Bravo Issues Pet Food Recall Due to Salmonella

Photo from the FDA
Photo from the FDA

I just received a press release issued by the FDA regarding a voluntary recall of a number of Bravo pet foods due to Salmonella:

Bravo of Manchester, Conn. is recalling select lots of Bravo Turkey and Chicken pet foods for dogs and cats because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on Nov. 14, 2013 to distributors, retail stores, Internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube.

1) These products are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! TURKEY BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS Product Number: 31-102 Size: 2 lb. (32 OZ) plastic tubes Best used by date: 11-05-15 UPC: 829546311025 Keep Frozen

Bravo! Blends All Natural Chicken Blend diet for dogs cats Product Number: 21-102 Size: 2 lb. (32 OZ) plastic tubes Best used by date: 08-11-16 UPC: 829546211028 Keep Frozen

2) These products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution because they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility or on the same day as products that tested positive.

Premium Turkey Formula BRAVO Balance RAW DIET Product Number: 31-405 Size: 5 lb. (80 OZ) 2.3KG plastic tubes Best used by date: 11-05-15 UPC: 829546314057 Keep Frozen

Bravo! Blends All Natural Chicken Blend diet for dogs cats Product Number: 21-105 Size: 5 lb. (80 OZ) 2.3KG plastic tubes Best used by date: 08-11-16 UPC: 829546211059 Keep Frozen

The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in two lots of product. This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers.

No additional products affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

In addition to the voluntary recall of the above products, Bravo has chosen to voluntarily withdraw the following poultry products from the marketplace to provide its customers with the certainty of safety. Those products include all sizes (2 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb.) of Bravo Chicken Blend(s), Bravo Turkey Blend(s), Bravo Balance Chicken Balance and Bravo Balance Premium Turkey Formula frozen raw diet products with best used by dates between June 20, 2016 and September 18, 2016.

This is being done out of an abundance of caution despite no evidence of any manufacturing defect or distribution problem. None of these products are known to have tested positive for the presence of pathogens. This market withdrawal has NOT been requested by the FDA, but is being done voluntarily by Bravo.

The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). Customers who have purchased the recalled pet food can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website for a full refund or store credit. For more information, visit the website or call toll free (866) 922-9222 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST).

You Can Now Follow Me on Catster and Dogster

dogster-catsterI am pleased to announce that I am now writing for Catster and Dogster, the award-winning sister sites for all things kitty and pooch.

My first article, about my landing in the hospital after my cat, Muprhy, bit me, ran this past week. You can check it out by clicking here.

My next piece will be about Lily’s experiences as a feline fashion model. So stay tuned for that.

The sites are always on the lookout for unique story ideas, from first-person accounts to how-to tips, humor, behavior … everything and anything that has to do with cats and dogs. So if you have any ideas, please feel free to pass them along to me.

In the meantime, stay tuned for lots more stories from yours truly.


New Cyberknife Cancer Treatment Center for Pets Opens in Pa.

Veterinary radiation oncologist Dr. Siobhan Haney, VMD performs the cutting-edge procedure at the new Veterinary Cyberknife Cancer Center in Malvern, Pa. Photo from Veterinary Cyberknife Cancer Center

This past week marked the grand opening of the Veterinary Cyberknife Cancer Center in Malvern, Pa., only one of two such treatment facilities in the U.S.

This high-tech, non-invasive procedure is an alternative to surgical treatment of both malignant and benign tumors and other cancerous diseases that, despite its name, does not involve surgical cutting. Rather, this procedure works via a robotic radiosurgery device that administers high doses of radiation to specific targets, with meticulous accuracy.

Unlike traditional radiation, which may involve up to 20 grueling treatments, individual cyberknife treatments take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, and are administered about three to five times over a period of as many days. Side effects are reportedly minimal and short-lived.

The only other such veterinary treatment center in the country is the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, N.Y., which first began this practice in 2008.

For more information, please visit the websites Animal Specialty Center and Veterinary Cyberknife Cancer Center.

India to Put Stray Dogs to Work

New Delhi officials are hoping that the new program will help to alleviate the stray dogs problem. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
New Delhi officials are hoping that the new program will help to alleviate the stray dogs problem. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in India’s capital city have come up with a great solution to the overwhelming number of stray dogs that roam the streets of New Delhi: They are going to give the pooches jobs!

Law enforcement officials have been corralling the dogs, which will be provided with food, veterinary care and training, after which they will hold positions as public security and guard dogs.

This is part of New Delhi’s new “May I Help You?” security program, which was formed to enhance public safety.

City officials also are in the process of finding homes for the pooches. Many people informally adopt the strays, feed them and put them to work as guard dogs for their homes and businesses. But this is the first such official program of its kind.

Meanwhile, the city will employ up to 700 trainers to work with the dogs.

According to a 2009 survey, there are more than 260,000 homeless dogs roaming the city’s streets. A law passed in 2001 prohibits the killing of stray dogs, which has resulted in a dramatic escalation of the stray population.

New Delhi Civic Chairman Jalaj Shrivastava told The Hindu newspaper, “If these dogs are going to roam the NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corp) area, they might as well work.”

Sounds like a doggone great idea to me.

Review of Vintage Doggie Spa, ‘Paw-some’ Natural Pet Grooming Products

Vintage Doggie Spa pet grooming products are made with safe, natural ingredients.
Vintage Doggie Spa pet grooming products are made with safe, natural ingredients.

As I mentioned in my post Top Dog Grooming Products and Services, natural pet grooming products are now extremely popular. That’s because pet parents are much more educated about the importance of using eco-friendly products that are safer for their pets, and the planet.

So I am pleased to introduce the great line of Vintage Doggie Spa products.

Dog Grooming Products Developed by a Top Veterinarian

This line was developed by my good pal, Dr. Cathy Alinovi, a respected Indiana-based holistic veterinarian, featured expert on Pet Pals TV and pet book author, who also provides educational resources for pet parents via the website Healthy PAWsibilities.

She recently sent me:

  • Herbal Ear Wash
  • Citrus Shampoo
  • Lavendar Conditioning Detangler
  • Mint Refreshing Spritz
  • Herbal Healing Salve

The Finest Natural Ingredients

Vintage Doggie Spa pet grooming products contain such gentle holistic ingredients as organic aloe leaf juice, silk protein, oils of peppermint and spearmint, coconut oil, organic lavender and other natural ingredients, sans any harsh synthetic chemicals.

These products were developed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Cathy Alinovi.
These products were developed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Cathy Alinovi.

Great for Kitties, Too

Although the Vintage Doggie Spa line is primarily marketed for dogs, cats can benefit from them, as well. When Murphy was suffering from his nasty bout with rodent ulcer, I applied the Herbal Healing Salve to his sores.

This was an excellent complement to the other natural remedies I was administering to him orally, and helped to speed the healing process.

A Nice Price Point

Another great thing about the Vintage Doggie Spa products is that they are not high priced, as many natural pet grooming brands are.

The products range from $13 to $18, give or take, and a little goes a long way. They have also received universally positive reviews, so this is a line that I recommend.

For ordering and other information, you may go to the website: Vintage Doggie Spa.

Photos from Alissa Wolf and Cathy Alinovi

The Best Canned Dog and Cat Foods

Hound & Gatos and Dave's are some examples of high-quality pet foods that do not contain carrageenan.
Hound & Gatos and Dave’s are some examples of high-quality pet foods that do not contain carrageenan.

With the exception of raw feeding, which many pet food experts claim is the best dietary option for dogs and cats, high quality canned foods are the healthiest choices for our four-legged pals.

And there are more products than ever, all claiming to be the best, which can be rather confusing.

So there are certain brands and qualities pet parents should look for when choosing what’s best for their fur kids.

Among the best selections are:

  • Grain-free varieties
  • Pet foods packed in BPA-free cans
  • Foods that that are free of by-products, artificial flavors, colors and/or synthetic preservatives

The Carrageenan Controversy

In recent years, educated pet nutrition experts and pet parents have become extremely concerned about the above ingredient, and increasingly seek pet foods that do not contain this.

This is a red seaweed extract that is frequently used as a thickening agent by commercial food manufacturers. It can commonly be found in people dairy products such as ice cream and yogurt, and many pet foods. Even natural and organic products may contain this.

Although technically “natural,” studies have linked this to cancerous tumors and gastrointestinal ailments, in humans and animals. It’s also very difficult to find pet foods that do not contain carrageenan, as roughly 70 percent of them do. So be sure to read the labels when purchasing foods for your pets.

Top Canned Pet Foods

Below is a list of some of the highest quality pet foods. These companies manufacturer some, if not all of their varieties without carrageenan. Those with asterisks are brands I feed to my own pets:

  • Dave’s*
  • Fromm
  • Hound & Gatos*
  • Life’s Abundance
  • Lotus
  • Nutro Natural Choice
  • Tiki
  • Weruva*

If anyone has any  particular favorites they’d like to recommend, or know of others that do not contain carrageenan, please feel free to share that info here.

Photo by Alissa Wolf

Chic Chickens Rule the Roost at Hester Street Fair

Chicekn Fashions
Photo from Ada Nieves

My colleague and friend Ada Nieves, a top pet fashion designer, not only whips up divine duds for dogs and cats, she also creates chic couture for chickens!

Ada is mom to a critter brood that includes seven Chihuahuas, a couple of kitties and a gaggle of cluckers, that all strut their stuff in fashion shows and other pet-themed events.

As you may remember, Ada organized and designed all of the kitty couture for the big Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals feline fashion show – in which Lily was a featured model – that took place at the Algonquin Hotel on Aug. 2.

Some of her furry and feathered kids were a huge hit at the recent Hester Street Fair, a fabulous pushcart vendors’ fair that takes place on Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Saturdays and Sundays from April to October.

A special Pet Weekend took place yesterday and today, during which posh pets got to strut their stuff in conjunction with human Fashion Week.

But the feathered fashionistas pictured above were by far the most unique models of all, and thoroughly enjoyed being cocks of the cat walk.

Mars Announces Expanded PEDIGREE® Dog Food Recall

Pedigree_RecallAs I reported on Aug. 28, consumer products conglomerate Mars had voluntarily recalled 22 bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food due to possible metal fragments that accidentally got into the bags during the manufacturing and packaging process.

These were shipped to Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

I recently learned that the recall has been expanded to include 55-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products sold in Sam’s Club in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Dog parents are advised to cease feeding these foods to their pets immediately.

If you have any further questions, you may call the company at (800) 305-5206 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.


Top Dog Grooming Products and Services

Pooches can really put on the dog, thanks to the huge amount of imaginative dog grooming products and services that are now available.

Below are some of the more interesting trends.

Body Art for Bow Wows

Photo from the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers

Canines can now get on the tattoo bandwagon with their very own tramp stamps.

The latest extreme grooming trend involves applying designs to a dog’s (or cat’s) coat using a stencil and either non-toxic, chalk-based paint or glitter affixed with non-toxic glue.

The tats are temporary – they may last a couple of weeks to a month – and will wash off during bathing. These can set pet parents back from $10 to $100, which is the going rate among groomers who cater to celebrity clients.

Pet parents can also purchase do-it-yourself tattoo kits.

Meanwhile, the Fur Flies Over Pet Tattoos 

Not surprisingly, tattoos for pets are not without controversy. PETA, for one, claims that this “humiliates” pets. And some veterinarians have expressed concern about the potential for this to cause dermatological issues.

Meanwhile, a Brooklyn ink artist who goes by the name Mistah Metro came under fire earlier this year after he inked his own dog with a permanent tattoo. Metro did this while the dog was sedated, following a surgical procedure.

Metro received so much hate mail after posting a pic of his pooch on the Internet – which went crazy viral – that he closed down his social media accounts.

In a related development, the New York Senate in June voted unanimously to ban the practice of pet tattoos. While many pets are routinely tattooed for identification purposes, getting one’s critter inked for vanity is another story, according to those who are against this practice.

What’s Hot in Natural Pet Grooming Products

Natural products that are healthier for pets – and the planet – are now leaders in the grooming industry when it comes to items ranging from shampoos and conditioners to paw creams, breath sprays and colognes.

Some of the more innovative ingredients are:

  • Alaskan salmon oil
  • Chamomile
  • Coconut oil
  • Oatmeal
  • Organic silk proteins
  • Tea tree oil … and others.
Photo from Faith Chipman

Faith Chipman, a groomer colleague of mine who owns the respected Shaggy DAWG Grooming salon in British Columbia, Canada, developed a unique natural line of paw pad creams, PAW Su-Crème, that contain emu and hemp oils. 

She also developed a line of natural, non-toxic doggie colognes that contain such ingredients as pure lavender oil, aloe, chamomile and witch hazel.

Overall, there is a greater emphasis on products that are organic and biodegradable, and are free of phosphates, artificial colors and dyes, synthetic chemicals and fragrances, and other harsh, potentially toxic ingredients.

Unique Paw Polish for Posh Pooches

Dog Nail Art
Photo from Warren London

Diva doggies that love their “paw-dicures” now have a great line of easy to apply, non-toxic polish pens, courtesy of Warren London, a U.S.-based maker of upscale glam pet grooming products. 

Pawdicure Polish Pens, which are available in a variety of fur-bulous colors, are made with a non-toxic water-based solution that dries in a jiff. These can also be used to create paw-some pooch nail art.

The pens retail for $8.95 and up, so even fashion-forward Fidos on a budget can afford them.

Natural Remedies for Rodent Ulcer

Rodent ulcers commonly present as sores in and around the mouth and lips.

Murphy recently had a very unpleasant experience with an inflammatory skin condition that is only prevalent in cats called “rodent ulcer,” which also goes by the scientific name feline eosinophilic granulom – among others.

The layman’s label is misleading, as this is not caused by cats coming into contact with rodents. It’s actually an allergic reaction that is commonly caused by:

  • The chemicals in plastic or rubber food and water bowls
  • An allergy to fleas
  • A food allergy
  • Environmental pollutants, including chemicals in cat litter

Cats with comprised immune systems, such as those with FIV, are also more susceptible to this, and this is more prevalent in female cats than males.

The Symptoms of Rodent Ulcer

Murphy’s symptoms began as a few small, red sores under his chin that later extended to the corners of his mouth. This was also accompanied by acute darkening of his lower gums. In addition, this can affect a cat’s tongue, lips and other parts of the body, such as the pads of the feet.

Although seemingly more common in younger cats, this can occur at any age.

How I Determined that Murphy Had Rodent Ulcer

Admittedly, Murphy – who is now 1 year and 4 months old – has been a hot mess in one form or another since I adopted him from a county animal shelter in August 2013, when he was 17 weeks old.

I was able to figure out what he had with the help of my friend, Dr. Cathy Alinovi – a respected holistic veterinarian who has a practice in Indiana – my extensive professional background in researching and writing about pet health care, and my own considerable experiences with cat ailments.

In this case, Dr. Cathy and I relied on a process of elimination to determine the cause of Murphy’s ailment.

How I Determined and Eliminated the Cause

I have always fed Murphy and his adopted younger sister, Lily, from glass bowls that I wash after each use in a dishwasher; I give them filtered water; and use a natural cat litter, Cedarific. And neither one of my cats, who never go outside, has ever had fleas.

So I narrowed it down to the cat food – I am sorry to say that I switched my kitties to an inexpensive brand after losing my job at the beginning of the summer. I had previously fed them high-quality grain-free canned foods such as Hound & Gatos and Wild Calling. But I switched them to Fancy Feast Classic – because at least this doesn’t contain wheat gluten – due to the lower cost.

Lo and behold – although Lily did not experience an adverse reaction – I realized that Murphy was allergic to this. So I made a compromise and got my cats on Blue Freedom grain-free. Although it’s more expensive than Fancy Feast, it’s less costly than the other brands I previously fed my cats. Thus, this was a reasonable compromise.

Natural Remedies to the Rescue

Murphy is relieved to be back to his handsome self once again!

In addition to changing Murphy’s food, I decided to explore some natural home remedies to help get his condition under control.

The usual procedure is to take a cat to a vet, who will generally administer a corticosteroid shot and/or place a kitty on an oral anti-inflammatory steroid, most commonly prednisoline.

However, as I am a great believer in naturopathy – for my pets, and myself – and I am very leery of steroids, I decided to first take a holistic approach.

Thus, with Dr. Cathy’s approval, I came up with a treatment plan that consisted of the supplements and homeopathic remedies:

Colloidal silver is a highly effective mineral that has powerful anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and immune boosting properties. You can find this, which comes in liquid form, in health and natural food stores. (I used the Sovereign Silver brand.)

L-Lysine also helps to boost a cat’s immune system. I gave this to both Murphy and Lily immediately after adopting them, because they each contracted upper respiratory ailments while in their respective shelters. You can find this in health and vitamin stores, or purchase in pet stores as chews made especially for pets.

Epic Pet is a fantastic line of holistic spray and drop products made from minerals in alkaline water with added electrolytes that naturally help to alleviate a variety of ailments and behavioral issues in dogs and cats.

In addition, natural pet care experts recommend adding Omega-3 and -6 oils to a rodent ulcer treatment regimen, as these are safe, natural anti-inflammatories.

How I Administered These Remedies

I gave Murphy the colloidal silver daily, both orally and topically. I placed 1/2 teaspoon in his wet food each day. It’s odorless and tasteless, so pets don’t mind it. I also poured some into a small travel-size spray bottle and would spritz it onto his sores three to five times a day.

I gave him one L-Lysine chew (which equals 250 milligrams) twice a day. As I ran out of these and couldn’t find them in any pet stores in my area, I resorted to sprinkling the powder from the 250 milligram capsule form onto his wet food twice a day.

As for the Epic Pet, I sprayed this into his food, water and directly onto the sores once a day, as per the directions.

*Note: for kittens under 1 year, give them half these doses: 1/4 teaspoon of the colloidal silver once a day, and 125 milligrams of the L-Lysine twice a day. The L-Lysine chews are soft, so you can easily slice them in half with a butter knife. If you can only find the 250 milligram powder capsules of L-Lysine, open the capsules, divide them in half (you might place this in a small bathroom cup and measure out in half doses at a time) and administer twice daily.

A Dramatic Kitty Recovery

Within four to five days, Murphy’s condition began to markedly improve, thanks to the combination of getting him back onto the natural food and the holistic remedies. So he is well on the road back to being his handsome self once again!

The beauty part is, I did not have to resort to placing him on steroids, or an expensive vet trip.

Advice for Parents of Kitties with Rodent Ulcers

Granted, not all pet parents are fortunate enough to have a holistic vet for a friend, or a vast amount of experience researching and writing about pet care. So I would strongly advise that you take your cat to a vet if you suspect that he/she is suffering from this – or any other malady – for a proper diagnosis.

If you are able to take your pet to a holistic vet, he or she may very well recommend the treatments I outlined here before resorting to steroids, or may opt to place your pet on a combination of prescription meds and natural remedies.

Regardless, the natural approach certainly can’t hurt, as will ensuring that your pets’ foods, products and environments are safe and healthy overall.

Photos by Alissa Wolf