Follow This or Innocent Dogs Will Die

Natural Rearing: More Important Now Than Ever

Raising animals naturally (aka “rearing” them naturally in the old parlance) now takes on an importance like it never has in decades past.

The risk of your dog getting chronic disease is higher now than it has ever been before.

Most of these chronic diseases are accompanied by misery for your dog and you, and not uncommonly, significant expense.

We live now with the increasingly maddening notion of “science knows best,” born of our post-world war infatuation with pesticides.

DDT. The insect killer – or “insecticide” – had been discovered in 1939 and used extensively by the U.S. military during the war. So, it is no wonder that the postwar period saw the dawning of the chemical age in pesticides.1

By 1952, there were almost 10,000 separate new pesticide products registered with the USDA under a brand new law. Then, as today, agriculture uses 75 percent of all pesticides.

Between 1947 and 1949, pesticide companies invested $3.8 billion into expanding their production facilities. They were rewarded by huge profits. Many historians have called this the golden age of chemical pesticides – effective new chemicals were available and all of the risks and dangers to human health and the environment were not yet known.2

The chemical companies invested hugely and profited hugely, and no one knew the damaging side effects until years later. A bold woman named Rachel Carson, dying of breast cancer, brought the truth to the public in 1962 and changed the world.

“Silent Spring” presents a view of nature compromised by synthetic pesticides, especially DDT. Once these pesticides entered the biosphere, Carson argued, they not only killed bugs but also made their way up the food chain to threaten bird and fish populations and could eventually sicken children.3

What’s the relevance of this history for you today?

The Significant Risk of Being “Compliant”

Your conventional vet, aka Dr. WhiteCoat, would love to have you leave all your rearing decisions up to him. That smörgåsbord includes:

  • Vaccinations throughout life. Completely at odds with the science of veterinary immunology, you’ve got a 60% chance your vet will recommend vaccine repetition yearly. The other 40% of conventional vets will urge you to repeat vaccines every few years. The latter also has no basis in science.
  • Pesticides for all pests, both topical and oral. Most are classed as neurotoxins, and as much as the drug reps assure Dr. WhiteCoat they are safe (and profitable!), dogs are getting seriously ill and even dying as a result of flea, tick, and heartworm “preventatives.”
  • Devitalized toxic diets, claiming to be “100% nutritionally complete.” These are usually made with vile protein sources that are 100% unfit for you to eat, let alone your pet. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know both cans and starchy kibbles have even been found containing pentobarbital, the drug we use to euthanize animals.

Compliance on your part is the goal for a profitable vet practice.

Bravecto ad. 600

And, compliance in turning your rearing decisions over to Dr. WhiteCoat means the odds of your pet contracting serious long term (i.e. chronic) disease increase substantially.

Enter the Smart Option: Natural Rearing

Born in its current popularity from a dynamic English woman who left veterinary school in pursuit of a more natural approach to health, Juliette de Bairacli Levy coined the “natural rearing” term.

She attended two universities and was in her final year of veterinary school when she decided that conventional medicine had none of the answers she sought, and she embarked on a lifetime of travel and study with nomadic people, first in England, then around the world.4

Then, as now, conventional medicine was making recommendations that didn’t resonate with those who cared to look deeper.

“I realized that if I wanted to learn the traditional ways of healing and caring for animals, I had to be where people still lived close to the land and close to their flocks,” she says. “From Berbers, Bedouins, nomads, peasants, and gypsies in England, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, and Austria, I learned herbal knowledge and the simple laws of health and happiness. I never tired of traveling with my Afghan Hounds, always living with and learning from those around me.”5

Luckily for us, she loved to write, and her work spread. Imagine curing distemper with herbs when the doctors, then and now, remain largely helpless to save those afflicted.

An inexhaustible writer, Levy shared what she learned in letters, travel books, novels, poems, and books about herbs and animals. In the 1930s, she published three canine herbals. The Cure of Canine Distemper described protocols she developed for her highly successful distemper clinic in London. Puppy Rearing by Natural Methods and Medicinal Herbs: Their Use in Canine Ailments were reprinted for a wider audience in London in 1947. All three were soon translated into German and other languages.6

She compiled her many disparate writings finally when I was but a wee bairn and hadn’t even met my first household dog yet.

…in 1955, she combined these works in The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog. Now in its sixth edition and called The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, this is the book that brought Levy’s natural rearing philosophy to breeders, trainers, and dog owners throughout the world.7

The Rules of NR

Levy proffered the central tenets around Natural Rearing that many still embrace today, to the great benefit of animals everywhere.

Five Rules of Natural Rearing

Levy’s basic rules of natural rearing for dogs require:

1) a correct natural diet of raw foods;

2) abundant sunlight and fresh air;

3) at least two hours of exercise daily, including plenty of running exercise outside any kennel enclosures;

4) hygienic kenneling, with the use of earth, grass, or gravel runs, never concrete; and

5) herbs, fasting, and other natural methods in place of vaccinations and conventional symptom-suppressing drugs.8

NR Breeders: Hope for the Future

Imagine generations of breeding stock that have been raised following these NR tenets. Wouldn’t their offspring have an edge over those who’ve been damaged generationally by conventional practices?

Indeed they do.

In homeopathy, we’ve long known that parents, cured of their own chronic diseases, no longer pass on susceptibility to the same diseases to their offspring.

Now we’re talking!

Stay tuned and be sure you’re signed up for Vital Animal Pack membership (it’s free), as I’m working on some exciting projects that I’ll reveal in the near future.

If you’ve ever thought there might be value in getting a fresh, clean start on your next puppy, you’ll want to keep an eye out for what’s coming soon.

And tell us in the comments if you’ve raised dogs the NR way and what you’ve seen as a result.

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  1. Michael-Ann Howley-Gatenby on July 26, 2022 at 3:21 pm


    I am looking for Natural Rearing Breeders in the Tri-state area (NJ,NY,PA).
    Specifically small dogs, low shedding. Do you happen to know of any breeders who raise puppies holistically?

  2. Angela Bacon on March 18, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    Hello: I have a 6 year old male beagle. I am currently working with a homeopathic vet on a mast cell tumor, not removed, but it’s been two years and no other ones have popped up and this one has not gotten large and has decreased so far. I read the book on Natural Rearing by Levy. I have also read other raw diet books and it’s very confusing. Currently I am working with a nutritionist on transitioning my dog to raw, but her philosophy is no grains or other vegetables, just bone, offal and the meat with some fish oil supplements and some other natural, dirt based probiotics. I don’t know if this is okay or not. Do you know if the exact diet grain/vegetables vs. none is equally appropriate? Thank you!

  3. Tracy Lee Pitre on November 2, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Thanks to your and other’s good advice on natural rearing, my Shih Tzu, Chloe, is one year old and has never had a vaccine and I use cedar oil as a tick/mosquito/flea repellant. I feed homecooked meals …never kibble or canned. I am pleased to say she is perfectly healthy and has a beautiful coat …which I am keeping long/in show coat as I love the look.

  4. Ann Phillips on September 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    My 2 beagles ages 10 & 7 seem to have picked up fleas. They started scratching quite furiously and then I noticed I was also getting bitten. Small, very itchy lesions. I’ve been reading a lot and have started giving them garlic and spraying them with 1/2 apple cider vinegar and water with Neem oil in it. This seems to have helped them quite a bit but I’m still getting bitten. I picked up some Nexgard from the Vet’s but haven’t given it to them as yet. I researched it when I got home and I don’t want to take a chance. They are healthy dogs, eat mostly raw food and we do titer tests no vaccinations. Can you please advise me. By the way I did buy a flea comb and can’t find anything but those bites are coming from somewhere. Thank you Doctor.

  5. C Craig on September 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I need help ASAP. MY beloved Shar Pei “Bleu” recently exhibited SP Fever and has leaking hocks intermittently without fever spikes.
    HE is only 4 yeats old.
    He is my 6th SharPei ..all were rescues and all but 1, lived happy &chemical free well into their mid teens.
    BLEU’S recent urinalsis was not good-1 value(?) that is ideally to be under .05..his is already at .5 (??) Vet started him on Enalapril maleate 10mg every 12 hours..and I am “reluctantly” starting him on colchicine today. This drug is indicated by all of the breed specialists. I switched him to an alkaline food, supplemented w fish oil, fresh blueberries, fresh parsley w watermelon as a treat etc..and I have stopped allowing him to have city tap water instead give him bottled water w no flouride..chlorine..etc.
    I suffer from treatment resistant depression. He is my sole companion and quite literally my sole reason for living. His personality is an absolute wonder..he engages everyone he meets and even his new vet, said he was a comedian and unlike any SharPei that he has ever met. Any advice, reference info, suggestion,
    will be greatly appreciated. I’ve accessed other “holistic vet” sites over the past 8 weeks…most are simply fronts to market over-priced concoctions. I am begging for help. Thank you and Blessings to each of u and your fur families. C.Craig.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 2, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Best I can do to help someone seriously ill is to suggest you need to hire a professional, C. I have a list of homeopathic vets on this page and a video I made telling you how to sort the best from the rest. Even if there’s none near you, this works.

      Choose one and get on towards cure. This isn’t anything anyone can cure simply or quickly, but that’s how most chronic disease is.

  6. Sherryl on July 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I have two Australian Shepherds, both are from the same breeder in Washington State, and she advocates strongly for natural rearing. I would NEVER do it any other way now that I know about natural rearing. There should not be any other way! My two year old Aussie is 4th generation NR and my ten yr old Aussie is 2nd gen NR. Both are females and unspayed. The 10 yr old was never vaccinated, has always been super healthy and very active, and is still keeping up wonderfully with her 2 yr old granddaughter. Both are raw fed, etc … Before this, like so many others, I lost my dogs prematurely to diseases and never even thought to question the advice of ‘Dr. Whitecoat’ or venture beyond feeding kibble. Then I got switched on to natural rearing philosophies after the torment of putting a wonderful dog to sleep at the young age of 5 due to the pain from serious joint issues that she developed because she was spayed at 6 months of age … way too young! The deep grieving that followed prompted me to get angry enough to do some research, and then more research. I will never know all that it is I don’t know, but I am determined to never stop learning for the sake of my dogs health and longevity. Thank you, Dr. Falconer, from the bottom of my heart, for all the wisdom you are spreading!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 25, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Sherryl, yours is a story of inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I, like you, want to see NR becoming “Normal Rearing,” i.e. the way we see is the norm, the only acceptable way to raise our animals. And with that, a looking back at the “old school” way of poisoning and immune system damage and malnutrition as the anomaly that it truly is, wondering aloud how we ever thought that approach was a good idea.

  7. Juliana on July 25, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I remember seeing Juliette’s video on the computer. How refreshing to watch something good for a change, as opposed to the “dumb-down” crap on tv. She has amazing Afghan hounds. Even she admits the difference between the natural Afghan, and the ones one might see today at a show; and she’s correct!
    Today more then ever I think it’s important to “go old school”. This is exactly what Dr. Will has been writing to us about, and with his years of wisdom and knowledge – I agree.
    There are many things one can treat very well with the old fashioned natural remedies. For the complicated ones, go see a natural vet to help you like Dr. Will.

  8. Sue Marston on July 24, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    ALL vaccines are ALL poison, ALL the time.
    “The only safe vaccine is the one that is never used.” Dr. James A. Shannon, former director of the NIH.

  9. Ralph on July 23, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Brilliant advice as usual. Many thanks, Dr Will!

  10. Marilyn Durst on July 23, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    How does one find a vet who practices natural rearing? I have lost pets to cancer and renal disease. Most recently, my beloved Lhasa Apso, Marley (who was most surely a puppy mill dog), died suddenly and inexplicably, on December 4, 2016 just two days before his 14th birthday. Marley had a long history of recurring calcium oxalate stones. There were several surgeries to remove them, followed by frequent urethral hydropulsion procedures. He also had 1 mast cell tumor removed with wide clean margins in 2012. There was no recurrence. He did, however, have elevated liver values prior to his last bladder surgery in 2013 and was prescribed Denamarin and Ursodiol for the rest of his life. I wanted to transition him to more natural methods of feeding and medical treatment, but was afraid of rocking the boat. Because he had suffered with varying degrees of dermatitis and we decided to try Apoquel. He had been on Apoquel for approximately 8 months when he died and I will, for the rest of my life, carry the guilt of believing that it may have caused his death. I now have two precious little terrier mix girls (abandoned litter mates) for whom I would like to explore more natural non-toxic methods. One of them was heartworm + when I rescued them (almost 3 years ago) and was successfully treated with Doxycline followed by Melarsomine (Immiticide.) Because we are in Florida and are having the worst mosquito problem I recall, I am reluctant to discontinue heartworm preventive, but have held back on flea preventive, giving them frequent baths instead. So far, no fleas. Back to the original question: How do I find a reputable vet willing to walk us through this?

    • Kelly on July 24, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Marilyn, it’s never easy going against the tide. I live in Houston which has a summer mosquito blight also but I was more afraid of poisons than HW. I purchased and follow Dr. F’s HW free protocol as well as his information on parasiticide free protocol. We have six dogs who eat raw, get supplements, do not take HW meds or flea, tick, parasite poisons. They live in the house and have tested negative for HW. Neither do we have a flea issue. It definitely is a leap of faith, but you have to 1. gather good information, 2. set up a plan, and 3. surround yourself with accurate information and mentors. Get your dogs HW tested every six months until you feel comfortable. Another lie that is propogated by your vet is HW treatment. I have successfully treated two dogs (strays) for HW. It took a little longer but they did finally test negative. It can be done so don’t fear. A side benefit is really happy dogs because they feel good!

      • Joseph Reynolds on August 10, 2017 at 8:02 am

        Could you please share your heartworm homeopathic solution. I am in constant fear of heartworm for my kids pets. I am no longer giving them heartworm meds or flea and tick meds. I do send them outside with clothing when they’re out so they’re not bitten but one can never be positive that no mosquito bites them. Please share your heartworm homeopathic solution. Thank you and God bless you. Also do you have any remedy for the heart.? Some of my pets have a heart condition and they are currently on vetmedin and Lasix. One of my dog’s seems to not be doing good on these meds. He seems to be very angry at night time. To the point that if anything touches him he tries to bite it. The vet told me it’s that he has cataracts and he is spooked by anything. But these anger episodes happened right after he started taking vetmedin. Also the vet told me to give them vetmedin 1 tablet of 1.25 mg every 12 hours for each of my pets. However my pets all weigh differently. The vet also prescribed Lasix for only one of my pets. I have so many questions I hope you can help. Also another one of my pets has a liver issue. He has a count of 703 and the norm for the liver count is no more than 150 I believe. He was put on Demoman meds the blue pill once a day for 30 days. He has taken this blue pill 6 months before and it did drop it down the liver count to 500. Do you know anything natural that will cure his liver so that it is not elevated so high and brings it back to Norm to less than 150? I hope I have not bothered you too much with all these questions. Also would you happen to have any information on a natural flea and tick prevention thing. There are so many heart medications on the internet that’s where that they were cure your pet and I just don’t know which one to choose. I also am on a fixed budget and unfortunately cannot buy something that’s too costly. Please help me and my pets. Sincerely yours a pet lover like you!

        • Leigh Milleur on April 1, 2021 at 10:09 pm

          I just stopped giving my 13 yr old Yorkie heart worm meds. I am also in fear of HW and would like to know the remedy if needed at some point. Starting with a new puppy in June and afraid to tell the breeder NOT to give injections for distemper etc

          • Will Falconer, DVM on April 1, 2021 at 11:38 pm

            The antidote for fears of any kind is always the same thing: knowledge. Use the search box in the right hand side and dig in. Any word you’re interested in or any phrase will turn up everything I’ve written or recorded about that subject. I’d start with “fear” itself, an emotional state that’s never a good place to make health decisions from.

            When you OWN your decision that you are going to do things differently than the damaging ways of conventional prevention, you’ll be confident enough to ask for what you want.

            I wish you all the best going forward. Fear is entirely optional.

  11. Sandy Bendon on July 23, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Have you written a book I could get? I love your articles but have a specific issue. My dog has been diagnosed with kidney disease. I have always supplemented her kibble with home cooked food but my vet says she has to eat only Hills Rx dog food and absolutely nothing else. I cannot talk to her because she is a real Dr Whitecoat. I need some recipes. At this point I don’t want to find another Vet but need some help. Hoping you have some written information I can get. I am working with my own Homeopath and my dog is on a remedy. Please respond if at all possible. Thank you, Sandy Bendon

  12. Jill Wiicker on July 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    So true I have these natural rearing books and always refer to them if I want to know anything on health and rearing

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