What is “Natural Rearing”?
Natural Rearing is a term coined by the great pioneer in natural feeding & rearing practices, Juliette de Bairacli Levy. In its most simplest terms, it refers to feeding a diet as close to nature as possible (a raw diet), giving minimal core only vaccines, and avoiding insecticides.
It also refers to raising dogs in a method that enhances their intelligence and their natural instincts – letting them live in a ‘pack’ family environment (not isolated in kennels), letting mothers rear and wean puppies on their own schedule, and giving dogs access to fresh air, open spaces and long walks.
Vaccines and Your French Bulldog
We follow Dr. Jean Dodd’s revised vaccination schedule. This method of vaccination is widely considered to be less impactful on a dog’s natural immunities, allowing them to develop a natural level of antibodies. As noted, it is particularly recommended for breeds such as French Bulldogs which are prone to immune related diseases.
Our puppies receive their first set of shots at 9 weeks. This is in contrast to old fashioned vaccine protocols, which sometimes gave first shots as early as four to five weeks. Giving this first set of shots later allows the puppy to remain protected by the natural antibodies which they inherited via their mother’s immune system.
We also do not vaccinate for Bordetella.
Rabies is given at six months, but is not given at the same time as any other shots. At one year, the dog receives their rabies booster. After this, unless your area requires it by law, we suggest giving a once every 3 to 5 year rabies booster at the most.
We’ve only ever had one or two puppy buyer’s veterinarians express concerns over our policy on vaccinations. As time passes, more and more breeders and pet owners are beginning to doubt the necessity for annual vaccinations. In fact, Current Veterinary Therapy by Kirk, the textbook bible for veterinarians in general, has an article on canine and feline vaccines by two researchers. Near the end of the article is a paragraph called Annual Vaccinations. It states “The practice of annual vaccinations lacks scientific validity or verification. There is no immunological requirement for annual vaccinations. The practice of annual vaccinations should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law.”
We ask our puppy buyers to request that their veterinarian adhere to a minimal vaccine protocol – aka the Dr. Dodd’s vaccine protocol. Read more about Dr. Dodds’ protocol here, including a printable version which you may bring to your veterinarian.
Flea and Heartworm Control
We do not use any form of insecticide on our French Bulldogs. We use natural herbal supplements which boost our dogs’ immune responses, and we apply topical and internal Diatomaceous Earth (our own blend, with Neem and Yarrow) as a parasite preventative and cleanse. We request that our puppy buyers not use chemical methods of parasite control unless they reside in an area with year round fleas and heartworms.
All of our puppies are microchipped before leaving. Contrary to one or two reports, we do not believe that a link has been proven between microchips and cancer. Please read this excellent article de bunking the ‘risks’ of microchips by Terrierman Patrick Burns.
We know personally how important microchipping can be, because we’ve had a dog returned to us because of one – a dog that, without a chip, we’d still be wondering about and searching for. Plain and simple – microchips bring dogs home.
Your dog’s chip will be registered in our name and your name. As well, it’s registered to the Canadian Kennel Club, who have been diligent about tracking down owners of lost CKC registered pets. CKC guidelines require that all dogs be permanently identified before leaving their breeder’s home, and the only two options available are tattooing and chips.
Feeding Your French Bulldog
We feed – and recommend – a raw diet. We prepare a home made raw diet for our French Bulldogs that includes raw turkey necks, hearts, livers and kidneys, ground muscle meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, eggs and cider vinegar. Owners wishing to continue feeding raw will be given an instruction sheet on preparation of this diet.
If you are unable to feed make your own raw, we recommend a well made commercial frozen raw dog food. If you can’t feed commercial raw, there are several quality dehydrated raw dog foods available on the market. We maintain a list of brands we recommend, which you’ll find here.