Meet Our Just Be Kind Team
Arielle Griffiths BVSc MRCVS
Vegan Vet and pet owner
I am passionate about helping owners with their pets. I am a practising GP vet based in the UK, a pet owner, a mother and a forces wife, and I fully understand the strength of the human-animal bond. I choose to only consult as I love it and I am fascinated by owners and their love for their pets as I relate to all of it!
My journey as a vegan vet came from a passion to help owners with their overweight pets. We are an army family and we were posted abroad for 7 years. It meant moving home every 2 years with 4 children, dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even a chicken Coco who lived in 4 different countries with us as we loved her so much!
Upon returning to the UK after 7 years away, I was struck by how obese the pet population had become and how owners were overfeeding their pets out of love. After one particularly emotional day where I had to put 4 dogs to sleep for either being too overweight that they couldn’t get up, or obesity related issues such as cancer; I returned to my family and vowed to do something about this crisis as it really affected me.
I registered as a business called Slimming Pets Ltd and I threw myself passionately into dog nutrition and human behaviour. I completed as many nutrition courses as I could and I listened to each and every client who walked through the door. There is so much differing information out there for us as pet owners with so much of it being dictated by the large pet food companies as they can afford the most on advertising. We are taught so little about nutrition at vet school as it is a given that the pet food companies have it all sorted for us and we just need to feed their foods, but as a Mum and pet owner and a scientist, this wasn’t good enough for me – especially listening to the concerns of my clients. I have learnt so much just by listening to you the pet owner.
Every bit of research that I completed to find the healthiest diet for our dogs all pointed to a plant-based diet.
I contacted the top UK vet nutritionists in the country for advice but they referred me to the US and supplements there as even they had not researched this avenue as there is too much money in the UK pet food meat industry.
Having lived in Germany for a few years in forces accommodation and with a smattering of german, I turned there for advice from top vet nutritionists as they seemed to be well ahead of us in the UK with regards to pet nutrition with plant-based feeding and this is where I made contact with the wonderful team at VEGDOG.DE. They had received €125 000 of funding in 2018 when they bravely pitched their quality plant-based food to the equivalent of the Dragon’s Den. They are a young, dynamic and passionate team with the talented vet and nutritionist Lisa Walther developing all their foods and supplement. I feel humbled having made contact with them and now working with them.
I still however felt that I wanted to offer the UK the best of what Germany had, so I made contact too with the second top vet nutritionist specialising in dog nutrition – Dr Uwe Romberger who formulated the V-Complete supplement for an equally as successful company as VegDog – Vegan4Dogs run by the inspiring Leni Lecker.
As you have read, Ruff and I have only been vegan for over a year and it has been such a journey. There is constantly something new to try with plant-based feeding in both us and in our pets and I continue to listen and learn from all you dedicated dog owners out there who feel as passionately about this as I do.
As a vet, I believe in a kinder, healthier way to feed our pets that does no damage to our environment, harms no animals and uses fresh, healthy plant-based ingredients for a balanced and delicious diet .
VegDog and Vegan4Dogs have helped me to achieve all of these aims on our own family dog Ruff and my aim now is to benefit all your pets and together we can do our bit to be kind to the planet and our farmed animals too.
Read about Arielle’s Witness Statement as a vegan vet after watching Sir David Attenborough’s Life On Our Planet
Dr Lisa Walther
Veterinarian and Nutritional Specialist
Even as a child it was clear to me that I wanted to work with animals one day. That’s why I decided to become a vet. During my studies (2008-2014) I discovered my deep interest in the nutrition of dogs and cats. After successfully completing my veterinary degree, I studied nutrition further at the Medical Small Animal Clinic in Munich. It became clear very quickly how important nutrition is to not only keep our dogs healthy, but also to prevent or even in some cases cure certain diseases.
I am relieved to see that pet owners are far more aware of the benefits of nutrition too and only want the best for their pets. More and more owners want to cook for their pets. However, a lot can go wrong. Studies show that unsupplemented homemade feeding very often has at least one serious deficiency. Illnesses are then inevitable. This is why I helped develop the All-In-Veluxe VEGDOG supplement to ensure that owners get it 100% right.
Together with Arielle, we have produced recipes that I have ensured are balanced for your dogs of any weight. Arielle and I are so pleased to be working as a team to benefit the dogs (and owners) in the UK being fed a very sustainable and healthy plant-based diet.
Clare Knottenbelt BVSc MSc DSAM MRCVS
Veterinary Oncologist and pet owner
Hawk and Dove Oncology Referrals
I am committed to trying to ensure that pets are as healthy and long lived as they can be. As an RCVS specialist in Small Animal Medicine and a Veterinary Oncologist, I spend much of my time supporting owners whose pets have cancer. As one in every three dogs and cats will develop cancer it’s a problem that sadly affects so many owners.
I lost my last dog Huntly to cancer at only 9 years old and this gave me a new perspective on the emotional burden that having a pet with cancer places on your family. Huntly was sadly plagued with medical problems throughout his life and these resulted in massive weight gain followed by massive weight loss. In the end he developed a thyroid tumour in his neck which meant that it become increasingly difficult for him to breathe.
Unfortunately, our current dog Jumble has already had a mast cell tumour removed, and at 8 years old is starting to experience middle-aged spread. At this point in his life, the risk of him developing many diseases including cancer increases and if his weight isn’t kept under control, he is at greater risk of mobility issues too.
For many years I worked at the University of Glasgow and during this time became more aware of the similarities between humans and our much-loved pets when it comes to causes and prevention of disease. I was often asked what causes cancer in pets and just like in humans there is no straight answer; we know there are things we can do to try to prevent cancer such as not smoking, eating healthily and taking lots of exercise. These factors can help humans achieve a healthy life expectancy and that’s what we all want for our pets.
As a family we are determined to ensure that Jumble has the longest and healthiest life that he can. Jumble has grown up with my daughters and he provides the whole family with emotional support and gets us all up and out to take him for walks. We all want Jumble to live a long life and to remain healthy, but despite this, it has only been recently that we started to review exactly what he was being fed. It was through working with Arielle that we realised the benefits of a plant-based diet on Jumble’s health. It was when he started on a plant-based diet, that we noticed his energy return and the extra weight disappear – suddenly he was bringing us his toys again to play!
I want to support his health through his food and he loves the homemade high-nutrient butternut sausage treats and Green Crunch. I know that I am not the only pet owner that feels this way and as a vet I can help support others to ensure that their furry family members can also live long and stay as healthy as possible!
Dr. med. vet. Uwe Romberger
Vegan Vet Specialist
Dr Uwe Romberger together with his wife Christine Burggraf (an animal health specialist advisor and dog physiotherapist), run the very successful veganvet.info business as they are both experts on vegan nutrition in dogs. They helped formulate the V-Complete supplement that is used to keep homemade plant-based dog food recipes 100% balanced and sold on the Vegan4Dogs site in Germany.
We are thrilled to be working with both Dr Uwe and Christine who have formulated one of the homemade diets on our Just Be Kind site. They are passionate animal lovers devoted to the work they do as well as devoted to their 16 whippets who are all 100% plant-based and eat a combination of homemade supplemented food as well as Greta and Green Crunch.
Dr. Lukas Kiemer
Vet and Vegan Dog Food Specialist
Lukas chose to complete his Master’s Thesis after completing his veterinary degree, on the Vegan Diet and its effects on the dog’s health. His intensive and meticulous research has proved so valuable to the future of feeding our pets that we have included him as one of our vegan vet specialists with everything that he has taught us.
He is also an all round empathetic and caring vet who shows not just compassion towards the animals under his care, but also towards the future health of our planet.
We are a family with a social conscience seeking the best food for our own family dog Ruff
Just like all you pet lovers out there; we love our little dog Ruff more than we can begin to describe – he makes our lives richer everyday with his overwhelming desire to just be our friend and make us happy.
We are a family of empaths with Mum Arielle a vegan vet, Dad a vet and our children are a vegan pharmacist, a sport’s scientist and body builder, a vegetarian medical student and our youngest still at school and a vegan, all with a desire to make the world a better place for all of us.
Our aims are ultimately for one of kindness
Kindness towards our own pets – feeding them the healthiest balance of sustainable tasty plant-based food that we can all lovingly prepare in our own kitchens with our trusting pets watching us
Kindness towards the animals we love so much – I still turn away in shame when I am driving and I see trucks carrying animals with their snouts reaching for the air vents as I remember that traumatising day as a young vet student when we had to visit an abattoir and witness the horrors of mass killing to satisfy our human greed for meat
Kindness towards our future – supporting small businesses that promote sustainability and generosity, not being tempted by the flashy advertising of large corporates who compete on a global scale for financial success and rarely prioritise kindness in their goals
Kindness towards our planet – ensuring that we use as little plastic as possible and find viable alternatives to protect our oceans, as well as feeding our pets and ourselves a plant-based diet to stop the destruction of land used for intensive animal and fish farming
Kindness towards each other – the greatest fulfillment I receive as a vet is when I work as a GP vet for the PDSA charity dealing with people whose pets are their lives – the personal reward I receive is massive compared to the financial reward
Kindness towards our environment – ensuring we have clean, healthy parks to walk our pets and hear the birdsong – simple, natural, mindful pleasures. We show how the choice of foods we feed our pets can affect our planet’s health.
AS A FAMILY, HAVE WE FOUND A WAY TO FEED OUR OWN DOG A HEALTHY SUSTAINABLE DIET THAT YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME AND WON’T COST THE EARTH AND IS 100% BALANCED AND DELICIOUS?
We also want as many small companies as possible to start making vegan plant-based dog food, so we have reviewed all the foods available in the UK so that you can make your own decisions about your pet’s health and nutrition – we’re all in this together to do our bit for the planet and our pet’s health
Follow our homemade delicious vegan dog food journey here
There are cases of dry food or treats (especially the raw hide treats and chews) causing transmission of diseases to people
We live in a zero carbon house. Wispa seriously offsets our carbon savings!
When our future seems so precarious, we finally have hope for our fragile natural world with the very wise and passionate words of Sir David Attenborough
At this stressful time, our vet offers advice on being the kindest pet owner to your sensitive dog
The meat-based fed control group showed 11 deficiencies while the long-term vegan fed category presented only two deficiencies
Can vegan dog foods be classed as vegan in the UK with Vit D3 from lichen?
As a vet and a mother and a dog lover, I am passionate about feeding dogs a plant-based diet to support our future
We discuss the most common allergen in itchy dogs and what can be done about it
Should I be worried about my dog’s urine and crystal formation on a plant-based alkalinising diet?
David Attenborough makes a stark warning on extinction and I felt it would be too upsetting to watch!
We asked the top vet oncologist in the country and owner of gorgeous labrador Jumble for her opinion on whether a vegan diet could protect our dogs from cancer
Here is a day in my life to share what it is like to be a vet coping with the changes of how the pandemic has shaped a new way of being a small animal vet