Jaimee Alsing has always had a passion for pets, as long as she can remember. Throughout her life, she’s had a menagerie of pets: a dog, cats, ducks, parakeets, aquariums, uromastyx lizards, hermit crabs, and newts, just to name a few. Alsing has also raised many foster kittens for her local animal shelter. She told us, “Raising foster kittens has been some of the most rewarding volunteer work I’ve ever done. Kittens that require bottle-feeding or nursing are actually the most vulnerable animals in a shelter. This is because they require extra care and can be extremely prone to disease. Being able to save them and see them go to good homes is amazing.”
Alsing’s passion for animal nutrition came at a young age and, in an unexpected direction, from hermit crabs.
Back in the early 2000’s, Alsing learned that the commercial hermit crab food available was nutritionally poor. Serious keepers of hermit crabs fed homemade diets. However, there was one problem: there was little consensus on what these homemade diets should look like. After a thorough read of the aquaculture textbook “Crustacean Nutrition,” she found that hermit crabs have a high protein requirement. The majority of homemade diets owners fed did not meet this need. Alsing worked hard to spread the word about hermit crabs’ needs and what a balanced diet looks like. She developed a “hermit crab food pyramid” and an all-natural, nutritionally complete hermit crab food. This food evolved into an award-winning company, Colorado Critter Co., which Alsing owned and operated from 2007 to 2014.
“I was obsessed. I had to find out as much as I could about animal nutrition” says Alsing. “I decided to enroll at Cornell University to get an Animal Science degree. I focused heavily on animal nutrition during my time there. I took Comparative Animal Nutrition, Aquaculture, and even Human Nutrition classes such as Nutrition and Disease. I had the honor of hearing world-renowned zoo nutritionists speak while learning from amazing professors."
Alsing continued running Colorado Critter Co. while at the university. She also ran an undergraduate research project modeling non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice at Dr. Lei’s laboratory at Cornell. She was able to find that eukaryotic algae supplementation in their diets was able to reverse liver disease. She graduated with a Bachelors in Animal Science in 2014 with a distinction in research. She went on to work at a USGS aquatic research lab, where she studied thiamine deficiencies in wild fish populations in the Northeast United States. After this contract ended, Alsing was hired by Seachem Laboratories in order to develop fish and reptile nutrition products. One of the products she was able to develop was a line of supplements for freshwater shrimp keeping.
Jaimee Alsing also has hands-on experience with cat and dog nutrition. She brings a holistic view to common health issues such as feline urinary tract infections and dogs with allergies. Her time working as a veterinary assistant in both Colorado and Endless Mountains Veterinary Center, Pennsylvania, has given her first-hand experience of how dietary changes can have a huge impact on the health of our companion animals. In her role as a veterinary assistant, Alsing has been able to attend many continuing education seminars and “lunch and learns” relating to pet food.
All of this varied experience has given Alsing a unique perspective on animal nutrition. Having worked in the industry, she understands that a lot can be hidden behind a label and strives to do extensive research beyond the ingredient list. For every article Alsing writes, she devotes a significant amount of time to researching each pet food company. Every avenue is explored: recall history, what kind of experts they employ, how the company is structured, how transparent the company is, if they outsource manufacturing, etc. Only once manufacturing expertise, safety, and quality are understood does Alsing move on to look at ingredients, guaranteed analyses, and recipes.
Her philosophy is one of functional and integrative medicine. Health issues should be solved not only with conventional medicine but with proper nutrition and husbandry as well. “When approaching health in this way, for both animals and people, it can be difficult for the average person to discern fact from fiction. I’ve always strived to make my advice as clear, factual, and as science based as possible, while still acknowledging that the best solution is not always medication.”
Jaimee Alsing has been cited as an animal nutrition expert by Insider.com. In fact, when the article was published, she was honored to find that her former veterinarian mentor, Dr. Wendy Hauser, was quoted alongside her. She has also been quoted in many other articles, including Good-RX’s website and Honest Kitchen’s.
Currently, Alsing maintains the website “Complete Critter” which is a resource for reptile nutrition knowledge. She is a member of the British Herpetological Society, where she regularly helps members advance herpetological husbandry through better nutritional understanding. She subscribes to Petfood Industry Magazine and is always keeping an eye on the pulse of where cat and dog food is headed.
Alsing lives in rural Upstate New York with her cat Pfieffer, where she enjoys gardening, hiking, and playing fiddle music in various musical groups. Despite always living in a landlocked location, Alsing is also an avid scuba diver. She has traveled to see reefs in Bali, Tobago, and Vanuatu.