The following is taken from CJ Puotinen’s Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care  because we can’t say it better ourselves.

Because so many puppies and kittens are unwanted and abandoned and because of ethical concerns, breeding has become controversial. Some animal rights activists argue that breeding should be prevented by law, and their efforts have made it illegal for dogs and cats to reproduce in some communities. This is an emotional issue that excites passions on all sides.

dogpoundAdvocates of antibreeding legislation argue that anyone who wants a puppy or kitten should adopt one from a shelter. They point to the declining health of purebred dogs and cats, the disastrous results of inbreeding or careless breeding, the inhumane practices of some breeders and the overwhelming number of homeless animals all of which are serious problems.

Political activism may be an effective way to improve the lives of brood bitches trapped in puppy mills and improve their breed by preventing the production of their often-defective offspring, but irresponsible breeding is only partly responsible for the tragic state of health in America’s dogs and cats. Antibreeding laws can’t improve nutritional deficiencies or repair compromised immune systems.

Laws can’t solve the population problem, either, for this type of legislation is impossible to enforce. As long as there are pedigreed animals on the planet, there will be fanciers who want them. Antibreeding laws will work only if you can somehow repeal the laws of supply and demand.

poundcatThis not to say that there aren’t some responsible breeders out there who are good people. Still, many animal lovers are dismayed when a pet is bought from a breeder because so many dogs, cats, and other animals are living in miserable conditions at shelters, and many more are being killed because of over-population.

There is no solution to the breeding question. Some will be in support of breeding, some will be opposed. Some breeders will be responsible and conscientious, some will not. The only ethical thing you can do, then, if you want a pet from a breeder, is to make sure you buy from a responsible one. That means doing your research to make sure the breeder is careful about inbreeding, doesn’t breed lines with congenital defects, and believes in nutrition, particularly a raw diet. Someone who knows and cares about the ill effects of over-vaccination and overuse of steroids and other drugs.


Proper nutrition is the key to a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery. It’s important that a pregnant animal receive sufficient nutrients because the offspring inside her get fed first. Females who are pregnant over and over, and who aren’t fed properly, become more and more malnourished with each litter. pregnantcatThis creates susceptibility to disease in the mother, and a deterioration of health in the offspring.

Experts agree that healthy dogs and cats on a raw diet have a much easier time with pregnancy and childbirth, and their offspring are more robust and fit. Pregnant animals fed a raw diet don’t need twice as much food at each meal, though. In The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, Juliette de Bairacli Levy advises that feeding too much causes food in the digestive tract to sour and accumulate in the intestines. The mother’s body is already working overtime at eliminating wastes from the litter inside her, so these additional deposits in her system cause further strain.

wheatgrasspotHopefully your dog or cat has already been on a natural, raw meat diet, but, if not, now is the time to start. Feed a pregnant animal the same type of food outlined in the Diet section. If she loses weight, feed a little more. Some veterinary naturopaths recommend extra vitamins C and E during pregnancy. Dandelion greens and roots, nettle leaf, and oat grass are good supplemental sources of nutrients. And raspberry leaf is highly touted by de Bairacli Levy and others.

For specific concerns:

  • Group of blackberries isolated on white background.Miscarriage prevention – black haw and crampbark
  • Milk Flow – blessed thistle leaf
  • Overall vitality – burdock root
  • Urinary system – cleavers
  • Relaxation – chamomile
  • Digestion – lemon balm
  • Diarrhea – blackberry

AVOID  these during pregnancy:

  • Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
  • Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • Wormwood (Artemesia absinthum)
  • Motherwort (Materia medica)
  • noparsleyTansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Aloe vera
  • Angelica
  • Parsley
  • Yarrow
  • Sage

Lactation and Nursing

Proper nutrition is also very important during nursing. In addition to feeding a natural, raw meat diet, the following supplements are beneficial:

  • lactation2Raw goat’s milk yogurt
  • Kelp
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Goat’s rue
  • Fennel
  • Borage
  • Milk thistle

Reproductive Organ Problems


If your female dog or cat gets eclampsia, dystocia, mastitis, metritis, or pyometra you need to see a veterinarian, preferably a holistic practitioner.

Eclampsia is a condition involving seizures that aren’t related to a preexisting brain condition. It’s often brought on by a lack and depletion of calcium.

Dystocia is a difficult delivery. Animals with no anatomical defects who are fed a wholesome, natural diet do not generally have this problem. If your pet’s anatomy is normal, prevent dystocia with a nutritious diet as described on this page and in the Diet section. If you know your dog or cat has an abnormality of a certain anatomical feature relevant to childbirth, talk with a veterinarian when you learn of the pregnancy.

frankatthevetMastitis is an infection of the mammary tissues. Symptoms include hard breasts that are painful, sensitive, and may feel hot.

Metritis is inflammation of the wall of the uterus, and endometritis is inflammation of the functional lining of the uterus. In dogs and cats, this condition generally occurs right after giving birth. Symptoms are similar to those for pyometra.

Pyometra is a disease of the uterus most commonly seen in dogs, but sometimes in cats. It usually happens after a heat cycle or after being treated with pregnancy prevention hormones. The most common symptom is pus from the vulva, but there may also be vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and increased drinking and urinating. Pyometra is a serious condition that can lead to shock and death if not treated.

As stated above, you must seek veterinary care for these conditions, but any of the immune system boosters described in the section on infections ought to help with mastitis, metritis, and pyometra.


As with humans, male dogs occasionally suffer from prostate problems, and the same herbal remedies are used in treatment. Saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata) is well touted for its efficacy in cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia, and is generally used to support prostate health. Do not use teas because they don’t contain the medicinal oils that are necessary for effectiveness. Studies in humans showed that 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily of a lipophilic extract containing eighty to ninety percent of the oil sawpalmettowas effective. Whole berries are also beneficial. High doses have been reported to be safe, but aren’t necessarily any more effective, so giving about 20 mg per ten pounds of body weight is a good reference. In addition, give five mg of zinc per ten pounds of body weight. If your dog or cat continues to have prostrate problems, see a holistic veterinarian.

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