We’re all about functional foods that heal and make you glow from the inside out – and Wholesome Canine does just that, for your pups. Naturally, we’re super excited about what Owners Christine and Helen have built and are offering Toronto dog owners, so we thought we would take a moment to get to know their story and passion behind keeping canines in Toronto healthy since 2013.
Can you tell us a bit about your background in canine nutrition/training?
Helen – i got into the world of nutrition and training when I brought home my first dog, Seamus. He was plagued with digestive issues at the beginning. Having recently gained a diploma in holistic nutrition (for humans) I decided to switch my focus to dogs so I could help him. We then had some behaviour issues when he hit his teenage years and through my dog walking business I was also attracting the “problem children”.
My desire to help Seamus and the other dogs in my charge drove me to get certified in training and behaviour. I spent a year studying with Turid Rugaas, renowned Norwegian dog trainer.
How did you both meet?
Helen – we met at a nutrition seminar hosted by Monica Segal back in 2013.
What sparked the concept of Wholesome Canine?
The sheer need for it, paired with a deep desire to help dogs. It’s really that simple.
Your food products are incredibly nourishing, unlike standard commercial dog food. What do you tell pet owners who may be skeptical or claim commercial pet food is “just fine”?
Helen – most people know on a logical level that whole, fresh, minimally processed foods are the key to health and longevity so it’s not a huge stretch to get them thinking the same applies to our dogs.
Christine – What Helen said and we also point people towards two things: 1. A very well made documentary n Netflix called Pet Fooled. 2. We try to illustrate the difference between surviving and thriving by explaining that the oldest dog in the world (20 and 30 year old dogs) did not consume kibble, and in fact we know that the healthiest, longest-lived ones, are those who eat a vast variety of fresh foods.
Fondest memory at Wholesome Canine since you first opened your doors?
Every single convert.
What has been the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?
Finding time for all other things.
Watching dogs get healthier, whether it’s managing a disease, losing weight, gaining energy, or positive changes in temperament and stress reduction.
Any standout customers who have contributed to your journey?
Helen – Too many to mention, we have an amazing community that is growing each week.
Christine – We had a lot of contacts in the dog world when we started this business and many of them have been by our side from day one with encouragement, referrals and love. They are as much a part of this place as we are.
How do you like to spend a weekend in the city?
Helen – Taking walks with my pups, drinking delicious coffee from The Flying Pony.
Christine – By day: outside with my dogs, By night: watching John Borra play The Communist’s Daughter.
How do you market your business? What have you found works best?
Instagram postings are our best tool so far!
Any advice to someone looking to launch their own business?
Get ready for your life to change. You don’t think it will, but it’s going to. Most of it will be for the best, but as for the changes you didn’t want or anticipate, accept them and move on; do not fixate, as this is a grave detriment to your goals.
Favourite quote or words to live by?
It’s something Amber Joliat posted a couple weeks ago: “Using your brain to compare, not create, will be the biggest regret of your life.”
Favourite local coffee shop in the neighourhood?
Where do you see Wholesome Canine in 5 years?
With at least 1 more location and many more healthy dogs under our belt.
Be sure to visit their shop at 2096 Dundas St West and follow them on Instagram at @WholesomeCanine!