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Check out Cranimals CEO, WilmaPretorius Ph.D. , and her latest interview with Pets and Their People. Dave: We're back, and we got Dr. Wilma Pretorius of Cranimals on, and George, what do you think? Think it's going to be a good interview, right?
George:It's going to be a great interview. Welcome in, Dr. Wilma.
Wilma Pretorius:Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm happy to be here.
George:We're happy to have you. Cranimals ... Okay, I blew it. It's fine. How did you get into this business? It's a supplement, and there's a million of them out there, but how did you get into developing [00:00:30] the supplement and how do you separate yourself from the noise? I guess that's the real question.
Wilma Pretorius: The story behind Cranimals actually starts with me founding the parent company in 2007. Cranimals is actually a retail division of that company. My parent company actually manufactures berry extracts that are used and exported worldwide. They're used in functional foods and supplements and things like that. It's a [00:01:00] little bit different to all the other pet supplement companies out there that actually buy their ingredients that they use in their products. We actually manufacture 80% of the ingredients that go into our products ourselves. I had pets when I started my company, and two of them actually died of cancer. At the time, our products were exported and used in human products. It was just a light bulb really went off for me, and at that [00:01:30] point I decided that it really would make sense to get our ingredients, which are just really very functional, they're certified organic, most of them, and to get those types of ingredients into pet products or pet supplements. That's really how Cranimals was born, I would say. Definitely a different story to most other pet supplement companies out there, where we really make [00:02:00] all of the ingredients, mostly, all of the ingredients that go into our product. That's how it all started.
George: I'll admit we have pet supply stores and we sell your product, and I guess it was back a couple of years ago. A lady came in, and she had a dog, an older dog, who had cancer. Somewhere she discovered your product, and she was giving it to them. For people who don't know, it's a powdered substance, and you add it on top of their food, or I guess that's the best way to [00:02:30] get it to transfer into the animal itself. Anyway, she was doing testimonials inside the store, swearing up and down that it revitalized her dog from his bout with cancers and he was feeling better, he was looking better, and extended his life.
Wilma Pretorius: Yeah, I totally believe that. The ingredients in our product ... I mean, berries, I think everybody knows that [00:03:00] berries really are superfoods. That's the basis for our product, these berry extracts. They're just ... They've been shown in multiple clinical settings to just be extremely beneficial for a host of chronic diseases, including cancer. I completely am a believer in these ingredients as well as really the basis for the products are nutritional medicine [00:03:30] and prevention of disease as well as treatment. Really you are what you eat. People really, I think, are starting to come back to that as well, that what you put into your body or what you put into the body of your pet really has a profound effect on their health. These products are really superfoods. They're superfood extracts. From that point of view, they're actually nutritional medicines.
George:[00:04:00] There's no question that people are starting to learn. Even myself, I grew up in a typical city environment, an Italian heritage, and we ate a lot of meat and potatoes and pasta. It doesn't take long to develop chronic diseases and inflammation in your body. The sugars are the killer, and I think that people got to understand that.
Wilma Pretorius: I totally agree with you, absolutely, 100%. I think there's [00:04:30] a complete trend in the pet health right now that it basically mirrors a lot of the chronic diseases that we're seeing in humans as well, and it's completely tied to diet. There's just really this focus on carbohydrates in pet diets, particularly these processed or kibble-based diets. It's generally really not suited to ... [00:05:00] Species-appropriate would be the correct term. It's really not a species-appropriate diet for pets. It's really an overload, as you say, of sugar, which then causes inflammation. It also leads to a host of other chronic diseases like diabetes, for example. It is actually also tied to things like recurrent urinary tract infections and then [00:05:30] inflammation and these things then eventually lead to cancer. Absolutely, diet is a big one for pets. Then also the environment, I think. Our products basically address all of these underlying issues, whereas I feel the drugs basically address symptoms, but nutrition and nutritional supplements really help [00:06:00] address systemic disease and correct things on a fundamental level versus just treating a symptom.
George: Now, Dr. Wilma, of course, with the premium foods over the last few years, the prices have continued to rise. We got foods in our stores that are $80, $90 a bag. Of course the cheapest, I guess, is around $50 now. Again, that's in the kibble side. We also have the raw diets and the freeze-dried and the dehydrated and all the [00:06:30] newer generation. When somebody buys an $80 bag of dog food and to convince them that they probably should put a supplement or feed a supplement, sometimes they look at you crazy. They said, "If I wanted to do that, I would go back to feeding my dog Gaines Meal or Gaines-Burgers and Alpo, the stuff that we were used to in the '70s and '80s." It's almost hard to justify, but people got to understand that they don't get a lot of nutrition sometimes out of that kibble, no [00:07:00] matter how expensive it is.
Wilma Pretorius: Absolutely, and it's also long-term. Our pets are living longer, but that also basically gives them the opportunity to develop chronic disease. Cancer, diabetes, all of these things are really afflicting older dogs in very high percentages. You have to weigh, "Do I want to spend more when my pet is from puppyhood, [00:07:30] do I want to spend a bit more on their diet and food and supplementation and then prevent a whole host of health problems down the line?" which then could translate into honestly thousands of dollars in veterinary bills. That's something to think about. It might be a bit short-sighted to think, "I'm not going to give my dog any additional supplements or any additional fresh food on top of that [00:08:00] expensive kibble," but in the long term, it really makes sense because you're going to save yourself a lot of headache. Not only in vet bills, but quality of life for your pet. I think that's something pet parents should consider.
George: Absolutely. It's the whole package, for sure. Dr. Wilma, how many remedies does Cranimals have on the marketplace at this time?
Wilma Pretorius: At this point we have a full core supplements, and [00:08:30] the actual supplements that we do have on the market address most of the chronic health issues that modern pets currently face. We have a clinically proven urinary tract pet supplement that's suited for both cats and dogs, and that basically addresses recurrent urinary tract infections and struvite crystals and stones which is a big health issue for both cats and dogs. [00:09:00] Then we also have a detoxification or spirulina-based supplement. That supplement provides benefits for diabetic pets as well as skin and coat allergies and food intolerances and kidney and liver disease. Then we have Cranimals Very Berry, which is really a superfood antioxidant supplement. That helps with chronic [00:09:30] disease such as arthritis and cancer. Then we have a puppy supplement which is specifically tailored for developing puppies, for supplying DHA omega-3 and other nutrients for developing brains and skin and coat health.
George: Now, I saw ...
Wilma Pretorius:Those are the core ...
George:The core brands.
George:I saw you also have something for tear stains, which is a chronic issue with a lot of pets.
Wilma Pretorius:[00:10:00] We do, actually. That is the Cranimals Detox, or the Cranimals Gold products are actually natural remedies for tear stains. Again, no antibiotics are used. A lot of other tear stain products actually rely on an antibiotic action. Our product is really effective to naturally reduce or eliminate tear stains [00:10:30] and quite a few groomers actually use and recommend our products for that. It basically is a natural anti-inflammatory and it helps to, as a result of reducing inflammation, clears up tear stains. It doesn't work overnight. It takes about four to six weeks to start seeing results, but then once the tear stains clear up they stay [00:11:00] put, basically.
George: Obviously, if you don't have a tear stain issue or you're just getting a puppy, it would be helpful to start ahead of time and whatever enzymes or whatever bleeds out of their eyes, it's ... I know it's nothing worse than seeing a beautiful dog and then having all these ugly stains around his eyes.
Wilma Pretorius: It is, absolutely. It's unsightly and lots of pet parents really struggle with that. Again, if you do have a puppy, it makes sense to start them off [00:11:30] and really give them a strong foundation in health so that once they do grow up and they reach their older senior years, that they really are ... That they have a really great quality of life. I think that's really important. I think one of the big issues also with modern pets is they tend to mirror us as humans, what our lifestyle is like. Some [00:12:00] pets are obese and so they don't get enough exercise. They may actually be a direct mirror of what your lifestyle is like. They're almost like sentinels in that respect, where they point out things that might need some attention either in your environment or in your lifestyle. I think a lot of chronic disease is really rooted in diet [00:12:30] and lifestyle choices. We can make a huge difference both to our own and to our pets' health if we just pay attention to those two things.
George: I not only think you're correct, I know you're correct, because over these last several years I've tried to make some choices and some adjustments in lifestyle, and like I said, diet, but I still have a little ways to go because it's hard to break old habits. I think my dogs are in better shape than I am right now, but that's a subject for another day.
Wilma Pretorius: [00:13:00] That's true. That's the good thing about dogs that they want to get out and they want to be active, so frequently they might actually be the driver to get us out there doing things. It's a reciprocal relationship, really.
George: That's what they're for, yeah.
Wilma Pretorius: We keep them fit and ... Yeah, that's absolutely what they're for.
George: Dr. Wilma, thank you for coming on. What is the Cranimals web site?
Wilma Pretorius: The Cranimals web site is very easy. It's basically [00:13:30] wwww.cranimals.com. We have lots of information on our blog, and then you can have a look at all the products and of course we also have testimonials on there. Yeah, your listeners, feel free to hop onto the web site and email us also if you have any questions or queries or you need some advice regarding your pet. We're always happy to help.
George: We appreciate you coming on today and spreading some of your knowledge. It's real. It's [00:14:00] basic. It's there, and everybody knows it, but we have to be pushed towards it every once in a while. Hopefully this conversation has helped. It's helped me. I know what I'm having for lunch. It's going to be a salad today.
Wilma Pretorius:Good stuff, yes. While you're at it you may even want to give some to your dog, if they'll eat it.
George: Absolutely. We appreciate you coming on today, Dr. Wilma. Thank you so much. Click here to listen to the entire show!