Keeping Your Puppy Healthy

It is very difficult to find naturally reared Shibas, so our parent dogs came from conventional breeders and unfortunately have received conventional kibble, dewormers and/or puppy vaccinations. This means that your puppy, that you buy from us, will be a first generation naturally raised puppy (assuming you don’t request we vaccinate your puppy). We ask you to consider continuing our work and raising your puppy in your home naturally. This page discusses ways to keep your puppy healthy, naturally.

A Note About Epigenetics

In my research, I have learned that traits, health characteristics, etc. can get passed down from parent to offspring, but that diet, environment, exposure to toxins, and how a puppy is raised can affect how inherited genes express themselves. This is called epigenetics. If we do the right things and give our dogs the right nutrition, keep them away from toxins (like those in vaccines), and raise them right, they can grow to be old, HEALTHY dogs! Our dogs don’t have to die from cancer, and they don’t have to be miserable for the last few years of their life! (A lot of this applies to humans as well!)

Read this article at Dogs Naturally Magazine for more information about epigenetics, how it works, and studies that prove that genetics is not everything! 

Because the parents that we use were bred conventionally, there is the possibility of genetic damage to some degree (as with all dogs raised that way), and therefore your puppy’s immune system may need a little help, in the form of natural supplements.

Immune Boosting

A strong immune system is the #1 defense against viruses and too many worms! We recommend No More Dog Worms because it’s premixed and easy to use! It contains Diatomaceous Earth (which flushes out parasites), as well as these immune supporting ingredients: organic lemongrass, organic olive leaf powder, probiotics, and vitamin C. We will send you home with a container of No More Dog Worms to support your puppy’s immune system while they go through the life change of joining a new family. Diatomaceous Earth by itself is what we tend to use on our dogs. It’s cheap and easy to use.

As an alternative to vaccines, you have two options:

  1. Nosodes
  2. Immune boosting and natural exposure to gain Natural Immunity

In our program, we choose immune boosting. We feed our mamas high quality food (raw, meaty bones, and/or food cooked at lower temperatures) and give them supplements if needed to support their immune health. We give our puppies natural supplements as needed, which support the immune system, and they spend plenty of time outdoors in the fresh air, soaking up the sunshine and getting plenty of exercise.

Vital Animal has an article on how to Prevent Parvo and Distemper Without Vaccination. The article explains how to help your puppy gain natural immunity by taking them to the park for 5 minutes, once a week, starting at 12 weeks old.

We will not make you take off your shoes when you come to our farm, and we will not tell you that you can’t put your puppy down out in public. But we do recommend slow exposure, so if you need to let your puppy potty somewhere in public, we just recommend that you don’t let them run around for an hour! 5 or 10 minutes is good, and you can work up from there as the puppy gets older. 🙂

Natural Supplements

Here is a list of other supplements that I have researched that are safe for dogs. The doses given are for an approximately 15-30 lb. dog (the general size of a Shiba). All of these supplements are safe for pregnant and nursing dogs:

Diatomaceous Earth1-2 tsp.
Kills parasites, helps with detoxing and creating healthy bones, contains silica and minerals: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, boron, and chromium.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Better Than Glucosamine For Your Dog’s Joints?

Worming with Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Ginger – 1/2 tsp.
Heartworm prevention, fights giardia and coccidia.
Read this article for information about how ginger may possibly kill heartworm!

Olive Leaf – 1/8 tsp.
This is a powerhouse herb that is crazy good for the immune system! Read this article for more information. Olive Leaf is antibacterial, antifungal, kills parasites, contains antioxidants (anti-cancer!) and supports the immune system. It’s a natural antibiotic.

Kelp or Spirulina – 1/8 tsp.
Contains iodine, helps with healthy thyroid function, contains vitamins and minerals,
is a dewormer and antiprotozoan.

Bilberry – 1/16 tsp.
The “vision herb”, contains antioxidants which strongly support eye health

Acerola Cherry or Camu Camu powder – 1/8 tsp.
A natural form of Vitamin C.

Yankee Shelties has a page with a recipe for homemade dog supplements:
Homemade Dog Supplements Recipe

Mega C Plus

They have a puppy version of this that we have used before.

Delayed/Minimal Vaccinations

Dr. Peter Dobias has an excellent article on how to do a Safer Vaccination Protocol for Adult Dogs and Puppies. I completely agree with him except that instead of doing a single vaccine, I would probably skip vaccines altogether. Even he had a dog that gained natural immunity in between their first and second titer tests!

As I have explained on my Vaccines page, I do not recommend vaccines of any kind for dogs, but I believe that you have the choice on how to care for your dog, and ultimately it is your decision whether you want to vaccinate your puppy.

If you feel that you absolutely MUST get your dog a vaccine, I recommend waiting till AT LEAST 12 weeks old, preferably 16 weeks old, and getting individual shots (not combo shots) one at a time, and spaced out at least a month apart. If a vaccine reaction occurs, stop all vaccinations immediately. (Vaccines reactions may seem mild, such as slightly puffy skin or hair loss around the injection site, while others can be as severe as chronic skin allergies, seizures, aggression, auto immune disorders, ear infections, neurological issues, lethargy, digestive issues, and even cancers. Please remember it only take ONE vaccine to cause a LIFE LONG VACCINE INJURY, and no vaccine is “one size fits all”.)

After the initial vaccines at 16 weeks older and older, your puppy should have a lifelong immunity, and no further vaccinations are needed for the lifetime of the dog. If you think you may want to do boosters in the future, it is a good idea to get a titer test done after the initial vaccines to test for immunity. Read The Fallacy of Titer Tests to understand how they work and why using a titer test years after a vaccine may not show high amounts of antibodies, but it doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t still have immunity.

A Note About Rabies: If you are going to get the rabies shot, you should always get the 3 year because it is the exact same shot as the 1 year. Read 65 Ways Rabies Vaccination Can Harm your Dog.

So why should you wait until 12 or 16 weeks for the first shot?

This article talks about the mother’s antibodies in young puppies: Unsure About Vaccine Safety?

In a study performed by Vanguard, it was found that a combination vaccine (which typically contains parvovirus, distemper and one to five other antigens), given to six week old puppies had only a 52% chance of protecting them against parvo. This means that the puppy has all of the risk of the vaccine but only half the potential benefit. At nine weeks of age, 88% of the puppies in the study showed a response to the vaccine.

At 12 weeks, 100% of the puppies were protected. Some vaccines will provide protection earlier or later. Only one dose of the modified-live canine ‘core’ vaccine, when administered at 16 weeks or older, will provide long lasting (many years to a lifetime) immunity in a very high percentage of animals.
” (Excerpt from page 3 of Puppy Vaccination – A Guide to Reducing Risk by Dogs Naturally)

Pfizer performed an interesting field study in 1996 where they split vaccinated puppies into two groups. Group A received a single vaccination at 12 weeks and Group B received a first vaccine between eight to 10 weeks and a second at 12 weeks. When titers were measured, 100% of the puppies vaccinated once at 12 weeks were protected whereas only 94% of the puppies in Group B were protected – despite receiving two vaccines as opposed to one.

It appears that the first vaccine can interfere with the second vaccine. So vaccinating your puppy twice not only doubles his risk for adverse vaccine reactions, it appears to make vaccination less effective overall.
(Excerpt from page 4 of Puppy Vaccination – A Guide to Reducing Risk by Dogs Naturally)


Parvo is a highly contagious virus that spreads when a dog comes into contact with an infected dog, or with a contaminated object, like food or water bowls, or the hands, clothes, or shoes of people that were around infected dogs. Puppies can also be exposed to parvo when he licks, sniffs, or consumes infected feces. Infected feces is caused by shedding of the parvo virus through poop from a dog that has received the live virus vaccine. Therefore, you may want to consider keeping your puppy away from any dogs that have been recently vaccinated within the last 4 weeks, and wait until your puppy is older. Some people like to expose their puppy to a recently vaccinated dog for a very brief encounter, to challenge their immune system and give them natural immunity, but it is your decision and I recommend researching this more if you are unsure.

The parvo virus is classified by the Merck Veterinary Manual as a disease of the stomach and small intestine, because this is where the most damage is caused by the virus. In the small intestine, the virus destroys cells, impairs absorption, and disrupts the gut barrier. Parvo can also affect bone marrow, and sometimes the heart.

More information on gut barrier function.

You are the best person to know if your puppy is acting “off”. If you notice anything different, begin treatment immediately to prevent damage. Remember, a strong immune system is your puppy’s best defense against disease. If you have been feeding the puppy appropriate food and giving him his No More Worms supplement, he should have a strong immune system and should be able to fight off Parvo just fine on his own. If his immune system is VERY strong, your puppy may encounter Parvo and fight it off without displaying any symptoms, or without you even finding out. And after that, your puppy will have lifelong immunity.

Keep in mind when thinking about Parvo, that unvaccinated puppies are much more likely to survive parvo than vaccinated puppies, because a vaccinated puppy’s immune system has been damaged by vaccination.

Puppies are more susceptible to Parvo in the first 6 months of their life. Be especially faithful to give your puppy his No More Worms when you first bring your puppy home, as stress (like the stress of moving to a new family) lowers the immune system, and you want to support his immune system as much as possible during this time.

How can you tell if your puppy may have Parvo? Here are some symptoms:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

At the first sign of vomiting and diarrhea, your puppy is already going down the path towards dehydration and you need to act quickly because Parvo has the potential to kill quickly. Don’t be afraid, just act quickly and confidently. You CAN boost your puppy’s immune system and give him everything he needs to fight off the Parvo himself. Prepare beforehand so that you already have all the supplies on hand should you need them.

The remedies listed below mention only some of the health benefits of each remedy. There are many more benefits to these natural remedies. If you keep these remedies on hand, you will be prepared for more than one issue. 

How to Treat Parvo

What to Do If Your Puppy Gets Parvo by Dogs Naturally Magazine

In addition to the above article, here are more remedies that help your puppy fight Parvo:

1. REPLENISH LIQUIDS – they need lots of fluids and electrolytes. Majority of cases puppies die from DEHYDRATION. Here is a homemade electrolyte recipe. You might consider doing enemas if you can’t get your puppy to drink enough.

2. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: This black powder stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding to them. The body is unable to absorb charcoal, and so the toxins that bind to the charcoal leave the body in the feces. Because activated charcoal traps toxins in the gut, it helps in treatment in diarrhea/vomiting-causing bacteria and drugs from being absorbed into the body. This article at Dogs Naturally Magazine contains dosage for Charcoal. Scroll down to “Step 3: Use Activated Charcoal”.

3. ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV) WITH MOTHER: This helps as an IMMUNE BOOSTER (enhanced absorption of nutrients), anti-inflammatory, improves gut health, improves digestion, improves heart health, helps stop diarrhea (The pectin content in the vinegar helps treat diarrhea symptoms by forming bulk fibrous matter. The pectin also forms a protective coat that acts to soothe the lining of the colon.) ACV also has a natural alkalizing effect on the body. An alkaline system can prevent diseases, and cure existing infections by increasing the bodies oxygen intake.

All fermented food and drinks, including ACV, contain probiotics. These enhance good bacteria in your gut, which naturally improves your digestive system. In addition to ACV, you could also have probiotics on hand for dogs (check the Only Natural Pet website) or yogurt/kefir/etc. Anything to boost the gut function of your pup. Your No More Worms supplement already has probiotics in it, so your puppy will be starting at a good place to fight off the virus, if you have been giving him his No More Worms.

4. COLLOIDAL SILVER: Natural antibiotic, IMMUNE BOOSTER, prevents and kills viruses, anti-Inflammatory, antibacterial. The mineral silver has the amazing ability to fight and destroy antibiotic-resistant super-pathogens. It can help heal Parvo, skin rashes, cuts, scrapes, eye infections, etc. Larry C. Ford, MD, documented that silver can actually kill over 650 bacteria, fungi, parasites, molds and fungi that have the potential to sprout diseases. At the same time the tests established that silver has no known side effects.

The following dosage information is taken from: Overview of Colloidal Silver and How to Use it in Pets

For ingesting the Colloidal Silver:
For Maintenance: Once daily
Immune-Building: 2-3 times daily.
Treating a Specific Health Condition: up to 5 times daily.
Short Term Acute Support: up to  7 times daily.  

Small Dogs, Cats:
2 lbs to 10 lbs – 1  tsp – or half of 10ml syringe two to three times a day for 2 weeks or more 
11 lbs to 25 lbs – 1 1/3 tsp

Medium Size Dogs:
26 lbs to 40 lbs – 2 tsp or 10 ml  (one syringe)  two to three times a day for 2 weeks or more 
41 lbs to 55 lbs –  2 1/2  tsp

More about Colloidal Silver:

Does Colloidal Silver Accumulate in the Body?

Colloidal Silver for Flu Controversy, is it Really Safe and Does it Work?

9 Silver Benefits and Uses Backed by Science

Colloidal Silver Heals Parasite Infections

5. TURMERIC: IMMUNE BOOSTER, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, promotes digestive health, natural detox agent, Anti-diarrhea medication, promotes heart and liver health. Read about the Health Benefits of Turmeric For Dogs 


Intestinal Worms

Healthy dogs with strong immune systems do not have a problem with worms! Please note that fecal tests at the vet are only 20-25% accurate! We like feeding Diatomaceous Earth because we know that it takes care of any worms that may be causing issues, and if the dog has no worms, the DE won’t be harmful at all!

I have heard that deworming a puppy is recommended every 3 months for the first year. With the DE, you can give him a dose every day for 7-10 days if you know he has worms, and then just give a dose a few times a week after that, and he shouldn’t have any more problems!

Natural Remedies for Worms in Dogs – Dogs Naturally Magazine

No More Dog Worms
This contains Diatomaceous Earth (which flushes out parasites), as well as these immune supporting ingredients: organic lemongrass, organic olive leaf powder, probiotics, and vitamin C.

Other natural dewormers:
WRM Clear (homeopathic)
NaturPet D Wormer (herbal)

Safe Puppy Immune Boosting

Colloidal Silver

Apple Cider Vinegar can help the body by alkalizing the system, which can help eliminate parasites when they’re present in the gut.


Heartworm and How it is Transferred

Drug Free Heartworm Prevention – How to Stop Poisoning Your Dog in the Name of Prevention

Why I Don’t Give My Dogs Heartworm Medicine (And Why You Shouldn’t Either)

Read this article for information about how ginger may possibly kill heartworm!

According to this article, Treating Heartworm Holistically, super healthy dogs will not have a problem with heartworm. If they do get heartworm, it will not overwhelm them. The key is prevention, by keeping your dog super healthy through correct nutrition.

Delayed Spay/Neuter

Here are some articles that discuss the health benefits of delayed spay/neuter. We do not require delayed spaying/neutering, but want to share these links because it is worth knowing about:

Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs

Early Spay Neuter: 3 Reasons To Reconsider

Spay Neuter And Joint Disease

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