The question of whether or not to fast your dog is a controversial topic. Fasting is primarily an act of willing abstention from food, drink, or both, for a period of time. However, it is not necessarily appropriate for all situations. There are times when it is considered appropriate, and there are situations when it can be potentially dangerous.
For those that monitor and read many of my previous blogs, you will be reminded of the value of the immune system. One of the most important things we can do for our dogs is to create and maintain a strong immune system. This is one of the most important key secrets for fostering excellent health.
Toxins such as vaccines, antibiotics, steroids, de-wormers, and heat-processed foods all present a challenge to the immune system. This reduction of immune system adequacy makes our dogs more susceptible to disease and parasites. Dogs, that are fed conventional, store-bought, heat-processed diets are exposed to a number of toxins every day. These may include hormones, vaccines and antibiotics in the meat, genetically modified and processed foods, hard metals, and pesticides.
Those that advocate fasting believe that periodic “house cleaning” is essential for building a strong immune system. I routinely advocate fasting, but offer a few cautions regarding this practice. It should be avoided for growing puppies, elderly dogs, lactating females, and dogs with specific health conditions where fasting may be counter-productive. Small toy breed dogs may be prone to hyperglycemia that results in a sudden drop in blood sugar that can be lethal. In this case, it is best to feed the dog several small meals daily.
It is my view that fasting can create many valuable advantages such as:
1. Elevating macrophage activity which will engulf and destroy bacteria, viruses, and other foreign material.
2. Allowing the digestive system to relax and let the body focus on other important bodily functions.
3. Allowing the body to regenerate briefly. It is amazing to watch a complete reversal of digestive symptoms such as upset stomach and diarrhea, as well as allergy relief.
In a nutshell, a domesticated dog is able to reap benefits by fasting. It can boost their metabolism, maintain a healthy appetite and weight, and optimize their overall health. For best results you should start out slow by fasting once a month, and then increasing the fast eventually to once a week. The fast will give the digestive system a break and allow the body to regenerate and preserve the essential digestive enzymes from depletion. When a dog’s body is allowed to focus on other metabolic activities, it conserves energy, detoxifies, and builds resistance to disease.
When trying to decide if fasting is healthy or not, you might consider that fasting is not harmful in any way. Nature has spent fifty million years perfecting the mammalian enzymatic machinery to deal with lack. Just about every creature that ever existed in the history of the world missed a meal every now and then. For dogs that are of proper weight and body condition, there is no compelling reason to fast. But when our company takes on new clients, we are usually dealing with dogs that are obese, suffering from allergies, depressed immune systems and in generally poor condition. In this case a fast might be just what the doctor ordered.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie – a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” monthly e-zine at barfworld.com/ezine