Like you I’m a total dog nut. My background includes a doctorate studying the effects of diet on animal behaviour and five years in Guide Dogs (Ireland and Australia) as a trainer and Pup Supervisor. For the last six years, I have been neck deep in canine nutrition, conducting international nutritional seminars for vets, canine professionals and public alike.
I’m a dedicated advocate and blogger on all things nutrition and natural health and I’m proud father to Dudley, a slightly odd black and white Cocker Spaniel. What he lacks in brains and grace he makes up for with determination (though to be fair this could apply to the both of us).
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The current veterinary focus of treating symptoms with powerful, synthetic drugs when they pop up instead of discovering and treating or ideally avoiding the root cause of the illness is plain wrong. Vets no longer offer healthcare but sick care. I can say with experience that the vast majority of stubborn, recurring health conditions in dogs (from recurring skin and gut conditions to organ disease and cancer) is down to inappropriate diet (dry food) for what is a meat eater. A simple change to a fresh, biologically appropriate diet pays off instantly, yet it’s rarely considered. Why do you think this is?
If I could add, a secondary mission would be the eradication of all the other useless products pushed on pet owners, including chemical flea and worm control for dogs with no fleas and worms, annual boosters for animals already adequately vaccinated for viruses (a practice that lacks a single study in support and contrary to WSAVA guidelines), the cessation of the thoroughly ineffective kennel cough “vaccine” and the strong questioning of the need of leptospirosis shots in populations not at risk, not to mention items such as dental sticks in favour of fresh meaty bones.
There’s a great many more too, I just don’t want to scare you off just yet. The bottom line is pet owners are an easy target. Fear is instilled to make you buy unnecessary, nonsensical products that rarely do any good whatsoever. Chronic disease, drug sales and pet insurance costs are now soaring.
Dogs First’s mission is to have at least 25% of Irish vets recommending fresh ingredients for dogs by 2020. So far I think we have 7 on board. Only 3000 to go!
After leaving guide dogs and starting a raw dog food company in 2010, a company I moved on in 2013, I have been operating independently, effectively as a canine nutrition consultant. Like most others in my position, I have helped (and will continue to do so) numerous fresh dog food companies get off the ground, assisting in product formulation and often blog content, purely as they happen to be on the right side of the argument. This remains part of my revenue stream though I am contractually bound to none. I am a free agent in every respect.
Other revenue streams include the occasional nutrition consult for folks that didn’t find the answer from my site as well as some revenue from the sale of a few supplements that we co-formulated on our site. I stand over any products targetted at a specific use with a money-back guarantee, I don’t know anyone else doing that. Also, within my health articles, if there is a product that I know would greatly benefit a dog but that I don’t stock (I don’t stock other people’s health supplements as a rule), I will link out to it’s cheapest source on Amazon. Examples include the best probiotics I can find or natural wormer. I get 5% of that sale should you follow the link and purchase. As you will find, I do not do this often.
We also have a fab online magazine. We charge €3 for each issue, half of which we donate to Compassion in World Farming, a tiny effort at improving the living and dying standards of the animals used to feed our dogs. It is hoped that advertisers will soon pay to be in this magazine. We are finding these advertisers also request a spot on the DogsFirst.ie site as we can have 100,000 visitors in any one month. Thus a future goal is to create a page for companies that we like, thus you won’t find ads for pharmaceutical products or dry food companies etc. I will only ever associate with a company that I believe is doing a good job and putting out a good product at a fair price.
This is how I can write full-time guys. I will never, ever let a product or company influence my opinion or pieces, on that you have my word but after that, you have to make your own mind up. The internet is a hazardous place and all information, certainly regarding health issues, should always be deeply questioned.