What to feed on road trips?

by admin on March 26, 2014

The following question was posted on yet another discussion list that I formerly subscribed to.  My answer was rejected without an explanation and I was promptly banned from the list.  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.  Btw raw food diets are affordable and I have not recommended this feeding model in the past precisely because, true to nature as it is, it nevertheless seems to strike a negative emotional chord with dog owners.  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.  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.
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My dog died at age 19 two years ago and for the last 6-7 years of his life I was following this gorge and fast model.  He did very well and did not visit the vet once in 11 years.  (Btw before I was able to do that I had to cut way back on his fat consumption to keep him from overproducing bile.  Bile vomiting is a common problem that should be addressed at its cause, not managed with frequent feeding or by never fasting the dog.)  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.
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