Ollie Delivers Fresh Dog Food to Your Door

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Ollie delivers fresh human-grade dog food right to your door, along with a plan tailored to each individual dog. (Photos courtesy of Moxie Communications Group)

After New York-based entrepreneur Gabby Slome adopted her mixed breed pooch, Poncho, while traveling in Columbia, she was shocked at his rapid weight gain, despite that she was feeding him high-quality kibble. So she and her fellow pet lover colleagues Alex Douzet and Randy Jimenez got the idea to launch a unique dog food company called Ollie, which officially debuted on Oct. 5.

This is fresh, home-delivered, human-grade, vet-formulated food tailored to each dogs’ individual nutritional requirements, prepared in a USDA inspected and FDA regulated facility.

“Alex and I both had rescue dogs that were gaining a lot of weight,” Ollie CXO Gabby said, during a recent phone interview. “We were confused by the feeding guidelines on pet food packages. We are educated consumers. We didn’t understand until we started digging deeper. We wanted to give pet parents greater confidence in feeding their dogs. We were able to do this through a delivery and subscription model.”

As pet parents become more educated and savvy about their companion animals’ health and nutritional needs, and as pet obesity and food-related ailments are a growing concern, many humans are seeking more appropriate choices for their pets.

“What we found astonishing was a health epidemic among dogs in general; 60 percent are obese,” Gabby said. “Cancer rates are skyrocketing. No one was looking into the whys of this. Like the human world, the number one indicator is: what you eat affects your health.”

Gabby cited mass-produced product as a prime reason for the lack of nutritional value and, in some case, outright dangers inherent in popular pet foods.

“The major conglomerates own the pet food companies. There are many different channels that ingredients come through, based on profit models.”

She added that commercial pet foods may contain rendered ingredients, chicken meal, waste from the human food supply chain, wood chips, restaurant trash, grease, and even road kill.

“Even if they use good ingredients, they use so much processing that the foods come out in the end like cardboard,” she said. “Then they add a bunch of preservatives. It can sit for six months after production.”

Ollie works somewhat similarly to human home-delivered gourmet food services Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. However, there is no preparation involved.

“We are a refrigerated product,” Gabby explained. “It’s a low temperature cooked product that kills bacteria, but not nutrients. We use the process of MATH: modified atmosphere pressure packaging. This keeps fresh for up to two weeks in your fridge. We married a product company with a technology company. We ask dog owners about their pet’s weight, breed, age, allergies and other issues. We are able to do that at that level and be national.”

Ollie delivers weekly or bi-weekly in a package that contains the pet’s food, a tailored nutrition and feeding plan, and other tips for how to keep your dog healthy. Using customer data and feedback, Ollie constantly updates its formulas to ensure that each pet is always getting exactly the right portion, ingredients and food for their specific needs. The majority of the ingredients are sourced from the U.S.

“The meats are from U.S. family farms, and most of the fruits and veggies are from U.S. farms, while the chia seeds from Mexico,” Gabby said.

Meals start at $3 a day for small dogs, which is a small price to pay for convenience, and the health of your dog.

“People are busy and want the convenience of what they want shipped,” Gabby concluded. “It’s more convenient and a much healthier solution.”

Cesar Classics Filet Mignon Recalled Due to Plastic Pieces

Food Safety News reports that Mars Petcare has issued a voluntary recall of select containers of Cesar Classics Filet Mignon Flavor aftcesar-classics-filet-mignon-dog-food-copy-297x300er a handful of consumers reported finding small pieces of plastic in the food. The food is available in individual trays and variety packs.

The affected products have a lot code printed on the side of the trays that begins with 631FKKC or 631GKKC and best-before date between 08/04/18 and 08/05/18.

The containers found in variety packs have the following lot codes: 632D14JC, 633B24JC, 634A14JC, 634A24JC, 634B14JC, 634B24JC, 634E14JC, 635A24JC, 635B14JC, 636D24JC and 636E14JC.

While (thankfully) no pet injuries or illnesses have been reported thus far, the plastic particles can present choking hazards.

Mars is asking that retailers remove the products from their shelves, and that dog parents cease feeding this to their dogs immediately.

If you have any questions, you may contact the company at (800) 421-6456.

Happy Cat Month Cat Product Review: M.A.X. Cozy Curl Cat Scratcher from CatClaws

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CatClaws products include various scratchers and toys for the discriminating kitty. (Photos from Matrix Partners and Alissa Wolf)

In honor of Happy Cat Month, my furry assistant editors Murphy and Lily received a product from a company called CatClaws for their review.

But first, a little bit about Happy Cat Month. This was started by a grassroots Maryland-based group called the CATalyst Council, which includes members from the fields of veterinary medicine, shelter/animal welfare, organizations such as the Cat Fanciers Association, the media and commercial companies, dedicated to educating the public about and celebrating kitties. The group’s primary mission is to ensure that felines are well cared for, and valued as pets.

CatClaws is an Arkansas-based online retailer of unique pet products that was launched in the mid-1980s by Bill and Gail Seliskar. Bill previously owned a corrugated box company in Illinois. Upon noticing how much his cats loved scratching on the cardboard samples he brought home, he came up with the idea for a product called the Cat Claws Scratching Pad.

After initially selling this single product through magazine and newspaper ads, Bill and Gail expanded to offering a wide range of cat products. (The company also offers a smaller selection of dog items.)

They claim that the secret to their success is the certified organic Cat Claws Naturally Nip Catnip used with all of their cat products, which also include toys, beds and furniture, grooming supplies, bowls and water fountains, monuments and memorial products, gifts for pet lovers and a diverse slew of others.

Most of the products are made in the U.S., and the company also accepts submissions from other pet product makers.

Murphy and Lily were immediately intrigued by the M.A.X. Cozy Curl Cat Scratcher they received for their review, which you can see from the photo above. They especially enjoyed the catnip, which also attracted them to and encouraged them to scratch the product.

Made from sturdy corrugated cardboard and available in a variety of colors and designs, these offer kitties a place to scratch, sleep and play, and scratch mark − a major reason why cats need to claw. It’s a potential furniture savior. And at $13.95, the scratcher is also affordable.

So in honor of Happy Cat Month, Murphy and Lily give two paws up to CatClaws.

Obama’s Ban on Aerial Hunting in Alaska Angers Palin

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The new ban prohibits hunting from airplanes and helicopters. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Animal welfare advocates have a new reason to cheer, as President Obama has just issued a sweeping ban on the barbaric practice of aerial hunting in Alaska.

This highly inhumane “sport” involves shooting at animals such as wolves, bears, and others that reside in Alaskan wildlife refuges from airplanes or helicopters. In many cases, the animals are lured into specific locations with food or are trapped, so that hunters can more readily locate and target them.Sarah-Palin

As a result of the new law, which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lobbied for, this will now be illegal in 16 refuges totaling 75 million acres within the state.

One prominent name who is a big fan of aerial hunting who is very peeved about this is former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. While governor of Alaska, Palin spent $400,000 of the state’s money fighting such a ban. (Meanwhile, other states are considering similar bans.)

But apparently, the Obama administration believes that protecting wildlife from this shameless practice is more important than Sarah Palin’s idea of fun.

Hats off to President Obama!

Meet the Prospective First Pets

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Hillary Clinton (pictured at left with poodle Tally) is mom to three pooches, while Donald Trump shares his penthouse with yellow Lab Spinee (right). Photos from Wikimedia Commons

In the midst of the most contentious presidential campaign in modern history, there is one burning question animal lovers have been asking: Who will be our next First Pets?

Meet the companion animals that have a shot at occupying the White House below.

Critter Crazy Clintons

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her former president spouse, Bill, are well-known animal lovers. When Bill was Commander in Chief, he shared the podium with Socks, who went on to become the most famous First Cat of all time. The Clintons later added Buddy, a chocolate Lab, to the family.

The political power couple currently own a brood of three pooches: A chocolate Lab named Seamus, a small dog of unknown breed named Maisie and a toy poodle named Tally.

Trump Goes to the Dogs

While Donald Trump has made his distaste for cats known, he does adore dogs. The current canine member of the billionaire’s clan is a yellow Lab with the curious name Spinee.

The pooch was in the news back in February, when she underwent risky surgery for an unknown ailment, which prompted Trump to ask his supporters for prayers for her on Twitter. Spinee reportedly has made a doggone miraculous recovery.

Vice Presidents’ Pets

Republican VP nominee Mike Pence is a lover of both dogs and cats, who shares his home with a beagle named Maverick and kitties Oreo and Pickle.

I could not determine if Democratic vice presidential pick Tim Kaine has pets. But he has supported animal-related legislation. A few weeks ago, he announced his support for the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) Act, which would help to provide therapy dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Who will be our next First Pets? Only you can decide, by getting to the polls and voting on Nov. 8.

10 Reasons Why Pets Would Make Great Presidents

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Photo from Creative Commons via theodyssey.com

As the tumultuous presidential campaign heats up to unprecedented proportions, I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if pets, as opposed to people, could run for president.

So I came up with 10 thought-provoking reasons why companion animals would make far better leaders of our country than humans.

1.) A cat would never press the nuclear button. She’d just swat at it for hours.

2.) A dog would not argue with members of Congress. He’d merely sniff their butts, and then spend the rest his administration playing with them in the doggie park.

3.) A parrot would not sign an agreement she didn’t fully agree with due to pressure from her cabinet. She’d line the bottom of her cage with it and poop on it.

4.) A betta fish would not be interested in world dominance. He’d just need his own small little territory, and to be left alone.

5.) A bunny rabbit would be great at balancing the budget, as long as the budget consisted of carrots.

6.) A cat would be keenly interested in the activities of the movement “Mouse Lives Matter!”

7.) A hamster would get the wheels of government fully in motion, and get a lot of exercise in his cage while doing so.

8.) A cat would not go head-to-head with leaders of other countries. He’d just sleep on their heads.

9.) If a political detractor were to accuse a dog president of chasing his tail in regard to matters of legislative importance, that could be taken literally.

10.) If pets were president, there would be no wars, no world strife, no discrimination, no oppression, no hatred. They wouldn’t care about anyone’s political affiliation, gender, race, national origin, religion, financial status, or any other such matters that so divide we silly humans. They would merely provide us with unconditional loyalty and love…and the world would be a far better place.

Pets for president!

Top Military Dogs Honored

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Canine soldiers Matty, Fieldy, Isky and Bond (left to right) were awarded the K-9 Medal of Courage for their service to our country. (Photo from the American Humane Association)

Four brave military canines have been awarded the newly instated American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage for their service to our country.

German shepherds Matty and Isky, along with Belgian Malinois Bond and black Lab Fieldy, all served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, where they risked their lives to protect their fellow human soldiers.

Matty and Isky helped track down hidden explosives; Bond was part of 50 combat missions; and Isky served as a guard to military leaders. Isky is now retired from the military, after being injured by an improvised explosive device; he currently works as a service dog.

“Soldiers have been relying on these four-footed comrades-in-arms since the beginning of organized warfare, and today military dogs are more important than ever in keeping our service men and women safe,” said the American Humane Association’s President and CEO Robin Ganzert.

Please join me in saluting these courageous canine soldiers for their loyal service to our country.

Man Dies After Being Bitten By His Cat

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I had to be hospitalized for three days with a severe case of cellulitis after Murphy bit me. (Photo by Alissa Wolf)

The World Journal of Clinical Cases reports that a Canadian man died from complications from a Pasteurella multocida infection after being bitten on his thumb by his pet cat.

The unnamed 68-year-old man had visited the emergency room after falling at his home, complaining of weakness and abdominal pain. He reported that his cat had bitten him four weeks earlier, after which he had developed cellulitis. He ultimately went into septic shock and died, despite being treated with a course of intravenous antibiotics.

Although this is a rare case, animal bites in general, and cat bites in particular, can be highly dangerous. I should know. In April 2014, my Murphy bit me on my calf, and I wound up in the hospital for three days with a nasty case of cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial infection of the skin.

Not long after that, I adopted Lily on the advice of Murphy’s vet, who suggested that I get him his own cat in order to alleviate his play aggression. Ironically, Lily bit Murphy, and he developed a severe infection. Talk about kitty karma!

In addition, several years ago, my mom developed a severe infection when she attempted to break up a fight between her cat and a stray kitty that bit her on her wrist and penetrated the bone. She had to undergo 24-hour infusion antibiotic treatment for three months!

Cat bites are especially dangerous because, unlike dogs, which will rip the skin when they bite, cats will pierce skin with their needle-like teeth, presenting a greater chance of injecting bacteria directly into the bloodstream or bone, depending on where they bite.

So never take a cat bite lightly. Thoroughly wash the area immediately with soap and water, wipe liberally with peroxide and then dab some antibiotic cream on the wound. I always keep the natural, powerful antibiotic colloidal silver in the house, for just such emergencies.

In the case of a severe cat bite, seek medial treatment ASAP. Your very life could depend on this.

N.J. Senate Passes No Pet Shop Pets for Sale Bill

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Long-time New Jersey Senator and animal lover Raymond Lesniak hopes the bill he introduced will take a bite out of pet mills operations. (Photos from Wikimedia Commons)

In an effort to curtail the operations of inhumane puppy and kitten mills, the New Jersey Senate recently passed a bill by a vote of 27-8 that would require pet stores to solely sell pets obtained from animal shelters and rescue facilities.

The bill was introduced by long-time Senator Raymond Lesniak (D), who also happens to be a well-known animal welfare advocate, and is set to soon go before the Assembly for what is expected to be a hotly debated vote.

“These puppy mills have gained a notorious reputation for putting profits ahead of the humane treatment of dogs and cats,” Lesniak told the press, after introducing the bill in December 2015. “Their mass breeding has created inbred health and behavioral problems and the inhumane conditions have left too many of these pets to suffer from neglect and mistreatment.”

While Bill S.63 would only prohibit new pet stores from selling pets from mass breeders, it would require that all New Jersey pet dealers be licensed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and free of certain Animal Welfare Act violations in order to sell pets, according to the American Humane Society website.

While the banning of selling pets for profit has been gaining steam in municipalities across the country for some time, this would be the first statewide legislation of its kind.

Meanwhile, pet industry lobbyists such as the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) decry that the bill would negatively impact pet retailers. However, the sales of pets for profit in pet stores has been declining across the U.S. for years, as an increasing number of responsible pet store operators opt to partner with pet shelters and rescue organizations to provide adoption events instead.

While this should not impact responsible animal breeders, who offer pets for sale privately and rarely if ever sell pets through third parties such as pet stores, legislation such as this would surely help to take a bite out of pet mills.

If you’d like to offer your support for this legislation, you may sign a petition via Change.org by clicking here. I am all for this bill, and hope that my fellow New Jerseyans will join me in expressing support for ending pet mills, for once and for all.

How to Find the Best Pet Groomer

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Choosing a reputable pet groomer is very important for your pet’s health and well-being. (Photo from Creative Commons)

As more people opt to pamper their dogs, cats and even small pets like bunnies, the pet grooming business is booming. And choosing the right groomer is almost as important as finding a good veterinarian, as your pets’ safety, health and well-being depend on this.

Below are some tips for finding the best groomer for your pet.

Word of Mouth

I believe that the best way to find a good pet groomer is to ask people who are in the know. Not only are friends and associates a good place to start, you can also ask your veterinarian, a local trusted animal shelter, kennel operators, breeders and other such pros for recommendations.

Some other really great resources are professional organizations such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America or the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. While pet groomers are not required to obtain professional licensing or formal education, many opt to do so in order to enhance their skills, and their credibility. So it might be a good idea to select a groomer who is licensed and trained.

Thanks to the proliferation of the Internet, you may also find reviews on such sites as Yelp! Regardless, be sure to do your homework before selecting a groomer.

First, Check Out the Conditions of the Pet Grooming Salon

It’s highly advisable to visit the salon in person before making an appointment. Be mindful of such factors as the cleanliness of the facility, the kinds of equipment they have, the products they use, such as shampoos, the smell, the size and condition of the crates and areas where the pets are maintained, and how well the pets are monitored.

It’s also extremely important to observe how the staff relate to and handle the pets, which should be in a very caring, patient manner.

Communication with the Groomer is Key

Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and be very clear about your expectations and your pets’ requirements. It’s also very important to reveal any health or behavioral issues your pet may have. A responsible groomer will keep records of each pet, their age; their health and vaccination history; the name and contact information for their vet; and other such pertinent info. So be prepared to share this.

Furthermore, ask about the cost of the services your pet will require, so that there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to pay your bill. And never allow a groomer to talk you into any services you do not want or need for your pet.

Determine What Services Your Pet Needs

Nowadays, pet groomers offer a lot more than just bathing and clipping. There are a growing number of upscale pet spas that provide the very same luxury pampering services available to humans. These include fancy “paw-dicures,” complete with fashion-forward nail polishes and elaborate nail art; facials; therapeutic massage; aromatherapy; oral hygiene treatments such as teeth cleaning; mud wraps; fur coloring; and more.

Granted, some of these are frivolous, and such services as dying pets neon colors are highly controversial. But many of these can greatly benefit pets. Therapeutic massage, for example, is highly beneficial to elderly pets and those that have such health issues as arthritis. Thus, an increasing number of groomers are trained and certified in pet massage.

Moreover, the popular Blueberry Facial product is excellent for eliminating those unsightly and smelly doggy tear stains. And regular teeth cleaning is great for a pet’s overall health. So it’s good to keep an open mind about certain pet services and treatments.

Prepare Your Pet for the Visit to the Groomer

Many pets are just as anxious about visiting a groomer as they are about a trip to the vet. After all, they have strange people poking and prodding them, in an unfamiliar environment. The Humane Society of the United States recommends preparing your pet in advance of a visit to the groomer by practicing some light grooming at home, such as brushing or combing, increasing the time you do this over the course of several days, and then rewarding your pet with a treat.

For especially anxious pets, you might consider enlisting the services of a mobile groomer, who will show up right out your doorstep with a specially equipped grooming vehicle, and will perform their services right outside your home. This tends to be more costly than a trip to a salon. But in certain situations, the cost is worth it.

Regardless, it’s very important that you feel comfortable with and trust the pet groomer you choose to service your beloved critter. Hopefully, this relationship will last for a very long time.