If you have a dog, you know that you want them to be the happiest pup they can be. In this episode, Dave interviews Wendie Patrick, founder of Dogs of Pride & Finnessiam Holistic Health. She helps her animal and human clients lead happier, healthier lives by identifying nutrient deficiencies, sensitivities, or allergies to food and chemicals in their environment. Wendie even makes her own line of supplements for animals, including a CBD alternative, under the Finnessiam brand which name stems from the three dogs in the Dogs of Pride logo: Finn, Jesse, and William. Wendie is happily owned by two dogs, two cats, and two horses! Click below to listen to the interview, or keep scrolling to read our highlights!
What brought you to this field of work?
I’ve always loved animals, no matter what. I always wanted to pet the stray dogs and cats on the street. I ended up working as an interior designer for 18 years, actually, until I had a stray come to me. That really drew me back into caring for animals again. I decided to become a dog groomer and spent years studying under some of the most talented groomers in Scotland and Canada. When I first came to Nova Scotia there weren’t any certified groomers, but I pushed on and started delving deep into the ingredients in the products we were using.
Out of nowhere, I started having these unexpected health issues. After two years of doctors testing everything the answer was, “Take an Aleve every day and we’ll up your thyroid meds.” That wasn’t good enough for me. After that I really fell into natural health in a big way. A wonderful natural practitioner took me under his wing until I eventually became one of his practitioners. After working with tissue salts for a while, he discovered I had Lyme disease. Now that I knew what the beast was I would be able to figure out how to fight it. Along with his supplements, I worked with muscle testing, remote testing, surrogate testing, etc. Over time I’ve been able to learn more about how we can use these to connect with our animals as well.
What do you think about natural dog food versus regular dog food?
While cats are picky and will only eat what they like, dogs tend to eat anything you give them. Nutrition for all of us is similar in that we are all nutrient deficient. All of our food is so nutrient deficient from growing in over-farmed soil. In 2007, a study discovered that in order for us to get our essential nutrients from our produce we need to eat almost 8 times more than we did in the 40s and 50s.
Clean and wholesome food (at any level) will certainly help your body more than processed food, but you have to look at the source. Unless it’s from an organic farmer, certified organic, or you’ve grown it yourself, it will still be (in a sense) processed. So now when you get into the animal side, they usually get ingredients that didn’t meet human-grade standards. Those get cooked off at 300+ degrees and shoved into those hard pellets. I don’t hate every kibble on the market, but there are not very many that deviate from that formula.
What to keep in mind when choosing a good kibble
Again, it’s about knowing the source. Look into how the company manufactures the food. Are they doing a really fast rendering process? Where do they get their ingredients? Is their source giving them ingredients with those 4D’s: dead, dying, diseased, or decayed? That’s what’s going into most pet food.
Horizon Pet Foods is one company I recommend highly. They have GMO-free grain and grain-free versions, and actually grow their grain locally. Unlike other companies, their facility in Saskatchewan was custom-built, not a multipurpose or repurposed warehouse that won’t actually run efficiently. They test all of their ingredients, and they keep all of their ingredients quarantined before they use them so they never have recalls. I’ve been selling their food for over 13 years and they’ve never had a recall- which (with pet food) is very rare.
Here’s are the ingredients I use when I make my dog’s food, what do you think?
Dave uses a specific mixture of basmati or brown rice, water, raw apple cider vinegar, ground beef, chicken, organ meats, veggies (not corn, usually peas and carrots), blueberries, coconut oil, and flax seeds.
Definitely a good idea to stay away from white rice. The starch content is so high and its likely been bleached, so sticking to natural rice such as brown, basmati, or whole grain is a really beneficial switch. Ground beef, lamb, and chicken are great sources of protein, although I like to mention that sometimes pure white dogs, such as terriers or poodles, have a sort of intolerance to chicken. That can cause a mild allergy-like reaction such as itching or odd behavior.
Keep track of any food changes you make and your pet’s mood. Do they seem energetic and happy eating chicken? Or maybe it makes them itchy and they do better with red meat. Over time you can find what your pet likes best.
Going to local butchers and farmers for your meat and produce really makes a big difference. Usually the closer they are the cleaner they are. Whether it’s an animal product or produce, there are less chemicals, stress and grief involved when buying locally. The environment tends to be left much cleaner than factory farms too.
It’s really important to feed your carnivorous animals pure protein from meat. They won’t do well long-term if you try to feed them a vegan or vegetarian diet, or try to keep them on strictly kibble forever. When I go to a local butcher, I buy their ground leftovers and mix it with my dogs’ kibble. That’s a great way to still get those raw meat benefits while stayed cost and time efficient.
One thing that is great to add and very under-recognized is apple cider vinegar.
What should I know about my dog and exercise?
A tired dog is a happy dog, but there are two sides to that coin. The more exercise you give your dog the more fit that dog will become, meaning they will need more exercise to get tired. So if you’re walking (x) amount of miles with your dog every day they will come to expect that and you’ll need to keep that up. If you have a dog who you take for a 15 minute walk, three times a day and then they come home and sleep on the sofa, that’s their fitness level. You’re not so much generalizing their exercise needs, because they’ll always adapt to your lifestyle. The more exercise they need the more exercise you’ll need to give, so you’ll either keep each other fit or you’ll keep each other lazy.
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Finding Your Dog’s Fitness Level
There’s are a few keep in mind when determining the fitness level of your dog. First, you need to keep in mind their age. Dogs have a shorter lifespan than we do, so what you were doing six years ago might not be what they can do now. A dog over the age of 8 is considered a senior animal, so while they might still be healthy and energetic it’s still good to be aware of that. Their fitness level can really depend on their breeding, how they’ve been raised, fed, their fitness level, and everything they’ve experienced in life.
Start slowly and increase their fitness level, until there’s a good balance. That dog is still going to do whatever it can to keep up with you and please you because at the end of the day, that’s what their little hearts will say. They’ll do as much as they can but if they’re struggling, listen to your animal. Take that intuitive approach first as opposed to rushing them to the vet or thinking they need pain killers or prescriptions. Sometimes we overthink it because we’re just indoctrinated to overthink it and think “there’s something wrong, take them to the vet.” When it could be quite simply, they aren’t used to this! Maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe they didn’t sleep well last night. They’re still that animal, that being, the same way we are. You can’t be at 100%, 100% of the time.
What supplements are worth it for your dog?
Trace minerals are definitely a great addition. I give them to all of my animals. Minerals are so important because our diet is so lacking. We should be more conscious of doing it for ourselves, but certainly with our animals. There’s no pet food that has everything your pet needs in perfect amounts, so after finding a quality food you need to supplement. Minerals are usually the first step because they’re helping all of your cells do what they need to do, and maintaining a healthy gut as a part of that.
Fish oil and omegas
If I was going to buy fish oil I would be very careful of the source. There are so many pollutants in the ocean, metals, plastics, chemicals, everything. I would look for an omega source that’s land/plant based, such as hemp seed oil or similar. If you’re looking for an iodine supplement for yourself, look for one that’s also land-based as opposed to fish, kelp, seaweed, etc. There’s a lot less chance of cadmium, mercury, and other heavy metals in there.
What is SMART Oil?
I have a horse, now 28, who came to me a three years ago with heaves (COPD). Whenever it gets hot outside he starts heaving and it’s very difficult for him to breathe. At the time, we were seeing great results with CBD. Even though marijuana is legal in Canada you can’t actually sell it without a license. They’re hard to get and take a long time, and usually go to vets first. So once I couldn’t bring it into the country I had to figure something else out. Of course I’m not going to give up on my animals, so I went into a frenzy of research.
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I started to look into the endocannabinoid system and how it works. Carrots, black pepper, and oregano contain cannabinoids in a very small level- but nowhere near that of a full-grown hemp-plant. Hemp seed oil, though, doesn’t contain CBD. Dragon’s blood (Sangre de Grado) is a tree sap full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. My source is in Peru, but there are some from Brazil and Israel as well. I developed SMART Oil, so they’re getting omegas, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, gastrointestinal help, and so much more.