Most health problems can be best addressed through the basics: improved nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and a thoughtful approach to diagnosis and treatment.” These wise words come from Matt Israel, who along with his mother, Jane Israel, created a unique canine herbal health supplement called Dog-Wa.
Matt and Jane’s interest in holistic health goes back a long way. “My mom had a history of health problems she was unable to solve using only traditional Western medicine,” says Matt. “She embarked on her journey to a healthy, alternative lifestyle many years ago. Others in my family are health care professionals.”
Matt is also a lifelong dog lover with a keen interest in the health of his four-footed companions. “I had always observed my dogs eating grass and experiencing common digestive problems. When I rescued Inigo, who is now our company mascot, he suffered some seizures and had other issues. That’s when I got really serious about dog nutrition and wellness.”
Knowing dogs need fresh leafy greens for proper digestion and health, Matt searched for a product that would give his dogs all those benefits. “I knew there was something missing from their diet that drove them to look for it in plants.” Unable to find what he was looking for, he created his own product in 2005. “It’s a pretty typical entrepreneurial story, I guess. You go looking for something, can’t find it, and decide to make it yourself!”
Dog-Wa gives dogs the nutritional and digestive benefits of fresh leafy greens. It addresses problems like grass-eating and vomiting as well as gas, bloating and bad breath. Because it’s a liquid, dogs can digest and absorb its nutrients more efficiently. Dog-Wa is made from cold pressed pesticide-free herbs. “It’s good for many issues,” says Matt. “We talk to people who have dogs with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach trouble, all that kind of thing.” Dog-Wa can also be used for general health maintenance.
The product is endorsed by veterinarian Dr. Jane Leon, who independently tested it and was so impressed she agreed to help Matt and Jane promote it and educate consumers on alternative health. “We wanted a forum for Dr. Leon to educate our customers so we came up with a monthly column on our website. We feel we have a responsibility to educate our customers.”
Matt and Jane have ideas for additional products, but plan to stick to fresh herbs as their specialty. “We’re also launching a blog to encourage activism. I think a lot could be done to get dog lovers involved in the whole system of food production and regulation, and to let the government know this is an area important to many of us.
“It’s a lot of work,” Matt smiles, “but when you hear from people saying your product has solved a problem that caused their animals to suffer, you know you’re on the right track.”