Perks of having a pet. If you’re a pet owner, chances are your Fluffy or Fido is one of your best friends in the world. Pets can definitely make your life a little bit sweeter, but what you may not realize is that they can also make your life a little bit healthier. If your health is important to you—and it probably is—then you might think about picking up a new furry best friend. Depending on your health needs, either a dog or a cat can prove equally beneficial in many ways. Need a little more exercise in your life? Dog owners walk, on average, nearly twice as far as non-dog owners do in a given week. Or if it’s a cat you crave, your feline friend can drastically reduce your stress levels. People who have owned pets in their lifetime actually tend to live longer than those who haven’t. If you’re pursuing a degree in healthcare, chances are that when you enter the field, you’ll be able to tell a difference between the states of health of people with pets and those without. The following infographic takes a look at just how having a furry friend makes life happier, healthier, and a whole lot better.
This graphic is provided by MastersInHealthcare.com
Meet Audrey, the latest canine member of our happy family. I think she’s the cutest little Pug puppy ever. Of course I may be just a wee bit prejudiced.
Before we adopted her, my wife and I agreed that this little cutie would receive nothing but the best. We went online and ordered top quality puppy food and other dog supplies well in advance of the big day when we brought her to her new “forever home”. After about a week we started to be a little concerned about Audrey’s health. Although we were feeding her the highest quality puppy food, she seemed to be losing, rather than gaining weight. She also seemed to be struggling with diarrhea more often than not.
So, we took Audrey to her first appointment with our family veterinarian, Dr. Laurel Shaw. It didn’t take long for the good doctor to diagnose Audrey’s condition: gastrointestinal parasitic worms. Yuck! We were horrified at the diagnosis! However, Dr. Shaw explained to us that we needn’t be alarmed. Parasitic infection is one of the most common problems that young puppies face. Fortunately, it is also a condition that can be easily remedied with the treatment that she prescribed – Drontal Plus deworming tablets.
Although it’s a topic that we all would rather not think about, dog owners do need to know some simple facts about intestinal parasites. Puppies are often infected with parasites even while still in their mothers’ wombs. They can also accidentally ingest the parasites after they’ve been born. The most common symptoms are weight loss and diarrhea, as we had noted in Audrey’s case. If not treated early, puppies may also develop a pot belly, pale pink gums, and become easily tired. Parasites can take weeks or even months to develop from egg and larval stages into adults. Deworming medications usually only target worms in the adult or late immature stages. Since puppies can be exposed to these parasites numerous times, deworming medication must be administered at regular intervals.
Doctor Shaw explained that this approach is known as “strategic deworming”. Under this protocol, pups are dewormed at two week intervals beginning at two weeks, continuing through twelve weeks of age. In cases where the puppy is severely infected, treatment may continue on a monthly schedule until they are six months old. She also stressed that even if the puppy has received deworming treatment prior to adoption, one must not assume that the puppy is parasite free. The strategic deworming schedule should still be maintained, based on your pup’s age.
Well, we’re happy to report that our sweet Audrey is now growing like a weed. At 12 weeks she tested negative for parasites so we were able to discontinue treatment. Her body is finally catching up to her head size and her coordination is much improved. She’s simply a beautiful, bouncing, black bundle of unconditional love.
We hope that you will find room in your heart to adopt a homeless pet and, when you do, please be sure your new pet receives a thorough veterinary check-up, right away.
A month ago I had to take our French Bulldog Lilly to the vet, she had a serious inflammation. She recovered well and is healthy again. While at the vet in the waiting area, I heard a woman asking for Frontline’s Flea and Tick treatment who was also complaining about the treatment being overpriced. She told the vet’s assistant she could get the same product online for at least $15 cheaper. The assistant looked at her and asked: “Are you sure it’s exactly the same product?”. She assured it was 100% the same treatment for $15 less and left the vet without buying it. That’s quite a difference that would buy some extra treats for your dog, right? The assistant looked at me and said after the woman had left, “I hope it’s not a counterfeit product”. Counterfeit pet products? I never, ever thought about that.
After he said that, the first thing that came to mind was the Omega 3 fish oil I add to my dog’s food and I couldn’t wait to check. While I was waiting to get Lilly’s medicines, I grabbed my phone and looked up the flea & tick product online (love technology). At home, I checked some online retailers and I realized that there are price differences in the same Flea & tick product, but never a $15 difference. I also made sure that the Omega 3 fish oil fulfilled all EPA requirements. I discovered a website warning about counterfeits pet pesticides with a link to the official website of the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States. I learned a lot on the web pages of the EPA and I want to share with all the online shoppers of pet products. (It’s not necessary to mention, not to buy products on the street.)
(The Environmental Protection Agency says:) Foreign-labeled flea and tick products are being unlawfully imported into the U.S. and packaged in retail cartons that look like legitimate EPA-registered pesticides under the trade names “Advantage” and “Frontline.” Inside the cartons are applicators that have been labeled and packaged for sale in overseas markets.
EPA is concerned because: Retail cartons may be missing directions for use Some products are not packaged in child-resistant packaging; Consumers cannot be sure the product contains the appropriate size applicator for the animal pictured or otherwise indicated on the retail carton. Some counterfeit products have stickers on the outside of the box to hide the foreign labeling. Otherwise, the only way to ensure you have legitimate product is by opening the retail carton and examining the actual product tube.
Here are the most affected and identified (by the EP) products:
• Frontline Top Spot for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-2) • Frontline Top Spot for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-3) • Frontline Plus for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 65331-4) • Frontline Plus for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 65331-5) • Advantage 10 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-117) 2 • Advantage 20 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-119) • Advantage 55 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-120) • Advantage 100 for Dogs (EPA Reg. No. 11556-122) • Advantage 9 for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 11556-116) • Advantage 18 for Cats (EPA Reg. No. 11556-118)
Consult your veterinarian about the best way to to protect your pets from fleas and ticks and whether pesticides are even needed.
Use extra care before use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products. If you use a spot-on product or any other pesticide on your pet, carefully read and follow the product label. Use flea and tick control products only on the animal specified by the product label – for example, dog products for dogs only and cat products for cats only.
Follow any label prohibitions against use on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown sensitivity to pesticide products. Apply only the amount indicated for the size of the animal being treated.
Do not apply to kittens or puppies unless the product label specifically allows this treatment. Pay attention to the age restrictions for puppies and kittens on the label.
Monitor your pet for side effects or signs of sensitivity after applying the product, particularly when using the product on your pet for the first time.
Do not apply spot-ons to pets known to be sensitive to pesticide products.
If your pet experiences an adverse reaction, immediately bathe the pet with mild soap and rinse with large amounts of water. Keep the package with the product container (such as individual applicator tubes). Also keep the package after treatment in case adverse effects occur. You will want to have the instructions at hand, as well as contact information for the manufacturer.
If you have more questions visit EPA’s website here and read more about using pesticides on your dog here.
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‘What are you feeding your dogs?’ is the 2nd most important question people ask me on PackPeople. I always recommend the food I’m feeding and recommend friends and interested dog owners to the shop where I buy my dog food. Pet food is a complex subject in the pet owners’ world and one of our most-discussed topics. I’ve experimented a lot, tried many foods… kibbles, canned, raw… and decided to feed them holistic food, also adding Omega 3 (Fish Oil), raw veggies (like a carrot or a piece of apple, bananas, potatoes). Sometimes I take the time to cook for my dogs – I want them to be happy and healthy. I’m pretty happy with the food I’m feeding (Blue Buffalo and Lotus), but still not 100% convinced about the ingredients.
I found “The Honest Kitchen” on the exhibitor list of the Vegas Pet Expo this year. Premium dehydrated whole food sounds great, right? The Honest Kitchen makes human grade pet foods from dehydrated whole food ingredients. After I explored their great and informative website I wanted to learn more about the food Lucy and her dedicated team has been producing for cats and dogs since 2002. I contacted The honest Kitchen and they promptly agreed to do an interview.
We had the great pleasure to send the president and founder of “The Honest kitchen” Lucy our questions and to receive expert knowledge about processing the food (actually it’s not processed – read why not), what dehydration means, she talks about the customer satisfaction and the benefits of feeding whole food to our pets. Lucy also shared her insights with us and explained why and how “The Honest Kitchen” has found success with their variety of foods, treats and supplements.
Start today and get 10% off by using the code Lucy mentions in the interview. Give this excellent food a try – it’s worth it!
It’s a pleasure interviewing “The Honest Kitchen” as one of our first pet food producers on PackPeople.
Where did you get the idea to start “The Honest Kitchen”? What is your personal background?
I’ve always had an interest in food and nutrition. We grew produce at our family home in England and I love to cook, too.
I think I’ve always had a strong understanding of the link between good food and good health – we were brought up eating whole foods not junk food – and I think it was a natural progression that I became interested in doing a homemade diet for my dog.
I began making his homemade meals from scratch and while I loved the results and saw his ear infections clear right up, it became quite time consuming and messy. So I began trying to think of a way to still feed him whole foods, but in a more convenient format. I have a bachelor’s degree with honors in Equine and Business studies, from Moreton Morrell Agricultural College in England.
What was the first meal you prepared for your own dog?
I think it was a concoction of ground beef with spinach, carrots and oats – the very first prototype for what would eventually become The Honest Kitchen’s inaugural diet, Verve.
What are the benefits of raw ingredients?
High heat and high pressure can destroy the natural nutrients, enzymes and pigments in raw foods. When you keep the ingredients in a raw state, or prepare them very gently as we do with dehydration, more of the natural nutrition is maintained.
Your company uses a gentle dehydration process. What does this mean?
Dehydration is a slow, gentle process that removes only the moisture from fresh raw ingredients, and maintains most of the natural nutrition without the need for chemicals or irradiation.
You use raw fresh ingredients, “human-grade” and processed in a human food facility in the U.S. What does the processing progress look like?
Our facility is pristine – lots of stainless steel, everyone in white coats, gloves and hairnets. It’s a busy atmosphere but not noisy or chaotic. There’s a huge focus on quality control and testing too.
Our fresh raw vegetables and fruits are harvested at the peak of their ripeness, then washed and trimmed to size. The produce is then dehydrated below 104°F using warm air to gently blow away the moisture in a slow process that takes several hours. Our produce is still considered ‘raw’ after dehydration is complete.
Our fresh raw meats and white fish undergo gentle steaming at 140°F to 165°F, to eliminate pathogens without irradiation. We then carefully evaporate the moisture using dehydration, which leaves more nutrients intact than harsh cooking, canning or extrusion. The meats leave the dehydration process at about 125°F. The entire process (including steaming) takes about 45 minutes. Our salmon is freeze-dried in a flash process that removes the moisture under vacuum.
Our potatoes and grains are flash heated (and rolled in the case of our grains) to help break down the cellulose, which aids in digestion. They are then gently dehydrated to remove the moisture.
Where do the ingredients come from?
Our ingredients are sourced primarily from the United States, but we buy differnet ingredients from around the world – for example our Quinoa is form Bolivia, our green beans are form France and our kelp is from Iceland. We do not use any food ingredients from China at all.
What are the benefits to buying your food instead of making it myself.
I think the convenience is a big factor. Home cooking for pets is a lot of fun but it can be time consuming and also challenging, to ensure that the meals are nutritionally balanced and complete.
I usually add water to my dog’s kibble and let it stay a little – and I’m always astonished at how much its volume increases. A half full bowl of dog food is completely full after the kibbles absorbed the water. Does this happen with your food as well?
Yes, our foods expand considerably when hydrated with warm water!
According to your survey, 41% of your customers have seen a reduction in their pets chewing at their feet, 72% enjoy improved digestion, 21% reduced or completely eliminated one or more of their pet’s medications since they started feeding them your food. Would you say that investing in high quality food means saving on vet bills and maintaining a happier, healthier pet?
Absolutely, we have many testimonials from customers who have been able to reduce or eliminate their pets’ medications after starting on our foods and that represents a savings in vet bills over the long term (and immediately in many cases, where people have been spending a fortune on steroids, antibiotics and other drugs to try to overcome chronic health problems like ear infections, itching, GI upset and so on, which are directly related to the diet.
Many people still aren’t aware of the link but as time goes on consumers are becoming more and more education and understand the links between food and health. As a company we’re very dedicated to that education.
We talked about your product with friends and dog owners. Most of them think that, compared to standard foods, your product is somewhat pricey. How would you convince people to buy from The Honest Kitchen?
Our foods are indeed more costly than many other pet foods on the market. The price is a direct function of the cost to make our food; dehydration is a relatively more expensive method of making the food, compared with canning or extrusion. Additionally, our raw ingredients cost a lot more because they are human edible, not feed grade. Good quality food does cost more but it’s an investment that many people want to make in their pet’s long term health. We could make our foods much more cheaply by forgoing the human food production facility and making the diets in a plant that doesn’t also make human food under FDA inspection.
We could also use Chinese ingredients and save loads of money that way – but these are not compromises we’re willing to make. We’re really not trying to be the most affordable food – we’re focused on quality and integrity, with more of a ‘no expense spared’ approach. Of course I recognize this isn’t for everyone, but we have a really strong following of customers who do want the best for their pets and recognize good food as a true cornerstone of health for their beloved pets, so they’re willing to make the investment.
A 10 lbs. box of The Honest Kitchen’s dog food makes 40 lbs fresh food. You also offer trial sized and mini samples for people who want to get started. You have 8 different dog foods and 2 different cat foods, treats and supplements. What is your newest product and what made you decide to create it?
Love and Grace are our two newest foods. Love is a grain free beef formula for dogs and Grace is a grain free turkey formula for cats. We created both these in direct response to our customers’ requests!
I also saw teas on the website. What is the benefit of adding tea?
Steeping herbs in hot water (making a ‘tea’) is a recognized way of helping to release the medicinal properties from the herbs.
We checked The Dog Food Advisor’s website were pleased to see that The Honest Kitchen is highly recommended, receiving 4 of 5 stars. The Honest Kitchen’s Zeal and Love foods received 5 stars. Are these your best sellers?
Our top sellers are actually Force and Keen!
Do you have a personal favorite?
I think Force is still my all-time favorite – I really love the way it smells when it’s hydrated. My Rhodesian Ridgebacks like all the recipes and my Pug (a senior from Pug rescue who’s also blind) likes Zeal the best
You produce 100.000 pounds of dog food in a month and ship your food worldwide. I can shop online on your website or search for a retailer in my area. I could also become a reseller. What are the requirements to sell your food?
Well, a resale license is the first prerequisite. For the most part (with a few exceptions) we’d also require a store front (a pet supply store or natural foods store for example) and a promise that the store is not in the business of selling puppies or kittens at retail. We are vehemently opposed to puppy mills but do support many pet rescues and also work with responsible breeders.
What advice would you give someone about to launch a new pet care or pet-related business?
I think the main thing is to have a clear purpose behing the business – a reason for being. Second only to that is a real sense of determination! Starting a business was a labor of love for me. There are setbacks and challenges and it can sometimes takes nerves of steel, and a strong instinct or intuition to forge ahead with the idea and make it work. I’m also a big fan of making lists to help stay organized!
Do you have pets of your own?
Yes I have three dogs, two horses and 4 hens! (as well as two children and a husband!)
Are there any specials, holiday or otherwise, you’d like to share with us?
Yes! We have a special just for PackPeople readers. They can enter coupon code PCK12THK on our web site to save 10% off any order over $5.00 at www.thehonestktichen.com
Which websites or pet-related links would you recommend to our PackPeople audience?
About the interviewee: Lucy Postins is the company co-founder, Mother Hen and CEO. Lucy started The Honest Kitchen in her own beach cottage kitchen in 2002. Lucy is guardian to Willow and Taro, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Jackson, a rescued senior Pug. In addition to the dogs, she also cares for two young daughters, a former racehorse, an elderly pony and a husband.
Coastal Pet Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit rescue organization based in Savannah, Georgia dedicated to saving the lives of homeless, abused and neglected dogs and cats in the Coastal Empire, Savannah and Lowcountry South Carolina areas.
Coastal Pet Rescue rescues homeless pets through local county animal shelters, assists with placement for owners needing to rehome their pets, and provides a feral cat trap-neuter-return program as well as low-cost microchipping clinics. Also an educational resource to the community, Coastal Pet Rescue provides valuable humane education opportunities.
We had a great time interviewing and learning from the organization’s founder, Lisa Scarbrough. We’re excited to share with you Lisa’s experiences, knowledge and projects in helping Pets.
Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!