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Hot Pet Supplement: Velvet Antler

Friday May 30, 2014

Elk Velvet Antler

In my article Older Pets: About the Underserved Middle-Aged Market, holistic veterinarian Dr. Cathy Alinovi mentions a supplement for pet joint health called elk velvet antler.

This popular ingredient in Chinese medicine, which has been in use for more than 2,000 years, is showing great promise for both animals and humans who suffer from joint ailments, such as osteoarthritis.

It also reportedly helps to boost the immune system, expedites healing from injuries and illnesses and increases vitality, among its other great properties.

"Glucosamine has been leading the way," Dr. Cathy said. "But I have been very pleased with the way this works. It works a lot faster, whereas glucosamine takes up to six weeks to build up in the system."

The ingredients are harvested from the growing antlers of elk (or deer), which does not involve the killing or harming of the animals.

A number of clinical studies have established the efficacy of this wonder supplement for the treatment of pet ailments, most notably one conducted by the University of Montreal, which was published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal in 2004.

So this is one that those in the pet products and services communities need to know about.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Dave's Pet Food Nixes Big Chain Stores

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Murphy Daves Pet Food

In my review of an interesting line of natural Pet Foods called Dave's, which you can read about here, company founder Dave Ratner lists a bunch of things he won't do with his line.

(As you can see, Murphy loves this food.)

Aside from being a stickler about his ingredients, and insisting that his foods do not contain any products from China, Dave will not sell his line to big box stores. Instead, he sticks to doing business with the smaller, independent retailers.

"Because I am a retailer, I have credibility with other retailers," he said. "I promise to only sell it to them."

While this may seem like this would put him at a disadvantage, the fact is, a lot of smaller mom and pop pet food makers follow the same rule in that they will only distribute their products to the smaller independent pet stores.

This makes a lot of sense when you consider how this market operates. Smaller retailers are in a position to offer pet foods and products that are not mass-produced by big corporations, which enables them to elicit trust from their customers on a more personal level.

So you will be seeing a lot more of this, and you can bet that small retailers that offer pet expertise and a higher level of personalized customer service will thrive in the coming years.

Photo courtesy of Alissa Wolf

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Petco and PetSmart to Stop Selling Treats from China

Friday May 23, 2014

Petsmart and Petco

Leading big box pet retailers Petco and PetSmart have announced that they will phase out the sales of pet jerky treats made in China.

The Boston Globe reports that this move is in response to the recent warnings from the Food and Drug Administration in regard to these treats.

In a statement contained on the company website, Petco CEO Jim Myers said: "We've been following the FDA warnings and related customer concerns closely, and we've been actively reducing our China-made assortment and expanding our American-made offerings for several years now."

"We know the FDA hasn't yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we're proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well."

Petco will phase out the treats by the end of 2014, while PetSmart will remove them from their stores by March 2015.

I predict that it's only a matter of time before other pet retailers follow suit.

Not only is this great news for pets and their parents, this should prove to be a boon for small mom and pop operations that produce treats made in the U.S.

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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My Little Chickadee

Wednesday May 21, 2014

My Pet Chicken

Keeping backyard chickens is now all the rage among hipsters, which you can read about in my article Chickens as Pets.

Interestingly, I had a pet clucker when I was a little kid, Charlene, who actually was the very first pet I ever had.

When I was 3, a family friend gave me a chick as an Easter gift. (A big no-no nowadays.)

But while the mortality rate for chicks given as gifts was especially high in those days, because people weren't nearly as educated about pet care as they are now, Charlene grew to be a hale, hearty adult - thanks to the Wolf family's unique brand of critter TLC.

First, my dad fashioned a makeshift home for Charlene in a cardboard box, with a heat lamp attached to a small pole to keep her warm.

My grandmother, who lived with us and grew up around all kinds of animals in the rural South, knew just what kind of grub to whip up for my most unique pet.

Charlene, a comely white bantam that lived in the finished basement of our small Philadelphia duplex, provided with me hours of amusement.

And she was unusually patient with and protective of me.

One time, I fell down while playing with her in our basement and began to cry. Amazingly, she nuzzled against me, with a concerned, sympathetic expression on her face.

So these animals are a lot smarter than people realize, and do have unique personalities.

(Ultimately, Charlene became so huge that my parents decided to give her to a friend who owned an egg farm.)

As for me, I was way ahead of my time by having a chicken as a pet.

I am sure that Charlene would be happy to know that her feathered kinfolk are now so popular.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Lily Reviews New Kathy Ireland Cat Toy

Sunday May 18, 2014

Lily Kathy Ireland Cat Toy

For her very first assignment, my new cub reporter Miss Lily got to review a cat toy from the new Kathy Ireland Loved pet products collection, which you can read about here.

The Stretch and Chase Mouse Launcher has a rubber tab on one end that enables one to fling the toy so that kitties can chase it.

Miss Lily thinks it's just fur-bulous; she even sleeps with it.

So she gives it two paws up.

(Not bad, for a 12-week-old ... LOL!)

Photo courtesy of Alissa Wolf

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Insect Repellant and Flu Drug Detected in Dog Jerky Treats

Sunday May 18, 2014
Jerky Treats

Dr. Andrew Jones DVM, better known as the Online Vet, reports that the jerky treats that have been making pets sick have been found to contain the insect repellant DEET and the drug amantadine, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease and a certain strain of the flu virus in people.

The Veterinary Information Network (VIN), an online community for vets, gathered samples from veterinarians whose patients became ill after consuming the treats.

The samples were collected by a team at Cornell University, and then sent to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Laboratory in Albany for analysis.

A total of 16 pets were involved in the study.

Dr. Kendall Harr, who owns a pathology company, URIKA, LLC, in Washington state and is leading the team studying the treats for the network, told the VIN News Service: "The clinical significance is unknown, but these are contaminated treats. I think what the illegal residues tell us is that we have a contaminated food source."

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration reported on May 16 that the agency had also detected amantadine in some of the jerky treats made in China, although they don't believe that this contributed to any illnesses in pets or people.

However, they conceded that this should not be in jerky treats.

Otherwise, the researchers are asking for more samples.

You may participate by filling out an online survey by e-mailing support@vin.com, or by calling (800) 700-4636.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Bravo! Issues Voluntary Pet Food Recall Due to Listeria

Saturday May 17, 2014

Bravo!Bravo!, a leading maker of raw pet foods, is voluntarily recalling some products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

While this rarely sickens healthy dogs and cats, this can be serious or even fatal for young children, elderly people or those who have weakened immune systems, and can result in miscarriages or stillbirths in pregnant women.

The products were distributed nationwide in the U.S.

The recalled products are:

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! Beef Blend for dogs and cats (Made in New Zealand)

All 2 lb., 5 lb., and 10 lb. tubes

Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110

Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

BRAVO! Balance Premium Turkey Formula (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, Conn.)

3 lb. box with (12) 4 oz. burgers

Product Number: 31-401

Best Used By Dates: 1/07/16 and 2/11/16

Meanwhile, the products listed below did not test positive for pathogens, but are being recalled as a cautionary measure:

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! Lamb Blend for dogs and cats (Made in New Zealand)

All 2 lb., 5 lb., and 10 lb. tubes Product Numbers: 42-102, 42-105, 42-110

Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! Lamb Basic for dogs and cats (Made in New Zealand)

2 lb. tubes

Product Number: 42-202

Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! Beef & Beef Heart for dogs and cats (Made in New Zealand)

5 lb. tubes

Product number: 53-130

Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! 100% Pure & Natural Premium Grass-Fed Buffalo for dogs and cats (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, Conn.)

NET WT 2 lbs. (32 oz.) .91 KG (Tubes)

Product Number: 72-222

Best Used By Date: 1/7/16

BRAVO! Turkey Balance Formula (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, Conn.)

NET WT 2 lbs. (32 oz.) .91 KG, Chub (tube)

Product Number: 31-402

Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

NET WT 5 lbs. (80 oz.) 2.3 KG, Chub (tube)

Product Number: 31-405

Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

Raw Food Diet BRAVO! Lamb Blend for dogs and cats (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, Conn.)

5 lbs. (80 oz.) 2.3 KG, Chub (tube)

Product Number: 42-105

Best Used By Date: 2/11/16

For refund and other information, please see the company's website.

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FDA Releases Grim Pet Jerky Treats Update

Friday May 16, 2014

 

FDA Jerky Treats

The Food and Drug Administration has just released a "progress report" about the agency's investigation into the numerous complaints regarding pet jerky treats from China, and the news is not good.

To date, the FDA has received about 4,800 complaints from consumers who claim that their pets were either sickened by or died from eating jerky treats produced in or with ingredients sourced from China.

Moreover, three people reportedly were sickened following exposure to the treats.

According to an FDA press release, the reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people, and include more than 1,000 canine deaths.

The release further concedes that the FDA received a whopping 1,800 complaints just since October.

The complaints are in regard to jerky treats made with chicken, duck and sweet potato.

Pet parents have reported pets suffering from everything from gastrointestinal illnesses to seizures and Fanconi Syndrome, a severe kidney disorder.

The FDA is asking for the support of veterinarians and pet parents as they continue their investigation.

For more information, please refer to the press release by clicking here.

For more in-depth background info, you may refer to my articles:

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Feline Models are the Cat's Meow

Friday May 9, 2014

 

Cat on Couch

In my article Model Cats, I explore the growing demand for feline fashionistas for print, TV and Internet work.

While I am not surprised that dogs are more in demand than ever, due to the booming canine fashion industry, I was really amazed at the amount of cats that are being used these days.

But when I did some research, I realized why.

According to a study I read, the two most widely viewed types of pics on the Internet are those of naked women and cats, not necessarily in that order.

And thanks to the proliferation of the Internet, meme sites such as Cheezburger Network, the social media boom, mobile apps and Instagram, people are snapping pics of their cats and posting them online like never before.

The reason why cats capture people's attention more than dogs in the opinion of some leading sociologists is that dogs are just naturally amusing, easy to train and always aim to please.

So when you see a well-trained cat that takes orders and does funny things on command, that's quite a departure from what people expect from kitties.

As a colleague of mine said, "Cats are the new dogs."

I wouldn't go that far. But you can bet that kitties are more popular than ever, and there will be plenty of work for high fashion felines in the coming years.

Photo courtesy of Richie Schwartz/Pets Photography Studio

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Murphy Gets a Little Kitty Sister

Thursday May 8, 2014

Murphy Hugging Lily

As I reported a while back, my cub reporter, Murphy, bit me and put me in the hospital.

After his veterinarian - the wonderful holistic practitioner Dr. Michael Anthony of Clayton Veterinary Associates in Clayton, N.J. - found nothing medially wrong with him, he placed him on flower essences, and advised me to get him his own kitten to play with.

Well, I did just that.

I adopted 10-week-old Lily from a paw-some rescue agency in Ocean City, N.J., called C.A.P.E. Atlantic Cats, which I mentioned in my article Mother's and Father's Day Gifts for Pet Lovers.

As you can see, they are already the best of buds. In fact, Murphy is crazy about her!

I am hoping that this is just what the doctor ordered.

In the meantime, please join me in welcoming this sweet little lady to the Pet Shops Family.

May she have many happy, healthy years ahead.

She is already a ray of sunshine in our lives!

Photo courtesy of Alissa Wolf

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