Blog : Green Collar Careers: Dawn Price, Owner of The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat

By Anna | Oct 28, 2014 | in

By Anna Murphy

Dawn Price is the proud owner of The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat, a pet store and self-proclaimed education center boasting a plethora of all-natural, holistic and green pet products.

Price goes out of her way to thoroughly research merchandise and ensure every product stocked is the best available. At Natural Dog, you can find a multitude of green, all-natural products, including bamboo and hemp collars, lead-free bowls, beds and toys made from recycled materials, natural shampoos, biodegradable waste bags, snacks, biscuits, herbal and whole food supplements, flower essences and more.

A Registered Dietitian, Dawn Price is adamant about the importance of species specific foods and proper nutrition.

“We try to encourage consumers to think more about what is appropriate, meat based and non-processed food. Dogs and cats are not designed to eat lots of carbs and grain, but most popular dog foods are 60% carbs or more. This is not best option for health and longevity and can lead to all sorts of problems such as obesity, diabetes and UTIs. Pet food is a multi-billion dollar industry with a lot of gimmicks. We stress the importance of providing your pet with the same balanced nutrition you want for yourself.”

Price and her husband Jeff first opened The Natural Dog in Newburyport in 2005. After eight successful years, the couple opened a second store front in Portsmouth NH. At both locations, you can find a knowledgeable staff ready to explain the benefits of an all-natural diet and homeopathic alternatives to many possible pet health problems.

Anna Murphy (AM): What do you like most about your job?
Dawn Price (DP): I enjoy having the opportunity to provide consumers with information and products that will contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of dogs and cats as well as help to decrease the carbon paw print. It is very rewarding to hear about positive changes in the health of one of the dogs or cats that we have assisted. Improving the nutrition and wellbeing of animals is one of the biggest reasons we are in this business.

AM: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
DP: I went to Framingham State College and earned a degree in Nutrition. I also completed an internship in Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Shortly after that, I took my exam to become a Registered Dietitian.
My college and post college education have a large impact on my career today. I have always been interested in human nutrition, but when one of my dogs became ill, I started focusing on pet nutrition. The journey of healing my dog through species appropriate nutrition and alternative therapies is what started my career in the pet nutrition field.
My nutrition education provided me with the background necessary to understand and further build upon my knowledge of food and nutrition as it relates to the pet industry.

AM: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
We look for an employee that is friendly, hard working, self motivated, and has great interpersonal skills. We want someone who has an interest in health and the environment as related to dogs and cats, and is eager to learn more about our industry.

AM: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
As a business, we have always had a focus on sustainability. Our focus is on promoting good nutrition for dogs and cats, avoiding chemicals and toxins in pet foods and products, and reducing waste in our industry. Our goal has always been to provide education on both nutrition and the environment as it relates to our pet population.

AM: What are you most proud of in your business as it relates to sustainability?
As a business, there are many steps we have taken to become more sustainable. We build our own merchandise displays and fixtures out of recycled materials. We re-use cardboard flats instead of shopping bags at checkout. We make sure to stock our store with products from companies that take initiatives to reduce their carbon paw print.
For us, there is not one thing in particular. All that we do sends a message to our customers about the importance of being conscious of food and products and how they impact our environment. Raising consumer awareness in the pet industry is the result of all our efforts and we hope our company can help make a little bit of a difference.

The Natural Dog is a green-certified business in the Green Alliance. To learn more about the Green Alliance, click here or check us out on social media on Facebook or on Twitter at Green_Alliance

Learn more about The Natural Dog and Holistic Cat: 801 Islington Street, Portsmouth // 155 State Street, Newburyport or call 603.427.8040 (Portsmouth), 978.499-9909 (Newburyport), or visit

Anna Murphy is a senior English major at UNH and a writer for the Green Alliance.

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