Raw Feeding & Vaccines 

        Here at Heeling NRG we follow a modified Prey Model Raw diet and a minimal vaccine protocol. 

        I do not believe that our Creator designed the dog to eat mass amounts of grains and/or lentils, nor do I believe that the intense processing that pet foods go through is producing foods more nutritionally sound than what was naturally intended for them. My experience (and the experience of many other breeders and owners) is that if you support the immune system through nutrition and apropriate exercise, and don’t overtax it with unnecessary chemicals, that the health of the dog improves tremendously. 

        Prey model raw involves a diet made up of aproximately 80% muscle meat, 10% bone content, and 10% organ of which half is liver. For the sake of convenience I feed mostly pre-made balanced blends from Barker’s Brunch and that is why it is considered modified.  True prey model is actual whole prey, but this is not something that is feasible for most for many reasons. 

        Getting started with raw feeding can be intimidating. I recommend to people just starting out to start with a balanced blend. There will be plenty of time to get all fancy DIY later on once you’re familiar with the routines. 

        When getting started you only need a few things: Stainless steel bowls and cutlery are preffered as they’re easier to sanitize; A small kitchen scale to weigh meals; Enough space in your freezer to store at least a week’s worth of food, and it’s also helpful to have a small stretch of counter dedicated to the dogs - but it’s not required. Meals take a few hours to thaw if left out on the counter, but will take several days in the fridge, so make your plans accordingly. 

        We feed twice a day. Mornings are a little hectic here at the moment, so the first meal is often a chicken neck. The dogs need just enough in their bellies that they don’t get “hunger pukes,” but are still food motivated in training. Their main meal of the day is in the evening, and that will be either a blend or a whole prey meal. 

        We follow a delayed schedule for vaccines, starting not before 7 weeks of age. A year after that there is an additional booster, and from there we pull titers (blood work testing the reactivity of antibodies for the diseases we vaccinate for) to determine if additional vaccines are needed. 

        Vaccinating for rabies is a bit different, because it is required by law. The initial vaccine for rabies is given at aproximately 20 weeks, and then we repeat that vaccination a year later. From there the rabies vaccine becomes a 3-year vaccine, and at the age of 7 it is possible to request an exemption letter from your veterinarian.  It’s important to talk to your vet about the risks in the area you live in before making the decision to vaccinate or not. 

        This doesn’t mean that we don’t prevent or treat for parasites and diseases, because we do! But going the chemical route first thing often isn’t necessary, even as a preventative. 

© Shari Joanisse 2023