Category Archives: Information

Informational Posts

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

A Farewell Toast to Dr. Donna’s Little “Bestie” Morgan

Morgan Spector (Dr Donna's dog)

A Farewell Toast to Dr. Donna’s Little “Bestie” Morgan

In the years I have been associated with Halo and had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts with you all, I have had the additional pleasure of becoming good friends with Dr. Donna Spector, Halo’s veterinary advisor. I have also had the privilege of learning from her right along with the audience on our pet talk radio show on the Radio pet Lady Network, THE EXPERT VET.

When my youngest Weimaraner Teddy became suddenly ill—and then sick to death—last year, Dr. Donna interrupted her one yearly horseback vacation without her beloved husband and three small kids to do everything she could to help me save Teddy’s life as he down-spiraled.  I wrote about that horrible journey on my blog and will never forget her kindness and generosity in trying to help, especially because I feel sure that if she (and my friend Dr. Sue Ettinger, and co-host on THE PET CANCER VET) had been able to get more directly involved, we could have saved Teddy, for at least awhile. From hearing her on our radio show I’m sure everyone wishes they had a vet like her, to calmly and firmly take charge of a medical situation and make sense of it, often giving brilliant insight and performing interventions to save the lives of dogs and cats.

Dr Donna Spector with Morgan

Dr Donna Spector with Morgan

It was with a sense of shock along with sadness that I learned that Dr. Donna lost her own dear small dog Morgan over the holidays. It reminded me that our vets cannot (always) perform miracles, even for their own four-legged family members. I think it is meaningful for us to remember that our doctors share our deep attachments to our dogs. The loss is just as profound no matter how full our home and the rest of our lives may be. Dr. Donna wrote this to me and said I might share it:

Lost my bestie Morgan Spector on Saturday. 14 years old and terribly missed by all. We boarded her over Thanksgiving when we went on family vacation—she got kennel cough and from there went into a rapid decline. The antibiotics I had to use threw her chronic IBD/pancreatitis into an uproar…vomiting, diarrhea, no appetite. Then the medications I had to give her for that made her crazy and downright maniacal. My youngest child (who is inexplicably terribly afraid of dogs???)—was terrorized by Morgan’s personality change. So poor Morgan was either maniacal with medications or without them she was lethargic with vomiting and no appetite. My kids kept asking why Morgan felt so terrible all of the time. I tried to give her every chance, and it was awful to watch her go through this. She ended up getting terrible bloody diarrhea and was so dehydrated and lethargic…I just knew she had had enough. What was I doing for Morgan? Sometimes it takes the brutal honesty of a 5 year old to give you a wake- up call. I also had to take into consideration her many chronic problems—IBD, pancreatitis, liver cancer I diagnosed a year ago, heart disease, and chronic allergies. She would never get back to normal and normal wasn’t even so good anymore. When had I lost sight of her quality of life? So, together we thanked Morgan for blessing our lives and sent her on. My house is so silent and I miss the sounds of her breathing and her toenails clacking (why was I ever irritated by that?!) I am downright SAD. Tracie, send up a toast that Morgan be happy and healthy wherever she is : ).

I’ll do that, Dr. Donna — in honor of all the “besties” we all have had, who gave us the gift of loving us through our lives, clickety toenails and all.

–Tracie Hotchner

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

A Healthy Gut: Why Important in Animals?

cat and dog in grass together

When it comes to supporting a healthy GI tract, its never too soon or too late to start a probiotic regimen. To ensure the best long-term health, begin seeding your pet’s gut when they are puppies or kittens.

[Guest post]

They are small—microscopic in fact. But they are the heavy hitters when it comes to your pet’s gut health, and actually to the total health of the animal. They are called “healthy bacteria” and they perform a host of great functions. These beneficial microorganisms are critical to your pet’s health.

The Importance of the Gut Microflora

The intestinal microflora are tiny organisms, mostly bacteria, which live in the GI tract. They help to digest food, aid nutrient absorption, produce certain key vitamins, and additionally, play a major role in overall host immune system. Having balance with the gut flora has a number of benefits:

  • Facilitates the absorption of minerals
  • Digests certain sugars and proteins
  • Prevents yeast overgrowth
  • Manufactures vitamins
  • Compete against pathogenic microbes (harmful bacteria) for colonization
  • Strengthens the lining of the gut to help block dangerous pathogens, toxins, and allergens
  • Stimulates immune system by increasing T-cells, producing natural antibiotics and antifungals

The Birth of the GI Tract

From birth on, the digestive tract of the host undergoes “colonization” by an amazingly diverse array of microbes, which becomes the base GI flora. For some, this base is favorable for heath and for others it is less so. This base is not static—diet, stress, lifestyle, and other factors can change the balance of the gut flora during a lifetime. In the case where this balance is unfavorable for health (aka Dysbiosis), the GI tract gets overrun with microbes that can be pathogenic (harmful bacteria). This can lead to a host of problems, including gas, bloating, cramps, headaches, joint problems and more.

Symptoms related to gut microflora imbalance:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory disorders

How to balance the gut microflora

The best way to ensure a healthy pet GI flora is to supplement with probiotics (bacterial strains, which have been shown to improve the health of the gut).

This is especially beneficial for young animals (puppies & kittens), so that you establish a solid foundation. Having said that, it is never too late to start a probiotic regimen. If your pet is manifesting any of the symptoms of imbalanced gut microflora, a probiotic supplement is vital.

A probiotic formula based on science for pets

Probiotic Miracle® is a simple, yet sophisticated formula that was designed specifically for your pet. The science behind Probiotic Miracle® makes it a unique fit for animals and the ideal supplement to support a healthy gut. The best time to support your pet’s gut is now—whether your pet is a puppy, kitten, adult, or senior, start your pet on the path to long-term wellness with probiotics.

Buy Probiotic Miracle

References

  • Vet Ther. 2009 Fall;10(3):121-30
    Clinical benefits of probiotic canine-derived Bifidobacterium animalis strain AHC7 in dogs with acute idiopathic diarrhea.
  • Vet Microbiol. 2009 Oct 20;139(1-2):106-12. Epub 2009 May 19.
    Portrait of a canine probiotic Bifidobacterium–from gut to gut.
  • J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Jul;101(1):131-8.
    Lactic acid bacteria isolated from canine faeces.
  • J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Jul;101(1):131-8.
    Lactic acid bacteria isolated from canine faeces.
  • Food Sci. 2007 Apr;72(3):M94-7.
    Isolation and characterization of Lactobacillus species having Isolation and characterization of Lactobacillus species having potential for use as probiotic cultures for dogs.
  • J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Jul;101(1):131-8.
    Lactic acid bacteria isolated from canine faeces.

This article was originally posted by Nusentia at http://nusentia.com/blog/2012/05/a-healthy-gut-why-important-in-animals/

Happy New Year from China to Fellow Pet Lovers around the World

International Center for Veterinary Services (logo)

Happy New Year from China to Fellow Pet Lovers around the World

As we all look forward to a new year and take stock of the one that has passed, I find it amazing that after ten years devoting myself to educating, inspiring and supporting people about their pets, that I still get a thrill when I discover new information, or encounter people as dedicated as I am to overall pet wellness and encouraging rescue and adoption. The most shining example for me in 2014 was forming an educational partnership with Mary Peng, the founder and CEO of the International Center for Veterinary Services in Beijing, China, who is now my co-host on TAILS FROM CHINA and has become a true friend. Mary Peng first got in touch when she heard an episode about the dog meat festival in China on my NPR radio show DOG TALK® . She reached out to let me know that the public misperception of China as “a place where people eat dog” was greatly distorted because the Chinese people actually love animals and have a passion to have dogs and many other animals as pets. Born in China, raised with her siblings in Taiwan and then educated in the United States (first Barnard College, then Columbia Business School), Mary returned to live in China with the desire to provide quality information and veterinary care to Chinese pet owners, and to help protect “community owned” dogs and cats with spay-neuter programs, to rescue those in need, and to facilitate their adoption.  After a decade of Mary’s professional devotion to the dogs and cats in China, 2014 was a great year for ICVS when it culminated in having the honor of winning the Expat Life Award for Beijing’s Best Veterinary Clinic.

Our show TAILS FROM CHINA has been a wonderful cross-cultural exchange and a constant reminder that the human-animal bond is a universal truth that is proven again every time someone adopts a pet anywhere in the world and enhances the animal’s life and their own. I wanted to share the year-end letter Mary sent me because it so beautifully describes our mission — and with the hope more people will be inspired to listen to the show.

Dear Tracie — Knowing you has made my life richer and more meaningful. You have helped us reach a much bigger world of pet lovers that are learning that Chinese pet lovers are their comrades-in-arms in working for better treatment of animals and lobbying for legislation to protect our animal friends. Through you I have had the good fortune to become friends with exotic animal veterinarian and your co-host on Exotic Pets , Dr. Karen Rosenthal, Inga Fricke of the Humane Society, and many more kindred souls that have devoted their lives to helping the animals. It is so wonderful to have an international community that now know about us and are offering their support with open arms and hearts. You have done so much to help me, ICVS and the people and animals who rely on us here in China. So this year, I am giving thanks for your friendship and am thankful for the tremendous good fortune that brought you into my life. It is so gratifying and a true honor to know that you are lending us your voice from the other side of the world to support us in all that we are doing to make China a more humane society for the pets and their people. Please extend our warmest wishes for a Happy New Year to everyone at Radio Pet Lady Network, to the co-hosts and listeners of your wonderful shows, and to all the people around the world who have opened their hearts and lives to a pet.

Warmest regards,
Mary and the Family at ICVS!
International Center for Veterinary Services
No. 13-16 Rong Ke Gan Lan Cheng Shang Jie
Fu Tong Xi Da Jie, Wangjing
Chaoyang District, Beijing  PRC  100102

—Tracie Hotchner

Vectra Kills Fleas But Please Give It A Chance To Work!

scratching dog

Vectra Kills Fleas But Please Give It A Chance To Work!

Somebody posted on my blog that they used Vectra and their dog still had fleas so they were off to buy another product. I cynically wondered if this was a planted comment, put there by the competitors to Vectra, who are nervous about the “new kid on the block” having newer better technology and taking a bite out of their apple. But maybe I was wrong and what it there truly were still fleas after applying Vectra? To find out if such a problem was possible, I turned to Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, my co-host on CAT CHAT®, who is also Veterinary Services Manager at CEVA, the internationally respected French pharmaceutical company that makes the Vectra products. Here’s what she explained about how flea infestations are destroyed by Vectra — but you have to give it a chance:

“When I hear a comment like this, I always ask for particulars, like what (if any) product was used previously and how many doses of Vectra were used. When a pet that has had no previous product or an inferior one that does NOT rid the premises of flea immature forms, applying Vectra for the first time will occasionally result in what appears a lack of efficacy during the first week after application. If there are lots of immature fleas and flea eggs in the environment, as when no product has been used or when products like Advantage (with no insect growth regulator [IGR] at all), or Frontline (with its light-sensitive IGR) is used, there are still hundreds or even thousands of immature fleas developing in the environment off the pet because the flea spends 90% of its life off the pet in the home environment. When the flea becomes an adult and jumps onto the Vectra-treated pet, it begins to move around frantically prior to death. At this point, it may appear that these new fleas are unaffected by the product, but this is not the case. If owners just wait a day or two they will see that the new adults arriving on the pet die off as we guarantee. Continued use of Vectra will start to eliminate even the immature fleas in the environment, because of its superior IGR, and eventually no new fleas will be around to jump onto the pet.

“Another problem is that Vectra will cause healthy fleas that are living at skin level at the time of application to quickly move up the hair shaft and move around to try to get away from the product. These fleas are essentially “dead fleas walking” but people may not realize that they are trying to flee from the surface of the pet, and they will subsequently die. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, all pets should have regular, year-round application of effective ectoparasiticides in order to control not only the adult parasites, but all of the generations waiting patiently in the carpets, furniture and hidden corners of the home for their turn to infect the pet and even the people who live there.

“We know Vectra works, not only because it was tested during research and development of the product, but because it has been tested by all of its competitors, with the same, excellent results.”

–Tracie Hotchner

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

photo credit: donnierayjones via photopin cc

Mimi Discovers Best Feline Friend From Weruva

cat licking his chops

Mimi Discovers Best Feline Friend From Weruva

Mimi wrote to say she had read THE CAT BIBLE (and given a few copies as gifts to friends) and was following my advice to get her kitties off all dry food since any “kitty crack” is bad for the health of all cats. She discovered BFF from Weruva at the same time she was ordering Weruva. She wrote, “My three kitties are transitioning over to all raw plus canned food from an all-dry diet and I can already see a difference in their coats. Thanks for all your shared wisdom. I know my Kitties and I appreciate all you do for us. I noticed the labels on BFF and Weruva both had the same address so I wrote to inquire the difference between the two brands. Thought you may want to see their response below. Just FYI in case you didn’t already know.”

Here’s what David Forman, the owner of Weruva wrote her (I don’t know how he finds the time to respond to every customer who takes the time to get in touch!):

“Thank you for the email to Weruva/BFF. Yes, we make both brands. We created BFF as an additional option for both stores that carry our products as well as consumers who may be looking for something different. The BFF price at pet stores is less than Weruva as the raw materials used are different, yet the quality of BFF and the manner in which BFF is produced is no less than Weruva. We just use different raw materials that we source less expensively.”

The good folks at Weruva created this less expensive but very high quality line of foods called BFF — Best Feline Friend, which still uses human-grade ingredients and is made in a human food facility, as is Weruva itself. The difference is that BFF is fish-based (the only way to keep up their high quality standards and keep the price lower) and while fish is not a good idea as the constant and only protein source for a cat, using it intermittently is just fine. Saves you money and gives your pussycats a taste sensation!

–Tracie Hotchner

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

photo credit: rafaelhabermann via photopin cc

Marlene’s Vet is All Wrong to Refuse to Get Vectra for Her Cat

striped cat on side

Marlene’s Vet is All Wrong to Refuse to Get Vectra for Her Cat

Marlene in Florida is a listener who adores her two kitties and worries about their health, what to feed them and fusses over them with a bushel basket of love. On my advice, Marlene asked her vet about ordering Vectra for cats, the anti-flea product that kills all life cycles of the dreadful flea without risk to the cat, which I talk about often on my shows. [I am proud to have Vectra (and Vectra 3D for dogs) as sponsors of the Radio Pet Lady Network and I know they have protected the health of tens of thousands of pets, like my own, from parasites.] I was so sorry to discover that her vet is uninformed and closed-minded, refusing to carry Vectra “because Vectra is only for fleas and does not protect against heartworms carried by mosquitoes, like the products I carry: Revolution or the Advantage Multi.”

I was both discouraged and angry by how misinformed this vet was because it is common knowledge that all dogs and cats should be on a targeted monthly heartworm medication, which is the best available way to manage the possibility of heartworm infection. Also, this vet did not spend time educating himself about how different and superior Vectra is because of the way it destroys all three stages of the flea life cycle. Clearly he wanted to protect his relationship with older products he knew — not learn what newer technology has to offer. I turned for comment to Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, my co-host on CAT CHAT®, who is also Veterinary Services Manager at CEVA, the internationally respected French pharmaceutical company that makes the Vectra products.

“As it turns out, both the products this listener’s veterinarian uses do a poor job of controlling fleas in cats. Neither have any activity that deals with the 95% of the total flea burden that lives off the cat in the home environment. This means that pets (and owners) have no protection whatsoever against any life stage of the flea except the adult. Further, neither of those products have anywhere near the speed of kill for adult fleas (2-6 hours for Vectra) that Vectra has, so they are both inferior flea products for achieving integrated flea control for cats. Totally ignoring the immature life stages of the flea is medically unjustifiable. Today, veterinarians must abandon the search for any one product or drug that is ‘one size fits all and treats all.’ Medicine simply does not work that way. Products that attempt to do everything seldom do anything in the best possible way, but rather represent a set of ‘half-way’ measures that do not address the pet’s needs in the best way and may well over-medicate the pet.”

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: pei.lei via photopin cc

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

Bah Humbug! The Holidays Can Be Dangerous For Your Pets!

Dog Dressed for ChristamsBah Humbug! The Holidays Can Be Dangerous For Your Pets!

Did you know that holiday decorations can be deadly for our four-legged family members? I hate to sound like the grumpy Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but I really do want to help you avoid the pet calamities of the holidays so your whole family can have a grand old time and stay sane and safe at the same time.

Decorations & Gifts Pose Hazards for Pets

Tinsel and ribbon can actually kill a cat if she swallows them; a puppy can get electrocuted (and burn your house down!) if he chews unprotected electric wires for holiday lights and decorations. And what about that lovely Christmas tree, covered in all those sparkly enticements? All it takes is a cat batting at the decorations or a dog pulling or jumping on a tree for it to come crashing down. And then there are all those wrapped packages under the tree, which if you don’t keep the tree safe and off limits, a young dog would delight in opening those wrapped boxes for you — because who knows what he might find inside the packages? How about yummy chocolates? Not everybody knows how dangerous chocolate is for a dog — and that the higher the quality of chocolate, the greater the cacao content and the more dangerous it is for them.

Are you aware that your sweet alcoholic holiday beverages can be appealing to pets when they discover them on the coffee table — but you’ll end up with them in the animal ER? What about mistletoe and holly? They might make for a lovely holiday song, but they are a couple of the holiday plants that are poisonous for dogs and cats (poinsettias are another)!

And then there’s the cold weather itself for people in the Northeast — dogs walking on salted sidewalks can get burns if their paws aren’t covered or washed afterward — and older dogs can fall down and have serious injuries on slippery ground, just the way senior people can.

Holiday Stress Can Stress Your Pet

Oh, and let’s not forget the holiday stress that our pets pick up from us — we have too much to do, too many gifts to buy (and money we’re anxious about having to spend), chores to complete and people coming and going. Our pets sense all that and don’t know how to make sense of it! During the holidays, cats have been known to bolt out the door after one guest too many — and some dogs can get nippy if there is too much stress and intensity in their environment and their space is not respected.

My friends at Halo have invited me to give a webinar on pet safety during the holidays — it’s going to be a Dogington University online webinar. Please join me Thursday December 18th at 6PM ET! It’s easy to join my webinar on and let me help your dogs and cats stay safe with a handy checklist I’ll give you of the Pet Pitfalls of holidays and how to avoid them. You need to register to be able to join me, but it’s super easy. Go to http://dogingtonpost.com/webinar. I’m eager to give you tips about staying safe with your pets over the holidays — and to answer any questions you might have.

–Tracie Hotchner

photo credit: skirtpr via photopin cc

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

Hallelujah! A miracle supplement that stops shedding!

dog grooming brush and hair

Hallelujah! A miracle supplement that stops shedding!

When I invited Vivamune supplements to join the Radio Pet Lady Network as a sponsor, I knew there was good science and ingredients behind this daily supplement that boosts and protects a dog’s (or cat’s) immune system. However, at first, I was not giving it to my own dogs because I was so busy helping to facilitate donations of Vivamune to shelters like Adopt-a-Dog in Westchester, Southampton Shelter (the Official Shelter of my NPR radio show DOG TALK®), Animal Haven in Connecticut, some wonderful Japanese Chin rescues, Doberman Rescue in Florida and Friends for Pets in Sunland, California where my first two Weimaraners came from. The company wanted my help to reach out and touch those animals most in need of immune support — those in shelters or foster care, whose unavoidable high stress levels being sheltered can weaken their immune system.

Treating Environmental Allergies

Meanwhile, I began giving Vivamune to my young rescued Weimaraner, Maisie, who suffers from environmental allergies (itching, scratching) and takes Benadryl several times a day. She also shed like crazy, more than any of the Weimaraners I have rescued over the years. Unlike my previous light gray Weimaraners (the usual color), Maisie is a dark charcoal gray (called a Blue Weim). Her shedding was such a nuisance that everything was covered in short black hairs: my car (where she spends a great deal of time, going with me everywhere), towels from her baths, the shower drain itself after bathing, the dog bed covers, her Ruffwear winter coat, and anywhere she lay down. If I had a damp hand and stroked her, my palm came away with hairs on it! I assumed it had to be the result of her allergies, since shes has a high quality diet of The Honest Kitchen, Halo kibble and Nordic Naturals omega-3 fish oil.

No More Cloud of Black Hairs

After a couple of weeks of giving her the delicious Vivamune chews that she viewed as a treat, I noticed that she seemed to be a lot less itchy. I didn’t know if she was scratching less because of the antihistamine she was getting, or the change in seasons with the weather getting colder. So I didn’t realize how dramatically the Vivamune had curtailed her shedding until I did a load of dog laundry. I had become accustomed to the inside of my washer window being covered in short dark hairs and having to wipe out the whole drum and run it on a rinse cycle. I was resigned to having a dryer that blew a cloud of black hair back at me when I opened the door after drying her things. It was gross! And so much work to clean out every time. Suddenly there was 90% less hair in both those places — I couldn’t believe my eyes, because I had not been expecting this visible result from giving the Vivamune, even though improvement of skin condition was one of the listed possible results of giving it. I was thrilled! I had expected to live my life under a cloud of black hairs, and now I discovered not only that Maisie was barely shedding compared to previously, but her coat had taken on a brilliant shine. It wasn’t obvious to me until I had some new photos taken with her for the Dog Film Festival website and I realized she was outshining me!

A Shiny New Coat

So many of us have dogs who shed or have dull, lifeless coats and we think that’s “just the way that dog is,” we don’t realize there is something we could do to improve that, even beyond a great diet. Hallelujah for Vivamune! Try it for your dog just for overall health, but see if you don’t get the bonus of the shiniest, prettiest pooch in the neighborhood!

–Tracie Hotchner

Vivamune, Halo, The Honest Kitchen and Nordic Naturals are sponsors on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.

Halo’s “Forever Home” Movie Made Me Cry For Joy

Dog Film Festival (logo)

Dog Film Festival (OCT 2015, NYC)

Halo’s “Forever Home” Movie Made Me Cry For Joy

From the minute I had the great pleasure of seeing the beautiful little gem of a film, “Forever Home,” directed by Peter McEvilley — who created it as one of his #RescueFilms for Halo — I knew it simply had to be included in the First Annual Dog Film Festival that I am producing for the Radio Pet Lady Network next October 17th in New York City. Halo’s #RescueFilms embody all the qualities that we will be looking for in films we’ll choose to show at the Dog Film Festival — the joy and intensity of the canine-human bond and the remarkable relationship people have with dogs. I’m proud to announce that this new film and the earlier #RescueFilm from Halo and Peter called “Le Sauvetage” are the very first contributors to the Dog Film Festival! These two films will kick off each series of short dog films at the Festival and set the mood, as well as a high bar, for all the films to follow.

All the #RescueFilms that McEvilley has made for Halo embody the company’s message about the beauty of saving a dog’s life from a shelter, which makes it a perfect fit that the canine stars — The Olate Dogs, winners of America’s Got Talent — are themselves all dogs rescued from shelters. Presented by Halo, Purely for Pets, “Forever Home” was inspired by the holiday classics “The Night Before Christmas” and “The Nutcracker” ballet. Peter McEvilley’s film shows that dreams can come true for the holidays, for people and for dogs. You can watch Forever Home right here, but I promise you it will be even better to see it again at the Festival next October in New York, in a theatre full of fellow dog-lovers!

Submit Your Own Dog-Themed Film

Peter himself will be coming to the festival and receiving a pair of “all-access dog tags” to admit him to the Gala Premiere Pooch Party at a major New York dog-friendly hotel the night before — and to the full day of screenings and panel discussions on October 17th. If you want to try your own hand at creating a dog-themed film — or you have a child under the age of 16 who might want to create a short film — you too might wind up being my guest for all the festivities. The submission guidelines are here: http://dogfilmfestival.com/festival/submit-a-film.

–Tracie Hotchner

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