Happy, healthy dogs with shiny coats, bright eyes and a bounce in their step.
Isn’t that the image you love to have of your dogs?
Natural Rearing is a term coined by a pioneer in natural feeding and husbandry practices, Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Her books have been key references for feeding raw foods and using herbs for many years. The philosophy is simple: feed as close to a natural diet as possible, allow animals to have plenty of access to fresh air, sunshine, clean pure water and exercise…consider their “whole-ness” in all husbandry choices. This is the ideal for promoting overall good health and a strong immune system.
The photo to the left is of my Russell. It was taken at the last sheepdog competition in his trialing career. He was 12.5 years old, and had just competed in the USBCHA Sheepdog Finals a month previous.
The oldest dog competing, he ran great and was on the leader board for two days. I believe he was able to do this because of his holistic, natural lifestyle.
He was fed an appropriate raw diet, had monthly chiropractic treatments, his medical care was integrative, he was kept fit and sound with good exercise and the holistic tools that I regularly use…it works!
Why Rear your Dogs Naturally?
- Optimal Health
- Balanced Emotions
- Natural Behavior
- It’s Easy and Animals Thrive!
The key points of natural rearing:
- A wholesome and natural raw diet appropriate for each species
- Fresh, clean and pure water
- Daily exercise, sun and fresh air
- Minimal vaccinations
- Meeting the social needs of each species
- A clean environment and shelter using natural materials for bedding
- Minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants
- Providing opportunities for natural behaviors
I strongly believe that what our animals eat and how they live affects their behavior, health and emotional balance. I have seen this in my own animals and in hundreds of animal clients over 30 years.
We now know that vaccines are not benign harbingers of health, and new guidelines have been published. Modern research points us to the emotions as being the main directors of physical health. Being mindful of all these aspects of caring for our animals is “whole-istic”, and following our natural intuition in addition to staying well informed of current research will guide us to making suitable care choices.
This page is primarily focused on my dogs, but applies to other animals as well. The concept of feeding a natural, wholesome diet that closely resembles what your animal would eat naturally applies to all species. Including humans. Processed food that has no life, no biological activity, is not ideal for anyone. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s quicker, sometimes it’s cheaper…but, just like eating only “fast food” is not optimal for people, eating out of a bag or can is not ideal for our animals.
Here is my story:
My best friend…my companion in most all activities…my confidant…my dog. Max was a black standard poodle who shared my life for 11 wonderful years in the 80’s. But it was his death that profoundly effected my life and set me on a new path.
My ideals are quite different now, but at that time, I thought I was the perfect dog owner: I fed Max famous brand kibble; never gave him table scraps; I annually vaccinated against all the dreaded diseases that could might make him ill; I trained, exercised and loved him with all my heart.
He was a picky eater, hard to keep weight on, frequently vomited or had diarrhea, especially if he had any “people food”. Many trips to the vet over the years offered little relief: sometimes meds, mostly advice on making sure he ate only kibble since it was the table scraps that seemed to affect him the most. At 7 he was lame and x-rays showed a large bone chip from his femur head floating around, causing pain. We performed surgery to remove the damaged femur head and he recovered well. At 9 he wasn’t eating and was ill a lot – this time an x-ray showed a large mass in his abdominal area and surgery removed a 6 pound tumor from his spleen. He recovered from this surgery, but at 11 he succommed to widespread cancer and liver failure.
On a beautiful, warm, sunny spring day he died in my arms on our deck with help from our vet. We planted a tree over his grave.
Through my grief, Max charged me with a mission: to find out if there a better path to providing optimal health for my animals…
At a dog show a just few weeks after Max crossed over, I saw a book called “Keep Your Pet Healthy the Natural Way” by Pat Lazarus. This title looked quite interesting, since I had recently started changing the way I ate and lived to improve my own health, with dramatic results in a short time. I bought the book and thumbing through it the first time, I realized how many mistakes I had made in caring for my dogs. Needless to say, I cried hysterically for a while, then calmed down and read the book.
Excerpts from that book that had instant impact for me were quotations from the vets:
R. Geoffrey Broderick, DVM: “Every time a pet trustingly eats another bowl of high-sugar pet food, he is being brought that much closer to diabetes, hypoglycemia, overweight, nervousness, cataracts, allergies–and death.”
Wendell O. Belfield, DVM: “Do you know what is in meat meal, the major constituent of dry dog food?…Urine, fecal matter, hair, pus, meat from animals afflicted with cancer and TB., etc.”
Robert S. Goldstein, VMD; Marty Goldstein, DVM; Richard J. Kearns, DVM; H.H. Robertson, DVM: “We just seldom see the so-called inevitable diseases in our patients, when we can get the owners to raise the pets on their natural foods.”
Richard J. Kearns, DVM: “Everybody laughs at me; they say I’m a specialist in geriatrics, because all of my animals get to be so old. That’s simply because I try to have my clients feed their pets right in the first place.”
R. Geoffrey Broderick DVM: “My greatest goal is to be known not for what I cured and controlled, but for what I’ve prevented.”
There began my education about thriving animals, from a holistic viewpoint.
My dogs and I experienced the biggest shift due to my learning inspired evolution.
First, I switched to a high-quality holistic kibble (there was only one or two at the time), then I began adding fresh/raw foods to the kibble, then I served homemade foods for several years – following the Pitcairn menu that included raw meats. About 1998 I switched my dogs over to a Raw Diet. No grains, no cooked food (other than the sharing of our left overs and treats), varied meats with bone including turkey, chicken, beef, lamb, duck, some organ meat, some fish, whole eggs, pulped vegies and fruits, some raw goat milk and raw honey, supplements. All human grade, as natural and organic as I can manage.
My dogs have not gotten sick from eating raw meat, they have not gotten blockages from the bones. Their stool is small, well formed, with no odor, and in time dissolves into a whitish powdery substance. My dogs’ teeth are mostly clean and white, naturally. None of my dogs have required re-vaccination after their puppy shots, other than the required rabies.
Every few years I raise a litter of border collie puppies, and they are weaned onto raw food. It starts with raw goat milk, raw honey…and leads to raw meat and bones. The photo on the right is of one of my puppies eating a raw bone at about 6 weeks old.
I continue my program, continue to learn, and thank the universe each morning for the gift of another day, that I pray will be blessed with well-being for all of us.
My feelings about animals, about my work, about the universe, are summed up well by Susan Hubble Pitcairn in her Preface to Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs & Cats:
“Everything connects to everything, which connects to everything else. You can’t understand life in fragments….From a wider perspective, the topic of natural care for dogs and cats offers an enormous opportunity to show the value of taking a holistic approach to any aspect of life…If this book serves to communicate a healthy respect for the intelligence behind creation and a sense that we would do well to interfere with natural processes as little as possible, then I would know that its deeper purpose, and mine, has been fulfilled.”
I recommend you research current information and form your own opinion. Talk to your vet. Become informed. You are your animal’s advocate.
An exciting new path awaits you and your animals!
Here are some places to start:
Raw, Frozen Food for Dogs and Cats:
Oma’s Pride…Kathy is a distributor, so if you live in Will County, Illinois check out the next page for ordering this great food for your dogs and cats.
Give Your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst B.V.Sc(Hons),B.Sc.Agr.,Dip.Ed.
Raw Meaty Bones: Promote Health by Dr. Tom Lonsdale
The Ultimate Diet : Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultze
Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health For Dogs & Cats by Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat by Juliette De Bairacli Levy
The Nature of Animal Healing by Dr Martin Goldstein
Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Volhard and Brown
Four Paws, Five Directions by Dr Cheryl Schwartz
Molecules of Emotion by Dr. Candice Pert
Natural Rearing site, articles, books and products www.naturalrearing.com
Natural Rearing Breeders Association (dogs) information, articles, FAQ’s www.thewholedog.org
Dr Tom Longton’s site on Feeding Raw www.RawMeatyBones.com
Common Raw Feeding Myths discussed www.rawfed.com/myths
Pet Food: Our Pets are Dying for it, article http://vonhapsburg.homestead.com/petfood.html
The truth about vaccines, articles and links www.truthaboutvaccines.org
Holistic Horsekeeping, articles, newsletter, links www.holistichorsekeeping.com
Shirleys Wellness Cafe, a holistic care resource -Humans and Animals www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com
Natural Horse People, a resource www.naturalhorsepeople.com
What the Bleep Do We Know? a thought provoking movie and book about emotions and creation. www.whatthebleep.com