Animals should not be treated any differently than humans when it comes to diet and health according to Animal Natural Health Centre owner Sandy Urwin.
The centre has opened in Elizabeth Street, Warkworth, offering food and natural health products for dogs and cats, which are mainly organic, crate and cage free, NZ-sourced and sustainably farmed.
“Just as more people are making the correlation between their health and their diet, the same is true of animals,” Sandy says. “They need food that suits their gut. The majority of skin issues I see can be traced back to gut problems.”
Sandy’s interest in natural animal health started more than 40 years ago while she trained as a general nurse in England. However, she made the mistake of suggesting that homeopathic and herbal medicines could be useful in treating some patients, and found herself fired for insubordination.
“They could do that sort of thing in those days,” she says.
After training in alternative medicines, Sandy returned to New Zealand and worked with a vet who was using homeopathy and herbs alongside orthodox medicine. She went on to set up a three-year diploma course and opened her first centre in Tauranga 15 years ago. Although that centre closed when she moved north, she also runs centres in Orewa and Kaiwaka.
The centres offer pet owners a place to talk about common pet health conditions such as itchiness, skin problems, arthritis, incontinence and cancer.
“An inappropriate diet is often the problem. In terms of cancer, it is about giving the pet the best quality of life we can for as long as possible.
“I’m not anti-orthodox medicine where it’s appropriate, but the centre gives people choice in their animal health care. Every animal is an individual and their health care needs to be tailored to their particular needs.”