What dog supplements are good or bad?
What is humble-bragging and how it can help save you lots of time navigating the mumbo-jumbo jungle of online supplements for dogs?More
A rant on modesty and bragging
Lately, I have been contemplating the notion that “bragging” or blowing our own horn is not good ????????. When I was young, my parents taught me that I should be humble and not brag. However, a few decades later, I am not certain they were right because nobody benefits from making ourselves smaller and not sharing our helpful knowledge with others.
I have frequent debates with my team on this topic. Usually, they try to convince me to be louder and more "out there" when it comes to sharing the info about my product formulas and the results our customers have with them. I, on the other hand, (let’s blame my parents), tend to be low-key, and avoid self-boasting and bragging.
But here is the challenge, other brands and companies, don’t hesitate to "bragaciously" emphasize their product’s superiority, which allows them to overshadow those who took the route of humility and bragging less.
As an insider of the supplement world, I also know that the most visible and "popular" products are not necessarily the best and some of the claims they make are untrue. Personally, I don't want to go to war with such companies and I have also committed not to criticize or comment on the quality and efficacy of a particular product unless there are documented safety hazards such as drug side-effects.
This has made my life easier, but it has also made it more difficult to warn you about the false claims some companies make. The only reasonable solution is to go against my parents’ advice and embrace the philosophy of quality, integrity and “humble-bragging" ????.
What I mean by “humble-bragging" is to tell you about how different our supplements, products and formulas are and why they are worth the extra few dollars. And even if you are using or in the process of choosing other products than ours, it will help you navigate the online mumbo-jumbo jungle and choose the best products for your dog.
Let's get straight to the "humble-bragging" about our products. Here is some info about what sets us apart ????????:
1. Human grade ingredients that are organic whenever possible ????
My philosophy is that dogs and other animals are not any less important than people and they deserve the best human-grade ingredients. Although it is not easy to find organic ingredients, their production is the most aligned with protecting the environment, natural resources and species diversity. Conventional ingredients are sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals which inadvertently affect not only your dog’s health but also harm other life.
2. NO ingredients from China ????????
This one is a huge hurdle that most companies are not able or willing to overcome. While I embrace and in many ways admire ancient Chinese medicine and healing, cultural history and cuisine, the current business ethics and practices especially when it comes to purity and quality of ingredients are unacceptable.
My decision not to use Chinese ingredients comes at least partially from having a first-hand experience with pets poisoned and dying from melamine-tainted pet food and treats.
It is no secret that the organic certification process in China is also flawed. For example, there is no way to grow USDA certified organic spirulina as it requires Chilean nitrate which is not certified organic. Strangely, some supplements on the market feature “certified organic” spirulina.
To summarize, whenever you are buying a supplement, connect with the company to see where their ingredients are from. You may be surprised that most products on the market are in fact from China, which is the reason why they are cheap.
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3. Manufacturing ????
The standards of production vary greatly in the industry not only based on where ingredients are sourced from but also where the products are made. If you have ever traveled around the world and visited food markets or production facilities in developing countries, you get the picture.
This is one of the reasons why we currently make products only in three countries: the USA, Canada and Norway. It is not the cheapest route to go but the most reliable one. This way I know that if a substandard ingredient arrives, the manufacturer will test and reject it even if it means that there is a delay in production and we had that happen in the past.
I welcome such inconvenience because I can rest assured that your dogs and my dog are safe.
4. Packaging ????
We all know that plastic is a serious problem. The reason why so many supplements and products are still packaged in plastic is the cost. Glass is more expensive, heavier and breakable. However, to me, glass is perfect - manufactured from silica (sand) and safe for the environment.
Plastic and microplastic, on the other hand, severely endanger our environment and also species survival. They also contain xenoestrogens (estrogen-like substances) that have a negative effect on fertility and increase the risk of cancer. ????
This is why we will never use plastic packaging for our supplements (read more here).
5. Shipping materials ????
For the longest time, we searched for an environmentally friendly solution to the conventional bubble wrap we used to protect the glass jars. One day, one of our team members, Leah came up with a brilliant idea to use cardboard eco-sleeves, which we now use exclusively to ship our products. Thanks Leah!!! ????????
PLUS we have now been able to convince our shipper to offer eco-sleeves for their other customers to reduce the use of plastic!
6. Customer service ????✆
Most companies of our kind provide some sort of customer service but we have taken caring about you and your dog to the next level. We currently employ seven Healing Ambassadors (????X7) who are all dog lovers and are ready to help anyone, no matter if you are a current customer or not.
FYI, three out of these seven Healing Ambassadors are former concierges and managers from the Four Seasons Hotels who have the highest level of training and helping dog lovers like you gives them joy!
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7. Team culture ????????????????????????????????
Unless you are a trust fund child ????, you have experience working in a team of people. Our company culture is supported by emphasis on tolerance, safety and direct communication, while still having fun. Many companies use the term family when it comes to the employees but as you know, families can be messy.????
Our focus is on hiring people who are a good fit first, which has resulted in minimal staff fluctuations. We have not had anyone leave in the past year, which I am very grateful for. Personally, I don’t have one single person on the team that I do not like working with. However, it does not mean that none of them challenge my beliefs and boundaries????. I love that too and really look forward to working together every day.
The only thing I don’t really enjoy is accounting and paperwork but even that is easier with the right and “slightly pushy” friend who makes me meet the deadlines. Thank you Alicia!????????????
We also embrace a rather unusual philosophy that dogs are at the top of our company values and then there is you (the customer) and our team. It may seem unusual but it is important, as without you, we would not be able to help your dog and without the team, I would not be able to help either. Unlike in other company cultures, our customers and the team are seen as equals. ⚖️
8. Giving ????
I like the idea that wealth is not about how much we have but knowing that we have enough. I also wrote some time ago that if we want to help people, we should teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish. However, when it comes to animals, children and nature, we need to be the unconditional givers.
Every month, we choose one cause that we donate a part of the proceeds and so far, we have been able to give $72,750 on your behalf.
It may be a small drop in the ocean, but still, you can rest assured that your love and care for your dog further helps others.
9. Innovation ????????
Manufacturing and formulating supplements can follow the path of the middle of the run and the same old but that would not satisfy me. I have written before on the topic of synthetically made vitamins and ground-up indigestible minerals which are cheap to make but hard to digest and process.
Allow me one more “humble-brag” here to say that we are currently the only company who makes naturally fermented supplements for dogs.
Fermentation is considered the “holy grail” of supplement production as it increases bioavailability, anti-oxidant levels and it also helps increase anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
10. Where do I fit in this all? ????♂️
Every day, I am aware and grateful that without you, your love for your dog and also without the team, I would not be able to share what dogs and their people have taught me in the course of the past 32 years in practice.
There are many companies out there making products but not many, if any, have a full-time dedicated holistic veterinarian at their helm.
I love the work, it makes me happy to see I can make a difference and that as time progresses, there are other likeminded colleagues, who follow their conviction and integrate their medical knowledge with natural wisdom.
The other day, I was walking in the forest with my dog Pax, thinking about what a fun journey it has been.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM