Natural Rearing is a term that was coined by the great pioneer in natural feeding and rearing practices, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, an English woman who in the 1930's studied to be a veterinarian. She began feeding raw foods and rearing her Afghan Hounds naturally and treating diseases with herbs. Her book, "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat," has been used by dog owners and breeders for many years with great success.
Natural Rearing can actually be called a "preventative" in that it raises your dog's overall health and builds and maintains a strong immune system. This method is actually as old as time itself and it basically requires that your animals be fed a diet and be cared for as close to how they would live and eat in the wild. Levy's basic rules of naturally rearing require:
- a correct natural diet of raw foods
- abundant sunlight and fresh air
- at least two hours of exercise daily, including plenty of free running exercise
- clean grounds with the use of earth, grass, or gravel, never concrete
- herbs, fasting and other natural methods in place of vaccinations and conventional symptom suppressing drugs
Puppies are also allowed to stay with their mothers to be weaned, not removed early to artificially wean them. Along with staying with the Dam and siblings longer, are the all important disciplinary and social lessons learned. It is extremely important in the formation of a stable temperament!
Why Naturally Rear?
Nutrition is of utmost importance and the canine diet should reflect the dog's carnivorous design. Canines were meant to eat raw meat. Dogs fed a raw, meaty bone based diet enjoy overall superior health, clean white teeth, fresh breath, healthy gums, shiny eyes, glossy odor-free coats and small firm odorless stools. They also don't have the bone and joint problems or the many diseases so common in dogs today. There is no substitute for fresh, wholesome food, clean water, exercise, plenty of fresh air, sunshine and the avoidance of chemicals and drugs to the greatest extent possible.
One of the goals of natural rearing is to minimize the need for veterinary assistance. Prevention of illness and fostering of wellness can be achieved if a total program is followed. Providing your dog with the best chance of "being all that it can be" is a lofty goal and worth the extra effort it takes to accept the responsibility and think for yourself. Do your research and use your good judgement!
There are a number of veterinarians now practicing alternative and more healthful forms of medicine. They have found the allopathic way of treating our companion animals lacking. They are treating the whole animal rather than just trying to take care of a complaint or symptom. There is no better veterinarian than one who is also a good homeopath. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have an allopathic veterinarian if you can't find a homeopathic one. Just make sure he/she allows you the freedom to make an educated choice of what kind of care and nutrition to give your dog.
Dogs that have had only a very limited amount or no vaccinations are healthier than those who have had annual bundled vaccinations. Purdue University confirmed this when they recently conducted a five year study to research the vaccination issue. After only three years they concluded that those dogs that had little or no vaccinations were the healthiest. Eliminating the over vaccinating of our animals and not using chemicals in, on, or around our companion animals is one of the greatest things we can do for them.
Which diet to follow?
The basic principals of natural rearing are both simple and elegant. Yet to the newcomer, the wealth of detailed information can be overwhelming. Probably the hardest part is first "unlearning" what we have been taught and taken for granted most of our lives. Simply put, it means going back to nature, keeping things as simple and true to species as possible.
There are many raw diets available for dog owners to follow. The one that's ideal for you and your companion is something you'll have to decide. You may even choose to feed a diet which is a combination of several different ones. You can only make that decision by doing your research and finding what works for both you and your pet.
On the vaccination issue, if your comfort level is such that you feel you must vaccinate your companion animal, please do not over vaccinate and space them out with about 3-4 weeks in between each one. The schedule recommended by Dr. Jean Dodds is a good one to follow (found on the "My Routine" page). Vaccinations should only be given to healthy animals. Do not vaccinate at the same time that any surgery may be scheduled. If your dog has had annual vaccinations, there is a blood test called titers which will show the antibody level in the blood to a particular vaccine. If you use homeopathic nosodes for your vaccines, titers may not show an antibody level.