Your Pets are in Good Paws at Page’s
Jun 30, 2011 10:09AM
By Peggy Malecki
Jody Page (left) and her team at Page’s Healthy Paws
“I love working with the animals that people bring in, and sharing my experience to try to get them back to better health,” explains Jody Page, owner of Page’s Healthy Paws, in Lake Zurich. “It’s all so worth it when you see a dog that is having problems; the owner brings them in and changes their diet, and three months later, they are in better health. That is so worth it.”
Walk into Page’s cozy store on Rand Road and you are surrounded by organic or natural pet foods from smaller, independent and often local producers. Natural treats—including real bones and cartilage (rawhide is hard to digest), dehydrated tidbits, sweet potato chips and bagged goodies—line one wall. Supplements, probiotics, essential oils, herbal remedies and holistic care products fill another. Past the cash register is an extensive selection of shampoos and external care products. The back rooms hold several freezers filled with frozen, raw feed and one rack is filled with eco-friendly, non-toxic toys. Page describes her store as a cross between a Whole Foods Market and a health food store for dogs and cats.
Although she spent many years working a high-tech corporate job, Page changed direction when she was laid off about 10 years ago. Animals had always been her passion, and she wanted to work with them more directly, so she started a pet sitting business. She soon met Linda Thomas, owner of Crystal Lake’s Thomas’ Tails, and began working at her store. Thomas and Page worked well together, and decided to open a second location in 2006, called Thomas’ Tails Page Too, in Lake Zurich, which Page successfully managed and grew.
In 2008, Page bought the Lake Zurich business from Thomas, moved to the present location and renamed it Page’s Healthy Paws. Today, they specialize in natural and raw diets, as well as holistic care for pets. Self-taught, Page has learned from holistic vets, specialists, books and seminars. She maintains a large library of reference material in the store that she keeps within easy reach.
“People come in here after they’ve exhausted all avenues with traditional vets and pharmaceuticals,” she says. “They are frustrated because they are not seeing results in their pet’s health. When people realize conditions can be controlled by diet, the light bulb goes on.” She highlights one recent customer that traveled from Chicago to seek help with his shepherd’s allergies, yet was not able to clear them after more than $3,000 in vet bills. Page educated the customer and recommended a new diet, as well as topical products and supplements to start the healing process, and after three months, the allergies had cleared.
“Grain is the highest allergen for dogs,” Page says. “Many commercial and big box brands use corn and wheat for fillers, which dogs don’t digest. People bring their dogs in here all itching and scratching. Environmental and grain allergies are typically treated with steroids and anti-inflammatories that compromise the immune system and mask the core cause of the allergy. When you take away the grain, you see a big difference almost immediately.”
Although dry kibble is convenient, Page believes that a raw diet is the best way to truly heal and maintain a dog’s vitality. “Raw is the most natural to dogs—meat, organ meat and bone. It’s what your dog would eat if it were on its own and were to catch a small animal,” she explains, adding that raw foods digest within 4 to 6 hours, while kibble can take 10 hours or longer. Dogs also eat less raw than kibble, require less water due to the higher moisture content, “and they poop a lot less, which is an added bonus.”
“People come in with dogs that won’t eat and are lethargic,” says Page. “After switching to a raw diet, they tell us the dog feels better and has more energy. I also think in addition to allergies, any dog diagnosed with cancer or diabetes should be on raw, to eliminate the carbs that feed those conditions.”
Page’s carries more than a dozen brands of raw feed, with meats ranging from beef, bison, fish and fowl to exotics like yak and llama. She coaches customers to choose cool foods like rabbit, duck and pork to ease allergies or for summer months, or warming foods like salmon, beef and lamb for lethargy, poor digestion and winter feed. Page advises that it is best to change from kibble to raw based on the dog’s constitution, adjusting the transition according to digestion and acceptance of new foods. The staff also keeps a record of each customer’s purchases to track progress and find the right combination of food and supplements.
Page’s hosts monthly events and promotions, including many rescue fundraisers, and will hold a raw diet presentation at 6:30 p.m., July 27. Page says she sees her store as a place for people to come to get answers and solutions from her trained and knowledgeable staff. “We’re not all about selling things that people don’t need,” she says. “We’re here to help them sort out what’s going on with their animals, and it’s a great atmosphere. People come in here and spend an hour just hanging out with us and talking about their pets.”
Page’s Healthy Paws is located at 249 N. Rand Rd., in Lake Zurich. Call 847-550-1002 for more information, or visit PagesHealthyPaws.com for events, promotions and testimonials.