Today I’d like to talk a bit about my Consultations, what they entail, what you as a client can expect and how the process works. After providing these services for close to two decades, I have had the opportunity to see what works best for my clients, and to that end, am implementing a few changes this year. In this entry, I want to talk about my most popular consultation service, the Diet Plan and Health Support Consultation here – a service that includes personalized recipes geared to your dog and his/her health issues, ongoing support and follow-up, but also provides herbal recommendations based on condition and constitution, for the most comprehensive health support available. For several years, the service description stated that the one fee covered “two weeks follow-up” –which is sometimes not as clear for the client as I would wish it to be. The new service description covers a few points I felt were key for a clear mutual understanding as to what the service entails. It’s so important that new clients know exactly what to expect, so here goes. 😊
To start, the service covers five hours of my time. I don’t charge for the initial discussion, we can and should chat about your dog, your needs and expectations, as well as what I feel we can accomplish. That’s the first step, and a critical one. If we decide to move ahead, you book on the site, and I will send you an Intake form which needs to be filled out by the day prior to our consult, so I can review it and make sure I have all the info I need to start. Then, on the appointed day, I get to work: I start with an initial review of your form/dog’s history, and then the calculation process begins ( based on your dog’s metabolic weight; this is an essential step to ensure I cover each requirement from Vitamin A to zinc) This lays the groundwork for the recipes and herbal recommendations. . My standard approach is to formulate one recipe for you to try out with your dog – many clients like a 7 day batch for ease of preparation, others prefer 2 or 3 day versions and I am happy to accommodate what you prefer. The test period is critical; no matter how perfect a recipe looks on paper, it’s not helpful if your dog doesn’t like it. It’s also important to note that dogs can have unique reactions to changes in diet, especially fat and fiber (type and amount) so we want to see good stool and digestion in general along with enjoyment of meals.
Once I see that the first recipe has worked well,following your feedback, I can use the remaining time on the consult to formulate a second and even a third recipe (providing the dog can tolerate that much variety, it’s important to note that not all can) as well as formulate an herbal protocol. The initial diet may need some adjusting, too – what we do with the hours beyond my assessment, calculations, formulation and writing up of the first diet vary greatly from case to case. Your dog is unique, and working this way means we can spend the time you purchase with me in exactly the best way to suit his or her needs.
By measuring the duration of the consult in hours, not weeks, we can optimize the experience for each client ; it is easier for me to let you know what amount of time we have left, as we go. For the client who wants extra information, details about the diet, herbs or condition, but doesn’t want it to eat into the time I can devote to working with the dog, an additional purchase of a Q&A session can work, as can some phone time. I do include information about the condition your dog is facing, as well as my rationale for the choices I make, herbal and nutritional, but some people want extra information and that’s fine, too! Of course, those who require additional time can book that on the site as well.
So, to recap, here is what the Health Service entails.
1) Assessment via Intake form of your dog; nutrient calculation of all his or her needs (provided for you at a small additional cost of $25.00) an individualized recipe geared to manage the condition(s) you are seeking to address; follow-up time as indicated, and additional recipes/herbal support, up to five hours of my time..the option for very affordable follow-up time if indicated
2) A “Strategy Sheet” that details what I am doing and why, explains my choices, usually with veterinary references but always with attention to your whole dog and not simply his or her condition
3) A (new!) FAQs sheet that covers the questions I hear most often, regarding food safety, preparation and storage, supplement options, substitutions and more.
I have been doing this work for close to two decades and am fully trained in Western herbalism, as well as canine nutrition. Some of the conditions I work with regularly, include cancer, IBD, liver and kidney disease, uroliths, atopy, Cushing’s and Addison’s disease, osteoarthritis, lupus, diabetes, pancreatitis, various behavioural issues such as OCD and separation anxiety, food intolerances, and heart disease. I base my work on science, using the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Dogs, as well as extensive professional experience and never-ending formal and informal study. In all cases I strive to meet the goals of our consultation as expediently as possible, empower you with all the information you need going forward, and make myself available to you as needed post-consult. A re-check at 6 – 12 months is highly recommended.
This work is my life’s passion and I am always furthering my own education to ensure I stay up to date and can offer the most powerful tools for healing possible, nutritionally and herbally. Your dog is an individual, and true holistic support takes all kinds of factors into consideration, not *just* the health issues you are facing. Each dog is a teacher to me as well as a client; if we are a good match, if what I have to offer provides what you seek from a consultant, I look forward to working with you.
In the next entry I’ll talk about the Proactive and Herbal-only consults and how they work, too. Look for new services geared to cats too, in the coming weeks.
Happy New Year!