Category Archives: Information

Informational Posts

Vivamune Supplement Helps the Skin of Rummy’s Beach Club Swimmers

Lisa with Husky

Vivamune Supplement Helps the Skin of Rummy’s Beach Club Swimmers

Lisa is the head lifeguard (i.e. the owner!) of the amazing Rummy’s Beach Club in Spring, Texas, where dogs come to swim in a big special warm pool with their people. Lisa was eager to offer samples of the same Vivamune supplement my Maisie gobbles twice a day, which has made her shed much less.

Lisa reported, “The clients that took the samples loved the packaging, were excited about the coupons they sent us, said their dogs loved the taste of them and a few wanted to know where to go to buy them because their dogs like them so much. Personally, I have 6 dogs — 4 are geriatric dogs. Not only have I noticed a decrease in shedding, I noticed an increase in the beauty and softness of their coats, more energy overall and quick healing of their skin after injuries. I love giving them to my dogs and my dogs love getting them. Thank you again for including me in their sample program.

It’s such a pleasure for me to introduce curious and open-minded dog lovers to the products I’ve found help my own dogs — and learn they have the same great experience as I did. (Now it remains to be seen how I can get down to Texas with Maisie and try some of the Rummy’s Beach Club for ourselves!)

—Tracie Hotchner

Vivamune is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Everybody was a Winner at the Oscars, thanks to Halo, Purely for Pets

Halo Vigor

Everybody was a Winner at the Oscars, thanks to Halo, Purely for Pets

I loved watching the Oscars this past Sunday — along with about a billion other movie fans around the world! — even though it was typically too long. One of the high tension moments at the Oscars that makes me feel uncomfortable is when the envelope is being broken open to announce the winner in a category, and a split screen shows the faces of all the nominees, especially in the moment when somebody else’s name is read aloud. The camera stays on the expressions of those who were not The Chosen One and in an instant they go from being a possible winner to just one of the “losers.”

Except that Halo found a way to change that feeling for the nominated celebrities who didn’t win the coveted Oscar gold statuette — instead they received something priceless to make them feel on top of the world. Ellen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets, in partnership with, is gifting 20 non-winning Oscar nominees a gift that gives back by donating 10,000 meals of natural pet food to the animal shelter or rescue of the celebrity’s choice. The opportunity for the recipient to give back to shelters with Halo Spot’s Stew and their new line, Vigor, is a whole lot different than the usual content of swag bag gifts, which typically focus on luxury and status. Instead, the non-winning Oscar nominees in the Best Actor/Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress and Director categories will win a 10,000-meal donation to their favorite animal shelter or rescue from Halo and

The donation each celebrity will be able to give away is worth $6,200 — but the feeling of caring for less fortunate pets is priceless, especially because so many celebrities are advocates (as Halo is) for animals in shelters waiting for good homes.

When those “losing” nominees went home late on Sunday night I’ll bet most of them were thrilled by the greeting they got from their dog or cat, running to greet them at the door as if they held an Oscar in each hand! That’s one of the profound joys of having pets for all of us — that they love and admire us no matter what victories or defeats we’ve had that day.

[P.S. I wanted to ask Halo to let their part-owner Ellen Degeneres know what could have made the Oscar ceremony a great deal better: having her as the host!]

–Tracie Hotchner

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Why is Menadione in Weruva?

cat licking whiskers

Why is Menadione in Weruva?

This question came from Emi in Kent, Washington:

Hi! I just recently discovered you and your website when I was doing some online research on Weruva. I recently adopted a 10yr old cat from my local shelter. From the paperwork submitted from his previous owner, he was fed a dry food (or “kitty crack”) diet only. I am trying to incorporate some canned food and he is taking to the Weruva brand pretty well.

One thing I’d like more information on is the ingredient menadione bisulfite complex (also known as Vitamin K?). Weruva uses this in their seafood products, but I want to know if this really is an ingredient to avoid or not?

Can you enlighten me on this ingredient and is it safe for my cat?

Once again, Weruva owner David Forman jumped in with more information than Emi may have been expecting!

Regarding menadione, it is a form of vitamin k that is a required vitamin in fish based cat foods if the formula does not naturally contain enough vitamin k and if a manufacturer intends to label the formula as a complete meal. At this time, the pet food regulations do not permit the supplementation of different forms of vitamin k. We have removed menadione from non-fish formulas, though some cans may have old labels. None of the chicken or beef items contain menadione. Please see below for more information about menadione and how we believe our use of it in our fish based formulas best protects cats, and fish based formulas that do not contain menadione may expose cats to serious health risks.

Before our menadione input, I would like to note that we appreciate all inquiries, and we understand that there are many ingredients that are scrutinized. For instance, even now, the actual cans the foods go into are being scrutinized. . . Do they contain BPA? Ours cans do not contain BPA, though our fish formulas contain menadione. Would a customer buy the non-menadione can with BPA or do you buy the non-BPA can with menadione? In the face of all of these questions, we always urge a predominant focus on what is predominantly in the can. For instance, though our chicken formulas do not contain menadione, let’s assume that they do. Chicken accounts for approximately 50% of the formulas and when we use menadione it accounts for approximately 0.00005% of the formula (million to 1?). Our chicken is just the breast meat, it is boneless, antibiotic free, hormone free and free range. Brand X may be menadione free, but the chicken contains antibiotics, steroids, and the cuts uses are fat, skin, bones and a little meat (fat, skin and bones are not byproducts and are part of the definition of chicken). Which is better, the beautiful chicken which is 50% of the formula with menadione at 0.00005% in the can or the other formula with mystery chicken at 50% without menadione?

Below is an even more detailed response about menadione:


The vast majority of pet food does not require the supplementation of vitamin K in any form. However, according to AAFCO, cat food that contains at least 25% seafood on a dry matter basis must contain a certain level of vitamin K, and according to AAFCO, the only approved source of vitamin k is menadione. (stating “Vitamin K does not need to be added unless diet contains greater than 25 percent fish on a dry matter basis.”).

(2) In designing our formulas, we have worked with a nutritionist who has served on several AAFCO boards. When specifically discussing menadione with her, she responded via email, “A couple of websites, that do not seem to have much science behind them, are trying to pressure companies to not use vitamin K3. So for fish items where there is clear evidence that vitamin K is important to the nutrition of the animal, they want you to put the animal at risk. The only form of vitamin K allowed in pet foods in menadione sodium bisulfite complex. So the K1 and K2 besides not being stable are not approved sources. Some companies have caved, but I strongly recommend that you don’t, especially when you are selling fish items.”

(3) **** MUST READ — For further information regarding menadione/k3 in pet food, please read “Vitamin K3 – is it unnecessary and toxic?” This industry expert states, “this notion that vitamin K3 as an ingredient in pet foods should not be used is unfounded” (

This article, written by Greg Aldrich, pHD, president of Pet Food & Ingredient Technology, Inc, details the accepted use of vitamin k3 in pet foods.

(3) Here is some insight as to why vitamin k is necessary for cats consuming seafood:

“Clinical signs of vitamin K deficiency have been observed in cats offered two commercial canned diets high in salmon or tuna.” Department of Molecular Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA. (

A deficiency of vitamin K results in prolonged blood clotting time, generalized hemorrhages and death in severe cases.

Cat eating from dish decorated with fish illustrations(4) Here is a pet food expert’s statement that they are not concerned with the use of menadione:

“Note that I am not overly concerned about menadione, a synthetic form of vitamin K that has many people worried (see The Dog Food Project, for example).” (

“There has been a lot of concern lately about the use of menadione, a synthetic form of vitamin K, in pet foods. Menadione has been banned for use in human over-the-counter supplements because it is toxic at excessive dosages. This problem was seen primarily in human infants when they were injected with vitamin K to prevent deficiency.

Since synthetic vitamin K has double the potency of natural vitamin K on a per weight basis, this resulted in toxicity. One nursing encyclopedia says that “prolonged consumption of megadoses of vitamin K (menadione) results in anemia,” and that “a daily injection of 10 mg of menadione into an infant for three days can kill the child.” It was this tragic discovery that led to its use being banned.

In comparison, the amount of menadione in commercial foods is extremely tiny. The Balance IT supplement, which is meant to supply nutrients at AAFCO recommended levels, contains 0.0774 mg menadione per scoop. One usage recommendation I’ve seen is to use 3 scoops for 900 calories (for a 35 lb dog), which would be 0.2322 mg daily. This amount is just over 2 percent of the dosage that would be considered toxic to a much smaller infant.

Many substances, even water, are safe in recommended amounts but toxic when excessive amounts are ingested. While I agree that the natural forms of vitamin K, phylloquinone (vitamin K1), and menaquinone (vitamin K2), would be preferable to the synthetic form, my feeling is that the risk presented by feeding foods or supplements that use menadione (vitamin K3) is minimal, and I would not avoid a food just because it contains this ingredient.” (

(5) Here is why vitamin k3/menadione began to be scrutinized:

“Prolonged consumption of megadoses of vitamin K (menadione) results in anemia, which is a reduced level of red blood cells in the bloodstream. When large doses of menadione are given to infants, they result in the deposit of pigments in the brain, nerve damage, the destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis), and death. A daily injection of 10 mg of menadione into an infant for three days can kill the child. This tragic fact was discovered during the early days of vitamin research, when newborn infants were injected with menadione to prevent a disease known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Today, a different form of vitamin K is used to protect infants against this disease.” (

(6) Here is how much menadione we use in our seafood formulas:

We use 0.00005% menadione in our formulas. That means in an 85g can, we have 0.00425g of menadione, or 4.25 mg. This is essentially over 3200 times less than toxic levels.

Also, oral vitamin K3 is water soluble, meaning, if it isn’t used, it is excreted. The known dangers of vitamin k3 involve heavy injections.

I have attached a few documents that indicate at what levels menadione is harmful. These documents state that menadione taken orally is toxic at 2500 mg/kg for mice and 4240 mg/kg for rats. Even taking the lower amount and applying it to a cat that weighs 5.0 kg (11 lbs.), that would mean that a cat would have to consume 13,750mg to suffer from toxicity. We are supplying 3200 times less than the toxic levels! (I may be misinterpreting or miscalculating the numbers, but the point is nonetheless the same. We are not even remotely approaching harmful levels).

(7) Natural Vitamin K based ingredients – Based upon our research and advice from nutritional consultants, we have learned that there may be “complete depletion” of phylloquinone, the main component of vitamin k, during food processing. Our food is cooked once, put in a can and sealed, and then cooked again in a retort process at high temperatures at extended periods of time in order to “sterilize” the product. Under ordinary heat treatment, vitamin k is relatively stable. However, we are not lightly cooking the food.

Please see this report on the stability of natural vitamin k:

An option we have considered is removing the menadione and labeling the formulas for intermittent feeding only. However, we certainly do not want to encounter a situation where a cat consumes too much of our fish formulas and experiences harmful side effects due to vitamin k deficiencies.

Thank you for the inquiry. I hope the above information was more helpful than confusing. Please let us know if you have further questions.
Best Regards,
David Forman
President and co-Founder
Weruva, Because Weluvya!
Weruva logo






photo credits: Charlie testing Purina ONE via photopin (license) & Kappy&his bowl via photopin (license)

Weruva is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo Officially Recommended for Dogs with Cancer

dalmation, sad

Halo Officially Recommended for Dogs with Cancer

I think pet lovers know that I have spent a crazy amount of time for more than a decade, studying and following information and news about pet nutrition. I feel pretty confident that I have an unbiased, objective, thoughtful perspective on the various arguments and debates about pet food, which can inspire controversy and heated debates. I can appreciate many different points of view on various aspects of how and what we feed our dogs and cats.

One line of thought that I cannot tolerate is the solemn declaration that “commercial pet food causes cancer.

There is not a shred of evidence to back up such a sweeping statement, and it makes no logical sense, yet the idea of this blame has caught on as with some pet lovers. Once proclaimed, other people perceive the “pet food causes cancer” statement as “a fact.” When they pass this declaration along to other pet owners, the alarmist claim that “pet food causes cancer” becomes a twisted scary story that can create fear and confusion. The sad fact is that the virtual epidemic of cancer in our pets has made people frightened their dog will get the disease — and has left them emotionally and financially devastated when their dog does succumb to it (as almost half the dogs in America will). That paranoia and sadness must make them feel compelled to point the finger somewhere — anywhere. It is human nature to try to find an answer to something inexplicable, to look for something to blame for the terrible losses we are all suffering from cancer of many different kinds that claim the lives of our dogs.

I can assure you with confidence that packaged pet food is not the culprit.

I have the privilege of sharing the microphone on my Radio Pet Lady Network radio show THE PET CANCER VET with my wonderful co-host Dr. Sue Ettinger, a veterinary oncologist who is a rising star in the world of diagnosing and treating cancer in dogs and cats. She has spear-headed a national campaign for VCA Hospitals called “See Something, Do Something” about early cancer detection — a topic we are going to feature in a short film starring Dr. Sue that I am producing for VCA Hospitals to be shown as a PSA at the Dog Film Festival.

On our radio show and in many venues where she speaks and is interviewed, Dr. Sue has answered the question about a possible link between commercial pet food and cancer by saying unequivocally that it does not cause cancer, which is a multifaceted disease with multiple contributing factors. It was validating for me that Dr. Sue’s professional opinion confirmed my own evaluation of information available on the topic. There is no benefit to repeating a knee-jerk declaration that pet food causes cancer because that false information can do harm: it can make a dog owner fearful, confused, and/or guilty, depending on whether their dog is fighting cancer, or they dread it might happen to him.

Recently I learned something new and wonderful about Halo when we were recording an episode of THE PET CANCER VET. Our caller, whose dog was in chemotherapy, was asking Dr. Sue what supplements he could give her dog that might improve the outcome.

“I know you recommend Halo for cancer patients,” our caller said.

Halo Spot's Stew (dry food)I thought he was talking to me — since I always recommend Halo kibble as the one I feed my own dogs — but when I started to protest that I would never make any recommendation for a dog in medical treatment, our caller said Halo was recommended in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, which is co-written by Dr. Sue. It has become the go-to book for people whose dogs have cancer. I believe it is indispensable for every person who wants information, advice, support and hope from a cancer specialist, but I had no idea that Halo was one of the premium dog foods singled out as a good choice for cancer survivors. Dr. Sue confirmed that Halo was one of the premium foods recommended for dogs fighting cancer. This was a great example of how mistaken people are when they say that pet food causes cancer. It made me happier than ever to be an enthusiast for Halo, a philanthropic company that makes really healthy pet foods.

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: 0528081559a via photopin (license)

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Feliway Diffusers to the Rescue at Southampton Shelter

two cats in small animal play room, Feliway diffuser

Feliway Diffusers to the Rescue at Southampton Shelter

cats in playroom with Feliway diffuser, two photo collageHere’s a genuine and spirit-lifting thanks and shout out to Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins (my co-host on CAT CHAT® ) and the good folks at CEVA, who make the Feliway pheromone spray, wipes and diffusers. CEVA is one of my most generous sponsors and they have let me be the Bountiful Auntie Tracie to many kitty cats waiting for their “furever” homes at shelters. Southampton Shelter is the official shelter of my NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) originating in Southampton, New York.

It’s a pretty grand feeling to have been able to bestow these life-altering Feliway diffusers and here’s what Linda, the volunteer coordinator, had to say about CEVA’s gift:




feral cat in exam room, with Feliway diffuser“The Southampton Animal Shelter is grateful for the Feliway pheromones plug ins! During the spring, summer & fall seasons we can be inundated with stray kittens. The older they are, the wilder they are! These plug-ins come in handy when we have so many in cages in a room. It calms the crowd, so to speak! One per room does the trick! Less stress, less hissy spitty! We use them in our cat rooms when we are introducing a newcomer into the group. Mainly we use them in our incoming cat rooms when we have strays and feral or semi-feral cats and kittens. I personally use them at home when I am taming ferals. It really works! It can calm them enough to be touched and eventually trust me to handle them. I also use the Feliway spray on their bedding and my hands when I have a really tough one to tame!”

Thank you CEVA and Dr. Elizabeth for spreading good, happy vibes to kitty cats around the world with Feliway!

—Tracie Hotchner

Feliway is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Vivamune Gives Shinier Coats to Shelter Dogs

dog with heathy, shiny coat
Vivamune Gives Shinier Coats to Shelter Dogs

I have had such great luck with Vivamune for own blue Weimaraner, Maisie, who was shedding like crazy and had a dull coat until Vivamune supplements changed all that. Now she is shiny as can be and drops very little hair. Vivamune is a sponsor on my Radio Pet Lady Network, so I wanted to be able to show people that my good luck might generalize to a larger sample of dogs. I knew the Vivamune company wanted to give back to the rescue and service dog community, so I had a grand idea! If Vivamune gave away product to the dogs and cats waiting in stressful situations to be adopted, I thought that the shelters receiving the product might be willing to give feedback on whether they saw an improvement in the skin and coat of their dogs. My first chosen destination was Southampton Animal Shelter, a county shelter with private funding out in the Hamptons, where two of my own dogs had come from. And they are the Official Shelter of my NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) Sure enough, they could see positive results with Vivamune even in dogs they only had a short time at the shelter! Here’s what I heard back from the wonderful volunteer coordinator, Linda:

“I have good news about this nice supplement! It seems that most of our dogs have shinier coats now that they have been taking the Vivamune daily. As you know, the conditions that some of our dogs come in to the shelter can be pretty bad. It seems that once they are on the Vivamune, their coats are shinier, but it depends on how bad of a condition they are in when they arrive as to how long it can take. We don’t have that documented as to the length of time it takes to start seeing results since conditions are different for each one. Please use our findings if you wish, and I’m sorry we couldn’t be more exact, but as you know, the shelter is a transient place!”

So you see, it’s not just me! In the weeks ahead I’ll be sharing reactions from other dog rescues and shelter as to whether they saw a difference with Vivamune. It is a win-win situation, regardless of feedback because all those pets hoping for a better life will have gotten a boost to their immune systems and possible even wind up looking healthier which might help them get adoptive homes sooner!

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: National Take Your Dog to Work Day via photopin (license)

Vivamune is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Winter Booties for Buster

dog wearing booties in snow

Winter Booties for Buster

Cold weather woes for doggy toes! If you live in a city where it gets cold in the winter, the salt they spread on the sidewalks to prevent and melt ice will burn the pads of a dog’s feet. There are ice-melting chemicals used instead of or alongside salt — like magnesium and calcium chloride — which can also irritate a dog’s feet. In addition, when you get home and your dog licks his feet he can get an upset stomach from ingesting those chemicals.

Dog booties can be great in the winter even if your dog does not have especially delicate feet because the products used on sidewalks to melt the ice and snow really can cause misery for your dog. The best protective action you can take in any wintry city is to get a set of dog booties. Those dogs that live in the country have a different challenge: the ice balls I’ve written about previously, that can form in between the toes and paw pads of longer haired dogs and can cause pain, limping, and even lameness. Those dogs need booties in harsh weather just as much as their city cousins.

One problem is that many of the dog boot designs are flawed. They don’t take into account how a dog’s foot and leg come together and the mechanics of how they move. Some are so poorly designed that they fall off before a dog gets out of the house! My book The Dog Bible mentions a few companies that have a user-friendly dog boot design — and even one company in Michigan that will cut boots for a dog’s individual paw and leg size, although they are not appropriate for cold wet winter weather. Myself, I’ve had good luck with my big outdoor dogs being able to run fast in Ruffwear boots, which stay on securely with a Velcro ankle strap and even give traction on slippery trails.

A warning about fitting and adjusting booties: be sure that the boot fits snugly, but don’t secure them so tightly that you cut off circulation. If booties are too tight a dog can actually get frostbitten toes, which require emergency medical intervention.

Tips for Getting Your Dog to Wear Booties

However, the biggest problem is that many dogs will not accept footwear! Some dogs won’t take so much as a step once the boots are on — they just stand as if cemented in place! Other dogs lift their feet so high when they walk that they look like they are prancing horses! So how can you cajole your dog into wearing them?

  • Do not wait to start putting on boots until you have all your winter outerwear on and the dog has on her jacket — you’ll both get overheated and frustrated!
  • Start as young as you can putting boots on your dog — but many dogs of any age can learn to accept the sensation of having their feet covered if it is proposed in a calm and rewarding way.
  • Sit down on the floor with your dog beside you and open a jar of Halo Liv-a-Littles (you need really good rewards for a boot fitting exercise!)
  • Take a front paw lightly in your hand, palm up. If she doesn’t resist, offer a small piece of Halo freeze-dried protein with your other hand. Continue putting boots on each of her feet, giving treats during the process. If she is accepting the footwear, then go right outside as her reward, with lots of verbal praise and some Liv-a-Littles in your pocket to encourage her outdoors, too.
  • If she is fussy even about having her paw held or resting in your palm, you’ll need to work on paw touching and holding over a period of days, constantly offered Liv-a-Littles until the whole thing seems fun (or at least bearable!).
  • Slip one booty onto one front paw and give a Liv-a-Little. If she puts down her paw and accepts the sensation give her another piece of treat.
  • Do the same with the other front paw. Lots of treats, be calm and patient, have a happy, upbeat “Isn’t this fun?!” tone of voice.
  • Encourage her to walk around the house wearing only the front two boots, praising her and giving her bits of Liv-a-Littles intermittently.
  • Do this exercise for just a few minutes if your dog seems a bit uncomfortable; continue treating while you take the boots off. Try again an hour or a day later. You want to keep having positive experiences around the boot-wearing.
  • Graduate to booties on all four paws, progressing to her wearing a full set of boots around the house. Only once she has accepted the boots indoors should you venture outdoors where there will be different sensations under her feet (wet, cold, slushy, slippery).

Even if it takes time and patience, it’s a worthwhile investment so that your dog can eventually be comfortable on winter streets. The bonus: all that paw handling will make toenail clipping easier, too!

—Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Puploaf For Cancer Patients



Puploaf For Cancer Patients

Dr. Judy Morgan is my new co-host on HOLISTIC VETS, sharing duties with Patrick Mahaney, and I was so happy to learn that she is as big a fan of The Honest Kitchen products as Dr. Patrick and I are!  Dr. Judy has two integrative holistic clinics in Southern New Jersey, which you can visit if you are lucky enough to live nearby, or want to share in the wealth of information she has on her website for everyone at She is also the author of an excellent book, which is how I originally met ehr: CLICK HERE to find out how you can order your copy of “From Needles To Natural”

What's For Dinner, Dexter

What’s For Dinner, Dexter

If you have a dog with cancer, the Puploaf she writes about is a great dinner choice — and if you have a healthy dog, then keep her that way by serving The Honest Kitchen foods — well-sourced, lightly processed and brimming with health from the fruits and vegetables so often recommended for cancer survivors of both species. If you want to try your own hand at cooking for wellness and illness, check out Dr. Morgan’s second book, What’s For Dinner, Dexter? which is now available for purchase! Co-authored with Tonya Wilhelm, owner of Perky Paws Cafe, this book provides information on Chinese medicine theory and how food can be used as therapy for pets. Many recipes are also included to help you provide your pets with a home cooked diet that meets their specific needs, whether they have existing medical issues or you just want to cook them healthy, well-balanced meals.

GUEST BLOG by Dr. Judy Morgan

If you follow my blogs, you’ve probably heard about puploaf. Puploaf was originally invented by me as an easy way to serve a home cooked high quality meal to your dogs without having to worry about using a lot of supplements. I used Honest Kitchen Preference as the base mix for the puploaf to ensure that dogs would be fed high quality vegetables along with all the vitamins and minerals that were needed. Puploaf has been extremely popular and is now a common household term throughout the country and around the world! Honest Kitchen has since come out with a new product called Honest Kitchen Kindly. The Kindly base mix is similar to Preference, but without sweet potatoes. So for pets with allergies to potatoes or pets with cancer that need a low carb diet, the Kindly solves the problem! For those who missed it, here is the puploaf recipe:

  • 2 pounds lean ground meat (beef, bison, turkey, chicken, veal, venison, or a combination)
  • 1/2 pound ground organ meat (hearts, liver, gizzards, kidney)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Honest Kitchen base mix rehydrated (amount depends on whether you like your diet to be meat heavy)
  • 1/2 cup cooked barley or quinoa – not essential, eliminate if you want your puploaf to be grain-free
  • 3 to 4 eggs

two dogs eating from food bowlMix all ingredients in a bowl, place in loaf or square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on thickness of the loaf. Add probiotics at the time of serving. Serve at room temperature. Can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Can be frozen for later use. At our house we make it in large batches, 35 pounds at a time.

This blog post originally appeared at

photo credit: dogsbylori via photopin cc

The Honest Kitchen is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Avoiding the Ouch of Ice balls on your Dog’s Paws

Dogs on Walk, Winter Road

Avoiding the Ouch of Ice balls on your Dog’s Paws

There are many challenges for our dogs in cold winter weather, but people don’t always consider the problem of ice balls! These hard balls can form under and between our dogs toes when they go outdoors. When a dog leaves a warm indoor environment and goes outside into very cold temperatures, he can get ice balls on his feet. Because dogs have sweat glands in their toes, the moisture there can form into balls of ice from the abrupt change in temperature. These ice balls can be so uncomfortable that a dog will hop or limp, and they can even bruise or cut the foot pad as they try to walk on the ice ball.

Doggy Pedicure

  • To keep your dog’s feet comfortable in the winter you’ll need to add a cold weather personal grooming chore to your calendar: removing the hair between the foot pads.
  • Get a pair of small, round-tipped dog-hair scissors from a pet supply store: they resemble the ones men use to snip their nose hairs, but they’re tougher, for thick dog hair.
  • Some dogs have hair growing between their toes or the pads at the bottom of their feet — hair that can cause trouble if you live where there is ice and snow.
  • Ice and snow won’t be able to build up if you snip the hair tufts from between the footpads.
  • To get your dog to enjoy his pedicure (or encourage a reluctant pooch to allow you to handle his feet with the scissors) you can sit on the floor with your dog and encourage him to lie down next to you.
  • Have a jar of Halo Liv-a-Littles open next to you.
  • With every snip you make with the scissors, give him a small piece of the freeze-dried chicken, beef or salmon.
  • Tell him what a good boy he is in a soothing tone of voice, offering him a piece of Liv-a-Little as long as he remains calm and cooperative.
  • If your dog cannot lie still for all four feet, try doing one paw at a time and then taking a break to play.

Coat the bottom of your dog’s feet

If you live in a very cold climate, you can avoid damage to your dog’s footpads the way sled-dog trainers do, by applying a layer of protection to the bottom of his feet.

  • Musher’s Secret is a brand of foot salve for use in very cold climates, but you can also spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly or aloe gel on the dog’s footpads before you head out into the bitter cold.
  • You can spray Pam or a generic vegetable-oil cooking spray underneath his feet right before you go out.
  • It’s advisable to apply the protective layer just outside the door or your floors might get pretty messy!
  • Even if your dog licks his feet later, the reside of these products will not be harmful.

How to Get Relief from Ice Balls

  • If ice does form between your dog’s toes or pads, you can give him relief with a hair-dryer.
  • Put the dryer on the lowest warm setting and hold the blower at least six inches away from the dog’s foot.
  • You don’t want to heat the dog’s foot, only melt the accumulated ice.
  • Dry off the melted ice.
  • Rinse his feet in warm water if there was any salt or ice-melting chemical on the ground outside.
  • Gently rub the feet to get the circulation going.

–Tracie Hotchner

Next week: Advice about getting your city or country dog to wear winter booties.

photo credit: mysza831 via photopin cc

Halo is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Cold Weather Dangers For Pets

Dog walking in snow

Cold Weather Dangers for Pets

Here in Vermont where I live, the Vermont Temperatures are dropping, and with the colder weather, the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association wants you to know it’s time to think about the dangers this presents for our pets, both indoors and outdoors-only ones. By taking a few common sense precautions, you can help reduce the cold weather dangers to your pets.

Although some pets are conditioned to cold weather, veterinary experts agree that you should bring outdoor pets indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies, kittens, and short haired pets should not be left outside for extended periods anytime the temperature goes below 40 degrees. For pets with long hair, proper grooming is essential to help them maintain a layer of warming air within their coat. Pets who are heavily matted cannot keep themselves warm.

Winter Hazards for Cats & Dogs

If your pet must stay outdoors, be sure to provide shelter for your pet: they can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia just like we do. A pet’s outdoor house must have at least three enclosed sides, be elevated off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding such as straw or hay. In cold weather, bigger is not always better. A house just big enough for your pet will warm up faster and retain heat better than something that is too big. Your outdoor pet will need access to fresh water that isn’t frozen. Use heated water bowls and replenish them frequently.

cat in snowCats love to warm up underneath car hoods. If cats have access to your car outdoors or in your garage, be sure to pound on the hood of the car prior to starting it. Many cats are killed or grievously injured by fan belts and moving engine parts. Another danger that cars present to pets in cold weather is antifreeze poisoning. If you suspect your pet has consumed any antifreeze at all, call your veterinarian immediately.

Consider keeping dogs on a leash when they go outside. Each winter we see cases of dogs that have gone off exploring “frozen” lakes or streams and fall through the ice into the frigid water.

Inside the house, monitor all pets around wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters. These can cause severe burns. Younger pets romping through the house can knock objects into these heat sources and cause a fire, so make sure to “pet-proof” the areas around them. With the colder darker months, many people like to use candles in the home. Make sure to place them where pets (especially cats) do not have access. They can not only tip over the candle, they can set their fur on fire leading to serious burns.

Our pets can suffer from arthritis in cold weather, just like humans do and it is just as painful for them. If you are unsure if your pet has arthritis, want to know ways to keep your older pets comfortable during the cold weather, or if you have questions about cold weather issues with your pets, talk to your veterinarian.

Indoor & Outdoor Exercise

Most dog breeds need to go outside 2-3 times a day, not only to relieve themselves, but also to get some form of exercise and sensory stimulation. Dogs are more likely to go outside in nearly any kind of weather and often love a romp in the snow. Taking your dog outdoors will trigger its natural play instincts. Running, jumping and chasing are natural ways to energize your pet, burn calories and boost metabolism. If you’re not up to the task amid Mother Nature, consider hiring a professional dog walker to happily take on the duty. Indoors, tried-and-true games like fetch, tug-of-war and wrestling can also serve as a great workout that also stimulates a pet’s appetite.

Cats also love to pounce and play, and if they’re stuck in the house you can easily brighten their day with 10-15 minutes of play each day. String, laser pointers, objects on strings and other enticing toys dragged around get your cat into chase mode, keep her busy and burning energy. Find or install a perch by a window where your cat can watch the birds. For those cats that pine to be outdoors, the marketplace has an abundance of outdoor enclosures that also allows cats to run, roam and prance freely in the invigorating fresh air. Of course, moderate the time spent in these enclosures based on the winter weather conditions.

For both dogs and cats, keep a set of toys and laser pointer handy for an energized and sustained play session, either indoors or out, at least once daily. When outdoor play just isn’t an option, there are a number of motorized animal treadmills on the market today that are entirely enjoyable and effective for exercising both Fido and Felix.

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit (dog): gregoryrallen via photopin cc & photo credit (cat): kathy doucette via photopin cc