Dr. Harvey’s has been offering up organic and high-quality natural food for animals for decades. But what’s wrong with standard dog and cat food? It’s generally less expensive, available virtually everywhere and has been poured into the food bowls of our furry friends for more than 75 years? The people at Dr. Harvey’s are admittedly biased when it comes to the subject, but they argue standard food comes up dangerous short on lots of counts. WellWell recently spoke with President and CEO of Dr. Harvey’s, Wendy Shankin-Cohen, to shed light on the issue, the importance of organic pet food and why so many animals are malnourished.
Why is it so crucial pets and animals eat organic foods?
The same reason humans should, pesticides are incredibly dangerous for their bodies. Except animal food tends to be even more processed than human food. For example, your standard bag of supermarket dog food is likely incredibly processed and denatured therefore depriving the animals of many vitamins, minerals and proteins they need. They need fresh and genuine meat and produce to survive fully.
What negative health effects can constantly eating processed food have on pets?
Everything from obesity to cancer. Most dog food diets are extremely deficient. If a human has a vitamin deficient diet over a period of time, their body will start to fail. Dogs are no different. It can manifest through weak joints, weak muscles, heart disease or digestive issues. A common issue for dogs is allegories, often due to the source of their protein or the frequency of it. A lot of it has to do with the lack of variety. If every single day you feed a dog just chicken or meat-based food, they can become sensitive to it through overconsumption and start displaying allergic reactions such as skin issues, digestive issues, ear infections, bad breath or tooth decay. They need a balanced diet the same as we do.
Does this apply to other pets beyond dogs?
Of course. Dogs, cats, and even birds. They all need a balanced diet and can be massively impacted by ingesting pesticides.
Anyone with a pet will tell you they’re a part of the family. So why have these issues gone overlooked for so long?
It’s a bit complicated. The whole pet industry really evolved into what it is today in the 1940’s, so prior to that there was no dog food. People fed their dogs scraps from the table. They fed them human food. Then these companies realized there was a market for food made specifically for dogs and that they could make a lot of money off it. Following some brilliant marketing campaigns, it became seeped into the collective consciousness and everybody said: “That’s what a dog should eat, dog food.”
How are Dr. Harvey’s foods different, what’s the solution?
Beyond obviously not using pesticides, our food encourages variety and freshness. The process of preparing it includes adding fresh meat and oil to the mix, made from dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables and fruits. When you do this, you make a fresh wide-ranging meal that includes vitamins, minerals and proteins opposed to giving the animal the exact same meal twice a day for their entire life.
Do you think common problems animals face can be helped by altering their diet?
Absolutely. Obviously, every case is unique, but I’ve been doing this for over three decades and I’ve seen countless animals that are ill because of the food they were eating. We’ll switch their diets to something natural and they’ll feel better almost overnight.
So you see it as a win-win for the pets and their owners alike?
Of course. Let’s face it. If your pet is healthy and happy, you’re going to be too.
About Wendy Shankin-Cohen
Wendy Shankin-Cohen is President and CEO of Dr. Harvey’s. The company offers dehydrated pre-mixes for pet food, helping to make preparing homemade food quick and easy for pet parents.
Learn more at www.drharveys.com