Friday, February 17, 2017

Lucy Pet Products Highlights Gut Health with Debut of Pet Food Line

Earlier this week, we issued a press release about the upcoming launch of a new line of super-premium, natural dog and cat food focused that is designed for gut health in pets. I'm very proud of this new food because it brings a significant body of nutrition research on animal nutrition to the consumer so pets can benefit from healthier digestion. Here is the press release with details:

Joey Herrick, an Innovator in Natural Pet Foods,
has Teamed Up with the World’s Leading Expert on
Gut and Digestive Health to Debut Lucy Pet Formulas For Life

Lucy Pet Formulas for Life™️ uses Prebiotic Balanced Fiber™️ (PBF) in its unique blend which promotes a healthy gut and enables optimal digestion for
improved immunity.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Feb. 15, 2017 - Many of the leading pet foods on the market today were developed using formulas that are over 20 years old. Some use common ingredients that when combined with pet owners’ tendencies to overfeed, can lead to chronic disease, obesity and other conditions. A leading university professor, specializing in animal nutrition has spent the past 40 years studying the role of fiber and its health benefits for the digestive system.

Until recently, the importance of the gut in overall health wasn’t fully understood,” says Joey Herrick founder and President of Lucy Pet Products. The latest nutritional advancements now show that the digestive tract goes far beyond just processing the food your pet eats. Just like in humans, it is very important to create a healthy environment in the gut because it plays a key role in strengthening your pet’s immunity to chronic diseases.”

Dr. George C. Fahey, Professor Emeritus of Animal and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois, conducted extensive research on gastrointestinal tract health and the role of macronutrients in digestive physiology and health of the gut. He discovered the optimal sources and concentrations of dietary fibers in pet food to include identification of the relationship between fiber fermentability, nutrient digestibility and the effectiveness of prebiotics in dogs and cats.

Dr. Fahey’s compelling fiber research and findings are the basis of Lucy Pet’s P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber ™ technology. These industry leading formulations for dogs and cats promote good gut health, which helps the body absorb nutrients more efficiently and plays a key role in natural immunity.

Herrick is no stranger to innovation in the pet food market. It has been almost 30 years since he pioneered the natural pet food industry with his trademark brand Natural Balance. He began researching today’s pet food market and observed that everyone is making the same marketing claims among similar ingredients, which led him to start looking at animal health from a different point of view.

Herrick assembled a diverse team of pet food and nutrition experts with a combined 200 years of experience, including Rick Rockhill, Executive Vice President and partner at Lucy Pet. Rockhill has more than two decades experience in the pet industry that includes deep expertise of consumables, including super-premium natural dog and cat foods.

Herrick and Rockhill studied the nutritional research of Dr. George C. Fahey, one of the world’s leading experts on companion animal digestive health.  Fahey discovered that having a variety of fibers with a precise blend, can produce an optimal environment in the digestive tract that leads to an optimal balance of bacteria in the gut. They trademarked “Lucy Pet P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber™ to firmly establish Lucy Pet’s nutrition leadership in the pet industry.

“Recently the human gut has been identified to have hundreds of millions more neurons than the spinal cord, which is why it is often referred to as the second brain,” said Rockhill. (1) Our PBF technology goes far beyond other pet foods for digestion and gut health.”

Lucy Pet Formulas for Life™ with P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber is created using high quality proteins, a unique blend of quinoa, pumpkin and chickpeas for an ideal balance of more beneficial bacteria in the gut. Herrick sources high quality ingredients like duck and wild-caught Alaskan salmon globally from trusted suppliers he knows, with absolutely no ingredients coming from China. Lucy Pet Formulas for Life™ are manufactured in the United States in facilities that exceed industry-wide standards, and every production run is checked for contaminants before distribution.

“Our foods are made with truth in labeling, honesty in formulations, the latest in scientific research and attention to detail,” added Herrick. “I love all my animals and I would never want to be in a position where they weren’t healthy because I was not feeding them the best food possible. And that is the driving force behind everything that we do here at Lucy Pet Products.”

Lucy Pet’s Quality Assurance program gives consumers peace of mind. They check every production run of products for contaminants before distribution to assure they meet strict quality assurance standards.


Products With A Cause
Lucy Pet is committed to helping animals by donating to the Lucy PetFoundation, whose mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and support other animal welfare causes.

About Lucy Pet
Lucy Pet is a family-owned and operated pet product business based in Thousand Oaks, California. Proceeds from the brand directly fund its 501 (c) (3) non-profit Lucy Pet Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and the euthanasia of over 80,000 dogs and cats per week in the United States.

From Formula for Life ™ dog and cat food, shampoos/leave-in conditioners to Lucy Pet Cats Incredible cat litter, Lucy Pet develops quality products for pets' health and wellness. Their products are made in the U.S.A and can be found in pet specialty stores across the U.S.A. and worldwide. For more information please go to www.lucypetfood.com or follow Lucy Pets and their spokesdog, Surfin' Jack on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @LucyPetProducts and @SurfinJackDog.


(1) Hall, John E. (2011). "General Principles of Gastrointestinal Function". Guyton and Hal Textbook of Medical Physiology (12th ed.). Saunders Elsevier. p. 755

Here is a link to the original PR Newswire release 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Prebiotics, Probiotics and Gut Health for Dogs and Cats

For over two decades I've worked in the pet industry, primarily in dog and cat consumables products. That includes everything from dry dog and cat food, wet or canned dog and cat food, and dog & cat treats of every type. During this time, I've worked either as an employee or consultant to the pet industry. I've worked with manufacturers, marketers, ingredient suppliers, regulators, officials from the FDA, USDA and AAFCO, as well as nutritionists, scientists, veterinarians, distributors and retailers. It has been a fascinating journey where I've expanded my knowledge and experience along the way. I do not profess or represent myself as a nutrition expert, but after all these years I can safely say that I have a strong knowledge of dog and cat nutrition. 

There are so many choices of pet foods on the market today. It can be overwhelming to walk into a pet store and see all the choices and options. It can also be very confusing to evaluate and compare brands and products. Marketers choose to highlight various aspects of their products that they feel will appeal to their target consumer. Some brands use slick marketing claims to distract consumers from some of the less desirable aspects of their formulas. For the most part, all of this is perfectly legal, marketers know how to "walk the line" on the regulations, but essentially are only telling part of the story.

Some pet food brands have inadvertently created confusion in the marketplace with product offerings that focus on various ideas that are not based in sound nutritional studies on animal nutrition. For example, what long-term studies have been completed on feeding excessively high protein levels? Do we know what the impact is to vital organs, such as the kidney and liver? Why is super high protein perceived as "the best" when we know that excess protein simply isn't utilized by dogs and cats, and in some cases can create a heavy strain on the body.

Some pet food brands seem to leverage flexibility in pet food guidelines, for example the practice of ingredient splitting, to achieve a particular order on the ingredient label. These tactics are usually to influence the consumer that seeing a particular order of ingredients on the ingredient panel makes a formula look better than it may actually appear to be. Then there is the whole issue of ingredients. Where raw ingredients are from, the quality they truly are, how they are handled, and even how they are raised/grown/processed. Few pet food companies want to talk about this because the truth isn't something most consumers want to read. I've spent years visiting farms, ranches, meat plants, fisheries, and pet food plants. Some companies are exemplary, some are not. But how does a consumer cut through all that noise and marketing claims? it is difficult. My advice is to educate yourself as much as possible, understand that not everything you read on the Internet is true, and stay current on science and nutritional studies. 

I'd like to spend time about another trend in the pet food marketplace: Digestion.

Digestive health is an example of a common claim among pet foods. We see lots of dog and cat food brands claiming digestive health, and even "with priobiotics for digestive health". Some claim various treatments or strains of these probiotics to increase effectiveness. But is that the whole story? To illustrate my earlier point of confusion in marketing, I'll start with the topic of digestion in human health products that you will undoubtedly recognize.

In human health, we now read so much about the importance of digestive health. It turns out that digestion and our gut is far more important that we once knew. The digestive system does more than just process food we eat. It actually plays a major role in our immunity to disease. The good news is there are plenty of legitimate articles and studies to read up on this topic. Studies show that 70-80% of our immunity is based in the gut. Amazingly, the gut contains far more than 100 million neurons more than the spinal cord, which is why some refer to the gut as the "second brain". Just these two tidbits alone help us better understand the facts around digestion and gut health. Marketers have quickly developed a huge range of products to meet the need of consumers to have better gut health. Lots of people are buying products with probiotics, such as yogurt and supplements to help their keep their digestive system healthy and balanced. And with good reason, an imbalance in the gut can cause digestive disorders, such as colitis, gas, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. 

We all know what it is like when our digestive system is unhappy, so these new products can bring welcome benefits. However, do consumers understand how probiotics work? Probiotics are a dietary supplement containing live bacteria that adds to the beneficial bacteria normally present in the gastrointestinal tract. They are living organisms that must remain alive in order to work. Probiotics can be diminished or even die completely when exposed to heat, long periods of time, and acidity. If you are buying a probiotic supplement, it should really be refrigerated in the store, to ensure it keep the organisms alive. If you are buying a product that is at room temperature, the probiotics my be all dead, or significantly diminished by the time you start consuming them. So, probiotics are good and they will help but they have limitations. When you take the time to read the science behind the digestive system, we learn that a combination of prebiotics and probiotics are actually the best combination. 

Prebiotics are a non-digestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. They enable growth & activity of good bacteria that populate the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are not affected by time, temperature or acidity. Prebiotic fibers ferment during digestion and grow beneficial bacteria in the gut (digestive tract). These beneficial bacteria add to any normal probiotics that naturally occur. So if you also take probiotic supplements or yogurts, they work better

You can see how knowing this additional information can help you truly get the benefit of this technology. But if you only know part of the information (ie, what is just on a label) you might be led to believe that all you need is a probiotic and you will magically have a healthy gut.

Back to pet foods...nearly everything I just described above holds true for dogs and cats. Our digestive systems are remarkable similar in how they function. I've done a fair bit of reading up on this subject, and have worked closely with some of the leading scientists in the world. Here are a few facts that I have learned:
  • The gut plays a key role in natural immunity to disease, and maintaining a healthy gut can contribute to a healthy dog or cat. 
  • Scientists believe that gut health can help the body through metabolism and symbiotic synergy with prebiotics. 
  • Your pet needs bacteria in the gut for a variety of reasons, such as healthy digestion, gut function, and more. 
  • Having a diverse blend of prebiotics provides nourishment for the gut bacteria, which in turn nourishes the entire body. 
  • Keeping your pet’s immune system strong through healthy digestion and overall gut health.
My opinion:
In the example I cited above about human digestion and the rise of probiotics, you know that they need to stay alive in order to work. So why do so many pet food brands use probiotics in pet foods when we now know that they can die off quickly, especially when exposed to heat (trucking, warehouses, etc) not to mention over time. By the time a bag of pet food goes from manufacturing to distribution, to warehouses, trucking to retailers, storage rooms, sitting on the shelf, then finally to your home, how much of those probiotic living organisms are still alive? Well, probably not much. So what can you do? Well, lets go back to the facts. The facts I shared above about prebiotic ingredients is useful. Pet foods with prebiotic ingredients can help nourish the gut and help produce beneficial bacteria that will work synergistically with probiotics that are naturally in the digestive tract.

Don't take my word for it, read up on some of the significant and extensive studies that have been completed for animal health. Here are just a few articles on fiber and gut health:

http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/dietary-fiber-alters-gut-bacteria-supports-gastrointestinal-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/September-2012/Prebiotics-Probiotics-And-Intestinal-Health/

http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/1/16.full

My Connection
I have spent the past few years following all this research on the role of fiber in animal health and its benefit to the digestive system through prebiotics. I like the fact that there is a body of clear, compelling studies that are science-based. I always prefer to be part of companies and projects that are truthful and fact based, not just marketing hype. That's why I have been so proud to work on the new line of Lucy Pet Formulas for Life with the  P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber ™ technology. The nutritional formulas are based on sound scientific nutrition. It is no secret to readers that I am part of Lucy Pet. I am proud to share my knowledge and experience in pet nutrition here on my own blog, and I am writing to help readers make informed decisions about choosing a pet food. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more details on these incredible new Lucy Pet Foods for dogs and cats. They will be available in select pet specialty stores nationwide. Right now we are getting ready for production and will soon introduce the line at an industry trade show. In the meantime, my advice to all pet parents is to educate yourself on the food you are feeding your dog or cat. Be sure it offers the very best nutrition possible.

Monday, January 30, 2017

PASSION INTO ACTION: THE ART OF GETTING OTHERS ENGAGED


I'm delighted to be speaking once again at the Social Media Tulsa Conference. SMTulsa is the premier social media and business conference in Oklahoma. For anyone in the field, working in social media, making a difference in the business world, you should not miss this excellent learning and networking conference. I'll be presenting a session entitled: "Passion into Action: The Art of Getting Others Engaged"
Here is my session summary:
Now more than ever, nearly everywhere we look, someone is trying to sell us, tell us, or yell at us…about something.
Retailers, manufacturers, politicians, non-profits, for profits, spiritual leaders and those who would lead us into sin, all want to find people’s passions. It seems everyone is trying to motivate us in some way.
PEOPLE are consuming all this content like water from a firehose, and it is harder than ever to cut through all that noise and truly connect with people.
Good communication is important, but good motivation is critical. Motivation is when a person has the desire or willingness to DO something. People can have a desire to do something and still choose not to do anything. To make it real, we must turn the passion into action.
In this session we will explore how to turn passion and motivation into action. We will review a case study to understand what role emotions play to influence people to engage and take action. You will also be able to participate in a live social experiment to see who you can motivate into action. Learn first-hand through an inspiring story of how a non-profit animal organization is motivating people’s passions into action.
If you have never attended Social Media Tulsa, consider registering this year. Click here to register.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This TV appearance shocked some cat owners

Doc Karen Halligan, DVM the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Lucy Pet Foundation, recently appeared on the national morning TV show 'Home and Family' to discuss the dangers of ammonia in the cat litter box. Her appearance has shocked some viewers who have cats by the facts. See for yourself and judge.

The Dangers of Ammonia from Lucy Pet on Vimeo.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Staying healthy in the new year

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I won't get into all that history now, but suffice to say it was a big surprise to me, given that we have no family history and I was not obese in anyway. Up until that diagnosis, I always considered my diet to be relatively healthy. I almost never eat fast food, I do not drink soda or sugary drinks, no junk food,  no heavily processed foods, etc. I generally cook most meals at home using fresh produce and proteins, and I try to buy local or organic foods. What I didn't know was the importance of balance in my diet and how certain food groups are so important to health, and in particular if you are a diabetic.

For a few years I coasted along, only checking my blood glucose levels twice a year at a doctor visit.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past September, I had a near brush with death when I allowed my glucose levels to reach well over 600 and was a walking time bomb. As luck would have it, my excellent health care physician caught it in time for some hospital care, and in no time was back on my feet.  That was a turning point for me, in that I discovered my pancreas had not been producing enough insulin to naturally regulate my blood sugar. The upshot was that I had to start taking insulin injections every night. I went on a crash course to refine my diet. It was back to a strict regimen, checking my blood glucose levels three times a day.
image from Healthy Diet Advisor

I decided to do a lot of research and consult with experts, nutritionists and of course my own doctor. The obvious and most critical points for people with type two diabetes are to moderate the amount of food per meal, avoid anything white (rice, pasta, bread, sugar), eat a balance of lean protein, lots of green vegetables and a small portion of a complex carbohydrate. Skip desserts and sweets, or just limit to a small bite, when you have a meal to help absorb it. Portion control is a key factor, and of course, limit alcohol consumption.

The other big learning along the way was about the importance of the gut, and how by increasing your fiber intake can have a huge overall health benefit. There are numerous studies and articles out there about this topic. The general topic of probiotics and prebiotics is more widely discussed, and there is no shortage of products on the market to help add healthy bacteria to your digestive system. What few people talk about however is the importance of eating more fiber and vegetables. As it turns out fiber is extremely important not only for digestion but to help improve your overall health and well being.

image from Care 2
I've read studies that show Americans consume only half the amount of recommended daily fiber in our diets. I'm not just talking about taking a fiber pill or something like that--I'm referring to leafy vegetables, beans, stalky ruffage, low glycemic root vegetables, etc. A combination of these fibers helps to regulate blood sugar, because they digest slowly and help the gut do its job. Diabetics can benefit from more fiber in our diets too. The big benefit is what happens in the gut when all this fiber is digested...it ferments. It sounds like a scary word, but gut fermentation is a good thing. That fermentation allows the good bacteria to develop and grow. The "good bacteria" can develop and it helps fight off the "bad bacteria" that we all have in our gut. This balance of bacteria, or as scientists call it "microflora"is critical to being healthy.

I've learned that I can make a big difference in my own health, and also in controlling my own diabetes by eating more fiber in my diet in conjunction with the other factors I mentioned. Taking a probiotic supplement or eating yogurt is fine, but that alone isn't enough unless your gut has been continually "fed" fibers to help maintain the presence of the good gut bacteria. In fact I take a probiotic called Trinity by Natren that is refrigerated so the bacteria strains stay alive and are actually useful to the gut. (Don't waste your money on those probiotics that are sitting on some shelf in a store at room temperature, the good bacteria often dies off when exposed to heat and is useless by the time you buy it).  I think probiotic supplements are great but I know that I also need to increase my fiber intake to truly benefit my health.

My kids "Miss Ellie" and "Mr Sheldon"
Food and nutrition is near and dear to me. I've been involved in pet nutrition throughout my career, and had to keep up on the latest research and advancements in food, nutrition, ingredients and health. I've attended countless conferences, I sit on the board of a food manufacturer, and also serve on an nutrition innovation team with some of the smartest nutritionists in the industry. I assumed I knew everything there was about eating healthy. Having been in the pet industry for over 20 years, I've also lectured about the importance of a healthy diet for your pet. New research indicates that this concept of increased dietary fiber is even important for dogs and cats, the same principle applies to them. As you would do for yourself, feed your pets the best quality food you can afford. For people, we can make our own food easily and vary our consumption. For pets, it takes a more careful review of the foods on the market. Not all pet foods are equal, and not all provide the right levels of protein, carbs and fiber either. These days, I am taking better care of my own health by being more careful with what I eat, how much and also getting exercise every day. I read labels and nutrition facts in detail, and I calculate net carbohydrates to be sure I manage my diabetes. The cool thing is that while learning more for my own health, I have also become better informed and more educated about pet nutrition and how I can keep my pets healthier. My own education led me to pursue more information and facts about emerging data for dogs and cats.

Some day I'll write about some of the interesting new research about keeping pets healthy, but for now I wanted to share my own new year's commitment about staying healthy and managing my diabetes. If you are diabetic, take responsibility for your own health. Ask your doctor lots of questions and take control of your diet and exercise. If you are lucky enough not to have any health issues now, you can still make a big difference in your life my eating more fiber along with a healthy  diet. One day I'll write about all that in greater detail. Here is to your health!

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Amazing Lucy Pet Rose Parade Float!

videoWow, what an awesome day it was today at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade. I was so proud of our Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin' K9 Wavemaker float. Yes, it was huge. So huge that Guinness World Records certified it as having set two new records- the world's longest and heaviest in history! We created this float to help raise awareness of pet overpopulation through our Lucy Pet Foundation. Our float featured a number of rescue pets who surf for fun. I took this video from my iPhone. I hope you enjoy it!
To learn more, go to Lucy Pet Products and Lucy Pet Foundation websites. Look for our pet products, including Lucy Pet dog and cat shampoos/conditioners and also our Cats Incredible litter. Net proceeds go to the Lucy Pet Foundation.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

ABC News: ROSE PARADE FLOAT FEATURING SURFING DOGS SETS WORLD RECORD

ABC news covered this story with a cool video on our Lucy Pet Rose Parade float. 
Unique Tournament of Roses Parade float featuring surfing dogs and other talented animals set a new Guinness World Record.  Watch on ABC site here: 
http://abc7.com/1679611/ 


A Rose by any other name....

Roses for Lucy Pet's Rose Parade float have arrived!
Unless you live in Southern California, chances are you have not experienced the Tournament of Roses parade in person. Even if you do live in So Cal, chances are small that you have helped to decorate the magnificent floats that make up the annual Rose Parade. It is truly a memorable experience. I have been blessed to have this opportunity several times, and this year is no exception. We are down to the wire decorating the Lucy Pet Gnarly Crankin K9 Wave Maker Rose Parade float, now certified as breaking two Guinness World Records, the Longest and Heaviest in the world. Too bad they don't have an award for most beautiful float. 

At any rate...the basic float design theme is a tropical paradise with fish and flowers, all decorated from plant, flower and organic materials. Many types of plants and seeds, etc are used to create the stunning designs, but the name sake of the parade and football game "Rose Parade" and "Rose Bowl" is because of the beautiful roses. 
Pails of fresh long stem roses arrive in buckets
So it may come as no surprise that the level of excitement goes up to a whole new level when the roses arrive at the float barn for decorating. Each fresh rose is carefully hand snipped to the appropriate length, then placed into its own vial filled with water. It is a remarkable sight to see. I hope you enjoy seeing these photos..I can tell you that the Fiesta Float Barn smells so wonderfully fragrant right now!
Rows and Rows of Roses and Roses...



Workers and volunteers organize their flowers
Roses are all hand snipped for water vials
Lucy Pet Roses ready for the float decorating!





Friday, December 30, 2016

Officially Certified by Guinness World Records: Longest & Heaviest Float in History!

Joey Herrick (L), Carolyn Hennesy (C) and Rick Rockhill (R)
Today was a cool day. The Lucy Pet Rose Parade float was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the Longest and Heaviest parade float in the world. The Guinness folks sent an adjudicator to measure and weigh our float. The inspection included a team of California Highway Patrol officers who used their technical equipment to weigh the float, similar to how trucks are weight on the highway. Our official length and weight for Guinness is 126 ft long and a whopping 148,200 pounds, or 74.1 tons! On hand today was Carolyn Hennesy  the Emmy-nominated soap opera actress, New York Times Best-Selling author, and animal advocate. Ms Hennesy is a friend to the Lucy Pet Foundation and was with us to celebrate the Guinness World Record certification.

Be sure to watch the Rose Parade Monday Jan 2nd, 2017 to see our massive float. The Rose Parade is televised on ABC, NBCHGTVHallmark Channel, KTLA, Univision (in Spanish) and Sky Link TV (in Mandarin and Cantonese) and RFD TV.

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.