Pet owners are being "brainwashed by aggressive marketing" campaigns, according to East Sussex village vet Dr Sonya Leggett.
Leggett believes a lot of domestic animals are being fed "junk food" which has an adverse effect on their health.
Saying she wants to improve the lives of pets and help educate their owners, she has launched a new pet shop in Forest Row on Saturday, December 6.
Ziggy's in Lewes Road, East Sussex is named after her fighting fit 12-year-old border collie, specialises in products designed to help animals live a long and healthy life – without the need for a trip to the vets.
Dr Leggett, resident of nearby Freshfield Bank, explained: "There are a lot of poor quality products out there which are the equivalent to human junk food, and I don't think it has done much for the overall health of our pets.
"The marketing these days is so clever that people have lost track of what they need to do, which is using common sense. Instead, I think people are being completely brainwashed. I think the marketing is very aggressive and it's not always right."
The Story Behind Sonya, Ziggy And Their Pet Shop
Ziggy appears to be the perfect example that a healthy diet results in a healthy lifestyle. "She has only ever been lame once when she was doing agility, but that was due to physical activity," Dr Leggett said.
"I have always wanted and believed that as a vet, I really shouldn't be seeing my patients on a regular basis. My aim has always been to get them healthy and for them to stay healthy.
"I truly believe you are what you eat, be you human or animal. For a lot of my clients, when I change their pets' diet, this is all that is needed to restore the animal to optimal health. This led me to having the idea of a shop that sold food that I would be happy recommending, along with supplements, and other quality pet products."
"It's been a huge learning curve so far and a lot of fun. Happily I've met some really committed suppliers and producers who think the same way."
The mother of two has also been given permission from Wealden District Council to carry out consultations in the room behind the shop, which she described as a "real family venture".
"My husband John was the brains behind the business; I couldn't have done it without him," she added. "And it was the children's idea to open it in the first
place, so it's a real family venture.
"My mother lives in the flat above the shop and noticed it was up for sale, so we thought we'd give it a go."
The shop had been vacant for about six years.
Dr Leggett added: "People have been very interested as the shop was empty for ages before we took it over.
"Forest Row is a very close knit community, and many local people have popped their head around the door while we have been refurbishing to ask what it is going to be, and express their delight that the shop will be open again having not been in use for quite some years."
A Bit Of Background on Dr Sonya Leggett
Since qualifying as a vet in 1998 Sonya has devoted much of her time to a more holistic approach to the treatment of animals which is immensely rewarding.
She loves to build up trusting long-term relationships with her patients and their owners.
In taking time to discover everything about an animal’s general condition, nutrition, lifestyle and behaviour, Sonya says she can offer a truly considered response to any health issues – gentle, natural interventions without the potentially damaging side-effects that conventional medicines may sometimes bring.
For more information on Dr Sonya Leggett & Ziggy's see below:
- Tel: 01342 822936
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Ziggy's Oak Trees, Lewes Road, Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5EP