The Puppy Vaccination Dilemma

Puppy receiving vaccinations

So you’ve made up your mind to forgo or decrease vaccines for your animal.

Please remember there are many before you who have made the same decision, and many animals are perfectly healthy without vaccinations.

If you’re still unclear, do your research, then do more research, and find a natural rearing support group or veterinarian to further educate you. Knowledge is power.

(Download our Vaccination Guide to protect your puppy from being over vaccinated.)

Susceptibility To What?

Although its import is great, susceptibility to disease is a rare discussion amongst veterinarians, in forums or on Facebook but it must be included in a thorough understanding of contagious disease prevention as it sets the stage for all decisions about vaccinations.

The state of susceptibility is dependent on four primary considerations:

  • Age of the animal
  • State of immune and general health
  • Exposure to others
  • Geographical location

1. Age Before Beauty

Typically, the older the animal, the more developed the organ system.

Maturation of the reproductive system commences around six months, producing estrogen, testosterone and other hormones, which are critical not only for the development of muscles, bones, and mental acuity, but also the immune system.

These hormones, starting with the first peak at puberty, can virtually supercharge the immune system, turning it on full blast and decreasing susceptibility to many infectious diseases.

Not only can delayed neutering or spaying for approximately two to three years be protective against all sorts of ailments, it can help to fully mature the immune system for a lifetime.

If we let the body do what it is programmed to do, natural protection is more than possible.

2. State Of The Union

This is a no brainer: if the immune system is healthy  (old enough or nourished enough), it can and will respond to an invader.

The immune system doesn’t go on vacation unless the state of health is compromised or encumbered by poor nutrition, too many vaccinations or an unclean environment – all factors that may limit its ability to fully respond.

Anything you can do to detox the body and nourish the immune system will go a long way to equip it to be ready, willing and able to fight enemy invaders.

3. Exposure To Others

Common sense dictates that the greater the exposure to other ill or even vaccinated animals, the greater the risk of contracting an illness.

Yes, you read that correctly: even vaccinated individuals can spread illness as they are frequently not as protected as authorities would lead you to believe.

Buyer beware! If you’re taking your new pup to every dog show in the country, daycare centers for socialization and dog parks for exercise, the risk is greater. Clearly, animals who are homebodies are less susceptible.

There’s something to the wild woman wisdom of not leaving home with a young baby for 40 days; however, keeping a young dog at home can wear on your patience.

On the other hand, natural exposure to the world at large will stimulate and train the immune system. More on this later…

4. Location, Location

Not every place in the world has distemper and parvo running rampant.

Some places have no endemic leptospirosis or rarely see distemper. Some see it routinely.

Rabies is very rare in the US, but higher outside this country.

Understanding what sorts of threats are real in your community can help calm your fears and clarify your decision making.

Logging onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (, or your state epidemiologist’s site, can give you information about the geographical incidence of rabies.

Four Ways To Protect

You’ve thought long and hard about your pup’s susceptibility so how do you provide the best protection, matching your comfort level with safety? Four methods using natural rearing alternatives include, but are not limited to:

  • Natural nakedness
  • Natural exposure
  • Homeopathic nosodes
  • Limited vaccination

(Know your vaccination limits. Download our Vaccination Guide.)

Natural Nakedness

Well, naked really isn’t naked, it’s just no vaccines. The premise is to fortify deep health using six natural rearing principles of support for the body.

  • Fresh, raw food diet
  • Fresh, clean water
  • Clean physical environment
  • Daily exercise – vigorous and social, if possible and appropriate
  • Wholesome nutritional supplements and herbs
  • Healthy emotional environment

These might seem too simplistic, but many natural breeders and educated parents know the value of naturally “growing” the immune system.

Given healthy nutrients, water and environment (physical and emotional), the chances of vital health are great. Evolution has created an elegant system that can both protect and heal.

How else would we have survived with our little wolves for millions of years before vaccinations?

Natural Exposure

Most everyone has heard of chicken pox parties but why haven’t we heard of parvo parties?

The thought of exposing your puppy to a dog with parvo might seem shocking, irresponsible and terrifying but the science is actually similar to the use of vaccines.

Exposing a healthy, naturally raised dog to an ill dog can create a mild disease but provide the benefits of lifelong immunity protection.

Working with a holistic veterinarian can minimize any symptoms and enhance immune development. A colleague of mine, Dr Rosemary Manziano of Colts Neck, New Jersey, has, for 11 years now, given clients an option that is not for the faint of heart.

For natural rearers, it will make perfect sense. She recommends those brave hearts take their pups to a park where known cases of raccoons with distemper live.

Let them explore for five minutes, leave, and repeat this once a week for three weeks.

Antibody titer testing three months later has shown more than adequate levels of protection.

This may seem amazing but it’s no different from what the body does every day for all of us. We have become so fearful of any disease that we’ll do anything to avoid it, even poisoning the body to “protect” it.

Dana Scott reminds us that her award winning Labradors are naturally exposed to numerous dogs in various locations, specifically to develop their natural immunity. I’d say this is working brilliantly but you can ask her yourself!

Homeopathic Nosodes

Homeopathic nosodes are available for all the contagious puppy and kitty diseases.

With a long history of use in human medicine for polio, whooping cough, diphtheria and more, their use in veterinary medicine goes back to the 1920s.

Although it’s not completely clear, they likely work by creating an energetic protection, filling the open space of susceptibility, or possibly by strengthening the body’s energetic field.

However they work, they’re typically very effective, economical and flexible.

Combined with the six natural rearing principles listed above, they can be used for distemper and parvo from weaning through puberty, or at times of high exposure until about one year old.

Bordetella nosodes may be used at the time of exposure. It’s best to work with a veterinarian experienced in their use as they are a prescription medicine.

Limited Vaccinations

No one can be more perfectly healthy if already perfectly healthy.

Any modification or altering of perfect health will result in MINUS health.

In other words: less than perfectly healthy. Realistically, no one is perfectly healthy but a brand new pup is pretty close, excluding genetic disease present at birth.

The protective power of vaccines is actually due to creating a disease state in the body; low level disease, but disease nevertheless.

For example, the average dog is vaccinated with parvo, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, rabies, Bordetella and sometimes corona and Lyme.

The vaccinations work by asking the body to stay in a low level form of disease to create antibodies which, in theory, provide protection so the body is ready should there be exposure.

This form of protection can work, but at a high cost to health. If the body is in a low level state of parvo, distemper, rabies, etc., then it is never in a high level state of health overall. Low level states of chronic disease are not high level states of vitality!

(Take the guess work out of your puppy’s vaccinations with this Free Vaccination Guide. Download it here.)

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