What food do we give our puppies? First let me say, I am not a vet. However, upon countless hours of researching the best diet for the canine. Including online studies for canine nutrition certification through courses in the UK and learning just how a dog ingests and digests the food they eat. I feel it is very important to give our dogs and our puppies a species appropriate diet. This does not always simply involve dry kibble. In fact, kibble can be the worst thing you could potentially feed your dog if it is not ethically sourced and ingredients are not optimal nutrition for the dog. Rendered processed dog kibble is just that, "processed". Animal digest, meat meal, by-products, corn and its many names, all leave the consumer wondering what those items actually are, and for good reason! The canines jaw is designed to tear, shred and shear muscle & cartilage from the bones of its prey. The teeth are designed like a pair of scissors in order to do this, the throat expands for large portions of gulped food. The stomach is where the process of digestion begins with stomach acidity much higher than that of us humans. Unlike us humans where we "chew" our food and grind between teeth and begin the digestion through our saliva in mouth. The dog, a carnivore, does not actually "chew", nor has the same digestive enzymes in the mouth. Particularly, amalayse, to break down starches. Did you know that many of the processed kibble on the market today can contain over 60% carbohydrates (Starches)!? For the carnivore this poses a problem with best nutrition for their needs. Dogs run on protein and fat. Do we offer our dogs kibble, yes, as a side snack to their main dish of RAW or as I like to call it, their fresh food. We give our crew a mix of an 80-10-10 model as a starting point. 80% protein, 10% organ, & 10% bone. With the addition of healthy fats and some nice veg & herbs along the way. Offering a variety in diet to optimize all the nutrients naturally found in REAL food. Organ and bone are some of the most highly nutritious rescourses for vitamins and minerals biologically available to the canine. Why ferral dogs & wolves will consume the organs of its prey first and muscle meat last.The stomach of their prey is often full of vegatation that has been digested in that poor creature. Why we need to lightly cook, or blend the vegtables to break down the outer cell walls in order for our furry companions to get the nutrition that vegtables offer. However, when you think of a prey of the canine, the stomach of that prey only is a small portion in comparison the the rest. Why "protein" is at the high end of the mix. 80% or there abouts. In many processed pet foods, protein is not. Rather the carbs are. With having a crew of 6, plus pups, the kibble helps to offset the cost of feeding real food. But it is only a side option for them. Making up only about 10-15% of their daily diet. The food we feel is "ok" is from Open Farm. I am not an affiliate of theirs, I get no kick backs and I do not require my puppy clients to feed it. However, I do feel that if you must feed a kibble, they are a company that puts the ethical resourcing and health of your pets nutrition at the forefront of their food. Ensuring no crap ingredients or chemicals go into their processing. We send all our pups home eating at least 2 meals a day of Open farm puppy kibble. (We get it, its easy to feed kibble and real food can be confusing to the new pet parent.) The third meal however is REAL food. We guide our clients in preparing this option if they choose to or offer suggestions in alternatives of simply topping the bowl with some REAL food options. With so many health issues being linked to processed kibble, we HIGHLY recommend the addition of real food to the puppies bowl. Many in the industry have stated this and I will parrot it here, "if your doctor told you to only eat a highly processed diet, you'd think them crazy. Yet its exactly what we are told to do for our dogs." Ingredient panels filled with unrecognizable ingredients, endless fillers and starches, synthetic vitamins and mineral packs, the promise of real meat "flavours". Did you know that if a brand states "with" chicken, it only has to put in up to 3% of chicken. Furthermore that "chicken" could simply be the carcass, feet or feathers, not the nice choice cut of chicken breast pictured on the packaging? However if it states simply "Chicken" as an ingredient, then it must be 28% of the batch. Another interesting note on the starches/carbs, are you aware that the AAFCO requirements do not list carbohydrates as a "required" item. Yet its the main ingredient in so many brands??? why? its cheaper than protein. Plain and simple. Therefore many brands who state that their food meets the "minimum" requirements of AAFCO are possibly doing just that, the "minimum". not the "Optimum" levels a canine needs to thrive. For these stats and MANY other studies of the canines diet (well over a thousand infact) I highly recommend reading the book "Feeding Dogs", by Dr. Conor Brady. His website as well, is packed with further information on the topic. www.dogsfirst.ie Our hope is to see our puppies thrive throughout their lives and a major factor in that is what goes into their bowl. From the very first food we give them, it is important to help them build a strong and healthy gut. The microbiome! Are you aware that 80% of the dogs immune is in their microbiome!? ( which is actually the same for us) Healthy, nuritious real food, from the meat, organ and bones to the appropriate vegtables, all the nutrition the canine pup requires can be found in real food. But variety is key to this! We start our puppies out on a simple lightly cooked mix of some real food. Along with a transition to RAW goats milk fortified with some extras in the healthy Omegas like eggs &/or coconut MCT oil. They happily lap it up. Though nothing is as good as Mum's. To which that we allow our dams to naturally wean. We let them decide when its time for pups to stop nursing. We never force our dams to stop. Its not natural. Often we see our mums still nursing at 7 weeks or even 8 weeks. (even though they are pretty well depleted of milk by this stage) Why we also feel it is important for mum to still be with her pups until they leave us at 9 weeks. In the wild, it is not uncommon for the ferral dogs to still be nursing pups well into their 3rd month of life. Along with regurgitating her own food for her pups as she begins to wean them.(there is no "kibble" found in the forest) We help mums out by offering a mix of food, that is gently cooked to simulate what mum would naturally offer her pups. Our batches of REAL food, is quite close to that of what mum will have had for dinner herself. Minus some of the stronger herbs as pups are still adjusting to a new food.
Medications, de-wormers and of course fleas and ticks..... The following statements are my opinions based off of hours of reserching each topic. They are not to be used in place of veterinarian advice. Only to have you, the future pet parent, seek to learn more to advocate for best health for your puppies. Knowledge can be powerful when you are standing in an emergency vet clinic. At one point in time, we too followed the basic deworming protocal for our puppies. The 2,4,6,&8 weeks you so often will see. When warranted, we still do this protocal. However, its not always warranted. You see, when you learn just "how" the dewormer medications work, it begs the question, if the pup or dog has no worms, what is the benefit of the dewormer then? The way these medications work is not to prevent, but rather kill and remove the worms. The medicine is for actual presence of worms. SOME that we can give when pups are older, will seek, kill and destroy all life stages of the worm. Egg to worm that is. However, when pups are younger than 6 weeks, the options are few. The medicines only kill adult stage worms. How do we know if they are present, we fecal test. If worms are present, we deworm. But untill the presence of such parasites, the medicine only gives the puppies an upset tummy for a day or two. Because the medicine is pooped out in that time frame. It does not stay in the gut for any length of time. One vet who I've spoken at length on the topic with puts it this way. "Taking a dewormer for worms they may have next week is like taking an asprin on monday for a headache you'll maybe have on friday. They just dont work that way." The way they work is the adult worm has little receptors that the medicine coats and then restricts. Causeing a painful cramping to the worm and the worm then lets go of its host (the dog) and is pooped out. If no worms though, then the medicine is pooped out with no effect other than some side effects to the health of the puppy. Most common are vomitting and diarrhea. There are many areas where these basic types of worms are now becoming resistent to these medications. The reason being is their over use. Not treating when its optimum time to truly kill the parasite. So, we now fecal test to see what stage, if any we may be at in the worm department. THEN treat accordingly. As in feeding our pups optimun nutrition for a healthy microbiome, we are careful to also not needlessly destroy it by over using a not needed round of dewormers. EVERY dog in its lifetime will get them, but running fecals to see what type eliminates the guesswork and allows us to treat with specific medications for better results. No more blindly treating the un-known. We feel this way for all medications through out our dogs lifetime. Run the diagnostic tests, treat appropriately based on those results. No guessing treatments of anti-biotic use that could only do more harm long term than good. Many virus' have become resistant to the overuse of such medicines in this manor. Find your root cause issue, and treat that. Sadly, this often means that you the pet owner need to advocate for your pets and research on your own. Vets are all too often too busy in their day to day practice and simply want to see your pets symptoms eased. Its up to you the pet parent to insist upon looking for the root issue. Case in point, Im sure many have heard of the dog with cronic ear infection and it never seems to go away. others offer the suggestion allergy to xyz protein. Often, the vet will simply prescribe an ear drop and send you on your way. Only to return again a month later. The bigger issue as those others have offered in suggestion, is allergy. HOWEVER, it could be something like leaky gut syndrome at its true root. Which relates back to that "microbiome" and its health. and again, the dogs diet. Some vets out there recognize the link to diet, but not the gut flora, the microbiome and restoring the health there. So, though yes, medications can suppress symptoms and have your pup feeling better almost within hours, seek to find the root cause. Or if not an emergency, find that cause first before treating. Ok, fleas and ticks. HOT topic anymore. I've even beed given strikes on SM for posting studies showing the harm to humans and fetus' in the womb from the widly popular conventional chemicals. The FDA came out a few years ago and put into labelling law that the manufacturers MUST put a warning label on the side of the packaging of just how harmful these chemicals are to our furry friends, but also to humans!. Dont believe me, ask to see the package from your clinic and read for your self. Millions of pets die as a direct result of taking these chemicals by mouth every year.The topicals have a similar effect but at a slower pace. However to the family living with the pet, the risk goes up as then they are more readily exposed as well. Those who dont have an initial reaction, they could have very serious health conditions happen suddenly. Some never have issues, until they do. We live in an environment that now has ticks as a common everyday pest. Should you not treat, NO not what I am saying. However, there are MANY alternatives to truly help "PREVENT" ticks and fleas from attaching to your pets in the first place. I think my personal biggest pet peave is the fact every year, the chemicals are advertised as "preventatives", nothing about them "prevents" the bugs from ever getting on your pet. Its just NOT how they work. They only kill the bug "AFTER" it has latched on to your pet and begins feeding. They are neurotoxins that literally paralize the bugs and eventually kill. A low does pesticide is put into the pets bloodstream so that when a bug bites your pet and begins feeding, it kills it. THIS is why there is also the warning on the packaging to causing seizures to your pets. It will do the same thing. Slowly as the chemical is given to your pet, it builds up in their blood system and eventually, you can see a dog or cat who has taken the product for even 4 or 5 years, suddenly have a siezure and die. The chemical became too much for them and they went down. Again, dont believe me, look it up. Its how they work. With it being a neurotoxin, this also will change the DNA marker of the dog/pup. For this reason, if a puppy of ours is given these products, I will no longer cover that pup under our health guarantee. As it is no longer the puppy I bred with the DNA I bred. If a pet parent chooses to give these chemicals, it is on them to also know the medical side effects that are possible. From diseases linked, to even death. With natural sprays to em collars, to now emerging essential oil collars, there are so many healthy options to deter these pests. Each spring I see countless SM posts that a tick was found on their pet and they think the chemical they've chosen is not working. Proving that they do not understand how these chemicals work. So then they double up by switching to another and giving even more chemicals to thier pets. I cringe. READ, learn how they work and decide if it is right for you. One advocate veterinarian against these chemicals will even go as far to state that if you've never seen a flea or a tick on your pet, you dont have them. Because no, these products do NOTHING to prevent them from getting on your pet in the first place. - Dr Judy Morgan. Look her up. Lyme disease in humans is horrible. Yet the same disease in the canine is not the same. Again, look into it and read for yourself. Ticks can carry more than lyme. Look up the maps each year to know where and when the hot spots are and for what disease they may carry. Protect yourself as much as your pets with ACTUAL preventatives. Several years ago a new vaccine hit the market for pets.(And humans) The lyme vaccine. It was pulled from the vets shelves pretty quick as the side effects and death from this new product were very high. The vets themselves were recommending it be pulled and against it. Recently this vaccine has resurfaced. Nothing to my knowledge has been changed to the product to make it less dangerous. Yet is now being offered as "protection" for pets. Again, look into this yourself before going to your vets. I'll finish with this, if a tick was found feeding on your pet, the vet will run a 4D blood test in aprox 4 weeks to see if lyme antigens are "positive". IF your pet is also exhibiting symptoms (cause not all dogs will even react much less skip a beat) then a round of antibiotics is given to help the dog fight an infection. A positive is not the same as an infection. Therefore not all "positives" are treated. Some dogs may have a mild fever or be a bit more sleepy for a day or two, some may exhibit some stiffness in joints, some nothing at all. Again, lyme in human vs lyme in canine are quite different. Integrative or holistic veterinarians will have a more natural approach but will also administer antibiotics if warranted. The fear of Lyme for our dogs is much higher it would seem than for ourselves. Yet it should be just that, more fear for ourseves. Yet we do not take a chemical monthly to "prevent" us from getting a tick. Think about it, read up on it and then decide if it is right for you or for your pet.