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A complete guide to raising a puppy naturally

A complete guide to raising a puppy naturally

Vaccination, feeding, supplements, exercise and more

Many people think puppies are born with a clean slate, but they actually often carry a pack of problems from previous generations. These problems are not just genetic. Puppies are burdened by the imbalances and health issues of their parents.

Excessive vaccination, poor nutrition, stress and the use of immunosuppressive drugs, such as anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids can create chronic imbalances that reflect in the health of offsprings.

Beware of puppy mills

If you are planning to get a puppy, the most generous way is to choose one from a rescue shelter. You will feel great about your decision and also give a home to a dog that would otherwise continue to suffer or be euthanized.

If you would rather get a puppy from a breeder, you need to stay away from puppy mills, suspicious ads and pet store puppies.

Puppy mill operators (ab)use dogs as breeding machines. They lock them in cages, rarely walk them and most of the dogs suffer tremendously.

Besides the endless suffering, puppies of these dogs often end up with serious irreversible health issues that even a miracle healer or vet will not solve. Treating these problems will suck your pocket dry and break your heart.

If you feel the urge to 'rescue' a puppy mill puppy, buying one creates more demand, which is exactly what the puppy broker or puppy mill owner wants.  Not buying one will make them go bankrupt and hopefully they will surrender their dogs to the authorities.

If you can’t find the dog of your liking in your area, there are many homeless dogs in 'kill shelters' all over Canada, the US or in third world countries.

Nursing and food

Feeding dogs is another hot topic and writing about it is like poking in a wasp nest. If you are interested in learning more about feeding a natural diet, we have a free natural diet course, so I will only mention here that good puppy nutrition starts with a well-fed mother. 

After more than a decade of feeding and recommending a raw, species appropriate diet, my clients and I have witnessed an enormous difference between dogs fed processed and raw food. I have repeatedly seen longer lives, less medical issues, shinier and healthier coats, better mobility, less chronic disease and cancer. There is no way I would switch back to kibble.

Do you ever wonder processed pet food companies offer retailers and veterinarians free samples and major discounts on their products at their conferences?

Canine Recipe Maker Infographic


Most people understand the role of vitamins and omega oils in health.  However, many are unaware that the most common causes of disease and premature aging are mineral deficiencies.

Not one single mineral can be manufactured by the body and minerals are severely depleted, even in organic foods. The main reason is intensive agriculture and excessive soil exploitation and fatigue.

That is why any pregnant or lactating mother should be getting these basic supplements:

The most well-known mineral deficiency issue in pregnant and nursing bitches is a lack of blood calcium, called eclampsia. One of the causes of postpartum eclampsia is an under-functioning parathyroid gland, which leads to the slower release of calcium. However, proper function of the pituitary gland also depends on the presence of other minerals and nutrients.

Feeding lactating bitches a balanced diet and essential supplements are equally important for the well-being of puppies and their development.

Fab4 supplements for canines

Beware of synthetic vitamins

If you are tempted to purchase cheap synthetic vitamins, just remember that just like there is a difference between a plastic orange, orange juice and a wholesome orange, there is a difference between synthetic vitamins, natural extracts and wholefood-based vitamins. Because we can’t make food in a chemical lab, synthetic supplements are always going to be “the plastic” orange of nutrition.

Weaning puppies naturally

Recently, I saw a mother at Whole Foods feeding her baby by squeezing baby food from a tube. I watched her and wondered if she knew that this 'baby food' had a fraction of the nutritional value of fresh food that she could blend and prepare fresh at home.

It is an example of how blinded we have been by marketing and advertising. Many people are convinced that feeding sterilized, pasteurized food is somehow better. However, nature doesn’t make baby or puppy food and that is why I recommend feeding puppies the same high-quality raw food you would feed an adult.

Starting at three to four weeks of age, you can introduce high-quality raw food by feeding the mothers in the pen with her puppies, who will gradually start eating it. By the time puppies are eight weeks old and ready to come home, they should be eating a variety of meats, veggies, eggs and chewing on raw bones to massage their gums and promote healthy teeth and bone development.

I am not a big fan of giving milk products, mainly because in nature milk is not a part of the canine diet as soon as puppies are weaned.

Just don’t forget to give your puppy essential supplements to keep them strong and healthy.


I am relieved that there are now research studies available that confirm the practice of yearly dog vaccinations have absolutely no scientific basis and that most dog's immunity lasts at least eight years and possibly even a lifetime.

Vaccines are a fiery topic. All I can do is to give you my humble opinion and suggestions.

  • Natural immunity obtained from the milk of their mothers persist in most puppies until 12 to 16 weeks of age.

  • Vaccinating puppies before 12 weeks will 'wipe out' the maternal antibodies, which leaves puppies more vulnerable to infections.

  • Vaccines contain serious carcinogens such as thiomersal (that contains mercury), formaldehyde and other chemicals.

  • Most people are unaware that vaccines are often produced by infecting and sacrificing healthy animals. To me, the notion of killing one to save another is insane and I feel obligated to inform you about this practice.

  • Vaccines can also cause chronic, often life-long disease that resembles the disease they are supposed to prevent. Some good examples are digestive problems, skin issues or mental and behavioural changes that disappear after neutralizing the effects vaccines have with homeopathic remedies.

  • Most vaccines bypass the natural entry gates of infection, such as the mouth or the airways and this is a severe shock to the immune system. How would you feel if a person entered your house by breaking the windows (the analogy for an injection) as opposed to ringing the bell?

  • The administration of multiple antigen vaccines is a very unnatural way of creating immunity. In nature, usually only one serious disease pathogen would be present at a time, allowing the body to fully focus on one pathogen. Giving combination vaccines overwhelms the immune system the same way you would be working on several major projects at the same time.

Natural immunity protocol for dogs

Here is an immunity protocol that I have been using in my practice for years.

  • Never vaccinate your puppy before 12 weeks of age if you have the choice.

  • If your puppy has been vaccinated early, any medical condition may or may not be a vaccine side effect. I recommend consulting an open-minded holistic practitioner who knows how to recognize vaccine-related issues.

  • If you suspect vaccination side-effects, you can safely administer one dose of homeopathic remedy Thuja 200 C – to neutralize vaccination side effects.

  • Maternal antibodies protect puppies fully until 12 to 16 weeks. When your puppy is 12-weeks-old get a parvovirus and distemper antibody titer test done.

  • If any antibody level is present, retest at the age of five months and socialize your puppy on a moderate basis with other dogs. Your puppy will learn the ropes by being in the company of other canines and its exposure to pathogens while it is protected will stimulate the production of their own antibodies. This is 'nature's way of vaccination' and this is exactly what vaccine companies don’t want you to know.

  • To me, any level of antibodies suggests protection, but some labs report low titers as insufficient. In fact, no one can say what levels are or aren’t low. I have never seen parvo or distemper in dogs that have a low positive titer.

  • If your puppy tested negative for antibodies, consider vaccination with one antigen of parvovirus (not a combination) at 12 weeks and distemper four weeks later.

  • Retest for antibodies one month and then two to three months after the vaccine and then two to three months later.

  • If your puppy’s titer continues to be negative, you will have to make a decision about which risk is higher – boosters or the incidence of an infectious disease.

  • Never use vaccines for Kennel Cough, Lyme disease and Giardia as they have the highest side-effect causing properties.

  • If you live in an area with rabies, the vaccine may need to be given, however, give it at least four weeks from other vaccinations. Talk to your veterinarian about the rabies incidence in your area.

It may be shocking but many healthy puppies maintain lifetime antibodies with zero vaccination except for rabies.

In my practice, I always try to avoid them whenever possible. It has been my experience that this is the best way to create a healthy and long life.

Interested in learning more about a holistic approach to vaccination?  Check out our Facebook Live below.

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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