There was a time when I did everything that my veterinarian recommended, gave all the vaccines, dewormed my animals quarterly, gave topical flea and tick medications to indoor cats year-round, and even purchased multiple foods from behind the counter at my vet clinic for my pets.
This seems like another lifetime, but when I see the damage that was done to my pets – by me – I’m reminded that while it may seem like a lifetime ago, it wasn’t. There were so many instances that helped me down the path of becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer, and now a Certified Pet Health Coach and Certified Professional Canine Nutritionist, many of which may resonate with you.
It may surprise you to learn that I actually began feeding my dogs a fresh food diet way back in 2013. I had no idea what I was doing, so I added fresh foods to my dogs’ kibble. After seeing some positive changes in my dogs, who were relatively healthy at the time (with the exception of a seizure disorder in my dog Claire), I also began adding some fresh foods to my cats’ kibble diet.
Fast forward a few months, and I wanted to up my feeding game, so I spoke with my veterinarian at the time, who told me that what I was doing sounded good and to maybe add some tomatoes. I knew enough to know that I was not feeding a balanced diet to my dogs solely with fresh foods, so I continued to supplement with kibble.
I was shocked by the lack of knowledge that my veterinarian had about nutrition and found a world on the internet full of people who not only fed fresh foods to their dogs but raw food diets. I was intrigued, but as a vegetarian, not ready to take the leap. I found incredible veterinarians online such as Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Judy Morgan, and Dr. Ruth Roberts.
In my research, I purchased Dr. Judy Morgans’ book, Yin & Yang Nutrition For Dogs, and began cooking her famous Puploaf. Fast forward about 6 months, and I had a light bulb moment! I looked at my husband and asked “when was the last time that Claire had a seizure?” At that moment I knew we were on to something because she hadn’t had a seizure in at least 6 months after we completely switched to home-cooking for our dogs.
In this same period of time, I trained to become a positive reinforcement dog trainer and began taking on in-home clients. Working with dogs was incredibly rewarding, and I spent years building a collection of videos that allowed me to create a digital course to help anyone, anywhere with training their dog using positive reinforcement methods.
All the while, my passion for healing dogs with food and learning more about integrating traditional and holistic medicine bloomed. I read all the books, I went to lectures, and I met other people in the pet space online.
A major highlight was getting to hear Dr. Karen Becker and Steve Brown speak about pet food labels.
The more I learned about fresh foods, and the impact of nutrition on the body, both physically and mentally, the more I began implementing dietary changes in my in-home dog training clients. The transformations in the behaviors of these animals has been nothing less than extraordinary!
To quote Dr. conor Brady from his book Feeding Dogs, “As your gut flora is responsible for more than 90% of the feel-good hormone serotonin in the body, the inevitable consequence is a negative impact on behavior.”
I also began changing my own dietary habits, no longer being vegetarian, and taking whole food supplements, which have drastically changed my health for the better. Every step of the way, with everything new I learn, I have been able to positively impact the health and lives of my own pets, my clients pets, and myself.
It hasn’t always been an easy road to travel. I have had many hiccups along the way, and many learning opportunities which helped me, and now allow me to better help you.
You already learned of my sweet dog Claire and her seizure disorder. We were lucky to stumble on something so helpful to her so very early on in my journey. I have also had multiple pets with vaccine injuries, ranging from mild, to moderate, and some severe. One of my cats even suffered a chemical burn from a popular topical flea and tick medication. Each of these instances opened my eyes to more holistic approaches to medicine.
Fast forward to today, I have had the pleasure of studying under Dr. Ruth Roberts to learn Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practices and received her certification to help pet parents, along with their primary veterinarian, finally find relief and health through customized dietary changes and holistic supplementation.
I received my certification as a Professional Canine Nutritionist through the Feed Real Institute, which not only helps me create better food therapy plans for my health coaching clients, but also allows me to help anyone who needs customized meal plans for their pets.
It’s time to reset how we see food, medicine, environment, and exercise for us and for our pets. It’s time for a reset back to real health.