Quincy Collies
  naturally raised for optimum health

Who knows best?

Who knows best?????

When I started "in collies" back in 1986, I never thought to question the common practices of modern day dog rearing. I faithfully, and quite naively, fed what I thought was a good commercial dog food.  I vaccinated my puppies starting at 6 weeks of age, vaccinated the adults yearly and used heartworm preventatives and flea/tick products as neededIf any of my dogs fell ill, I would never even have thought to consider the possibility that the illness had anything to do with a recently administered vaccine, the very dog food I was feeding or the flea/tick product I had just put on my dog.  How I reared my dogs at that time, WAS and unfortunately today still IS considered to be "responsible dog ownership."

Today there is a growing number of breeders and pet owners alike, who are questioning modern day practices of dog rearing.  Thanks to the worldwide access to the internet, these people are able to share information and create their own support groups for this "alternative" way of rearing dogs.   There are now multiple "egroups" that have been created where the emphasis is on certain aspects of dog health-vaccines, diet, chemical use, natural rearing, or specific dog diets, like "BARF,"  or even on diet or vaccine-induced diseases and the treatment of those diseases using homeopathy and natural diets.  It is common practice for well known holistic vets to guest speak on these groups for a short period of time.  Some of these veterinarians worked for years as allopathic vets and after realizing how detrimental these practices are to the overall health of the animals, have turned to holistic methods and have convinced their clients to do the same, with amazing results.  There are now veterinarians who specialize in homeopathy, the use of chinese herbs, acupuncture and canine nutrition. The internet has provided access to a wealth of information about "natural dog rearing." 

So what does "naturally reared" mean?  

People who naturally rear their dogs believe in feeding them a species appropriate diet.  They believe that commercial dog food does not provide proper nutrition.  Commercial dog food companies use animal parts that are not fit for human consumption when making dog food.   For instance, 3D (dead, diseased, dying) animals end up in dog food.  If you look at the ingredients of a bag of commercial dog food, very rarely will you see REAL MEAT listed as a main ingredient.  You will see grains and meat "by products" listed but not REAL meat.  Grains are not a natural food for dogs. They are an inexpensive way to fill up a bag of food and they are also the cause of many food allergies in dogs. They do nothing in the way of providing real health to the dog.  All these unfit products are put together and heated to very high temperatures to kill off unwanted bacteria. Unfortunately, when that is done, all the good nutrients are also destroyed.  The companies then add them back in in the form of synthetic vitamins.  We can hardly consider that to be nutritious food.   Dogs, like us, need REAL food. If you're interested in reading more about what goes into commercial dog food, you might find Ann Martin's book,  "Food pets die for" to be quite enlightening. Click here to read an excerpt from her book. Shirley's Wellness Cafe also has some great articles about commercial dog food.

There are many dog nutrition books available that include recipes for homemade dog diets.  When feeding a raw diet, you need to balance out the meat, bone, veggies, organ meats and supplements.  It is very important that you follow recipes that have been created by people with experience.

There are several companies that put out frozen raw dog foods..some that are balanced as is, and others that just need the vitamin/mineral supplements added.  Check out "Oma's Pride" to see what they offer.

People who naturally rear their dogs believe that vaccines carry RISKS. Some of  these people give a very limited vaccine schedule. Others have eliminated all but the state mandated rabies vaccine.  Again, the internet provides a wealth of information about the risks involved in routine vaccination.  The common practice of vaccination today is to use a combination vaccine. This combination vaccine includes 5-7 different viruses all in one shot and if that isn't enough to send the immune system into turmoil, it also contains a binder to hold them altogether and a preservative, such as thimersol ,which is a known carcinogen.  I'm sure you have all read articles about the use of mercury in children's vaccines and the possible link of mercury to autism in children.  It is no different with dogs. All vaccines carry risks!  Think about what we are doing when we inject a dog with these vaccines.  When we inject these vaccines into the dog, we are bypassing the dog's first line of defense-the mucous membranes-the nose, throat/mouth.   We are injecting these vaccines directly into the blood stream.  This throws the entire immune system into turmoil and it does not know how to react to these "invaders."  To make it worse, we are injecting it with not one, not two but anywhere from 5-7 different viruses at the same time.  And it is not uncommon for these dogs to also receive their rabies vaccine, wormers, flea/tick products all administered at the same time.  It doesn't take an awful lot of common sense to realize that this COULD, AND MOST LIKELY IS, VERY DAMAGING TO THE DOG'S IMMUNE SYSTEM.  To make it even worse, new puppy owners take their dogs to the vet shortly after purchasing them.  When puppies go to a new home, they are most likely experiencing stress. They are leaving the only home they have ever known, they are leaving their litter mates, being introduced to new people, new places, new routines, house training, new food, different water, noises they have never heard. That's a lot of stress for an 8 week old puppy.  Add on all those vaccines, and you are asking for serious autoimmune problems at some point. Vaccines are now being blamed for all types of autoimmune related problems in dogs.  If you want to read more about the problems vaccines are causing check out Shirley's wellness cafe.  She has some great articles on the dangers of vaccines.  Dee Blanco, DVM has written a great article about vaccines in which she explains how they work, what is in them, and the risks involved in giving them.  She also talks about the practice of yearly vaccinations and explains why that practice is wrong.

There has been a lot of pressure put on allopathic veterinarians in the past few years to reexamine their vaccine practices.  Studies have proven that the practice of yearly boosters is more harmful to pets than it is beneficial.  Immunity lasts a lot longer than one year.  27 veterinary schools are now recommending that vaccines be given every THREE years.  They recommend that you give the series of puppy boosters, then the one year shot and then every three years after that.  That's progress but natural rearers know that even that is too much. Titer tests are available that measure the level of immunity that a dog has to diseases like parvo and distemper.  For those who don't want to vaccinate, titer testing is a good way to ensure your dog has picked up "natural" immunity through exposure to disease in the environment.

When puppies are born, they are protected from disease by maternal antibodies that they receive from the dam's milk.  The longer they nurse, the longer the protection lasts.  Unfortunately, most dams today, because of the way they are reared themselves, do not produce enough milk to nurse their puppies much past 5 weeks of age.  So, to "protect" the puppies from disease, breeders start immunizing the puppies at about 6 weeks of age.  This is way too young and way too much stress on an undeveloped immune system.  It is best to wait until at least 12 weeks of age to give the first vaccine.  If you give the vaccine while the maternal antibodies are still present in the puppy's immune system, it will not be effective and you will have stressed the immune system for nothing.  By 12 weeks of age, the maternal antibodies should be gone and the puppy should be able to mount a good response to the vaccine and should then have good protection against the disease.   If you do not live in an area where any of these diseases are endemic, then it is safest to wait until 6 months of age as that is when the dog's immune system is FULLY developed.  At that point, it can best handle the insult of the vaccine.

A dog owner in England , Catherine O'Driscoll, who has owned several golden retrievers who all suffered early deaths, started looking into WHY these things were happening. One died of rear end paralysis ( vaccine induced) and one or two died of cancer.  She started thinking that the vaccines were to blame for these things and ended up doing a worldwide survey of different diseases and the relationship to the vaccines that the dogs had received.  She came up with an average amount of time between when a vaccine was administered and when a certain disease appeared.  She found that 55% of the problems that dogs experienced occurred within 3 months of vaccination. She has since written two wonderful books about the dangers of vaccines. The first is called "Who killed the darling buds of May." It was subsequently released under a new title, "What vets don't tell about vaccines."  Recently, she published her second book, "Shock to the System."  Both are really good and informative books. She also started a great website to help inform people of the dangers of these vaccines and the deception among the vaccine companies.

My own personal belief is that our modern day practices have caused a vicious cycle that has caused most dogs to live in a state of chronic disease.  For convenience, dogs are fed commercial dog food-just scoop it out of the bag.  That's it!!!  And because we feed this unfit, dead food, our dogs are unhealthy. And because our dogs are unhealthy, we need to vaccinate them for diseases. Their immune systems are not up to the job of fighting off diseases on their own.  And because they are unhealthy and the immune systems are challenged by these vaccines, we also need to worm them, give them heartworm preventatives, and flea products.  We need to go back to square one and start feeding these dogs correctly.

People who naturally rear their dogs DO NOT USE PREVENTATIVES NOR CHEMICALS on their dogs.  Preventatives ARE chemicals.  We all have seen what the "mis" use of chemicals has done to our environment and thus to our own health.  Look at the growing rate of cancer in our society.  It is no different with dogs.  Cancer is widespread in dogs today. Lymphoma is a common cancer in dogs and it has been linked to exposure to lawn chemicals.  It doesn't take alot of common sense to realize that an animal, WHO LICKS HIMSELF TO KEEP CLEAN, laying on a lawn that has been sprayed with CHEMICALS is going to be affected by those chemicals.  What we all fail to realize is that the reactions that any living being might experience from exposure to "foreign objects" is not going to be readily apparent most of the time. Sometimes it is months, sometimes it is years and sometimes it IS immediate. Most of the time, we, as owners would never put the connection together.

The new method of preventing flea/tick infestations is the use of "spot ons."  Take for example the one for fleas/ticks called "Frontline."  Most vets will tell you it is the safest product on the market.  I did an internet search on this product.  The main ingredient is fipronil.  Fipronil is a NEUROTOXIN. It causes seizures in rats and rabbits. Yet, they say it is safe in dogs.   It might not affect them immediately, but in time it builds up in the system and I believe they will react to it in one way or another. As usual, we as owners, won't know that the problem our dogs has IS related to the chemical we put ON THE DOG!   I can't imagine why anyone, after reading the safety warning, would put that on their dog.  The label warns you to wash your hands thoroughly after application and not to let your children touch your dog for so many hours after application.  But it is safe for an animal who LICKS himself to keep clean???????? 

I have met some really wonderful people because of my interest in natural rearing. I have learned so much about what it means to raise a healthy dog and to keep it healthy. I have made major changes in the way I raise my own dogs and feel quite content that I am doing the best I can to give my puppies a healthy start.  Since switching to natural rearing 7 years ago, I have seen major improvements in my own dogs.  The most obvious improvement is in the newborn litters. The puppies are plump and robust, nurse vigorously and their dams provide lots of milk.  We, as a society, need to realize that convenient isn't always best and that we need to take responsibility for the decisions we make regarding our animals health.  We need to be informed so that we can make educated decisions.

So, WHO KNOWS BEST??????????   



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