Dog Lover Backstage Pass Exclusive With Dr. Harvey’s
As a dog mom, dog writer, and dog lover of the highest order, we have access to thousands of dog products. We get asked to do product reviews, share social news, and try new products to hit the marketplace. We say yes to those brands we believe in, use, trust, and recommend to our friends, family, and Fidose of Reality followers.
“How would you like to come out for a visit and go behind the scenes, meet the founder, and get to know our company in person?”
Wendy Shankin-Cohen, President and CEO of Dr. Harvey’s Fine Health Foods for Companion Animals asked us to visit the company’s headquarters in beautiful Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Since my dogs have been consuming their food, treats, and supplements for over 20 years, my family and I, dog included, went road tripping to their healthy headquarters.
In a nutshell, here’s what we learned:
- Dr. Harvey is the real deal.
- Dr. Harvey’s is the most transparent company I’ve ever encountered.
- Dr. Harvey’s genuinely treats their clients pets as they do their own.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of a huge pet food brand, whose name I shall withhold, but suffice it to say they are a huge corporation that manufactures many brands of dog food kibble and canned foods. Sadly, the ‘tour’ consisted of a demonstration of their packaged products, a tour of some of their office employees’ area, and getting to know some of their animal food testers. I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to go ‘behind the green curtain’ and see how their food is made, hoping to put some rumors of pesticides being sprayed on kibble to rest. Yes, pesticides get sprayed on kibble, folks: How do you think they keep bugs from affecting the product in warehouses? Gross.
Fast forward to 2018 and imagine my sheer exaltation at being invited to not only meet the team at Dr. Harvey’s, but also to tour the plant, watch the food being made, view the ingredients, talk to the employees, and get all of mine and my readers’ questions answered. Talk about a (fi-) dose of reality!
Disclosure: After using the line of Dr. Harvey’s products for well over 20 years, I asked them if I could become a brand ambassador since it made perfect sense. This is another commitment I make to you, our trusted readers, to be fully transparent and only share things we use and that have worked for us.
Now about going behind that green curtain, here’s what we asked, here’s what they said, along with a series of images and video from our all-access, exclusive Dr. Harvey’s tour in July.
Behind the Velvet Ropes At Dr. Harvey’s
Q: Dr. Harvey’s is a pioneer in the fine health food space for companion animals. How did the company get started?
Thirty years ago — and long before most people had even heard of “all natural” feeding for animals (and the very few who did often made a funny face and then said things like: are you kidding? Or: are we talking about animals here?) — Dr. Harvey Cohen, a successful nutritionist and lifelong animal lover, grasped that something about the pet industry was flat out broken.
Dr. Harvey started researching and discovered pet food makers were worried about the almighty dollar with little regard for the harm being inflicted on the pets consuming their foods. Its 2018, and it is still happening. Thankfully, Dr. Harvey’s is in the business of supporting healthy animals. Dr. Harvey discovered animals were getting sick due to dangerous dyes, preservatives, chemicals, coloring agents and more. This was back in the 1980s, and the very idea of all-natural foods for pets was laughable to some, incomprehensible to others, and even dangerous and threatening to those who wanted to keep things status quo.
Dr. Harvey stepped up and created Canine Health dog food, which our dog, Dexter, eats to this day! The rest, as they say, is history. Dr. Harvey’s has been transforming dogs’ lives for 30 years, including the lives of this writer’s dogs.
Q: One of the first things dog parents discover when they switch from kibble to Dr. Harvey’s is the complete turnaround in their dog’s overall well-being. How can you justify the higher cost of Dr. Harvey’s versus a more affordable kibble dog food?
The ingredients in kibble, even the higher end brands, is still cheap. Sadly, there are many traditional veterinarians who propagate feeding dry dog food. Nutritional training in vet school is very minimal. There are close to 30 veterinary schools in the United States, and the dog food trials are sponsored by one of the bigger kibble brands. They have the money to run the trials, and that is the data vets in training are receiving.
While in office, we watched a cost breakdown of a premium kibble dog food. A 34-pound bag of kibble priced at $19 a bag comes out to 56 cents a pound. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Working in this industry for close to a dozen years, being a dog mom my whole adult life, can you imagine feeding your dog a meal that breaks down to 56 cents a pound at retail. At wholesale, and after the other parties involved in the dog food chain take their cut, it actually comes out to about 12 cents a pound. <insert shocked face here> Sometimes, that is all someone can afford to feed their dog. Unfortunately, many dogs will pay later with a plethora of health problems mitigated by an unhealthy diet. You get what you pay for, even with the supposed better-quality kibble.
Q: What makes a whole food diet like Dr. Harvey’s so much better for dogs than processed kibble?
Looking at kibble, most brands include synthetic vitamins into the mix so the nutritional values go up. Sadly, at 12 cents a pound, dogs can get sick from their diet. It is more expensive to feel real, whole food, but that is part of being a dog parent. It is an investment in the health of your dog. People call us and tell us they never feed their dogs table scraps. We ask them, why not? Wendy reminds me that Dr. Karen Becker often writes that veterinary medicine is the only profession that encourages telling patients to feed their pets processed foods. Dogs’ systems are not designed to process food in this way.
Side-Bark: In researching the history of dog food, we discovered the origins of the “never feed table scraps” mantra that is still heavily ingrained into society today. Well known pet nutrition blogger, Rodney Habib, says that in 1964, the pet food industry, along with the Pet Food Institute, joined together with a whole bunch of marketing dollars and launched one of the most influential campaigns the pet world had ever seen: the “Ban All Table Scraps from your Pets’ Bowls” campaign! Through thousands of newspapers, magazines, and news stations, the public was warned about the dangers of table food scraps or “human food” and the importance of feeding “processed” commercial pet food. From there, the giant smear campaign took off!
Wendy Shankin-Cohen and her husband, Dr. Harvey Cohen, agree: Dogs change once they get whole food. They are dog lovers, too.
Dog Lover Dr. Harvey Says
Next, we went face to face with the pioneer, Dr. Harvey Cohen. He sits in an office five days a week and changes dogs’ lives for the better. You can call and talk to Dr. Harvey if you have questions. He actually calls you back to help. Oh, and the fact that you can try a sample before you buy by just paying shipping, is worth its weight in healthy dog treats.
Q: I understand you get over 100 emails a week from dog parents whose dogs have kidney disease. What is happening to have that many dogs getting sick?
Processed dog food! We offer solutions to dogs with kidney disease and kidney issues. We get calls from people whose vets tell them, “I’ve done everything I can for your dog.” We talk to them about proper nutrition. Our customers write and call us with the miracles that happen in their dogs’ lives thanks to eating a proper whole food diet.
A St. Bernard named Dora the Explorer, wound up with kidney disease. Her mom was told to eat a brand name prescription diet, prescribed by her vet. After 30 days on the Canine Health Diet along with supplements, the dog’s creatine came back into normal range. Dora is one of thousands of dogs whose parents share success stories.
Q: We have a lot of readers with Cocker Spaniels. That breed, and many others, mutts included, are plagued with lipomas. We read about a 10-year-old Schnauzer who was riddled with fatty tumors and had success with them shrinking after joining the Dr. Harvey’s family. Do you have any recommendations on food and supplementation?
Paradigm is our grain-free holistic “green food” mix that is low-carb and low-glycemic. For dogs with any sort of issues like obesity, diabetes, cancer, immune system weakness, seizures, or neurological problems, those conditions may be helped by this type of diet. This is also called a ketogenic diet and we’ve seen amazing successes with our customers who use it.
Q: Tell us some things about the Dr. Harvey’s line folks may be surprised to learn.
We’ve never had a recall in 30 years. Our food is good for dogs of all ages: From puppies to seniors. We hand pack all of our foods here at the headquarters. (see video below for proof).
Q&A with Fidose of Reality Readers
Our readers asked us to take some questions with us, and here’s what we found out.
Q: “My dogs eat a human grade dog food, essentially home cooked. They are starting to snub their little noses at the food, would it be OK to try his food without upsetting their tummies? There are no preservatives in the food they eat now.” – Wendy Gilbert
Each dog is different and it depends on the situation. Conventional wisdom dictates to add Dr. Harvey’s to what you are presently feeding. We rarely see a problem making a transition to the Dr. Harvey’s line. Unless the dog is generally sensitive or prone to digestive issues, you can start feeding Dr. Harvey’s right away. For a beginner, we recommend Canine Health. For grain free, Veg-to-Bowl which comes in pieces or fine ground. (Dexter’s favorite).
Q: Do you get certified to proclaim that you are organic? – Elyse Adams
We get audited every year by the organic certification people. They come in – we can only use certain kinds of cleaners, we can only use bleach actually. No chemicals around the food or near the food. We take really good ingredients and we mix them and that’s what the process is.
Q: “Our Kirby has some signs of possible colitis. It seems to flare up every few months. Would also like some feedback on this.” – Deborah Trethewey and “My 3 year old has chronic GERD, IBS, mobility issues. regurgitation daily, on several meds that do not work. I feel like I need some nutritional guidance for all of his GI issues.” – Brandi Prowell-Pfaff
Start with the Canine Health diet from Dr. Harvey’s. You can also call the Dr. Harvey’s toll-free number with any questions.
Q: “Love their stuff so much. We use it too! Would they ever consider making their joint supplement into a chewable? The powder can be inconvenient at times but I love the ingredients they use. I currently buy it and mix it with melted coconut oil, then re freeze to harden it but it has to stay in fridge.” – Lauren Cooper
Powders make it more absorbable and is easier to feed. For 30 years, we’ve been doing it that way and we appreciate Lauren’s business!
5 Fast Facts About Dr. Harvey’s Products
5. The entire line of Dr. Harvey’s products are available online through the Dr. Harvey’s website, Amazon, and a few other places. You can also use the store locator at Dr. Harvey’s website to find an independent distributor near you.
4. For most of their supplements, the same six ingredients are used in all of them, and they are whole foods. None of them are synthetic vitamins. All of the supplements are made from food. Unique herbs are added to the product for each supplement.
3. Older dogs should be on the Coenzyme Q10 and the Golden Years supplement at a minimum.
2. Dr. Harvey’s believes in the magic and power of mushrooms. Many herbs can act as antioxidants, and that’s a key goal of Dr. Harvey’s Solaris. You will receive one box of Solaris, which contains a morning container (Sunrise) and an evening container (Sunset). You sprinkle the proper amount of scoops on the dog’s food twice a day accordingly and that’s it. You sit back and let the medicinal mushrooms and healing herbs work to boost your dog’s immune system.
1. The newest addition to the line of Dr. Harvey’s products is Raw Vibrance. A growing number of pet parents are feeding their companion a raw diet — and for many good reasons! Cooking and high-pressure processing kills many vital enzymes and vitamins, and kibble is loaded with starch, salt and other chemicals. A raw diet preserves wholesome naturally-occurring nutrients, and can contribute to several benefits like more energy and vitality, softer and shinier coat, healthier teeth and gums, and more
The day we stumbled upon the Dr. Harvey’s line of products, our lives changed. Our first Cocker Spaniel, Brandy Noel, was a Dr. Harvey’s dog and she lived to one week shy of her 15th birthday. Our second Cocker, Dexter, is a 9-years-young pooch who thrives as a result of including the Dr. Harvey’s line of products in his life. From food to treats, supplements to grooming essentials, this company has been a part of our dogs’ lives for at least 20 years! We can honestly put our Fidose of Reality pawprint of approval on Dr. Harvey’s products. This dog lover mom approves.
Here’s never-before-seen video footage of our visit to this wonderful operation:
Let’s Go Shopping
If you head over to the Dr. Harvey’s website and enter code FD119 at checkout, you will save 10 percent off your entire order. You can also get Dr Harveys Through Amazon. < ===== click for our affiliate page
Keep in Touch
Stay in touch and visit DrHarveys.com, call them at 1-866-362-4123, or email them at email@example.com and be sure to tell them we sent you!
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I have Schooner and Skipper on Raw Vibrance now…..they love it. Skipper has skin problem and I can’t believe how his skin and fur is so soft and he looks healtier. Thank you for your blog on Dr. Harvey. You are an amazing person and you give all of us reader very good advise. You, Dar and Dexter are the best!