I'm getting a puppy! Tomorrow! I'm so excited!
My parents' dogs had puppies 8 weeks ago, and I am bringing one home! This is the first dog I will raise on my own, and I am taking my parental responsibilities very seriously. In addition to the normal attention to training, safety, and love, I want to raise a natural puppy. I carefully care for my body, and I want to do the same for this new puppy. This has led to hours of research. Here are the extra things I'm considering. I'm only going to address ONE today—you'll have to come back for more!
I have 5 major questions:
Diet? What type of food and treats should I feed him?
Toxins? How do I create a toxin-free environment for him?
Skin care? What do I bathe him with, and how often?
Shots? What about immunizations?
Urine? How do I clean up after him without using chemicals?
Natural puppy Diet
Padfoot is very adventurous. He is ready to meet new people and explore his surroundings. I am excited for this, as I plan to take him many places with me. But with that comes a strong will. A strong will isn't automatically a bad thing, but I need to makes sure he is kind to people and other dogs, and knows I am the pack leader. Consistent training is important, but I also know that his diet will affect his behavior.
Processed food doesn't make me feel very good, so I don't want to feed it to my dog. While I don't plan to breed Padfoot (I feel there is more responsibility to feed your animal properly if you plan to produce offspring), I want him to feel his best.
The famous study done by Dr. Pottenger showed that animals (mostly cats were studied) fed a diet unnatural to their species (cooked meat in the case of carnivores) produced offspring with birth defects including blindness, deformities, allergies, thyroid deficiency, and infertility (Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition).
The feeding of species-appropriate foods (raw foods) prevented these defects, and revealed an observable difference in temper. Cats feed on cooked meat and pasteurized milk were more irritable. The females bit and scratched more often, and in general were more aggressive. The males sometimes became more docile (passive) and had a tendency to a low or same-sex interest. In addition to irritability, the cooked meat fed cats had increased parasites, skin lesions, allergies, pneumonia, and diarrhea.
I don't want any of that for my precious puppy! So I am planning on feeding him a raw-food diet. And thankfully there are resources out there that tell you how! The diet I am following is in a book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Diet by Kymythy R. Schultze. The major food groups that dogs eat are raw meat, raw bone, raw vegetables, and extras. For extras she recommends kelp and alfalfa, essential fatty acids, and vitamin C. I will be feeding my dog kelp, raw liver, fermented cod liver oil, butter, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut to get these nutrients. I will keep an eye on him and adjust as necessary. The author also describes how to feed puppies differently than adult dogs. This gives me the confidence to know that my puppy is getting all he needs. If there's interest, I may do a blog post about meal preparation. If you want to see one, comment below.
natural puppy Treats
Padfoot is attentive, but his attention wanders and he thinks exploring is much more exciting than coming or paying much attention to humans (unless you let him use you as a chew toy). I know he's very young still, but I'm anticipating needing to use treats to keep his attention in training.
Treats on a raw food diet may get a little tricky, as I don't really want to carry around a bag of raw steak bits (who knows, I may end up doing it!) But there are other healthy foods that can be used as a treat. Sprouted raw nuts (not peanuts), pieces of their favorite fruits or vegetables, and bones are great treats. I will probably also try dehydrating my own jerky to cut up and use as treats. And don't forget pieces of butter! This is my parents' dogs' favorite treat! I will also use Calcifood wafers (from Standard Process supplement) as treats. These wafers contain large amount of ground veal bone, and are packed full of importantnutrients for a growing puppy (or dog of any age). And like all Standard Process supplements, they are made of raw, real food ingredients.
As much study as I have done, I know all of it is theoretical until I bring my puppy home! I'm sure there will be adjustments, but I'm glad to know that I'm on the right track to have a happy, healthy puppy! And now (like Padfoot), it's time to call it a day!
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