Nutrition has been an important part of my life for decades and recognizing the significance of fresh foods for my own health impacted the way I wanted to feed my dogs. When my first dog was still a pup, she had skin issues that wouldn’t fully resolve with traditional commercial kibble diets. Once I incorporated a fresh food diet, I saw a big difference in not only skin health, but also lean muscle and overall vitality - I knew this was something I would continue to explore.
My first dog was a Dalmatian and that was in 1997 and I’ve been owned by at least one ever since. To say that I’ve tried many feeding methods/philosophies over the 20 plus years of feeding fresh foods would be an understatement. From cooked with grains / without grains, BARF, feeding raw by various percentages with spreadsheets, no spreadsheets, to commercial raw- I have definitely explored many types!
Because I was so excited to share this “new” way of feeding with others, I opened one of Calgary’s first dog stores to specialize in raw foods. From 2005-2013 I led a wonderful team that provided guidance to Calgary dog parents who were ready to try this way of feeding. As the store wound down, I took the opportunity to take canine nutrition courses with the goal of formulating balanced fresh food diets for dog parents who wanted to take charge of their dog’s health and make their dog’s food.
Education & Experience
In 2015 I completed a certificate program in Canine Nutrition and in 2017, a Clinical Pet Nutrition program. There were very few canine nutrition programs available but I was drawn to this program because it offered both clinical and holistic perspectives. Some of the courses included anatomy/physiology, diseases and clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, breed predispositions, herbs, and drug/herb/supplement interactions. After completing this program, I spent an additional year of full-time independent study for more advanced learning and in 2018 I joined Monica Segal (well known author and canine nutrition consultant) and her very busy roster of dog nutrition clients.
Over the next 3.5 years, and hundreds of cases, the most common diets I worked on were diets to address varying states of health including support for liver, heart, kidneys (often multi organ), urinary stones, GI disease, food intolerance and cancer support. Monica’s mentorship, support and guidance have been an integral part of my learning – she is truly a trailblazer in the field.
The final stop in my fresh food feeding journey has been to utilize National Research Council guidelines. This approach has provided the final piece of the puzzle – the ability to provide personalized nutrition combined with peace of mind.
I use the NRC guidelines in all my formulated diets because the differences I have seen in my own dogs and client dogs has proven to me beyond a doubt that these guidelines are an effective and vital tool in fresh food formulations.
Knowing how to incorporate the NRC numbers properly is an incredibly important part of my work. Implementing them effectively means understanding the nutritional targets and how the foods being fed and health of a dog can affect absorption. The opportunity to have built up valuable, mentored clinical experience with hundreds of clients has helped ensure that I formulate diets that don’t just work on paper, but focus on the dog’s reality. Textbooks and various courses are a prerequisite but nothing compares to the knowledge gleaned from years of hands-on apprenticeship.
The NRC method doesn’t translate to ‘complete and balanced’ meals daily, rather I ensure that a dog’s diet meets all their nutrient requirements over a week (or longer) depending on the individual case. I don’t assume variety will take care of their requirements, I use guidelines to ensure we do. Your dog’s age and health status are important in determining the time frame.
I hope I’ve been able to convey the dedication I’ve put into ensuring my toolbox is well rounded and equipped to best help you and your dog. I consider this work a privilege -I respect the trust that a dog parent puts in a practitioner.
It’s important to me to connect with a potential client and ensure we are a good fit before working together. I want to ensure a client understands the process, has a chance to ask questions, and express expectations for the consult.
If you’re interested in working together, please connect with me.
Areas of Special Interest