Deanna Larocque, photographed while out on a hike with two of her dogs, Wyatt and Sulley, is a Sicamous-based certified clinical pet nutritionist who is excited to be part of the August edition of Pet Connection: Canada’s Natural Health Magazine for Pets. (Contributed)

Shuswap pet nutritionist, raw diet advocate to be featured in national magazine

Sicamous-based Deanna Larocque building reputation for canine support

Deanna Larocque’s approach to pet nutrition and caring for dogs has earned her a spot in a national publication.

Based in Sicamous, Larocque is a certified clinical pet nutritionist and owner of Mountain K9 Acres. Her focus is providing support for owners of dogs that may be suffering from health issues. She is an advocate of raw diets tailored to the needs of individual dogs.

“People source me out when their dog has allergies… Then they look to me and say, ‘OK, what do we do, what’s going on?’ said Larocque, who goes over the dog’s history with the client and develops a support program, including a diet plan specially tailored to the dog.

Over the past year-and-a-half, through word of mouth alone, Larocque has provided support for clients throughout the Shuswap, as well as in Vernon and Revelstoke, and in Alberta and the U.S.

Word of mouth also brought Larocque to the attention of Pet Connection: Canada’s Natural Health Magazine for Pets. The August 2020 edition of the magazine will include an article by her on liver cleansing for dogs.

“Everything goes through your liver, all of the chemicals and everything that’s in the environment and even in our household…,” said Larocque. “It’s taxing on their liver so you have to support their liver and their immune system.”

Larocque said she pursued a pet nutritionist certification after an experience with Wyatt, one of her three dogs, when he was a puppy.

“He was really sick and I went to the vet and did testing and spent tons of money and then I decided to go back to the basics,” said Larocque, who began feeding Wyatt all natural foods. Over time, Wyatt’s issues resolved on their own.

Larocque said dogs are coming down with a lot of ailments that humans do, from allergies to acid reflux, and believes diets are at the root of their problems. In treating dogs, she will develop a natural food diet based on what is ailing them.

“For cancers in dogs, there shouldn’t be any sugar because cancer thrives on sugar…,” said Larocque. “I give them a recipe to follow; we set up a game plan where basically, you alienate certain foods, you start from scratch and use a novel protein, and you do it for four to six weeks and then you go from there.”

Larocque said raw diets for dogs can be controversial among veterinarians. Part of this, she explained, is due to concern dogs won’t receive a balanced diet, that people will just put a chunk of meat in a dog’s food dish. However, she maintains a balanced raw diet is preferable to a reliance on “kibble.” And she said her clients have been impressed, if not surprised, by the results of transitioning their pets to raw.

“Once they go to raw, I haven’t had one person go back to kibble,” said Larocque. “It’s funny because I get phone calls all the time, ‘My dog isn’t drinking anymore.’ Well, your dog doesn’t need to drink as much because he’s getting all the moisture out of the food. And then, ‘he’s not pooping as much.’ It’s because he’s using all that good food.”

In addition to providing consultations, Larocque is a distributor of raw food brands including Only Natural Pet, Carnivora, and Canine Choice. She also makes her own dehydrated dog treats. She also carries a variety of additional protein options, from goat to kangaroo, llama and alpaca, all of which she will deliver to people’s door step.

“I can bring in duck heads and chicken feet and duck feet and a whole bunch of weird stuff so the dogs are always getting something different and exciting because some dogs are kind of picky and you have to change it up sometimes.”

For more information or to arrange a consultation or food delivery, Larocque can be reached by email at mountaink9acres@gmail.com.

Read more: Know what you’re getting into financially before you adopt a dog

Read more: Shuswap SPCA needs help for dog with terrible skin condition

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