For many families, their furry friend Fido is merely one of the family.
That sentiment rings especially true for Barrie’s Amanda Wattie, whose oldest pup Bear has seen her through most of life’s big milestones.
As her longtime fur buddy started aging, Wattie wanted to help him get the most out of his senior years and allow him to be as active as possible.
“I wasn’t slowing down at all and I wanted to have him enjoy as many moments as he could with me,” says Wattie, noting she started with talking to her vet and giving Hershey glucosamine to help with joint discomfort.
After the addition of three other pups — Hershey, Joey the Muppet and Winnie — Wattie found herself spending more time taking part in competitive dog sports and agility competitions, where she ultimately began learning about other supplements that would help all her dogs maintain optimal health.
“I started feeding him different things over the years and saw what really worked first hand with him and with other sport dogs. I tried to grow my knowledge as much as possible because I think that’s such a key aspect, not only for companion dogs just to be able to get the most out of their lives and go on hikes, but also for sport dogs," she says.
When COVID hit, Wattie, who works as a dog obedience trainer, created an online seminar to help dog owners and their dogs in their training endeavours, which is where she connected with Manitoban Frank Fuchs.
The pair, who have yet to meet in person, found themselves brainstorming about different business ideas and ultimately agreed to become business partners.
In October 2020, Dog-Eh — a line of Canadian-made, human-grade, limited-ingredient, no-filler dog supplements — was born. On Dec. 3, 2021, they officially launched their product online.
COVID also saw an influx in the number of people looking to add a dog to their lives, which Wattie says unfortunately resulted in bad breeding practices from some breeders just trying to make a quick buck. That means there will be a lot of dogs suffering with allergies, skin and coat issues and metabolism issues, she says.
While the company hopes to one day expand its supplement offerings, Wattie says they wanted to hit the three core pain points most dogs suffer from: joint support for aging dogs, skin and coat to help address allergies, and metabolism support to ensure they have the right nutrients that will allow them to absorb everything they can from their diet.
“Health and nutrition has come a long way over the last two decades. In the '90s, we saw a lot of supplements come into the human market, and people came to realize how important that was to their health care," she says. "Now, with the humanization of dogs, people are really starting to see the link between what we’ve been doing to help with our own health and (how) it can help with our dogs, too.
“As we start taking a more vested interest in our dog’s health and start feeding them healthier foods, giving them the right supplements to help give them the most out of their senior years — and for their entire lives — we are going to start seeing them living longer.”