choosing a german shepherd breeder

This is a very well-rounded article, covering both sides. In this article we cover:

  1. Does a Mother's diet really impact her puppies?
  2. What do the experts Say on the topic?
  3. Concerns about the raw diet
  4. The Raw Diet We Recommend
  5. What to do if you find a raw diet the best option, but cannot afford or manage it.
  6. The Kibble Diet We Recommend
  7. And much, much more

Nourishing the Future: Why the Mother Dog's Diet Matters

In our pursuit of bringing the healthiest and happiest new lives into the world, every decision counts. From the environment to the nutrition provided, each factor plays a pivotal role in shaping the physical and cognitive well-being of the offspring. When it comes to breeding dogs, the spotlight often falls on the mother, and rightfully so. Dr. Ian Billinghurst, renowned author of "Grow Your Pups with Bones," emphasizes the crucial role of a raw, whole foods diet for mother dogs. Backed by studies, he and many other canine professionals provide a compelling narrative on why the mother's diet profoundly impacts the lifelong health and intelligence of her puppies.

The Mother's Diet: A Foundation for Health

Dr. Billinghurst advocates for a diet reminiscent of what canines would consume in the wild – raw, whole foods. This approach provides them with essential nutrients in their most natural form. Research supports this stance, indicating that diets rich in raw, unprocessed foods contribute to improved overall health in dogs, including better digestion, healthier skin and coat, enhanced immune function, disease prevention, and better chance at avoiding chronic conditions. By nourishing the mother with a raw, whole foods diet, we are not only meeting the high nutritional demands of reproduction, but we are also influencing the development of her offspring in profound ways.

The Gut-Brain Connection: A Key to Well-Being

Beyond surface-level health benefits, the impact of the mother's diet on her puppies extends deep into their microbiome – the vast community of microorganisms inhabiting the gut. Emerging research sheds light on the profound influence of gut health on overall well-being, including mental health and cognitive function. The gut-brain axis serves as a communication highway between the gut microbiome and the brain, influencing mood, behavior, and even intelligence. "The enzymes and probiotics present in raw foods support a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for proper digestion and immune function." - Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM

Inheriting Health: The Legacy of the Mother's Microbiome

Studies indicate that puppies inherit a significant portion of their microbiome from their mother, both during birth and through maternal care postpartum. A mother's diet plays a crucial role in shaping the composition and diversity of her microbiome, which is then passed down to her offspring. By nourishing the mother with a raw, whole foods diet, we not only support her gut health but also lay the foundation for a robust microbiome in her puppies.

The Impact on Puppy Health and Intelligence

Studies suggest that the diet of the mother long before breeding significantly influences the lifelong health and intelligence of her puppies. Just as a human mother's diet during pregnancy can impact the health and development of her child, the same holds true for dogs. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that puppies born to mothers fed a balanced, raw diet exhibited higher cognitive function and problem-solving abilities compared to those born to mothers on a conventional kibble diet. Furthermore, puppies from mothers on a raw diet showed stronger immune systems and decreased susceptibility to common canine ailments. By feeding our Mama dogs a whole foods raw diet, we not only prioritize her well-being but also cultivate a thriving ecosystem within her puppies for optimal lifelong health and cognitive function.

Should you feed a Whole Foods Raw Diet to your puppy?

The evidence abounds that a whole foods raw diet is optimal for your puppy’s health. It’s the absolute best solution to set them up for success both of bodily health and cognitive function. And for a breed that can struggle with dysplasia, a raw diet can support joint health and reduce the risk of common joint conditions. Nutrient-rich foods may also strengthen the immune system, making dogs less susceptible to infections and illnesses including auto-immune diseases.

Here's the (Poop) Scoop: there are MAJOR benefits for you too!

The bane of every dog owner’s existence: dog poo. That said, your dog’s poop when feeding a Whole Foods Raw Diet will amaze you—we can never go back even if it’s simply just for this reason! Due to the high quantity of nutrition absorbed in a raw foods diet, the amount of poo is very small and hard. It doesn’t squish like kibble-fed poo, and it’s about ½ to ¼ of the size. Additionally, it doesn’t smell like kibble poo either! The smell is extremely mild or even entirely unnoticeable. Another nice difference: if a raw-fed poo is left in the yard for more than a couple hours, it turns white/gray ashy. A piece of it is almost indistinguishable from a chunk of ash from your fireplace. It’s extremely easy to clean up whether ashy or fresh, and leaves no noticeable residue in your yard.

The toll of urine on your yard

Some evidence suggests that the urine of raw-fed dogs may be less likely to cause damage due to differences in nutrient composition and pH levels. Raw diets typically result in urine with a lower nitrogen content/concentration and a more balanced pH, which may be less harmful to grass compared to the urine of kibble-fed dogs. However, it's essential to maintain proper hydration for your dog and dilute their urine by watering the affected areas of the lawn to minimize any potential damage.

What Raw Diet Do We Recommend?

Viva Raw! Because their meats are USDA-inspected, their natural supplements are organic for maximum bioavailability, their meat is humanely raised without growth promtants. Their food is formulated to AAFCO standards by certified nutritionists & industry experts, and their recipes are packed with superfoods like green mussels and shiitake mushrooms. Click HERE to go to their website and use code EURODEJA for 20% off your first order.

What We Bet You DID NOT Know About Kibble

Kibble can be the main cause of bloat. Bloat is a serious and life-threatening condition in dogs. The dry and compact nature of kibble makes it expand rapidly in the stomach when consumed, especially if a dog eats too quickly or exercises vigorously before or after eating. This rapid expansion can lead to gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), commonly known as bloat, where the stomach twists on itself, trapping gas and fluids. Bloat can rapidly escalate, causing severe pain, difficulty breathing, and cardiovascular collapse. While the exact cause of bloat is multifactorial, feeding a whole foods raw diet significantly reduces the risk by slowing down consumption, aiding in digestion, and avoiding kibble expansion in the stomach entirely.

What the experts say: veterinarians and canine nutritionists advocate feeding a whole foods raw diet

"Raw diets can be beneficial for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, as they eliminate common allergens found in processed foods." - Dr. Marty Goldstein, DVM

"By feeding a raw diet, we provide dogs with bioavailable nutrients that are easily absorbed and utilized by their bodies." - Dr. Ian Billinghurst, DVM

"Raw feeding supports natural detoxification processes in the body, leading to improved overall health and longevity." - Dr. Tom Lonsdale, DVM

“Cooking destroys many of the essential nutrients found in raw foods, making a raw diet a superior option for canine nutrition." - Dr. Lonsdale

"Raw diets can alleviate common digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea, leading to happier, healthier dogs." - Dr. Karen Shaw Becker, DVM

"Feeding a variety of raw meats, organs, and bones ensures dogs receive a wide range of nutrients necessary for optimal health." - Dr. Pitcairn

"The phytonutrients and antioxidants found in raw fruits and vegetables support immune function and protect against disease." - Dr. Morgan

"Switching to a raw diet can lead to significant improvements in energy levels, behavior, and overall vitality in dogs." - Dr. Goldstein

"Raw feeding can reduce inflammation in the body, lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis and cancer." - Dr. Becker

"Raw diets can improve nutrient absorption and utilization, leading to smaller, firmer stools and less waste." - Dr. Patton

"Transitioning to a raw diet can be transformative for dogs, leading to improved health, longevity, and overall quality of life." - Dr. Pitcairn

Does it matter what the Mom of my puppy eats? Quotes by Dr Ian Billinhurst, author of “Grow Your Pups with Bones”

"The health of a breeding dog directly impacts the health and vitality of their offspring."

"Feeding a raw diet optimizes the health and nutrient composition of a mother's milk, benefiting nursing puppies."

"The quality of a mother dog's diet influences the lifelong health outcomes of her puppies."

“Raw feeding promotes strong immune function in breeding dogs, leading to healthier puppies."

"Raw diets reduce the risk of developmental abnormalities and birth defects in puppies."

"Nutrient-rich raw foods provide the building blocks necessary for healthy growth and development in puppies."

"A raw diet enhances the mother's ability to provide essential nutrients to her developing puppies."

"Proper nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is crucial for the health and vitality of both mother and puppies."

"Raw feeding reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies that can impact the health of newborn puppies."

"Processed diets can contain harmful additives and preservatives that may negatively affect the health of breeding dogs and their puppies."

"Feeding a raw diet to breeding dogs fosters a natural and balanced microbiome, benefiting both mother and puppies."

"Raw feeding reduces the risk of inflammatory conditions and chronic diseases that can be passed on to puppies."

“Optimizing the health and nutrition of breeding dogs through a raw diet is essential for producing strong, healthy puppies."

Negative effects of feeding a kibble diet to mother dogs and its impact on the health and mind of their puppies, according to veterinarians and canine nutritionists.

"The lack of natural enzymes in kibble diets can disrupt digestive function in mother dogs, leading to nutrient malabsorption and poor health in their puppies." - Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

"Kibble-fed mother dogs may exhibit behavioral abnormalities due to nutrient deficiencies, which can negatively affect the socialization and development of their puppies." - Dr. Marty Goldstein, DVM

"The high carbohydrate content of kibble diets can contribute to inflammation in mother dogs, which may impair cognitive function and behavior in their offspring." - Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM

"The artificial additives and fillers in kibble can disrupt hormonal balance in mother dogs, leading to reproductive issues and developmental problems in their puppies." - Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM

"The processed nature of kibble diets can lead to oxidative stress in mother dogs, increasing the risk of genetic mutations and health problems in their puppies." - Dr. Ian Dunbar, DVM

"The high levels of synthetic vitamins and minerals in kibble can disrupt the delicate balance of nutrients in mother dogs, affecting the health and growth of their puppies." - Dr. Richard Patton, PhD, Canine Nutritionist

"Kibble-fed mother dogs may experience immune system dysregulation, which can result in autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation in their puppies." - Dr. Susan Wynn, DVM

"The lack of natural antioxidants in kibble diets can impair maternal immune function, increasing the risk of infections and illness in both mother dogs and their puppies." - Dr. Chris Bessent, DVM

"Kibble-fed mother dogs are more prone to stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact their hormonal balance and maternal instincts, affecting the well-being of their puppies." - Dr. Gary Richter, DVM

"The high levels of processed carbohydrates in kibble diets can lead to dysbiosis in mother dogs, disrupting the balance of gut bacteria and increasing the risk of digestive issues in their puppies." - Dr. Brooke Schampers, DVM

"The lack of natural fatty acids in kibble diets can impair brain development in puppies, leading to cognitive deficits and behavioral problems later in life." - Dr. Nancy Scanlan, DVM

"Kibble-fed mother dogs may experience hormonal imbalances that affect their milk production and quality, leading to inadequate nutrition and health issues in their puppies." - Dr. Susan G. Wynn, DVM, CVA, CVCH

"The artificial flavors and additives in kibble can disrupt the endocrine system in mother dogs, affecting reproductive health and hormone levels in their puppies." - Dr. Lisa Lippman, DVM

"The high glycemic index of kibble diets can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels in mother dogs, impacting energy levels and maternal care for their puppies." - Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD

"Kibble-fed mother dogs may experience systemic inflammation, which can impair nutrient absorption and utilization, affecting the health and growth of their puppies." - Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM

"The lack of essential nutrients in kibble diets can compromise the immune system of mother dogs, making their puppies more susceptible to infections and diseases." - Dr. Patricia Jordan, DVM

Reasons why a Raw Whole Foods Diet might NOT be for you and your dog

  1. Cost Concerns: Feeding a raw diet is much more expensive than traditional kibble.
  2. Availability: Access to raw food sources may be limited in some areas, making it difficult to consistently procure ingredients for a raw diet.
  3. Time Constraints: Preparing a balanced raw diet requires time and effort, which may be challenging for busy families with hectic schedules.
  4. Storage Space: Storing raw food ingredients, especially in bulk, requires additional freezer space that some families may not have available.
  5. Traveling with Pets: Frequent traveling with pets can pose challenges for maintaining a raw diet, as refrigeration and storage options may be limited on the road. That said, freeze-dried raw is a solution for this.
  6. Concerns About Cross-Contamination: Some families may worry about the risk of cross-contamination from handling raw meat, especially if there are young children or elderly individuals in the household.
  7. Lack of Education: Misinformation or lack of knowledge about the nutritional requirements and preparation of a raw diet can deter families from attempting to switch.
  8. Veterinary Recommendations: Some veterinarians may not be supportive of raw feeding, which can influence a family's decision to pursue this diet for their pets
  9. Concerns About Balanced Nutrition: Ensuring a balanced diet with all necessary nutrients can seem too challenging for inexperienced pet owners, leading to concerns about nutritional adequacy. This is why we recommend Viva Raw! They take away the guesswork for you.

These in addition to many other concerns and helpful tips are available on the Leerburg website HERE.

What to do if you cannot afford a Whole Foods Raw Diet

Feeding TLC kibble can still provide excellent nutrition for your dogs without any guilt. In fact, we did so for many years with good results and still have a couple retired adults who are thriving on TLC. We simply cannot ignore the science behind our role as breeders for you and your puppy’s sake, and feeding our breeding dogs a whole foods raw diet. Our genuine care has trumped all concerns over the extra expense, extra time, additional space, and equipment requirements. It doesn’t have to be that complicated for you, though—we are feeding a small pack!

The best tips for feeding kibble (if you must):

So then, if raw feeding isn't feasible due to cost or practicality, TLC kibble remains a viable option to ensure your pets receive balanced nutrition.

Supplement with fresh, whole foods when possible, such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, to enhance their overall nutrition.

Supplement with our top recommendation of prebiotic, probiotic, and digestive enzyme blend that comes in the form of Daily Dog by Full Bucket Health and available to purchase HERE.

Moistening kibble before feeding can enhance its nutritional value and improve digestibility for your dogs. Use warm water, bone broth, or low-sodium chicken or beef broth as a liquid to moisten the kibble and let it sit for perhaps 10 minutes to allow the kibble to soften and absorb the moisture. This process enhances digestibility; it helps break down starches and carbohydrates, making them easier to digest for dogs. Moistening kibble also helps release and activate nutrients, making them more bioavailable for absorption by your dog's body. Soaking the kibble before feeding may also allow the food to expand before being in the stomach, and will perhaps help to avoid bloat.

A Final Word of Advice

Remember, the key to ensuring your dogs' health and well-being is to provide a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care. Whether you choose TLC kibble or opt for a raw diet, your dedication to their care and welfare is evident. Trust your instincts as a responsible pet owner, and make decisions that align with your pets' individual needs and your family's circumstances.

And don’t stress over your pet’s health. Make decisions, set you and your pup up for best success, and make it a routine instead of a worry. Although we totally understand worry over your beloved pet, it’s not good for your health! And it's not good for your puppy either. Dogs feed on their owner's emotions. Stress causes inflammation in the body, as well as nervous or stressed-out behavioral issues. The inflammation alone can cause a variety of health issues. Stress is even being researched as one of the causes of cancer.

So do your best to not worry; this is for the sake of your own health as well as for your pup’s. If you’ve gotten your pup from us at Euro Deja Shepherds, you have a beautiful, delightful, and healthy dog born from two very healthy lineages. You already did your research to find your best chances at a healthy companion. Enjoy your pup’s love and company, feed them good food, and give them a fun and good life. You're doing a great job.