Building a Good Foundation . . . Naturally

There are many ways in which Nature can assist in one of the most natural processes; the miracle of birth. Before you breed your dog, she should be in excellent health and condition. Holistic health care works with nature and your pet's body to keep her in optimal health and an asset to your breeding program.

The foundation of health is diet. Food is second only to air in what your dog takes into its body most often. Food provides the energy for life. Good food provides lots of energy, poor food does not. Your domestic carnivore's body was shaped over eons of evolution to thrive on particular foods. The closer you can simulate the diet that your dog's body is designed to eat, the healthier your dog will be. The canine's short digestive system is equipped to thrive on raw food. Cooking damages many elements in food that are vital to good health. A balanced diet of raw meat, bones, vegetables, herbs, and oils provides an excellent nutrient profile. Balancing proportions of ingredients is made easier if one thinks in terms of "prey animal" proportions. What would one find in a mouse, bird or rabbit? A large part of any wild meal is raw bones...lots of them. There would also be some muscle and organ meat, hide/hair/fur/feathers, and stomach contents. The stomach contents would include grasses, plants, seeds, nuts, bark and/or fruit - no grains. "Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition" by Dr. Francis Pottenger should be required reading for anyone feeding animals, especially breeders.* The study demonstrates the health benefits of a raw food diet and follows a breeding program of several generations. The difference in health between the animals fed raw food and those fed cooked food is shocking. The raw food cats thrived generation after generation, with no reproductive problems. With the cooked food, cats had many health problems and were unable to reproduce by the third generation.

ALL nutrients are important for pregnancy and whelping: protein, vitamins, minerals, fats, enzymes. They can all be obtained from raw food. Abundant raw meat, fish and eggs provide good protein. Raw chicken or turkey backs, necks and wings provide important calcium. Cod-liver oil and flaxseed oil provide essential fatty acids. Raw pulpy green and root vegetables provide enzymes, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. A good quality powdered kelp is nutrient dense and can be added to meals daily as a vitamin/mineral supplement. Kelp also helps balance the glands, especially thyroid. Thyroid problems often lead to reproductive problems. Red raspberry leaf has been used for centuries as a fertility aid and pregnancy tonic. There are also homeopathic remedies that are very useful for pregnancy, whelping, and rearing puppies.**

A pregnant dog that is eating a nutritious raw diet will usually eat just slightly more than usual. After the pups are born, she'll consume more to keep everyone fed. Feeding her more raw poultry meaty bones will provide a wide array of nutrients and make almost instant milk for the pups. In the wild, at weaning time, Momdog would feed her youngsters the same things she ate; only in regurgitated semi-liquid form. Human care-givers can follow her lead by making adult meals mushy for weaning pups. Raw chicken necks can be put through a meat grinder. Raw knuckle bones (devoid of fat) in the whelping box can provide added nutrition, chewing practice and hours of entertainment. Adding buffered vitamin C to the pups' meal helps them build a strong immune system. As pups grow and develop, raw chicken necks can be just smashed and then eventually left whole. If feeding large pups, one can graduate to feeding larger chicken meaty bones as the pups grow.

My experience has shown me that pups ra ised this way are exceptionally strong and healthy. They have a high resistance to parasites and disease. Their bone is straight and of good substance and their teeth are pearl-white. They are bright and learn very quickly (I attribute this to feeling good!). Even my puppy families notice the difference!

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate DietKymythy Schultze has been a trailblazer in the field of animal nutrition. Her professional experience with animals includes being a certified Animal Health Instructor and Clinical Nutritionist, veterinary assistant, trainer, breeder, groomer, and a wildlife rehabilitator licensed with the federal government. She has studied many holistic and allopathic modalities, including canine nutrition at Cornell University. She has hosted a popular radio talk show featuring health and community service issues. Kymythy is editor of the “Holistic Dog and Cat Newsletter” and author of “Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Diet” and The Natural Nutrition No-Cook Book: Delicious Food for Your Pets . . . and You!

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