INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR DOGS
Is your dog struggling with digestive or weight issues? If so, intermittent fasting may be the solution.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a common term used for a type of fast which a person will eat for 8 hours and then fast for 16 hours (a 16/8 fast). This is becoming a health trend among humans and the amazing benefits of it can also be passed down to our fluffy friends. While intermittent fasting is becoming popular, you should first consult your veterinarian if it is the right path for your dog. There are many dogs that shouldn’t fast, such as senior dogs, puppies, smaller breeds which might develop diabetes due to the reduced amount of insulin intermittent fasting produces.
Dogs naturally should only eat about once a day according to vets. This is due to the fact that before they were domesticated, dogs would usually only have about one meal a day in the wild. This is why a 16/8 intermittent fast is perfect for dogs because it is how they are naturally created to operate. Even though you’re giving your dog food in this time-frame, you must make sure that it is getting all the nutrition that it needs during it. A dog’s nutritional needs are different from humans and if you are not giving it certified dog food, you must make sure that whatever recipe your preparing it is a vet recommended recipe.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has many benefits for our animal companions including:
Weight loss through insulin reduction
By reducing insulin levels, systemic inflammation will decrease and weight will be reduced. Insulin carried sugars into cells and holds it there which can increase body weight. If insulin levels are reduced, which occurs when we don’t eat for an extended time, sugar will begin to be burned for energy as the insulin is reduced in our body and sugar is allowed to leave the cells, allowing us, and our dogs, to lose weight.
Regeneration of tissue
Because of the lack of food and nutrients for an extended time, your body will start killing off damaged cells for energy and when food is brought back into the picture, the stem cells start replacing the cells it cannibalized with new, healthier cells. Stem cells function better on a diet of fat than carbs or stored glycogen which the body will burn first during the fasting according to a study. This autophagy, the cleaning out of old cells, is a great life expectancy enhancer and protects the dog against diseases.
Different ways to Intermittent fast
The most popular way to intermittent fast is the 16/8 method; 16 hours fast, 8-hour window for eating. You can also feed your dog breakfast and then fast it all day till dinner time, giving it 10/12 hours of fast. There is also the method where you give your dog food for any 5 days of the week and fast it for any 2 days (water only), or you can do 6 days of food and 1 day of fasting. Studies have shown that a dog can survive without food for up to 45 days so do not worry that one day without food will hurt your dog, it will only enhance the benefits listed above.
Overall an intermittent fast will develop a stronger regenerative process in your dog and allow it to shed off the excess weight it may be carrying around. Above all, if you are considering fasting for your dog, make sure to consult your veterinarian before taking Fido off of food for an extended amount of time. We would love to know if intermittent fasting has helped your dog. Let us know in the comment section below!