stays on a healthy weight. 
  • While your dog is fasting, the entire system naturally detoxes, which boots the immune system and therefore your dog’s self-healing abilities.
  • Detoxing is an integral part of fasting. There might be residues lingering from vaccines, wormers, drugs or processed foods. Each of them putting pressure on the immune system, which in turn make your dog more susceptible to parasites and disease.
  • Insulin is a hormone, which increases inflammation in the body. By fasting your dog, the dog will reduce and reset his insulin levels.
  • Through the antibacterial boost which comes with fasting, the activity of killer cells is promoted and therefore helps to prevent cancer.
  • A boost for the liver! Since the body is no longer busy with digesting food, more energy is available for proper liver function, which is paramount to rid the system from toxic overload.
  • Finally, fasting gives the body more energy. It not only helps to regenerate; your dog will be more active and alert.

Please keep in mind, therapeutical fasting does not mean you are starving your dog!

HOW, AS A RAW FEEDER, CAN INCORPORATE FASTING 

  • To be successful, it is not important which day of the week you fast your dog, consistency though is your key!
  • Some people suggest feeding your dog once a week a slightly more substantial meal to make up for the loss of the day he fasts. You need to decide for yourself if you would like to go with this theory.
  • Another possibility is, to feed your dog only once a day (morning). This means your dog does not get anything for 24 hours which comes close to fasting and gives the gut time to reset.
  • Some dogs self-fast. This means if a healthy dog does not want to eat, don’t force him. However, not wanting to eat can have several other health reasons. Make sure you catch the signs of a possible disease as early as possible. 
“When animals are infected, they stop eating, and they switch to a fasting metabolic mode” - Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale University 2016. What Ruslan Medzhitov is saying here, breaking down and digesting food takes energy. If the body of your dog does not have to concern itself with this for 24 hours, it gives the system more energy to fight off any lingering infections. Hence, fasting boosts the immune system.


WHEN NOT TO FAST YOUR DOG

Maybe you are well advised to check with your veterinarian, whenever you consider changing the diet of your dog! There might be a health concern lurking you are not aware of. Furthermore, your vet can help you to implement the one-day fast in a way to benefit your particular dog.

You should not fast

  • Pregnant and lactating bitches
  • Very young puppies
  • Dogs with hypoglycaemia or other established diseases
  • Elderly dogs.

 Whenever you are in doubt, please seek advice from your veterinarian!

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