The following question was posted on yet another discussion group that I formerly subscribed to. My answer was rejected without an explanation and I was promptly banned from the group. In protest, and so that I can delude myself into thinking that my time wasn’t wasted and that someone actually might read it and benefit from it, I’m posting it here. If anyone had shared this information with me when I was learning how to properly feed my dog, I’d have done back flips to show my appreciation. Yet apparently valuable information is not a desirable commodity to some people. Amazingly, this list is entirely populated by people who raw feed their animals. People love to think they are feeding their animals according to natural laws, but emotional feeding (including resistance to fasting as a regular part of the dog’s life) is NOT natural.
Question: I am planning a road trip and am wondering about keeping my dogs on a raw diet while away from home for about 10 days. What can the people on this list recommend?
Answer: Road trips are a great opportunity to fast dogs that don’t normally get enough digestive rest. Mogens Eliasen’s book, which attempts to apply what has been learned from wolf field observations to the feeding of domestic dogs, states that dogs are so well adapted to the feast and fast cycle that this is what they require to be ultimately healthy. He says the folded surface of the canine stomach has glands which produce and secrete digestive fluids. When the stomach is fully stretched out after a large feeding, all of these glands are activated and digestion is optimized. If the stomach is not fully expanded, digestion can be compromised.
The catch is that you can only do the feast part if you’re willing to do other side of the equation as well. Most dog owners feed too much and fast too little, which is very harmful. The stomach needs to fold up, lie dormant and rest for awhile after processing a large meal. Wolves don’t eat everyday, even when they have the option. After they have eaten to satiety, they typically go a minimum of two full days or more before eating again.
My dog died at age 19 two years ago and for the last 6-7 years of his life I was following a modified version of this gorge and fast model. I did not allow him to eat his fill but fed him usually on alternating days or less frequently. He did very well and did not visit the vet once in 11 years. I always found this strategy particularly easy when doing a road trip because I could buy food as needed, allow my dog to eat a good large meal then not have to worry about it again for a couple days. Since you’re driving or otherwise busy (presumably), you’ll be out of your routine anyway and also you won’t be susceptible to the normal behaviors dogs are inadvertently taught that get them fed (begging, hanging around the kitchen, bowl licking, etc.). Because your dogs are already raw, they will not be experiencing the unpleasantness of withdrawal that kibble fed dogs can experience during a fast.