This infamous heritage brand specialises in herbal treatments, natural dietary supplements and homeopathic remedies, with an emphasis on dog health. They are the only manufacturer of herbal medicines authorised by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
Dorwest is based in Dorset. Their products are made in-house in Dorchester - a town 14 miles from where I grew up next to the seaside! Life in the Dorset countryside is calm, the coast offers fresh sea air and wet walks along dramatic cliffs with misty beaches - the perfect setting for this family business and their dogs.
Dorwest supplements can help provide balance, from basics for general health to specific products that help with known conditions or problems. Some favourites from the range include Keepers Mix, an everyday essential supplement that supports vital organs and provides natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Active ingredients include seaweed, celery seeds, alfalfa, nettles, rosemary, psyllium husks, cleavers and wild yam. Anxious dogs may benefit from the valerian range - this natural root extract helps tackle anxiety, fear and nervousness within dogs. The Scullcap & Valerian tablets are ideal for long term use whilst the Valerian compound contains three herbal extracts which work quickly to relax and settle dogs within half an hour of administration. The liquid valerian compound can be used orally or on bedding to induce a calm atmosphere!
This heritage brand has been utilising our natural resources for the last 60 years to create herbal medicines and supplements that help our beloved dogs maintain good heath.
I had the pleasure of talking with Joanna Boughton-White, the Managing Director of Dorwest, to learn more about this heritage brand.
Joanna lives in the rural countryside with her husband Ben, their two children and 5 girl whippets! - Peggy-Sue 13, her daughter Elsie (10) and then Finnish Hilda (8), her daughter Katniss (4) and her daughter Baby Betsy who is only 10 months old.
Dorwest is a family run business founded in 1948 by Joanna’s maternal grandparents Murray and Dorothy Ellis. Both Murray and Dorothy had a passion for herbs and health which developed the foundations of Dorwest and the initial development of their unique herbal formulations, some of which are still used today.
I asked Joanna to share her inspirations with us, her suggestions on dietary health, specific remedies for Sighthounds and Whippet ownership!
- How did Dorwest start and what is your role in the business?
Dorwest Herbs was started in 1948 by my maternal Grandparents, Murray & Dorothy Ellis. Their passion for both herbs and health planted the seeds (excuse the pun!) to create Dorwest and the development of those unique herbal formulations, some of which we still use today. A lot has happened since then and now, namely my parents Mary & Tony Boughton making the decision to focus on dogs and turn it into the well known company it is today. I joined a few years after University and became Managing Director in 2011. My husband Ben joined as Operations Director in 2015 as well.
- Can you explain what inspires you within the business?
Firstly, it is always about the dogs – if we weren’t truly dog lovers, I think the business would look very different! My inspiration is to always respect our values, heritage and our customers. We never compromise on quality in any part of the business.
- Can you tell us how natural supplements can aid a dog's health and wellbeing?
Plants form the basis of so many pharmaceuticals, their health benefits are indisputable. Historically people often only looked at supplementation for their pet if there was a problem but now, just like us, owners are looking at keeping their dog healthy by high quality varied natural foods and good quality supplements. It really needs to be remembered with plants, that the benefit will only be as good as the quality of the ingredient. We ensure we have full traceability; we only use herbs that meet medicinal standards and are tested for contaminants and microbiology.
- Could you suggest a few products that aid a happy and healthy dog's life?
This is a hard one, I have too many!
Keepers Mix has got to be one of the top recommendations. This is just 8 herbs, each one for a different part of the body and it is a powerhouse containing natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
I absolutely love Omega Star which is our plant-based omega oil supplement, containing beautiful quality flaxseed, borage and blackcurrant seed oils. It stops any dry skin and puts an amazing shine on the coat – perfect for sighthounds.
Roast Dinner Toothpaste, this is an essential - an absolute favourite amongst our customers. With liver flavour and sage oil, this really is well tolerated and does the job!
- Do you have any suggestions on remedies for a calming influence / anxiety in dogs?
This is a Dorwest specialist subject! Scullcap & Valerian Tablets are the only herbal calmer on the market which is a fully licensed medicine by the VMD and has been sold for over 55 years. It calms activity in the nervous system without sedating the muscles. It just helps them cope better, ideal to be given on a daily basis and used as a behavioural aid to help the dog learn there is nothing to worry about whilst introducing them gently to the difficult situation. We always recommend a course of a month and it is essential for Fireworks Night and the whole fireworks period!
- Are there any specific remedies you could recommend for Sighthounds?
Omega Star as mentioned above plus Tree Barks Powder which is my all-time favourite product – helps settle and soothe upset tummies and slow down the passage of food in the gut, always in the cupboard for when the naughty whippets have eaten something they shouldn’t!
I also have our gorgeous skin balm always to hand; it is perfect for little scrapes and sore patches and is amazing on my hands too!
- What’s your favourite thing to do when you get time off with the dogs?
Walk the Jurassic coastal paths which are just a mile away from home. Walking really is my therapy – it changes everything, it turns a bad day good, it changes my outlook and my priorities. The girls love it although it does mean they stay on the lead so we also ensure they get a good run in a safe field well away from the cliffs!
I also show my whippets and love a visit to a show to chat ‘whippet’ with fellow Whippeteers and admire all the beautiful dogs.
- Do you have any top tips for whippet ownership?
Be realistic – there may never be space for you on the sofa or an unaccompanied visit to the loo again!
On a serious note, practice recall again and again and always have a pocketful of treats and never have a whippet or any sighthound off the lead anywhere near a road.
Lastly – They are like peanuts, hard to stop at one and once you ‘whippet’ you never go back!
- What are the future plans for the company?
To keep doing what we are doing whilst always researching and developing new products. What I am most proud of is we are so true to our core values. In the archives I found a quote from my Grandfather in the 1950’s marketing material ‘No gimmicky advertising or jumping on bandwagons – just quality herbs and a business built on friendly foundations’. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to Occam Johanna - check out Dorwest's incredible selection of herbal goods here.