Thursday, October 22, 2020

Iconic Southern California Pet Food Company Revitalized with New Owners

 

Iconic Southern California Pet Food Company Revitalized with New Owners

 

 

The new Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods ownership group is led by pet food pioneer Joey Herrick and includes Los Angeles Dodgers Legend Orel Hershiser, Hall of Fame Broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, and his son Jorge Jarrin.

 


Irwindale, California-
Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods, a manufacturer of specialty super-premium dry dog and cat foods, announced today it has been purchased by 30-year pet food veteran Joey Herrick and is becoming an independent business once again.  

 

The new Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods, LLC is a privately held ownership group of Southern California businesspeople led by Joey Herrick and Rick Rockhill, former executive at Natural Balance and Petco. The group also includes Los Angeles Dodger legends Orel Hershiser, Hall of Fame Broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, his son Jorge Jarrin, Frank Koch, former executive with Nature’s Recipe and Natural Balance, as well as Rick Taylor former Breeder’s Choice President and son of the original owner.

 

Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods has produced super-premium dog and cat foods for 73 years at the same location in Irwindale, California. Breeder’s Choice produces AvoDerm® and Pinnacle® pet food brands which are exported globally. In addition to its own brands, Breeder’s Choice is a leading custom manufacturer with extensive export capabilities to produce super premium brands and retailers’ private label brands.

 

Joey Herrick co-founded Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989 and grew it into a highly respected pet food brand. He also founded The Lucy Pet Foundation, a 501 © (3) charity and then Lucy Pet Products, a premium pet food company dedicated to improving the health of animals. 

 

“Our formula for success is simple, never compromise on quality or ingredients, and always do what is right for the health of animals.” Herrick said. “It starts with good people committed to quality, which is why Clint Hammond the Director of Plant Operations for the past 9 years, along with the production team remains in place at Breeder’s Choice” Herrick added.

 

About Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods

In 1947, Harold Taylor started Breeder’s Choice Pet Food company with a simple goal: the uncompromising pursuit of the healthiest nourishment for the pets we love. That commitment endures today in the high-quality formulas we make in our state-of-the-art facility in California. We provide our customers with flexible manufacturing, superior natural ingredients like fresh meat purees, and a range of packaging options. www.breederschoice.com

Thursday, October 1, 2020

What's the best dog food?

 

Over the years I've shared countless articles, blog posts and podcasts about pet food and caring for pets. When I look back on the past twenty-five years in the pet industry I am humbled by how much I have learned from so many people, professional organizations, conferences and companies, with whom I've had the honor to be associated. I've never been shy about sharing and disclosing my professional affiliations, in part as full disclosure and also to lend some credibility to my point of view and knowledge.  

I am a partner at Lucy Pet Foods, and have an active role in many functions including our nutrition team. I'm one of those folks whose views are rooted in science and fact. I do not tend to follow fads and trends in nutrition. The internet is full of so-called "experts" who mislead people with all kinds of nonsensical ideas about what is right or best for dog and cat food. This post isn't intended to be the complete story on nutrition, but I will say that fads like "high protein", "raw food" , "fresh, gently cooked" diets are misleading to say the least. Domesticated dogs are not wolves, they do not hunt for their meals, they live relatively sedentary lifestyles and eat multiple times a day. High protein is not only not necessary but science has shown it can lead to cancer in the colon. Raw Diets are dangerous and prone to all kinds of nasty bugs. And don't be fooled by those so-called fresh, gently cooked pet foods. They are mostly water, and are not truly balanced. They show you things like fresh vegetables, fresh meats, etc, which are very high moisture, and not the nutrients your dog truly needs. Kibble truly is the very best form of food to feed your dog. Of course there are many ranges in quality kibble. It can be difficult to figure out what brands of kibble are the best. Like many things, you do get what you pay for, and generally I advise people to buy the best you can afford.  

So how do you decide what brand of dog food to choose? Well, it can be overwhelming but do your research. Take the time to read what brands say on their websites. What do they emphasize? Is ti marketing hype, or is it science and fact based? Is the brand transparent with its research, quality and brand experience? Do the people who own and run the company have solid experience in pet food, or are they newbies who raised a lot of investment money and jumped in to the industry to make a quick buck? Experience matters. Integrity matters. Transparency matters. Can you call the owner and talk to the nutritionist? Admittedly I am partial because I am a partner at Lucy Pet Foods, but I also have been in the pet food industry for long enough to know fact from hype. I have seen the tricks that so many pet food companies use to mislead consumers. I'm a purist, and I believe that pet parents deserve to know the facts. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have any time, so feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.

I am a huge believer in the role our digestive tract (or the Gut) has in total health. In fact there is compelling science that proves conclusively that good gut health can strengthen the immune system, help fight disease, provide more energy, improve mood, and help with a healthy skin and coat. Lucy Pet Foods are built on that science, using a very unique fiber blend, along with quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vegetables to deliver superior nutrition to your dog or cat.  So yes I am partial to Lucy Pet Foods, but it is because I have worked with some of the nation's leading nutritionists and industry experts on ingredients to build a pet food that delivers results. Don't just take my word for it, check out our website and read about our Formulas for Life dog and cat foods.

I've been feeding my standard poodles Lucy Pet Duck, Pumpkin & Quinoa dog food for five years and they have really thrived on it. This year we just launched our new Kettle Creations Dog and Cat Stews. These are a really nice stew form, with extra gravy so they are perfect to use as a topper with kibble, or you can feed as a meal. They are made with real salmon, chicken or duck, and not some fake formed mystery meat-like stuff. All our ingredients are real! I should know because I have spent so much time at the plant and was personally involved in their development and production. I hope you check us out sometime and try our foods, you can find our products with free shipping from our own website. We are also available from Chewy and Amazon.

Thanks for reading,

-Rick

P.S.- Funny enough, when I first posted this article, someone sent me a message asking about the two bowls in the photo above. They are Fiesta brand pet food bowls. Fiestaware is one of the most collected and popular brands of dinnerware. Lucy Pet Products website started carrying the Fiestaware dog food bowls and cat food bowls. I was surprised how many people really liked the Fiesta pet food bowls, and that's why we started selling them on our website. Made in USA, chip resistant, and very durable, dishwasher and microwave safe., Fiesta is the brand of bowls I bought for my own dogs...and that was long before Lucy Pet started selling Fiesta. (So that means I actually paid full price!).

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863



Saturday, February 15, 2020

Healthy Living as a Type 1 Diabetic: Tandem X2 Insulin Pump & Dexcom G6 CGM

New Podcasts:

Healthy Living Diabetes: Tandem X2 Insulin Pump & Dexcom G6 CGM

30 minute podcast click here

60 minute podcast click here


Anyone who has Type 1 Diabetes knows what a struggle it can be. It is a manageable condition but requires exceptional discipline, constant monitoring of blood glucose levels and planning. Staying healthy as a Type 1 Diabetic is a full time job in and of itself.  It also requires knowledge of the food we eat, how it is digested and how it converts to carbohydrates.  While diabetes has common traits, it also can vary from person to person depending on many factors, including weight, stress, general health, sleep cycles, diet, and general health. Even our insulin sensitivity can vary. Having access to technology such as a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump can be the difference between getting by and living as a healthy diabetic. As a user of the Tandem X2 Insulin Pump & Dexcom G6 CGM I can honestly say it changed my life. 
A few years ago when I discovered I required insulin to stay alive, it seemed like a devastating
diagnosis. I was in denial, shock, and felt depressed. Once I got past those feelings I learned it can be managed. However I am one of the lucky ones, I had a close friend who is a Pharmacist with a specialty in diabetes management. Although he hadn't planned to, he became a personal coach and taught me so much. Last April I started using an insulin pump, which was a really difficult concept for me to get over. Once I got it and started using it I wondered why I resisted for so long. I tweeted about it last June, sharing a video and I had a number of people contact me about it, just from that post on Twitter. During this podcast I will share what I learned, and my own experiences on this journey as a Type 1 Diabetic. I am not an expert, but this podcast is intended to provide hope and support to anyone struggling with diabetes. My one tip to everyone is always insist on seeing an endocrinologist. You deserve an expert who understands your whole system. I'll share my story in this episode.
Note: This is NOT a sponsored post, and has no affiliation to Dexcom or Tandem Diabetes. The content is my own opinions and experiences. Always consult your own doctor for medical advice in managing your own diabetes.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Palm Springs Women in Film and Television Kicks off New Speaker Series

Independent Film Producer Kim Waltrip returns to my podcast to discuss the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), a non-profit organization founded in 2001, dedicated to promoting its members, both men and women in the Entertainment, New Media and Creative arts community. Focused on education and bringing more production work to the Coachella Valley, PSWIFT is the 38th Chapter of Women in Film & Television International, reaching over 43 Chapters worldwide and over 10,000 members. Ms Waltrip currently serves as President of PSWIFT and offers her unique perspective of this organization's contributions to Palm Springs. Anyone interested in a career in film or television this podcast has some great insights from Kim's experience as a film producer based in Palm Springs.
Kim Waltrip
PSWIFT has initiated a Speakers Series, the first installment will kick off February 20, 2020 with a conversation with Nick Vallelonga, the Oscar Winner for Best Picture "Green Book" and the actor who played the Bass in the film, Mike Hatton
Nick Vallelonga is the Writer/Producer of the Oscar winning film “Green Book.” and also won two Golden Globes for Original Screenplay and Best Picture which is based on the true story of Nick's father Tony Lip, who went on tour of the south with the brilliant pianist Dr. Donald Shirley in 1962.  Mike Hatton co-starred as George Dyer, the Bass player of The Don Shirley Trio. Mike won several awards for his performance in Green Book including a Hollywood Film Award and he returned to his second home here in Palm Springs to accept the PSIFF Chairman's Vanguard Award.  Mike is also a producer and can be seen next in Pay Dirt, which he produced in The Coachella Valley.

A conversation with Nick Vallelonga, the Oscar Winner for Best Picture "Green Book" and the actor who played the Bass in the film, Mike Hatton! Wine reception prior to conversation. Tickets are $25 for Members, $35 for non-members. Register here.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Women Leadership in Social Media Networking: Cheryl Lawson, Social Media Tulsa

Podcast episode: Sunday February 2nd Listen on Demand Anytime.

Cheryl Lawson, founder Social Media Tulsa
Media research specialists have analyzed the impact of women leaders in social media and social apps. Studies show that women leaders are instrumental in the evolution of stereotypes and shifting demographic trends across multiple categories of social media networks and apps. Women leaders have an impact on media, business, networking, advertising and entertainment. Data shows that women are more active than men on social media, in the number of hours per week, and levels are participation and engagement. Experts believe that since women typically adapt and embrace new technology more easily, they will continue to lead and foreshadow trends in the digital space, and in business. Unlike their male counterparts women typically are more expressive, communicative and willing to engage across multiple platforms and conversations. Inherently more willing to share and bond with friends and strangers in social space, women are leading change in the online space, which translates offline in a variety of ways, particularly supporting their local communities.
I'm pleased to welcome back Cheryl Lawson to my podcast on February 2nd 2020. Cheryl is the founder of Social Media Tulsa, a robust social media networking organization that specializes in social media for events and connecting businesses with social media savvy marketers and influencers. Cheryl has been an innovative leader in her community using this space long before anyone was doing this type of networking. Over the past decade, Cheryl has built an impressive network of influencers who engage with SMTulsa throughout the year to help support the diverse Tulsa community. Her network includes local business, non-profits, individual professionals, and people who just enjoy being part of something bigger. Her Social Media Tulsa event is the premier social media conference brings together small business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, visual media artists, social media aficionados to engage, network and build a community that lasts long after the last conference selfie has been taken. No matter where you live, this podcast is relevant to help anyone learn more about how to network and leverage social media for good as a positive force in the community. I have personally observed (and participated) in Cheryl's community and perhaps one of the most impressive aspects is that it continues to thrive and grow for over ten years. Cheryl is an excellent example of a leader who had the inspiration, tenacity and drive to build something to help others and keep it going, constantly innovating along the way. A true model for all who seek relevance in today's challenging and sometimes overwhelming world of social media. 

Cheryl returns to my podcast discuss her unique insights and emerging trends in social media. A must-listen for anyone interested in learning how to put social media platforms to practical use in business/personal life. Find out more about the 2020 SMTULSA Conference limited space is available: March 26, 27 2020 smtulsa.com

Friday, January 24, 2020

Quinoa for Dogs and Cats?

Long time readers know that I've worked in the pet industry for over 20 years. My background is specifically in dog and cat nutrition, and in full disclosure I am a partner at a pet food company called Lucy Pet Products. Many of our recipes include quinoa, which is considered an ancient grain, but is actually a seed and is very healthy for people and pets. Our nutritionists developed dog and cat foods with quinoa because it is a high quality ingredient and an excellent source of energy and nutrients. Here is an excerpt of a blog post from the Lucy Pet website. 
The quinoa phenomenon is truly remarkable in North America. Once a relatively unfamiliar food to the US, this ancient grain has grown in popularity over the past few years, even appearing on pet blogs such as Petnet as a hot new health food for both humans and their four-legged friends. So the question remains: is quinoa good for dogs? In this article, we’ll explore many frequently-asked questions, including the quinoa for dogs benefits  – and what pet foods feature this superfood that has garnered so much attention as of late.
Quinoa FAQs: Commonly-Asked Questions About The “Ancient Grain”While many of us may have heard of quinoa – or even eat it ourselves – there is much that people do not know about this nutrient-rich ingredient. According to the Whole Grains Council, the majority of the world’s quinoa crop is grown in South America, about a third of which is organic. While there are hundreds of types of quinoa grown, the most common varieties are either white, red, or tan. Although this gluten-free food dates back thousands of years and is often referred to as an “ancient grain”, quinoa is actually a seed. Used as a healthy substitute for certain gluten-heavy carbohydrates such as rice and pasta, quinoa has continued to grow in popularity as health-conscious people search for ways to reduce their processed food intake and cut their caloric intake – especially the gluten-sensitive set. But how does this grain-free food benefit our dogs? Below, a few frequently asked questions regarding quinoa for dogs:
Q: Is Quinoa Safe For Dogs To Eat?A: A great deal of research has shown that quinoa is a highly nutritious food for humans. But according to the AKC, it’s also safe for dogs and cats, too – in fact, many premium dog kibble brands have begun using it as a substitute for less healthy starches such as wheat, soy, and corn. Loaded with calcium, protein, vitamin E, B-1, B-2, it also touts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, it offers trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids – so it’s no wonder that this ‘superfood’ has taken off in popularity for both health-conscious humans and their pets! Since it’s high in both protein and healthy carbs, quinoa is especially beneficial for active dogs and cats.
Q: Is Quinoa Good For Dogs With Allergies Or Food Sensitivities?A: Just as some humans experience food allergies, our canine companions can also experience allergic reactions to certain foods, including dog food ingredients. In the instance that your furry friend has been diagnosed by a veterinarian with canine allergies, the vet’s office may recommend an elimination diet. This type of diet basically entails determining what foods your dog may or may not be allergic to by introducing them to the animal one at a time to see how he reacts. If you notice itching, gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea/vomiting/constipation), or even chronic otitis (ear infections), it most likely means he’s allergic to that particular food. Your vet can provide further instructions on this process, but this method – also known as a “restricted diet” – can help to pinpoint what your dog can and cannot eat. In other instances, your dog may have a food sensitivity – such as a reaction to specific foods such as gluten – so he may require a gluten-free diet. In either case, your vet can determine his condition and the best steps to take to ensure he receives the proper nutrition at feeding time.
When diagnosing your dog, some vets will recommend what is known as a “limited-antigen” diet – meaning one protein and one carbohydrate at a time. Furthermore, the foods should be new to the dog – meaning he’s never eaten them before. Among the list of ‘novel’ carbohydrate ingredients – you guessed it, quinoa. Other sources of ‘good’ carbs may include oats, pumpkin, barley, and even dog food containing chickpeas, which is also a great source of protein. If you notice your dog’s allergy symptoms improving, high-quality dog kibble including these ingredients (such as quinoa) may be a great source of nutrition for your pooch.
Can Dogs Eat Quinoa: How To Add It To Their Diet, Naturally
As you can see, there are so many benefits to feeding a diet made with quinoa into your dog’s dietary regimen. Choosing quality dog foods such as Lucy Pet can really make a difference in your pet’s health and longevity. With our scientifically-formulated blends of balanced nutrition, our natural dog kibble and treats take the guesswork out of feeding your pup. Packed with healthful ingredients – including gluten-free, amino-rich quinoa, protein-studded chickpeas, premium meats and fish, vitamin and mineral-packed veggies (such as pumpkin), and other superior whole food sources – our dog food formulas are based on 40 years of research and studies by Dr. George C. Fahey. Take the next step in ensuring your furry friend’s vitality and make him a Lucy Pet dog today.
Lucy Pet has full transparency of every ingredient used in the formulas. You can learn more about each ingredient and where is it sourced from, right from the website.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Kids and young adults need to know they are loved...

Dr. Virginia A. Rockhill
On my podcast and radio show recently, I had my mom as a guest. She wrote a book for young adults (ages 11 and up) called UnconditionalThis is the story of the unlikely friendship of a dog and a toad. Their many adventures in “the world that is invisible to humans” leads them to fulfilling their true purpose in life. The delightful personalities of the animals they befriend prove that, despite their differences, they can work together to overcome evil, defeat the dark plot of the sinister scientist and save the environment from his destruction through the power of Unconditional Love.

During the podcast my mom explained how important it is for kids to know they are loved, particularly if they experienced the loss of a parent (death, divorce or abandonment), suffered abuse, or trauma. These situations can be difficult for young adults and often times they struggle later in life. In addition, kids who have ADD, ADHD (attention deficit disorders) or even autism need to discover important lessons of life and love in a way that is approachable and enjoyable. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, aunt, uncle or a caring neighbor, this book Unconditional is a helpful read that kids will enjoy. 

You can listen to my interview from this podcast here. Below is a recap of the book, I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who may be in need.

A Toad, A Dog and Varying Animals Work Together to “Save the Planet” and Deliver a World from Racism, Homophobia and Hatred in New Adult Children’s Book “Unconditional
Virginia A. Rockhill, Ph.D, uses the Innocence of animals to tell the tale of how Faith, Love and Acceptance can overcome the biggest problems the world faces today. This new adult children’s fictional novel subtly confronts today’s toughest moral issues.  Unconditional is available for ($14.95) on Amazon.com
Dr Virginia A. Rockhill is a licensed, practicing psychologist in both private practice and in long term care. She earned her degree in Psychology and Chemistry at Rhode Island College, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Rhode Island.  Influenced by C. S. Lewis’ “Narnia” series the books features talking animals interacting with one another to overcome the forces of evil. “Unconditional” was written to “plant the seeds” of awareness, each person has the ability to make his or her own choices, and have far-reaching effects on others and the world around us. 
This podcast a great listen for anyone who cares about a young adult healthy development. In particular children who experienced divorce, absent fathers, absent parents, loss of a parent or experienced some kid of trauma or stress. This book is also helpful for anyone who knows a young adult with conditions like ADHD, ADD, attention deficits, and autism.
Related topics in this podcast include:
  • Faith,
  •  Love,
  •  Fiction,
  •  Novel,
  •  Natural Law
  • , Friendship,
  •  Animals,
  •  Acceptance,
  •  family values
  • family support
  • , ADD,
  •  adhd,
  •  ADHD, Teen,
  •  Christian Values,
  •  Father absence,
  •  absent fathers,
  • fatherless,
  • fatherless daughters,
  • Fatherless Sons,
  •  children of divorce,
  •  Good vs Evil
  • , cultural differences, feeling loved,
  •  Creator, God,
  •  Unconditional love,
  •  Self Awareness
  • , Self Awareness, Help, Faith,
  •  Peace,
  •  Peace of God
  • , books for kids
  • , books for Young, adults
  • Self Esteem
  • , self worth,
  •  purpose in life, and 
  • Purpose of life.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

When is it time to change your dog's food?

During a recent podcast, a caller asked me for recommendations on things to get for their new puppy. I shared a story about a friend who recently added a dog to his family, who also asked me for advice on what he needed. Having spent nearly a quarter of a century in the pet industry, he knew I would be able to answer most of these questions about pet supplies. From the basics like what kind of bowls are best for dogs, the toys, the poop bags, or even deciding the best choice for a harness, collar and leash, I was never at a loss on what to recommend. When it comes to food and treats I am especially opinionated because I am a pet nutrition specialist. Whether you walk into a brick-and-mortar pet store or shop online at Chewy.com or Amazon, it can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands or pet food, and it can be very difficult to sort through the marketing claims and labels. My friend was surprised just how many brands were available. When he told me what the dog had been eating previously I was horrified and encouraged him to change the food he was feeding right away. He flat out asked me, "What is the best dog food to feed?" I replied that finding the best dog food for your dog can depend on factors such as health conditions, age, body weight, breed needs, etc. Aside from the brand I recommended, my first advice was to IGNORE the marketing claims on pet food labels. Most marketing claims are there to influence you by getting you to focus on what they want you to respond to, and not necessarily what is best for your dog's health and nutrition needs.

It turns out that dogs have very specific nutrition needs. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plants. Dogs are not wolves, no more than we humans are not the same as our caveman ancestors. Neither humans or domesticated dogs hunt exclusively for our food. We eat in regular intervals and have relatively sedentary lifestyles. So dogs require very specific nutrition which can come from protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Being omnivores does not mean it is OK to feed them everything. Home cooking, table scraps, etc is not a healthy choice for your dog. If you want to give your dog a treat once in a while, in addition to their kibble, that's generally OK; their main source of nutrition should come from kibble. Dog food kibble is hands down the best option to feed your dog because it is designed to be complete and balanced and provide the 40+ essential vitamins and minerals your dog requires. I also said not to fall for those trendy raw and fresh foods, they just are not scientifically right, and are extremely expensive anyway. Avoid those brands at the supermarket or mass merchant mega-marts.

Instead look for a dog food that talks about all the ingredients, and not just the first few ingredients on the label. Imagine if you were buying a car, and all the car company talked about was the hood and the lights. Most people want to know about the cars interior, engine, wheels, fuel efficiency, trunk space, safety stats, etc, etc. So when you see a dog food label focus on something like "high protein" and focus on the meat ingredients, what are they hiding? Why aren't they talking about the importance of everything in the food?

Most people just don't have time to research pet foods and try to find the best dog food, so they rely on reviews, and what friends say. I do tell people to at least look at the dog food brand's website, and see what the company is focusing on. Look for companies with science based nutrition, and not just marketing fads or slogans. Because I have been closely involved in the development of Lucy Pet Formulas for Life dog foods, I am very knowledgeable about what is in them and why they are the best dog foods on the market. Science now shows that gut health is the key to overall better health. The digestive system in dogs is the epicenter of the immune system, so getting the balance of bacteria is essential. Lucy Pet's dog foods focus on creating better gut health through a proprietary blend of prebiotic fibers that actually change the gut by creating more good bacteria and outnumbering the bad bacteria. The end result is your dog will have a stronger immune system to stay healthy and fight disease as they age. The quality of ingredients Lucy Pet uses in their dog foods will really make a difference to your dog, especially when they have a healthy gut from these diets.

So when is it time to change your dog's food?
  • When a pet food company is sold to one of those huge conglomerates, it is time to switch. I have seen, first hand how big companies immediately start looking for ways to save money, cut costs, cheapen ingredients, and change suppliers. So if you have been feeding your dog one of those brands that has been sold, and is now available in the big discount stores, ask yourself, how is it they can afford to do that? The answer is often because they quietly changed the formula and are using cheap ingredients. 
  •  If you find that your dog is experiencing ongoing digestive issues that do not clear up in a reasonable time frame, it may be time to switch to a new brand. 
  •  Read the pet food bag. If it says "high protein" it is time to switch your dog's diet. There are studies that now show feeding high protein foods over long periods of time can cause cancer. 
  •  Read the ingredient panel on your dog food bag. If you see any non-specific animal protein such as "meat by-product meal" or "poultry by-product meal" instead of "beef meal" or "duck meal" or "chicken meal", you should change your dog's food immediately. Non-specific animal protein means the company can use whatever is cheapest and available.
  • If the brand says anything about implying your dog is a wolf, or this is an "Ancestral Diet" They are trying to mislead you with marketing hype, instead of proven nutritional science.
It is very hard to navigate all the dog food brands. There are so many brands that are really garbage. There are a handful that in my opinion are decent and safe for feeding. Of course I am partial to Lucy Pet foods, but not only because I work at Lucy Pet, but also because I know first hand what is in the diets and I know how the formulas were developed. Including how they ensure the proper ratios of amino acids, omegas, and proper fiber ratios for gut health. When should you change your dog's food? The answer is now. Dogs don't live nearly as long as we would like them to, so why not feed the best dog food to help them stay health and live as long as possible. That's why I am so passionate about recommending Lucy Pet Formulas for Life dog food.

So what about those other pet supplies I recommend when getting a new dog?

Since I mentioned this at the beginning of the post, I decided to share my opinions on a few other pet supplies when you have a new dog. Bowls: ceramic or stainless steel bowls are best for food and water, because they are durable and can be put in the dishwasher regularly. The choice of toys depends highly on factors such as the age, breed and size of dog you have. Toys are meant to occupy your dog and allow them something that they know is "theirs". Be prepared for toys to get destroyed and worn out, your dog's individual traits will dictate how often you'll need to replace them. I like to have a variety of toys, hard rubber toys (like a Kong), one or two flavored Nylabone bones, an antler for long lasting chewing, tennis balls, and a variety of plush toys with the dreaded squeakers. Personally I choose to avoid any and all rawhide and prefer the antlers or plain large white bones. Depending on your breed/size and how well they are trained, I usually recommend using a harness to walk your dog. However, all dogs should always wear a collar with a name tag. The harness is good for walks because it gives you better control and prevents you from choking your dog if you need to yank the leash suddenly. Remember to get your dog micro-chipped an registered and also have them spayed or neutered.

Other things to purchase for your new dog:
  • Dog bed
  • Brush (type varies on the coat)
  • Treats (get biscuits, and also a small meaty treat for training)
  • Shampoo (bath your dog regularly to keep their skin and coat healthy)
  • Stain/Odor Remover (accidents will happen so be prepared)
  • Wire Crate (for sleeping, travel, or for emergency preparedness)
  • Exercise Pen and Baby gates (ideal for containment)
  • Tie-Out stake for the yard 
  • Paw wipes (tidy up after walks)
  • More Toys and Balls
  • Soft blanket for them to nest or to protect your sofa
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

High protein pet foods linked to Cancer

So many people are blindly following the marketing fad of high protein diets for dogs and cats. Slick marketing tries to convince you that "your dog is a wolf" and so forth. Not only is that untrue, wildly inaccurate, but it is quite dangerous to your dog in particular. Science shows that there are links between feeding excessively high protein diets to cancer in dogs and cats. 

Dogs have specific nutrient requirements for their health and wellness, feeding excessively high protein levels over a long period of time can be unhealthy for dogs. There have been studies in humans and rats that found a correlation between high levels of ammonia from certain high protein diets and higher rates of cancer. These cancer rates were attributed to high levels of toxins created by the higher protein, such as ammonia and other nitrogen components which build up in the large intestine. 

Check out this explanation by Dr. George C. Fahey, of the University of Illinois.



Check the label of the pet food you are feeding. Your dog food protein should not exceed 28% and cat food protein should not exceed 35%. Use science as your guide, not marketing hype.  
Disclosure: This video was presented by Lucy Pet Products, and I work for Lucy Pet.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Why kibble is still the best choice for dog & cat food

With more than two decades of experience in the pet food industry, I consider myself reasonably well informed when it comes to dog food and cat food. The internet is full of all sorts of misleading and inaccurate information as it relates to pet food. I would like to share my point of view with you. So why is my opinion worth reading? Well, you can decide for yourself.

My professional background and experience is in pet nutrition marketing. I am not a nutritionist. I do work intimately with the process of developing and manufacturing pet foods. I have developed numerous dog and cat foods (dry, wet and treats) that have been marketing around the world. I work closely with some of the top nutritionists and researchers at major US Universities. I have served on the board of a major pet food manufacturer, and currently serve on a nutrition innovation team with a major global ingredient supplier to the pet industry. I also work for Lucy Pet, a California based family-owned pet health company. We make dog and cat food and we are committed to truth, transparency and honesty in pet food.

Throughout my career I have visited nearly every major pet food manufacturing facilities, and numerous small ones too. I regularly attend professional conferences such as the Pet Food Forum, the annual meetings of AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), and stay current with official publications and pet food conference calls by the FDA, FEDIAF (the European Pet Food Industry body) and of course the National Research Council (NRC), the body that actually sets the nutritional requirements for animals. I have also spent extensive amounts of time on farms, fisheries and ranches where various ingredients are grown, raised or procured. Over the past two decades I have seen all sorts of things that have given me an education as to what can improve or diminish the quality of a pet food.

I am a fact based person, and leery of fads and trend diets (human or animal). I always prefer science over emotion, and look for long term feeding trials before judging a new food or ingredient. Last year I wrote an article here entitled: A Quick Lesson On Pet Food. Feel free check that out later.

What drove me to write this post is the latest trend of alternate forms of pet foods that have no proven science behind them. I welcome new innovation to the marketplace, provided it is proven as safe and made by experienced nutritionists. What alarms me is that trends such as "fresh pet foods" and "raw dog foods" are misleading consumers to think they are properly balanced. Many of these new companies are attempting to gain popularity and market share by making patently false and misleading claims about dog kibble and cat kibble foods. In order to scare consumers, they claim that dry kibble is cooked at such high temperatures, it "cooks out all the nutrients". This is false. Then they extol the virtues of gently cooked, or slow cooked, or raw diets as better. These statements are not only inaccurate but they are misleading. When a nutritionist designs a kibble diet, they take into account cooking temperatures, storage conditions and shelf-life timelines of the pet food and calculate the ingredients accordingly. The pet food formulation and the cooking anticipates how all the raw ingredients, when blended and cooked will react to ensure that your dog or cat has the proper levels of nutrition they require.  The bottom line is that when made properly, by an experienced team of nutritionists, dog kibble and cat kibble offer consistent nutrition in every bite. Kibble is not deficient of nutrients, and in fact, some ingredients actually become more bio-available when cooked. So don't let anyone try to fool you into thinking that all the nutrients cooked out of kibble dog food.

Some of these fad diet companies hire a veterinarian who puts on their white coat, wears a stethoscope and pretends to understand nutrition. I am here to tell you that the overwhelming majority of veterinarians have little to no training and education in nutrition science. The next time a veterinarian tries to tell you what to feed your pet, ask them how many years of education in nutrition they have. Most will admit they had none, or maybe had an hour during one course of their degree.  So just because a pet food brand has a vet talking about the food, that alone does not mean they understand nutrition and can vouch for the diet as properly balanced.

One major issue I have with these trendy "fresh" pet foods, or human-food looking pet foods, or raw pet foods is that they often times are not properly balanced, even when they claim to be "complete and balanced". The concern I have with these fad diets is that the people making them are not experienced nutritionists who understand the complex nature of food ingredients. For example, there are multiple amino acids that animals require at certain levels. In order to formulate correctly, it requires a thorough understanding of the natural chemical composition and functionality of proteins, amino acids, and all sorts of compounds with how they react when ingested and digested by the animal. There are considerable consequences to animal health and well being just when basic ingredient formulas are not balanced properly. Remember that your pet is depending on that meal for all of its nutrition, so feeding a diet that does not take into account the complexity of nutrition science can have an adverse effect on vital organ functionality and life span of the animal. The digestive system plays a very important role in animal health, therefore ingredients and the formulation really matter.

Many of these diets promote the fact that they include fresh vegetables or fruits, but this is merely for label appeal to the consumer. Consider that fruits and veggies are mainly water, so in order to derive the amount of vitamins and minerals the dog or cat requires, you would need to feed many times higher levels of those veggies to meet the requirements of the animal. Also consider that after veggies and fruits are picked, and as the age, they gradually begin to loose freshness and the nutrients degrade. So those foods made with fruits and veggies could have older, wilted veggies that are not as potent as when they were fresh. That variability in freshness and their potency, coupled with the fact that you would still need many times more than they are using, makes this aspect of fresh or raw less than desirable as a complete and balanced source of nutrients. I imagine that it is possible some of these new, small fresh made pet food brands are trying to do something better, but the problem is they don't know what they don't know. They created a pet food on a formulated basis only and not tested it or understand how that diet performs over time when digested, and how the vital organs are affected.

Raw pet food is even riskier because in addition to being imbalanced, they present significant health and safety issues to the pet and the consumer. Aside from the risks of  Salmonella, and E. Coli, there are documented studies showing that the gut of the dog or cat has dangerous bacteria that continues to grow and build over time. This has a negative effect on the animals' gut health and ph levels. 

Despite what companies are trying to tell you in their marketing, your dog is not a wolf. Just as we as humans are not caveman anymore, we have evolved, over tens of thousands of years. And as a result our DNA has changed. Just look to science, yes science, not emotion for the facts. Science has documented that there are over three dozen different strands of DNA that are different between the dog and the wolf. Those DNA genome differences are significant because they relate to digestion. So while it may seem fun to think you should feed your dog the same way they would "eat in the wild" and therefore mimic a wolf's diet, the fact is your dog is NOT A WOLF. Keep in mind that that message has been perpetuated by pet food companies trying to sell you something. Personally I would never feed a raw pet food diet, ever.

The tough part for consumers is to figure out which brand of kibble is the best. There are so many brands of dog and cat food now, it can be overwhelming. Of course I have my opinion and preference. Go to a pet specialty store to do research, but don't just go with what the store employee or demo person says. They are paid or commissioned in some way sell a particular brand. My advice is buy the best you can afford, but read up on the brand. Look closely at the brand website, what are they emphasizing? What are they not talking about? Are they trying to fool you by only talking about the first few ingredients on the label, or do they talk openly about the entire formula? Do they share details about their nutritionist? Do they talk about the science behind their food? If they are mostly marketing "feel good" traits, and nothing else, then move on. Just because a food is organic, or natural, or humane, does not necessarily mean it is the best. Our pets only live a short time relative to human lifespan. Don't we owe it to feed them the best possible, so they can be healthy?  I get frustrated by companies, large and small who literally lie and mislead consumers. I am merely advocating FACT and SCIENCE when it comes to nutrition. The point of this article is to assure you that kibble is still the best choice for dog and cat food.

In full disclosure I mentioned previously that I work with Lucy Pet, and we have a kibble dog food. However, even if I did not work for Lucy Pet, I would still be sharing the same information because what I am writing about is rooted in science and facts. I added a few links within this article to things we wrote about on the Lucy Pet Products website. I hope this helps shed some insights into what I have learned over my 23+ years in pet food. If you want to see my other article on A Quick Lesson on Pet Food, click here
Thanks for reading.

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.

This blog is independent and free of any type of financial affiliations. Some images used are from the internet and sometimes hard to credit them, so if you own any and want them removed just send me a message.

No copyright infringement intended. I am not responsible for defamatory statements bound to government, religious, or other laws from the reader’s country of origin or residence. The intention of this blog is to do no harm, defame, libel or offend anyone.