Max was only three when he began suffering from urinary incontinence. But the young German shepherd was lucky – he was the canine companion of Michael and Marlene Forte. “We took him to a conventional vet who recommended a prescription diet,” says Michael. “When we read the ingredients, we realized we were looking at a list of chemicals, fillers and preservatives.” He and Marlene had already researched the importance of fresh whole foods for human health, had changed their own diets to reflect this philosophy, and knew the same principle could be applied to animals.
“We began cooking meals for Max,” says Michael. “Some amazing things happened. His incontinence cleared up, his body shape changed as the puffy fat disappeared and more muscle began to show.” His doggy smell vanished and he became much more energetic. “Max was happy, fit and healthy.”
Inspired, Marlene and Michael did more research. Marlene studied herbs and the connection between health and fresh food, while Michael focused on veterinary homeopathy through the British Institute of Homeopathy. “The culmination of our studies helped us integrate fresh home prepared diets, herbs and homeopathic remedies, and this formed the basis of our business, The Natural Canine.”
That was back in 1999. Today, The Natural Canine offers dietary supplements for dogs and also serves as an educational resource on healthy food for canines. “Our emphasis is to help people learn about the benefits of home prepared fresh diets and the connection between diet and health. We offer educational information on homeopathy and home prepared diets, both raw and cooked as well as specialty diets for specific conditions based on the work of Dr. Donald Strombeck, DVM, PhD. We emphasize the long term approach to good health, beginning with diet and then adding specific herbal formulas and homeopathic remedies to support the dog’s ability to heal.”
The company offers supplements that complete a home prepared diet, including bone meal, flax oil and a concentrated blend of organic greens and vegetables called Green Power. “We also offer a full line of herbal formulas made for us by an acupuncturist/herbalist with over 25 years experience, herbal tinctures, and compound and single homeopathic preparations.” In addition, there’s a line of dietary, herbal and homeopathic support kits to address a wide range of conditions, from joint issues and urinary incontinence to mange, bronchitis and anal gland problems.
Marlene and Michael stress that the holistic approach means looking at the big picture. “It’s not holistic to feed low quality food, use toxic chemicals in your home, not exercise your dog and then think you can add an herbal formula or homeopathic remedy to solve your dog’s health issues. You must take the ‘whole dog’ approach.”
Max is gone now, but the Fortes share their lives with two more dogs. “They bring so much joy and love into our lives.” Not a surprise, considering the passion and dedication Michael and Marlene have for quality nutrition and care.