Natural Dog Care
We have chosen a more natural way to raise our dogs because so many dogs die young of cancer and suffer from other horrible disease conditions, such as auto-immune diseases, allergies and thyroid disorders and all signs point to poor ingredients in dog food and over-vaccination as two of the major contributors to these conditions. Below is more information about the diet and vaccination changes we have made, as well as, other methods we believe can be used to live more naturally with dogs.
A Whole New Diet: Feeding Raw
Our dogs have been eating a raw prey-model diet since September 2011. That means all of their meals are made up of raw meaty bones (RMB), meat and organ meat. They eat chicken with bones, turkey with bones, pork, beef, organ meat (mostly liver) and green tripe. We no longer wanted to feed kibble because of a variety of reasons including the cancer-causing chemicals known to be in many pet foods, dog food recalls, and the unpredictability of even the best dog food formulas. Raw food is much easier for dogs to digest and it is simply the best, most natural food for dogs and the bones keep their teeth healthy too. Read my blog post on Prey model raw feeding for more information.
To continue learning about raw feeding, visit these external resources:
- More is Not Better: What Every Vet (And Pet Owner) Should Know About Vaccines
- Dr. Jean Dodds on Raw Versus Cooked Foods
- Raw Fed Dogs - recipes on how to feed different raw meat
- Raw Meaty Bones
- U.S. Raw Meaty Bones Support Group
- Myths About Raw Feeding
- Learn How Easy It Is To Feed A Raw Diet
- Raw Meaty Bones for Healthy Pets Blog
- Raw Food For Dogs - Puppy Feeding Excerpt
- Considering the Switch to Homemade Food? 5 Things You Must Know
Here are some resources to learn more about what's really in dog and cat food:
Our adult dogs also started on a reduced vaccination schedule in 2011. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) revised its vaccination guidelines way back in 2003 and no longer supports annual vaccinations for adult dogs. Research has proven that not only are annual vaccines unnecessary, they can also be harmful. Vaccinations have been known to cause immune mediated diseases, allergies and acute allergic reactions. Many of the vaccinations being recommended and given by vets are not needed (Coronavirus), don't work (Bordatella) or carry more risk than benefits (Lyme and Leptospirosis).
In 2011, Tucker and Leeloo got titers for Parvo and Distemper. Tucker's titers showed that he had plenty of immunity. Leeloo's Parvo titer showed that she needed a booster. Then, we learned a little more about titers. They don't show the dog's true immunity levels because they only measure part of a dog's immune system, so Leeloo probably did not need a booster either.
We now follow Dr. Jean Dodds' Canine Vaccination Protocol.
Here are some resources that explain more about vaccinations and titers:
- Vaccinations by The Angry Vet Blog
- Vaccinations: When Too Much of a Good Thing Turns Bad
- Lifelong Immunity - Why Vets Are Pushing Back by DOGS NATURALLY
- Titres: What Do They Mean?
- Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
- Science of Vaccine Damage
- New Vaccination Protocols
- Over-Vaccination - Dog Owners Beware
- Bordetella Vaccination for Dogs: Fraud and Fallacy
We believe that spaying or neutering a dog before, he/she is fully mature has significant effects on their development. These developmental issues have more significance for dogs that will be competing in athletic venues, such as agility, obedience, hunting or any activity that requires lots of running and jumping. Dogs with an improperly developed musculoskeletal system cannot handle repeated stress on joints and lead to an increase in injuries. Read Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete by Chris Zink DVM for more information.
Despite evidence that intact females have a greater risk of developing mammary cancer, studies have shown that spayed and neutered dogs are at much greater risk of developing hemangiosarcoma and bone cancer. Early spaying and neutering has also been shown to increase the likelihood of urinary incontinence in males and females. This can have a damaging impact on the relationship between dogs and their owners and increase the risk of these dogs loosing their homes or their lives as many owners decide they cannot cope with this issue.
We believe that male dogs should not be neutered until about 14-18 months of age (after they have had time to mature). Female dogs should not be spayed until after at least their first season to allow her time to mature and remove most of the risk of urinary issues after the spay surgery. As explained above, waiting until after dogs are mature is especially important for performance dogs.
Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs By Laura J. Sanborn, M.S.
Canine Chiropractic helps improve overall health, as well as, mental well-being, skin and allergy problems, mobility and immune system. Chiropractic adjustments are also wonderful for helping performance dogs compete at their best.
Just as it is used for humans, Acupuncture can be used for animals to relieve many different health problems, including allergies, renal failure, reproductive issues, neurological disorders, back pain, anxiety, stress and more.