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Paul from Vondis Holistic Pet chats to the communications manageress for Mdzananda Animal Clinic on Smile FM Radio.

Supporting animal welfare must be an obligation for all animal lovers. It is always a pleasure working with professional charitable organisations like The Mdzananda Animal Clinic from  Khayelitsha.

Enhancing well-being for animals and their community through veterinary health care, education and partnerships

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic strives to see a community that cares for every animal be it a pet, neighbour’s pet, stray or farm animal. A community that loves animals is a healthy community. By looking after an animal people learn responsibility, respect for life, compassion and non-violence.

Mdzananda works on enhancing the well-being of animals and their human companions through providing low cost veterinary health care services, education and by forming partnerships inside and outside of the community.

They have a strong focus on community empowerment and education and focus on understanding the community’s needs, embracing this, gaining their respect and trust.

Get 10 Free packs of Vondi’s food for every NEW #PawMember

Mdzananda Animal Clinic has lost its largest funder due to international budget cuts. They need 3000 #PawMembers, each donating R100 per month, to keep their doors open.

If you sign up today, add ‘Vondis’ to your name and we will give you 10 FREE packets of pet food. Now that’s a barking good reason to sign up! You will need to be based in Cape Town or Johannesburg to collect your free goodies.

Sign up at or contact Make sure to add “Vondis” to your name to claim your free gift.

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Pets touch our hearts in many ways, emotionally and physically – 67% of children consider pets to be their best friend and 72% of South African families laugh at least once a day because of something their pet does.

Paul from Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition discusses their miraculous behaviour and phenomenal sixth sense, on Smile FM Radio.

Their sense of hearing is 4 times better than ours but it is their sense of smell which is remarkable, hundreds of times better than that of a human.

As a result they have the ability to protect us from natural disaster, threatening actions, sickness and harm. They are there waiting for you at the door  long before any of your family. They know when you are pregnant and may even know that you are pregnant before your own discovery.

They are dedicated to their owner/partner both emotionally and physically. A more sacred being you will never find.

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What can Rooibos do for your pets and can you enjoy high-tea with your furry friend. Paul from Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition discusses the benefits of Rooibos on Smile FM radio. Looking at JM, radio presenter, I would be convinced that he is a Rooibos drinker. He has a great silky glossy head of hair (or should be call it a coat of hair). He asked me if he could share his Rooibos tea with Jake, his beloved companion animal. Of course he can!

There are so many legendary health properties to Rooibos Tea that it has taken the world by storm. Rooibos is proudly South African and right on our doorstep and because it’s packed with many antioxidants and minerals, Rooibos (“red bush”) tea is extremely healthy. It promotes healthier skin, mainly because of its high concentration of Zinc and Vitamin D. Thus, when we treat our companion’s skin and allergy problems, Rooibos is one of my preferred remedies.

Used internally or externally, you are sure to see an improvement with your pet’s skin and coat. Rooibos tea as it relates to healthy skin is hypoallergenic and antibacterial and it can treat and alleviate bacterial infections on the skin. Rooibos Tea is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Another one of Rooibos Tea’s benefits is that it includes powerful antioxidants. This boosts the immune system and fights free radicals. Immunity is everything and healthy pets are less likely to be affected by virus, bacteria, parasites and allergens. Whether you include Rooibos Tea in your pet’s water and food or soak them in a Rooibos bath, South Africa’s own wonder bush is there to serve you and your pet.

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Rump, fillet, fat-free chicken breast?

Paul from Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition discusses, on Smile FM, which meat is nutritious for our pets.

Living in Sea point Cape Town, I hear only too often: “I went to Woolies and bought only fat free chicken breasts for Lucy” or “my dog , Harold, only eats fillet”.

The popular cuts of meat that we enjoy in restaurants and at home may be tasty but they certainly are not as nutritious as organ meat, for example.

Dried kibble/pellet food contains almost no meat protein at all, so the type of meat used here, is of little concern. However, those wise persons producing their own meals for pets, should concern themselves the quality and type of meat that they include. A meat only diet is highly unnatural and unbalanced. Meat should form only a part of the over-all healthy diet, which should include bone, fruits, vegetables, offal and other supplements as well. Meat supplies protein – That is its major role in healthy nutrition. It also supplies varying amounts of fat, water, and some vitamins and minerals. Because it supplies fat and protein, it also supplies energy. Meat is first class protein and contains all the essential amino acids
Meat supplies some minerals – Raw meat is low in sodium and high in potassium. It also contains some calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Know your meat:

Know your offal:
In the wild, dogs eat the stomach content and organ meat from the animals they prey upon. Dogs consuming these foods as part of a sensible diet have superior health to dogs that do not eat them. Although organ meats are valuable dog food, they are not required in huge amounts. They are a concentrated source of many essential nutrients.

Is the most concentrated source of vitamin A and should be fed in small amounts on a regular basis. It also contains vitamins D, E, and K in substantial quantities. Liver is an excellent source of the minerals zinc, manganese, selenium and iron. It also contains all the B vitamins. Liver provides a source of good quality protein and the essential fatty acids, both the omega-3 and omega-6 type.

Kidney supplies good quality protein, essential fatty acids and many vitamins including all the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Kidneys are a rich source of iron and all the B vitamins. They also have good levels of zinc.

Excellent source of protein, B vitamins and iron. Heart contains appreciable levels of taurine which is important food… for the heart!

It contains a very diverse profile of living nutrients including enzymes, omega- 3 and 6 fatty acids, probiotics, and phytonutrients. It has long been quoted as being “the finest of natural foods”.

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Treat/snacks for your pet. Why? To affirm good behaviour, to celebrate occasions, for training or just because we love them.

We love them dearly. They also deserve that tasty treat. But many treats, biscuits, snacks contain, sugar, dairy or preservatives that can lead to a variety of adverse medical conditions, most notably skin allergies.

Each one of us have that hidden talent of being a chef and it is not difficult to produce or prepare healthy snacks and treats for your pets. We had the luxury of compiling a range of health biscuits with our dear friend and celebrity chef, Jenny Morris – coconut oil biscuits, mint and rooibos, spirulina to mention but a few. But we can all produce something health and nutritious.

Here is my list of innovative snacks that are healthy and nutritious.

Hard boiled eggs, scrambled or fried

Raw carrots or slightly sautéed in butter

Apple pieces, papaya or berries

Home-made biscuits with real stock, that contains added supplements and vitamins – no dairy, or preservatives

Fatty biltong

Any raw, natural bone, except  chicken

My absolute favourite is liver biltong. It is extremely nutritious and breaks easily into small pieces.

Come-on – get creative – bring out the chef in you with your own ideas 🙂

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It appears that for every ailment out there, from skin disorders to cancer, the blame falls upon grains and carbohydrates. However, there are good grains like quinoa, millet, wheat germ, slip peas, pearl barley, long brown rice and then there are bad grains like processed white rice, white flour, wheat and corn gluten, etc.

Many professionals and lay person simply claim that our pets are allergic, without understanding the origin of the problem. So, without applying their minds, they often ‘blame the grain’. What a shame.

Acidosis is mainly as a result of a poor eating plan and diet, which leads to inflammation.

In turn, inflamed cells seriously affect your body’s immune system as it becomes depleted from key minerals – magnesium, potassium and calcium. This state of inflammation is the cause of skin ailments, arthritis and bladder disorders, as well as the more serious sicknesses we find nowadays.

An anti-inflammatory diet does not mean that you must eliminate sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats as they are essential for alkaline minerals to establish themselves properly in the tissues. But the diet plan should contain 60 – 80 percent alkalinizing foods to restore and maintain your body’s pH balance.

There is a massive difference between a whole grain or sprouted grain and refined processed grain. A whole grain is generally only slightly acidic or slightly alkaline based.

Yet, animal products like meat and dairy are classified as ‘extremely’ acidic. Without the correct balancing of a majority alkaline forming foods (like veggies) you will always derive at an ‘acidic state of being’. Thus the inflammation and therefore the allergies.

Note that a food’s acid or alkaline forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic; however the end products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so, lemons are alkaline forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion, but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid forming.

Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.

Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, refined grains, egg whites, oats, potatoes, etc. But meat is classified as ‘extremely acidic’.

Whole grains (the bran, germ and endosperm) contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions: Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Oats, Quinoa, Rice (brown and colored), Wheat, Rye, etc). Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains, is very beneficial and lowers the risk of many chronic diseases.

Therefore, it is obvious to claim that eating whole grains with the proportionate quantity of veggies will support an alkaline environment in the gut. Conversely, eating a diet containing mainly meat will create an acidic and unstable environment. The result is inflammation in the cells and thus, allergies and other ailments.

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How scientific and regulated is pet food and can anyone produce pet food commercially?

The pet food industry is one of the most regulated industries. Unlike with human food sold commercially, where one has to simply list the ingredients and guaranteed analysis, pet nutrition has to go through a far more rigorous process. The reason behind this is that humans eat various different meals during the week, to eventually derive at a complete and balanced diet, our pets eat the same diet daily. Thus, it is imperative that the diet to regulated so that the nutritional requirements of our pets is optimized daily and with every meal.

Many lay person believes that they can set up their own kitchen, design a recipe and then sell it off to friends or businesses. This is not true and in fact against the law. Without certification and registration with the Department of Agriculture, act 36 of 1947, you are not permitted to sell pet nutrition.

That said, Vondi’s has always supported the feeding of wholesome, real food diets that you prepare from home an fed to your own pets. The modern consumer is enlightened enough to prepare their own pet food that is wholesome, balanced and complete. After all, we have been doing this for hundreds of years with great success.

Even companies like ourselves who produce natural, alternative diets, have to fall in line with scientific analysis. One commercial pet food is not more scientific than another.

Vondi’s had to endure extreme scientific testing and procedure in order to be legally registered in terms of Act 36 of 1947.

This involved:

1. Microbiological testing to determine any aerobic or anaerobic growth so that it can be considered as “Commercially sterile”.

2. A chemical analysis to determine balance to include: Protein, Moisture, Ash, Fat, Insoluble fibre, Ca, P, Linoleic, Omega 6:3, β-carotene.

3. Perform a proximal analysis to determine its proximal composition moisture analysis.

4. Determine an optimum time/temperature and a built in safety margin.

5. Label development in terms of the law: Guaranteed Analysis, Feeding Guidelines, Open Declaration.

6. Full chemistry on final product.

7. Application to The Department of Agriculture for registration.

The fact that we don’t boast about our scientific registration and completeness, does not make us any less scientific than other veterinary brands. We have just preferred to advocate other attributes that we feel are just as important: WHOLESOMENESS, NUTRITIOUS and of course MORALITY and ETHICS.

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Our Yogi dog. What has happened to our relaxed and calm dog?

Through Meditation, Yoga and controlled breathing we know that we can control our mental state, well-being and behavior. We are able to put aside our daily worries and stress. We are relaxed.

If you were a dog or cat, how would you control your breathing? How would you live in the moment, relax and revel in life’s jewels.

Well, our companion animals are inherently happy beings and inherently breathe calmly and controlled. They are our true gurus.

That is, unless physiologically their state of well-being is changed. Diet plays a very important role in their breathing and state of relaxation.

With the recent introduction of dried kibble into our households the whole nutritional base of our animals has shifted towards highly-processed and chemically-laden food that is high in carbohydrates. This has been an abrupt change from natural pet nutrition.

While manufacturers claim that our pets can thrive on a diet consisting of nothing but commercial dried food. More and more, processed dried pet food is being implicated as a source of disease or as an exacerbating agent for a number of degenerative diseases, as well as affecting behavior and anxiety.

High carb and sugar diets will do just that and will affect their physical state, ability to breath naturally and their well-being.

It is certainly not recommended to sit down to meditation after drinking a can of red bull, cup of coffee or bottle of coca cola. The same applies to our companion animals who surely cannot expect to behave normally after consuming high-carb energy diets.

One need only follow Professor Tim Noakes writings on high-carb diets to understand the negative impact that it has on health and well-being. High carb diets spike your insulin levels uncontrollably. This irritates inflammation and certainly affects breathing and behavior. Quick breaths bring on hyper activeness, hyper tension and anxiety.

Athletes, in the past, before an event, would “carbo-load” to build up energy resources.

Professor Tim Noakes now believes that in order to perform consistently and with endurance a wholesome balanced diet would be preferable rather than relying on high-carb intake. The “spiking” of insulin levels from high carbs does not endure and is inconsistent.

High carb diets have the same impact on our pets. Most of our pets and certainly with specific breeds, already have too much energy and are hyper-active. A kibble diet will surely exacerbate energy levels, the result being that our pets become out of control, less disciplined and generally misbehaved. Hyper-active pets are likely to chew themselves and show signs of irritation and discomfort.

Our companion animals once lived in bliss, in sync with nature and were the masters of controlled breathing. Now their rapid breathing dictates their behavior and dictates their state of being. They are no longer the masters of their own well-being. Our Yogi friend is now an explosive bundle of uncontrolled energy.

Our pet’s metabolism is not designed to consume food that is over-processed, cereal and carbohydrate-based and that contains a variety of additives, preservatives, flavourants and colourants.

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Herbs in your pet’s nutrition – your very own medicinal garden

Most people have fresh herbs at home or can easily acquire some. The medicinal and mineral wealth in herbs is well documented and is essential to the health of all animals. In the wild, dogs and cats would graze a variety of mineral enriched grass, flowers and herbs, instinctively identifying the healing and cleansing agents that they contain. It is not uncommon for even our domesticated pets to consume grass and roots.

In our own brand of natural food we include a variety of over 20 freshly pick herbs.  As a result we have had amazing success in treating skin allergies and eczema, bad breath, bladder disorders, obesity, eye ailments, diabetes, cancer and nervousness.

Described below are some common conditions that we struggle with and how the appropriate herb can be effective in treating it.

So often we struggle with poor animal behavior and it seems that our companions are out of control. The herbs that would supplement this diet are the cooling and calming herbs:

PROPERTY:  Calming, Relaxing, Soothing

MINERAL: Magnesium

HERBS:  Assortment of Mints, Sages, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Borage, Yarrow

A very common ailment with our companion animals are digestive issues. This could be a loose stool, flatulence, smelly skin and breath or diarrhea. This problem may be chronic and regular or it may be as result of a viral or bacterial infection. The herbs that I would recommend for such a condition are listed below:

PROPERTY: Digestive Alkaliser, prevent mucus formation, prevent toxic build up and removal of toxins

MINERAL: Sodium & Sulpher

HERBS: Mints, Garlic, Fennel, Comfrey

We all know that calcium is fantastic for bone, teeth and cartilage. So often we turn to synthetic pharmaceutical mineral supplementation. The most effective minerals and vitamins are derived from wholesome enzymatic active ingredients that you find in veggies and herbs:

PROPERTY: Build Strong Teeth, Bones, Cartilage, Hooves & Nails

MINERAL: Calcium

HERBS: Carrots, Sorrel

Skin allergies and skin irritation are the most common ailments we find nowadays. Herbs like mint, sages, lemon verbena and lemon balm (enriched with magnesium) would be very beneficial in the treatment thereof. However, as general maintenance and promoting healthy coats and bright eyes, the mineral chlorine is preferred:

PROPERTY: Promoting Glossy Coats, Shinny Eyes by Removing Toxic Build Up and Over Formation of Fatty Tissue.

MINERAL: Chlorine

HERBS: Rosemary, Basil, Comfrey

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