What is Fasting and
Why Is It a Good Thing for Your Dog?
Fasting is something I practice with my dogs and I believe a major reason for the longevity of many of my dogs but what is fasting?
Fasting is defined as "the voluntary abstinence from food for a limited or extended period of time." In the dictionary. People fast for all kinds of reasons that include religious purposes, increased health benefits and as a means of protesting a social injustice. Throughout the course of history, in all cultures and religions, fasting has been used as a tool to strengthen faith, improve health and increase community purpose.
However, I doubt your dog is thinking along those lines. In fact, I don't think he's thinking about it at all. He just knows instinctively that going without food when unwell, is a good thing to do. Think about this.
If your dog doesn't feel well, he doesn't want to eat, right? This is what dogs do in the wild. If they're feeling unwell, they settle down somewhere and sleep until they feel better. While resting and not eating, wild animals naturally reap fasting health benefits by eliminating ...
- all sensory input ( eyes, ears, nose )
- toxins from food, the environment and waste from metabolism
- stress from mental and physical activity
Fasting allows animals to rest and heal, without using up precious energy on digesting food. If they're really sick, they will either die or recover, but this is after all Nature's way. The body will heal itself, if it has time and is able to do so.
Intermittent Fasting for Dogs is
Mother Nature's Way to Enforce a Healthy Detox
Think about this. In the definition above, it was noted that fasting is a voluntary thing that people do for some reason, but in the wild, Mother Nature is in charge. So that means that wild dogs eat when there is food to eat, and when they are lucky enough to catch it.
The harsh reality is that wild dogs, wolves, coyotes etc., don't eat every day. So going without food, often for long periods of time, is a constant reality of their wild existence...but this is not all bad!
The good news is that Mother Nature has provided this natural, enforced fasting which serves as a healthy detox. This is a way for wild dogs to heal themselves, since they don't have me, you or the vet on hand to help.
When we allow Mother Nature and the dog's own body, to heal itself by using those things that have a normal relationship to life, we put into practice the principle laws of nature, known as "natural hygiene."
The Health Benefits of Fasting for Dogs
During abstainence from food, your dog's body is free from the input of toxins contained within food especially kibble. It can then increase the output of toxins through the normal channels of elimination such as the bowels, skin, eyes, ears, nose, vagina, penis, urine and lastly breath.
If fasted for long enough, total body toxicity will be reduced to a tolerable level and healing can start. These are the main benefits of fasting. Periodic intermittent fasting is the quickest way for the body to concentrate it's energy and effort to promote healing.
When we use intermittent fasting as a way to heal the body, here's what happens. Your dog's body can take a break from digesting food and concentrate on letting the immune system heal by:
- increasing macrophage activity (sell activity that kills harmfull bacteria etc see below)
- increasing immunoglobulin levels
- unfriendly bacteria and other pathogens are engulfed, destroyed and eliminated in the feces, the urine, the breath and through the skin.
- increasing natural killer cell activity
Two Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting for Dogs to Boost Quicker Healing
- The first way is to simply let your dog go without food for 24 hour to 48 hours. Remember, wild dogs do this on a regular basis, and it works for them. Your dog will be looking for food, and you will feel guilty, but so what? What's more important? You and your guilt, or your dog's good health? Do this periodic fasting randomly, once every week or two. Don't choose the same day every week. Your dog will soon learn when Monday is!
- The second way is to restrict your dog's food intake to an 1 hour time frame every day. For example, if you feed in the morning at 8AM, lift his food at 9am and don't feed again until 8am the next morning. This restricts his eating to a 1 hour period of time. This gives your dog 23 hours for fasting time. Less guilt this way and lots of benefit.
My Favorite Get Healthy Again
Fasting Tips for Dogs
Intermittent fasting is my favorite way to boost a dog to better health quickly. Our ancestors lived through cycles of feast and famine. If we are constantly in feast mode ( and most of us and our dogs are ), the body is not able to conduct much of it's repair and rejuvenation processes and so disease takes hold and health declines.
Our dogs are constantly in a period of feast. They don't have to work for food. All of their dog nutrition needs are met by you and me. So, a period of regular or random fasting helps the body to heal and repair. Fasting is good for everyone! You and your dog might even do some healthy fasting together and lose a couple of pounds while you're at it! Weight loss should NOT the goal here, though.
Here are some helpful hints:
- Don't fast puppies
- Use the daily restricted food intake method epecially for sick or old dogs
- Always use a 24 - 48 hour fast when transitioning to a raw food diet
- Always have pure or filtered water available for your dog
- Don't feed any other food at all ( just water ) during the fasting time period. This means...no treats or snacks.
- If you have to give your dog any form of drugs ( insulin, thyroid medicines etc ) use the daily restricted food intake method of intermittent fasting.
I especially like the health benefits of fasting to boost health results for...