Francalia Retrievers: Puppy Weaning
Tell us more about the Francalia Retrievers story. How did this all start for you?
A love of the Golden Retriever, my parents indulgence to “get me a dog” and the kind, devoted mentorship of a golden breeder who said yes to a young teen.
Why Goldens? What do you love most about this breed?
I can only attribute divine intervention. We didn’t have dogs growing up and when I met a neighborhood dog that was a Golden, that was it for me. I love their looks, gentleness, kindness and fun-loving spirit. They’re up for adventures or happy to just chill. They can be both serious and goofy and make friends wherever they go.
When did you first discover and introduce raw?
I began feeding raw in the early 90’s with a dog who was constantly sick. At 7, the vet was saying euthanasia might not be far off. I changed the course of everything that day. He lived to 14.
What’s the reality of raw feeding from day one? Why do you think it’s the best start for your pups?
I’ve seen a raw diet improve the health of so many dogs over the years. I’ve seen improvement in gut health, coat condition and dental health. I’ve seen arthritis and muscle tone improve. The list is endless. I’ve seen dogs dealing with cancer have extra time by including a raw diet into the protocol. Weaning a puppy onto raw is the only choice for me. I want the best start for my pups and raw is the way to do it. With so many things capable of plaguing our pets nowadays, feeding a species-appropriate diet is one easy thing we can do as owners to give them a head-start on health.
What’s the most challenging part of raw feeding puppies?
The biggest challenge is teaching new puppy owners the benefits of raw. Pet owners are bombarded with negativity right from the start. To me, of all the things we do for our dogs, feeding them a species-appropriate diet is one of the simplest, easiest things to do.
How does feeding raw impact the health of your pups?
In my experience, I don’t deal with digestive issues or the common “catch-all” of allergies. They build muscle easily and it’s easy to maintain a proper weight. Their coats are healthy and we don’t have major seasonal shedding. Teeth are clean, stool is small and not stinkier than it needs to be.
What brings you the most joy when breeding Goldens?
I love to raise puppies. It’s a lot of work, but every stage is interesting and fun to me. It never gets old. After that, I enjoy watching them grow in their new family life.
Why raw feed puppies (in three words)?
Dogs are carnivores.
It’s #RAWgust this month - how are you celebrating?
How do you support your pups throughout their lives from birth to finding their forever home?
What are your go-to Top Dog products for fuelling your growing Goldens? Any meal prep tips?
Thaw 5lbers in the sink overnight. Have your food container ready. If the meat grosses you out any, use plastic (or better yet... rubber) gloves. Cut the tube in half and empty into the container. Use and refrigerate. So simple!
Who (what kind of owner) would be the best fit for your Golden pups?
Someone who is holistic in their approach to animal care, embraces raw feeding and/or including raw in their pets diet, and someone who understands the energy level of Goldens and is committed to providing the proper exercise and training. Someone interested in working them in the field, obedience or agility venues is a major plus.
What are your puppy weaning essentials?
Talk us through the process I.E. What age to wean, puppy stages, and raw feeding quantities, etc.
I start weaning around 3-3.5 weeks. I allow moms to nurse as long as they want, which is typically right up to the day they go home. I start out with about 1 tbsp per puppy and by the time they’re 8 weeks, they’re eating about 6 oz per puppy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or believe our Top Dog community will benefit from knowing about the puppy weaning process before getting started?
Weaning puppies onto raw is sooo simple. Dogs are designed to eat this and have no problem with it. Don’t be afraid to try it. Once you do, you’ll never look back!
I also wanted to stress that the reason it’s so easy to feed raw and to support my puppies is because of you guys! With all of your delivery locations and with the products you offer you make it so simple! And the bonus is your customer service is the best around of any industry, and I’m not afraid to send new people to you! That is 100% true.