Dr. Becker Answers a Common Criticism About This Site
September 03, 2012
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By Dr. Becker
Hi, I’m Dr. Karen Becker, and the purpose of this video is to address the criticism I sometimes receive from readers for selling products here at Mercola Healthy Pets.
I realize many people are skeptical of information offered by someone who is also selling products, so I want to take a few minutes to address those concerns.
First, let me tell you a little bit about myself, so you can understand what I’m all about.
My Passion for Helping Animals
For those of you unfamiliar with my background, I’ve been passionate about helping animals since I was a little girl growing up in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
By the time I was 13, I was volunteering at my local humane society, the Black Hawk Humane Society in Cedar Falls. My 10 years working there with homeless, abused, and unwanted animals cemented my lifelong commitment to animal welfare. I became a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator during this time, as I believe all animals – wild or domestic, owned or free – deserve care when they’re injured or sick.
I spent four years at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point majoring in wildlife and international resource management.
Attending veterinary school at Iowa State University solidified my belief that the best way to help animals heal and maintain wellness is to go beyond the traditional model of veterinary medicine.
During my senior year at vet school, I became a certified veterinary animal acupuncturist. I completed an exotic animal internship after graduation. And I also completed a professional course in veterinary homeopathy in 1998. In 1999, I opened a holistic veterinary practice in the Chicago area.
My Passion for Feeding Pets the Right Nutrition
As regular readers here know, I’m quite passionate about feeding species-appropriate nutrition to pets. It’s my belief that the right nutrition is the foundation for good health and a long life.
I found that although many of my clients agreed a fresh food diet would be best for their pets, they could not afford to purchase the expensive commercially available diets. “If only I could make something at home that would be balanced,” I have heard clients say over and over.
This recurrent issue prompted me to write my first pet cookbook, so that pet owners who were interested in whole food nutrition could feed their pets a balanced, fresh food diet they could afford.
My cookbook creations were developed with my pet owner clients in mind – recipes that guaranteed nutritional adequacy without breaking the bank.
For my next project, I collaborated with my friend and pet wellness coach, Beth Taylor, to write a cookbook that was evaluated by several different methods including AAFCO basic standards, NRC recommendations, and our unique addition, the ancestral diet information provided by Dr. Ellen Dierenfeld and her zoo data research. We also used Steve Brown’s raw food database and Zootrition™ software.
This collaboration resulted in our most recent edition of Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats – not because we were interested in promoting the sale of a pet cookbook, but because we wanted to give pet owners the opportunity to make healthy, balanced, fresh food meals.
My “Three Pillars of Health”
Because of the unique type of medicine I practice and because I’m only one person, I run a very busy veterinary clinic. I must compress hours of important information I want my clients to know down to a 60-minute appointment. That’s why I’ve learned to speak very fast! But I’ve also learned to summarize all the important aspects of health and wellness, disease and degeneration into three categories: nutrition, the immune system, and the physical body.
I address all three of these important topics with every patient at every exam. I call them the “three pillars of health.” And my goal with every patient is species-appropriate nutrition, a balanced immune system, and a resilient body and organ systems.
What Brought Me to Mercola Healthy Pets
I’m passionate about the benefits of proactive, integrative, and wellness-oriented healthcare and the value of alternative therapies that are rarely, if ever, discussed in the traditional veterinary community.
So when Dr. Mercola, the genius behind the world’s most-visited natural health site approached me in 2009 and asked me to help create an online animal wellness website, I jumped at the chance.
Being involved with Mercola Healthy Pets affords me the opportunity to educate countless animal lovers across the globe about the three pillars of health, and to empower pet owners to take the best possible care of their pets.
I have learned since 2009 that educating pet owners in private practice is quite different from educating over the Internet.
Also, if you were a client at my practice, after your appointment, during which we would discuss the most appropriate foods and anti-aging nutrients for your pet, I would write down all my recommendations. You would then have the option to locate the supplements and foods on your own, use our holistic pharmacy to fill your prescription, or browse through the boutique in my waiting room and select products directly off the shelf.
Making Pet Products Available for Those Who Want Them
Some of the first comments and feedback from the Healthy Pets site I received were along the lines of, “Well, this is great advice, Dr. Becker, but too bad I can’t find what you’re recommending anywhere.” Or… “Why make these recommendations for products when none of us have any access to them?”
This is exactly how Dr. Mercola started selling supplements initially. He made sound recommendations for supplements based on the latest research. But people became quite frustrated because they had nowhere to go to purchase these nutrients he was recommending, hence, the eventual addition of an online store.
The products designed and sold here at Healthy Pets are the very best quality supplements on the market. I say that with complete confidence, because I’ve witnessed the very stringent quality control measures set forth by the Mercola team as well as the rigorous standards set by the companies that blend and manufacture our products.
By the time a product is designed, tested, and reaches our warehouse (a process which actually takes many, many months and sometimes even years), I am totally confident it is the very best product of its kind available anywhere.
Selling high quality products benefits everyone. Pet owners have a source for excellent pet products, and the Healthy Pets site generates the revenue it needs to continue providing free wellness information to people around the globe.
Selling Top Quality Pet Products Helps You and Us
Something many don’t fully understand about websites like Mercola.com and the Healthy Pets site is they cost quite a lot of money to operate.
A dozen years ago, before Dr. Mercola began selling products, he invested more than half-a-million dollars of his own money over a three-year period to help keep his site going. During that time, he provided tons of free health-related information people had never received before. Actually, he paid for the privilege of having people benefit from his knowledge.
Needless to say, Dr. Mercola couldn’t operate like that indefinitely. He had to find investors, take paid advertising, or find some other way to finance his passion.
Dr. Mercola did not want to be silenced by investors who would not always agree with his viewpoints. And he did not want to directly endorse any product he didn’t believe in by allowing it to be advertised on his site. So, he was left one option, to sell products – excellent products – to help finance his growing website.
Like Dr. Mercola, I would never personally endorse a pet product I hadn’t tested or didn’t believe in. So, when I mention a Mercola Healthy Pets supplement, for example, as being potentially beneficial for your dog or cat, I genuinely mean it. I use every product we sell here both at my clinic and at home with my own pets.
Our goal is not to see how many products we can sell. Our goal is to educate, inform, and make a real difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.
You can rest assured the topics we discuss in our videos and articles are selected for their relevance and value to your pet. I try to focus on topics that I believe you will find informative, enlightening, and most importantly, educational. I do not pick articles for the purpose of selling a particular product.
Regular readers here know that in addition to providing information on our own products in the newsletters and articles, I also provide links to dozens of unaffiliated products I have used successfully in my practice or with my own pets. I also try to discuss as many home remedies and homemade treatments as possible, which many people also find very helpful.
Throughout both Dr. Mercola’s site and the Healthy Pets site, we also provide information and links to many other valuable resources we endorse and support, because our interest is – and will always be – to inform, educate, and make a real difference in the lives of people and the pets they love.
So if you’ve been suspicious or critical about the fact that we sell products here at MercolaHealthyPets.com, I hope you now have a much better understanding of why we do it.