Dr. Shmalberg’s core philosophy is that the best medicine for pets is preventative medicine—a concept grounded in nutrition, wellness, and a natural approach. Like all pet owners, he’s always searching for the best ways to achieve optimal health for his pets. Shmalberg knows it’s challenging to find and evolve an individualized plan that works for your pet, and focuses on helping clients navigate through all the noise of new products, foods, supplements, and lifestyle strategies out there.
Shmalberg’s professional mission is to help owners find the best integrative health solutions for their pets. Client education, veterinary teaching, product development, research, and an integrative medicine practice are all part of that. He’s seen countless animals helped by a combination of the latest medical treatments and technologies and natural approaches to disease and wellness—but, to him, nutrition is always fundamental. In his view, feeding our pets well is the best strategy for preventing chronic diseases.
Shmalberg’s veterinary journey began nearly two decades ago when he adopted a dog, a young Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named Liberty, who suffered from intractable seizures. He tried conventional medicine, but it didn’t reduce the frequency of her seizures—she was having multiple violent episodes daily, for days at a time. In a frustrated and hurried search for treatment, he found integrative veterinary medicine (though it wasn’t called that at the time). Through a combination of conventional care and complementary treatments, which in Liberty’s case included a natural diet and supplements, as well as lifestyle changes, her health improved. For the last 10 years of her life, she only experienced two seizures, after hundreds in that first year.
Liberty, and Shmalberg’s experience with her, inspired him to launch a natural pet food delivery service which became a retail store, Natural Pet Outfitters, in his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas. At the time, he was working on a BA in African Studies at the University of Kansas. The goal was to offer natural diets, which weren’t really popular at the time, supplements, and other innovative pet products. One day, while working in the store, a group of executives from a large commercial dog food company approached him. At the time, a store dedicated to natural pet diets was a novelty and they’d stopped by for a visit. When they mentioned that much of the advice he’d been giving owners was probably incorrect, and that if he really wanted to know more about pet nutrition, he should pursue veterinary nutrition certification, something clicked. Shmalberg took their advice to heart and enrolled in the undergraduate courses that were prerequisites for veterinary school. He went on to earn his DVM from University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by advanced training in veterinary nutrition and integrative medicine.
Shmalberg now lives in Florida with Matatu, his rescue Rhodesian Ridgeback.