Episode 017: Supplements to Help Your Dog Thrive with Lucy Jabrayank

Corey McCusker  00:03
Hello dog lovers, and welcome to Muttz with Mannerz Canine Academy™ Podcast, where we’ll share dog training tips and educational information to help you raise your pup, young or old, so they can be a loving part of your family and your community for life. I’m your host Corey McCusker – Canine Coach, and today I’m thrilled to have with me, Lucy Jabrayan, owner of Thrive4life Holistic Pet Foods to discuss supplements and how they can help your pet. Let me tell you a little bit about Lucy before I introduce her. Lucy has been in the health and nutraceutical industry for over a decade specializing in canine and feline advanced nutrigenomics with an educational background in holistic and sports nutrition, exercise physiology, Bachelor of Science in Psychology and also a certified Equine Massage Therapist. She’s certified in pet first aid and CPR, she’s a specialist and was certified in education consulting for a Canadian supplement company that specialized in pet, equine, and human supplements and products. Lucy has been actively helping people and their furry kids turn to natural alternatives that work. She herself uses natural alternatives to care for all her four-legged children from dogs, cats, horses, and even goats, helping many others do the same while working in an integrative way with other health care practitioners and veterinarians. Along with making segment appearances on television, Lucy also contributes to numerous publications, magazines and blogs such as, Pet Connection, Red Scarf Equestrian, Tonic and Optimize magazine. One of her many passions is giving talks and seminars to further educate the public on natural pet and equine wellness. Lucy resides on a farm in Whitchurch-Stouffville with her pack and four cats, chickens, goats, her store pet cockatiel – MJ, and two horses, Devon and Leo. An avid rider since she was nine years old, she always has been one with nature where her love and passion for caring for animals has guided her to the next step of her career, helping others achieve vitality with their animals and their self. Welcome Lucy, that was a great bio there, and you’ve done so much. So welcome.

Lucy Jabrayan  02:27
Thank you. Thank you for having me, Corey.

Corey McCusker  02:29
You know, we have just met recently, and I have been watching some of your videos, I follow you on social media, because you are local to us, and I’m fascinated by what you do. And I love all your little animals – I’ve even seen your bird on with you. So that was great. And you know, I’m happy to have you today because we recently had you at our open house. And I heard great feedback from my clients even that had spoken to you. And I really would like to educate the others that are listening today on what you do. And so I first would like to hear your story. I told a little bit about it, but how you got into this.

Lucy Jabrayan  03:08
In the pet segment, it really did happen organically because I started on the human side. And being knee-deep in research studies and articles, I translated some of the information regarding people to pets. And when I got my pack and all my animals at a place of thriving, I noticed people around me also had pets that you know, weren’t thriving. And when I say it happened organically what I mean by that is, someone would come to me and they’d say, ‘Lucy, can you help me with this particular health need of mine?’ And I’d say – ‘Sure’. And then they would just kind of naturally say, You know, I have a dog. What do you think about this? I have a cat or my horse . . . And I noticed that I was actually, I was helping people before I realized I was even helping people. And I realized that you know what, it’s going to be quite selfish of me to sit on all this information and not share it. So when people ask me what I do, you know, I don’t really say I’m an entrepreneur, which I am, I don’t say I’m a store owner, which I am, what I say really is I’m a pet health educator, not even caring if I capitalize on it or not because I just want the truth out there. And you know, they say the truth will set you free so that’s kind of how it started, completely organically.

Corey McCusker  04:29
Okay, and you said you know the thriving or – you know – your pets were thriving, and I think you’re a pet health educator, and that’s how I feel I am. I’m more about the training and looking at, you know, building the foundation when you get it. So when you say educating pets and being proactive, because I think that’s one thing I really heard you say before is that you want to be proactive about the pets and teaching people or not teaching but what you can do for your pet so that they can thrive. And I know supplements are beneficial from a human perspective, and I know that’s what we’re going to really dig into today. But how so from a pet perspective? So why would a pet owner want to give their pet supplements? Can you give us maybe a few reasons why they would?

Lucy Jabrayan  05:17
Yes, the three that, you know, off the top of my head would be, balanced nutrition, special needs, and a particular interest of mine, which is anti-aging.

Corey McCusker  05:28
And I think that would be for many pet owners. The longer we can keep them healthy and keep them with us, is so important. 

Lucy Jabrayan  05:36

Corey McCusker  05:36
So let’s, okay, so let’s dig deeper into that. So balanced nutrition. Can you give us some examples? I mean, we recently had a podcast that was all about kibble, and how can you level up your bowl. So you know, let’s talk about balanced nutrition. Give us some examples and benefits of how the supplements can help.

Lucy Jabrayan  05:55
So starting from even the human side, I found that like, even for me, I eat an organic diet, I eat as clean as possible. But am I getting every vitamin and mineral I need? And the answer to that, unfortunately, is not. Now I’m also, I live on a farm. So from the farming side of it, I know that our soils are so depleted. And with mono-farming, fast-farming, we can’t possibly get all the nutrition we need anymore. I read an article recently where 30 years ago, if a woman ate two peaches, her vitamin A content for the day was met. Now she has to eat quadruple that to get the exact same nutrition. So the same thing goes for our pets. I believe we are all lacking in vitamins and important minerals, particularly minerals. So adding an enhancer, something that’s just packed with nutrition to whatever diet is being fed, I think is vital and key. And even in the supplement category, you can get really fancy with some of the supplements like colostrum, medicinal mushrooms, all fantastic for the immune system. But let me tell you this, if the nutrition category is lacking, that’s what our immune system needs first – proper and adequate nutrition. 

Corey McCusker  07:11
Okay. And then you did say another reason, or another thing that can help with supplements is this special needs. So when you say special needs, what special needs are you referring to?


Lucy Jabrayan  07:24

Special needs can be . . . An example would be say a senior pet. They would need something more for joint and ligament support. Or say a dog that is predispositioned to cardiomyopathy, or, you know, heart illnesses. Let’s just be proactive and give them specific supplements they need for heart, overall heart function and heart health. Another special needs can be a young dog, but it’s an athlete. So depending on life stage levels, or predispositioned categories, that’s what I meant by special needs. 

Corey McCusker  08:03
Okay. And I have I guess a special needs when you say active because I’ve got Skye who’s 18 months old and extremely active. And even I’ve looked at the supplements because I mean, yes, I’m doing food, I’m doing raw, doing all different things, but she still needs I feel more because she’s just got such high metabolism too – so – and she’s extremely active. So okay, anti-aging, which I think is so important. So what, give us some stuff, or some examples of extra stuff that you can do for them, or what supplements, or just talk about that.

Lucy Jabrayan  08:42
Yeah, and what what I also mean by anti-aging is that our pets have a lot going against them, especially these days. And more often than not, they don’t meet their full lifespan. And there’s also a reason why we take a dog’s age and times it by seven. They just also naturally age very rapidly. And so anti-aging, anything we can do to slow down that process, you know, let’s do it and let’s be proactive. So whether that’s upping their antioxidant content, because antioxidants are also anti-aging, they fight free radicals in the body. I mean, there’s so many things you could do. But that’s that’s one of the things. And there is one particular supplement I’ll mention that really caught my eye and it’s called benagene. And it’s a particular antioxidant that actually activates over 300 anti-aging genes in the body. And it actually showed, animal studies show that it prolonged life up to 25%. Like who wouldn’t want that? Right? So it’s things like this that I feel like it should be more mainstream, people should know about and ’cause, you know, we want them to live forever.

Corey McCusker  09:52
Exactly. Okay, and I guess, like there must be so many supplements out there. Like that’s where you’re just mentioned one and I’m like, okay, I don’t even know about that one, I got to go find out about it. So, how many supplements? Like you started with the human aspect.

Lucy Jabrayan  10:08

Corey McCusker  10:08
Can that be transferred to the pet world, like the same things, or is it different for pets?

Lucy Jabrayan  10:15
Most, some of them, I actually, most of them would be like, for instance, we all know omega threes, great for people, especially good for them. Omega threes, what it does for us, it will do for them as well,

Corey McCusker  10:28
Okay. With the supplements. so, here’s me. I mean, I’m a dog trainer. You know, that’s where I mean, I’m educating myself and I’m a sponge for information. And I’m sitting with you, even when we talked, you know, we had a great conversation. And I even from that conversation I learned more and wanted to explore more. So how does one find out, because there’s so much information? And how does one find out, like, how, what supplement what do I need to do like so? Can you share any stories that people have come to you, how you’ve helped them, and then maybe we’ll talk before, you know, we wrap up about where we could get more information?

Lucy Jabrayan  11:07
Absolutely, there are quite a few resources, actually, some of them being holistic veterinarians like Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Jean Dodds, and I also want to say that it doesn’t have to be complicated. The three that come to the top of my mind, I believe everyone should supplement with is number one, the balancing nutrition aspect, so some sort of, you could use spirulina and algae or chlorella that is going to basically boost the nutrition content of the food. So think of it like a multivitamin mineral. 

Corey McCusker  11:41

Lucy Jabrayan  11:41
Number two, something for gut health, like a good probiotic. And number three, a really good quality, essential fatty acid. Now I emphasize a really good quality, essential fatty acid, because let’s just take fish oils, for example. Most out there are already rancid before you even open the bottle. And that’s just the nature of omega threes. They’re highly delicate, especially fish oil. So one particular story I could share with you is one of my customers, she’s been buying premium pet food from me. And at a certain point, she comes to me and she’s saying, ‘You know, my dog’s not doing too well. He’s super itchy’. And for whatever reason, off the top of my head, I just asked her, ‘By the way, are you supplementing your pet?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, I’m buying, it’s a generic brand of fish oil.’ And I said, you know, ‘it’s best if you stop that right away’. And I explained to her why because if you give a rancid oil to your pet, it’s just going to promote free radical damage and promote inflammation. So when she stopped that particular fish oil, her dog’s allergies, quote, unquote, stopped. So it’s highly imperative that we do, if we’re going to spend money on any supplements, make sure it’s quality, such as the fish oil. 

Corey McCusker  13:00
Okay. And so there’s one story of somebody coming to you, but that’s where they were giving a supplement that wasn’t a premium one, let’s just say. Can you share just a story or two about somebody that’s come to you, you’ve put them on a certain supplement, and they’ve had positive results?

Lucy Jabrayan  13:18
Yes. Oh, I have so many. You know, what one that really sticks out to me because I also do consultations, like one-on-one consultations. So a woman came to me and she said her German Shepherd was just really, she was really not doing well. And this German Shepherd was only 2, and talk about accelerated aging, because this German Shepherd was already beginning to have grey on her face and around her muzzle. She looked like she was 8 not 2. So when we fixed the diet, and we gave her some potent antioxidants. Antioxidants are also anti-inflammatories, basically protecting the cellular integrity. Just getting her whole body healthy again. Wow, what a transformation. And we heal the gut and it’s like a brand new dog. 

Corey McCusker  14:11
Oh, wow. 

Corey McCusker  14:12
Okay, that’s awesome. So you mentioned Dr. Karen Becker, you mentioned some other things. So like all of this is good and we can probably dig into more but I’m going to probably have you again and we’ll probably just focus on one thing. But if those that are listening wanted to learn more about supplements, where they can go to find out more or purchase or determine what they could purchase to help with that balanced nutrition. You know, you mentioned the special needs – I’m going to be looking at what I can do for Skye, my super dog – and then that anti-aging. Where would they go or where would, what maybe if they went somewhere like you talked about the fish oil . . .

Lucy Jabrayan  14:12

Lucy Jabrayan  14:54

Corey McCusker  14:54
What’s important for them when they are researching, when they are determining what supplement to add? Like can you just give them some guidelines?

Lucy Jabrayan  15:03
Yes, of course. And you also brought up a really good point. There’s so much out there. And I used to be the person who threw the kitchen sink at my pets. But now I’ve realized I’m more into targeted supplementation. So you can read about something that’s fantastic but maybe the question you should ask yourself is, does my pet really need this? How is it important for my pet? You know, your pet at 3 might not need a joint supplement. Or it might, depending on the breed, for instance, my German Shepherd, he’s a beautiful bred Shepherd, but you know, that is a breed that is known for hip dysplasia. So I put him on a low potency joint supplement, but say a small breed dog who’s 3 would not need that. So I think when you do go down that rabbit hole, just ask yourself, Does my pet really, really need this? One great resource is my website, thrive4lifepetfood.com. And because I post numerous articles. You can go to a local holistic vet, they would also be a really good resource. And if you do go to a specialized pet boutique kind of a place, just have a good conversation with the owner of the place or the employee, you’ll be able to tell right away if they are really into this space and not give you a line, like ‘You should buy this supplement, It’s our best seller.’ You know, that’s not enough, you know. So ask those questions. If you’re speaking to them, and they say, ‘Well, I like this brand of supplements.’ Why? Why do you why do you like it? How would it be, how would it be beneficial for my pet? Things like that.

Corey McCusker  16:47
So that’s all good.  And, I’ve listened, so you’ve talked about, you know, joint issues you’ve talked about, even you know, the German Shepherd with the skin, I know a lot of dogs have, you know, skin issues and stuff like that. So even I see coat conditions. I’m seeing a lot of rescues come in for help with that. And then their coat conditions, or even we see a lot of dogs and like, What’s going on with their coat? I’m not really sure. So that would even be a sign to say, okay, you know what, maybe I do need to look at either what I’m feeding my pet or is there something I can add to their, their premium quality kibble in that too, or whatever, or the raw diet. 

Lucy Jabrayan  17:22

Corey McCusker  17:22
Or whatever that maybe. So that’s great. So you mentioned there to ask the right questions, find out about the product. I mean, your website is a great resource. And there is a lot of information out there. And I think what’s really good as you also said, targeting. Because some people want to do the kitchen sink, like you said, it’s like, Okay, I’m going to give my dog everything. But it’s really finding out what are the needs. And you mentioned that you do consultations. So . . .

Lucy Jabrayan  17:48

Corey McCusker  17:48
What would be involved in a consultation? So if somebody was to come and see you, they obviously would have a reason or maybe not, they just want to learn more. So tell us the process there.

Lucy Jabrayan  17:58
Right. So the process is an hour long. And the first half hour basically, I ask a bunch of specific questions. And that is going to paint me a picture of what is going on. Because you could bring 10 itchy dogs to my shop, and they’re all itching for completely different reasons. I also don’t treat symptoms. There’s no such thing as an itchy dog symptom or condition. There’s something else going on. And so during the consultation, I’m going to dig a little deeper and find out what is actually going on. And sometimes I do find that very well meaning pet guardians try to treat certain things with a bandaid solution. So my approach is very different. I treat organ systems that are off. So for instance, if a dog is breaking out through the skin, well the skin is a detox organ, but it’s a secondary detox organ. The primary detox organs need to be compromised for the toxins to come out through the secondary detox organs. So that being liver, kidneys, those are off and that’s why it’s coming through the skin, the gut is off. And that’s what’s coming through the skin. So I’m not going to treat the skin. I’m going to treat the gut, the liver, the kidneys. And targeted, you know, we’re all so unique. We’re all like a fingerprint. We’re all so unique. And even just for instance, anti-inflammatories, like there are so many herbs that are anti-inflammatory. You have curcumin, you have boswellia, you have all of these. So are all of them good for the pet? No. I’m going to select which one is best for that pet and go from there.

Corey McCusker  19:40
Okay, excellent. Well, I find this fascinating, and I want to learn more for sure. So I’m going to do some research, but I again would love to have you on a future podcast and I know we’ve just kind of touched the surface of what you do and how you help. And so I just really want to thank you for joining us and sharing what you do and how you help, and it’s really valuable information.

Lucy Jabrayan  20:04
Thank you. 

Corey McCusker  20:04
And I think it’s a really great alternative for people that are looking for help for their dog. And maybe they’ve tried, you know, what the vet’s given them and various things, but there’s more because as you said, it’s something that’s going on maybe inside, in a cell, at a cellular level, to you mentioned. 

Lucy Jabrayan  20:21
Yes, and there is a time and place, of course, for pharmaceuticals. But sometimes I find the approach is, it’s kind of like blowing out a candle with a blowtorch. It’s just total overkill.

Corey McCusker  20:33
Exactly. What I really want to say in regards to what Lucy’s doing is, she’s really helping your pets thrive. And that’s where, and you talk about being proactive and talking about, you know, that balanced nutrition and the anti-aging, which is something that I think all of us, as I said, would want to just keep our pets here as long as we can. So Lucy did mention her website, thrive4lifepetfood.com, which we will have in the show notes. And I just want to say, is there anything that you would want to leave the pets, parents that are listening today with just a tip or something in regards to what you’ve talked about today?

Lucy Jabrayan  21:18
Yes, I just want to say, keep it simple. Don’t complicate it. If you’re going through a rack of questions in your mind, like, ‘Oh, what do I give to my pet?’ You know, keep it very simple. Start with one, one supplement, and then you know, down the line, you can add another. It doesn’t really have to be complicated or hard. And that’s, I personally want to make it my job to educate everyone, just to make it and keep it simple because it is a lot out there. Especially if you go online, you have – even in the holistic community, you have one holistic vet that said 15% fruits and veggies should make up the diet. And then you have another one over here that says 25% fruits and veggies. I could totally see someone reading that and going, Well, gosh, dang it, which one is it? 

Corey McCusker  22:07

Lucy Jabrayan  22:08
So just just keep it simple. Actually, yesterday, I was speaking to someone and she can only do kibble and I said, ‘You know what, why don’t you just steam a little bit of broccoli, like half a cup worth and adding that to the kibble, and hydrating it. Just those two very simple things.’ She’s like, ‘Oh, I could totally do that’. And just that simple stuff alone would make such a huge impact to her pet’s overall health. So keep it simple you guys. Don’t make it complicated. That’s the best tip I can give.

Corey McCusker  22:39
No, I think that’s great. Thank you so much for joining me today. 

Lucy Jabrayan  22:43
Thank you. 

Corey McCusker  22:44
And I want to thank everyone for listening in and we discussed supplements and how they can help your pet thrive. If you would like to learn more or listen to other podcasts, please visit our website at www.muttzwithmannerz.com. Thank you everyone for joining us. Have a great day and bye for now.

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