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How do you help your dog endure a 'fasting' day?

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

The strategies implemented to ensure a fast occurs smoothly will depend on whether it’s a challenge for the dog, the family, or a combination of the two.

If the dog is an expert at conning family members into giving it treats every time they go into the kitchen then the family is going to have a really difficult time enduring the fast even for an afternoon. The best option in this case may be an overnight fast, either reducing or cutting out the evening meal; after all they are much less likely to pleed with family members to feed them when everyone is in bed.

For the dog that simply can’t go without food and pesters the family until they give in a good option is a meal replacement, something that doesn’t burden the digestive system but gives the pet the psychological satisfaction of eating something as well as some nutritional support. Depending on the dog this may be a large recreational bone with not much meat on it but will give hours of distraction. A liquid item such as a whole egg or some plain, natural Greek yoghurt can be put into a slow feeder bowl with lots of licking required to get every last drop.

For the family that can’t bear to let their dog ‘go hungry’, or the dog that should only have a mock or mini fast, a meal based on leafy green vegetables is an excellent choice as it allows great flexibility on the nutrients provided with a huge array of fruit, vegetable and supplements which can be added to provide the dog with a tailor made option to suit.

Further information:

Dr Ian Billinghurst provides a useful text on the subject of fasting and more.

Billinghurst, I., 1993. Give Your Dog a Bone. Bathurst, New South Wales: Warrigal Publishing.

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