Pets and Animal

Skip Store-Bought Jerky Treats, Make Your Own Instead

Jerky pet treats are a huge hit with most dogs and cats, but for many years, I’ve encouraged pet parents to make their own because unfortunately, the ultraprocessed pet food industry and its FDA “overseers” have a poor track record when it comes to the safety of these products.

As an example, at the end of 2018, Food Safety News published a post on the tainted jerky treats from China fiasco I’ve written several articles about over the years. As the author of the post notes:

“More than 10 years after the first reports of pet and people illnesses linked to jerky treats from China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is no closer to finding the root cause of the problem.”1

From August 2007 through the end of 2015, the number of reports of illness linked to the treats included more than 6,200 dogs, 26 cats, and three people. More than 1,140 of the dogs didn’t survive their illness.

Lowlights From a Decade-Long Investigation

According to Food Safety News, per Dr. Lee Anne Palmer of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), since 2007 the FDA has received reports of pet illness related to jerky treats from all 50 states in the U.S., most Canadian provinces, and several other countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Some other items of note from Palmer’s summary of the FDA’s investigation that haven’t been widely reported:

  • In late 2013 the FDA requested specific clinical data from veterinarians on cases of treat-related illness in their practices. The request prompted “an immediate, massive increase in illness reports.”
  • In 2014, the FDA’s CVM and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted the first-ever case control study for a pet illness investigation. The study involved 95 affected dogs from 31
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Not Just Dogs and Cats, This Rescue Saves Farm Animals, Too

Beth Roberts from Bristow Barnyard Animal Rescue in Bristow, Oklahoma, is saving the lives of animals in her community — but don’t let their name fool you. While they have rescued farm animals of all kinds — including steers, horses, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits — they also do rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of dogs and cats.

Nominated for a Healthy Pets Game Changer Award by Ethel S., Roberts has extensive experience working with veterinarians, helping with spay and neuter clinics, orthopedic surgery and other procedures. When she found herself back in Bristow, after spending a few years in California, she made sure she had her beloved rescued farm animals in tow — at the time, her crew consisted of a steer and a couple of mini horses.

She then reached out to the city pound to offer her services, but they weren’t interested — so Roberts decided to start a rescue of her own — and Bristow Barnyard Animal Rescue was born. “We do have over about 100 animals,” Roberts said. “Most of our farm animals are in sanctuary. They won’t leave. They’ll be here forever … Like I said, we have … all kinds of animals.”

A Lifesaving Solution in Rural Oklahoma

Bristow Barnyard Animal Rescue is the only one of its kind in the area, providing a service to not only help animals in need to today but also reduce problems with pet overpopulation later. Roberts explained:

“It’s really bad in our area. Rural Oklahoma you find dumped moms and dads and whole litters in horrible areas. And they come to you — they’re sick and need help. We got to focusing on what we could do to try to get that better, so we started running a monthly spay and neuter “train,” is what

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The Type of Walk Dogs Love Most

Many pet parents don’t realize that when they take their canine BFF out for a walk, it’s likely their expectations are somewhat different than their dog’s.

While we humans typically view the primary purpose of these outings as opportunities for our pets to pee and/or poop and/or get some exercise (all of which are important, of course), our furry friends are looking for another, equally important experience: the chance to satisfy their desire to sniff the always-fascinating world outside their home.

It’s important to realize that your dog doesn’t immediately begin sniffing things as soon as she’s outdoors to be annoying — she does it because it’s an essential element of being canine. Whereas humans tend to focus first on what can be seen and/or heard, for dogs, it’s often what they smell that grabs their attention first and helps them process their immediate environment.

If you can imagine how it would feel to take walks outdoors with your eyes half-closed, then you can empathize with how it feels to your dog to be prevented from stopping to sniff things: it’s unnatural, slightly intimidating, and ultimately, boring. Dogs need lots of outdoor sniffing opportunities to help them learn about the world around them and stimulate their minds.

Unfortunately, our hectic daily schedules often don’t afford our dogs the chance to exercise their unparalleled scenting abilities. However, once we accept how essential the experience is to them, we can begin to make more of an effort to set time aside to allow them to “lead with their noses” in the great outdoors.

The Canine Nose: A Scientific Wonder

The human nose contains about 6 million olfactory receptors that allow us to recognize thousands of different smells.1 It sounds like a lot, until you realize that inside your dog’s nose there … Read more

Ancient Practice Shows Promise for Treating Deadly Virus

Not long ago, the Nicholas Pet Haven shelter in Tyler, TX had to close its doors for two weeks due to a parvo outbreak affecting 11 puppies. The pups were taken next door to the Spence and White Veterinary Hospital, a critical care facility, where they were isolated and received treatment.

Veterinarian Dr. Gary Spence, owner of the hospital, had never seen an outbreak like it in his six years of operation. In an interview with local news station KLTV, Spence explained the deadly activity of the virus once it enters the gastrointestinal (GI) tract:

“You’ve got your intestinal wall, but then you’ve got thousands and thousands of villi that line your intestinal wall where all your absorption takes place. And as the parvovirus replicates, the tips of the villi rupture, and each of those tips has a vessel in it that sits there and just spurts blood and they bleed to death.”1

Sadly, two of the pups didn’t make it, but the other nine were showing great improvement at the time the story made the news. According to Spence, “… it looks like we’ve turned the corner. The puppies that we’ve got now are all starting to eat again.” Here’s hoping the remaining pups continued to improve and were adopted into loving homes.

Why Parvo Is Such a Frightening Disease

For all of us who love dogs, the fear of parvovirus is real, because it’s a deadly, difficult to treat, and highly contagious disease. Canine parvovirus type 2, or CPV-2, is an infection that attacks the GI tract of both domesticated and wild puppies and adult dogs.

The virus damages intestinal crypt cells, which results in increased gut permeability and profuse, bloody diarrhea. And in addition to the GI effects of parvo, in very young and unborn puppies, … Read more

The Two Best Foods for a Healthy Gut

In 2017, a team of university researchers published a study that revealed how different types of diets affect the gut bacteria (microbiome) of dogs.1 The objective of the 28-day study was to determine fecal microbiota and metabolite concentrations in eight adult dogs fed four different diets, including:

  • Two lightly cooked Freshpet diets
  • One raw Freshpet diet
  • One extruded diet (Purina Dog Chow)

The study results showed that (unsurprisingly) there are differences in gut bacteria depending on what food dogs eat, but beyond that, nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary came to light.

Mildly Cooked and Raw Diets Proved More Digestible

One of the study co-authors, Kelly Swanson, a professor of animal and nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois, told the food dogs eat has a significant effect on the types of microorganisms found in their digestive tracts.

“The quality and chemical composition of the ingredients and nutrient digestibility are key factors,” says Swanson.

“That is an important factor in our study because the ingredient list, chemical composition (nutrient profile), and nutrient digestibility was quite different among diets. The mildly cooked and raw diets were generally higher in protein and/or fat and were more digestible than the extruded diet.”2

Based on this feedback, the lightly cooked and raw diets performed as I would expect them to, in that they were easier for the dogs to digest than the ultraprocessed extruded diet. If this was a surprise to the researchers, it really shouldn’t have been. And made this observation:

“… despite having a higher fat content than extruded dog food, both lightly cooked and raw diets seemed to reduce blood triglyceride concentration, which would be considered beneficial long term. The biological reason for this is unknown.”

My guess is the lightly cooked and raw diets have … Read more

Senior Dog Nutrition and Supplement Tips

Dogs age in a variety of ways. Some changes are obvious, like greying of the fur or weight gain. Others, like a slower metabolism or reduced immune function, may not be as obvious. However, one of the most important changes in a senior dog’s life is a change in his nutritional needs.

A senior dog needs more quality protein than a younger dog. This is because senior dogs may have a lower ability to absorb and digest nutrients and require less energy. Various reasons for this could include dental disease or other medical conditions.

Of course, not all dogs are fat, but weight control is also possible with regular exercise and controlled eating. However, fat is high in calories, so your dog will need more fat if his energy requirements decrease.

Many of the same supplements we take for ourselves as we age may also benefit our dogs. However, check with your veterinarian before adding joint supplements to your dog’s diet. If you have a senior dog, consider giving him an all-in-one Balanced Breed multivitamin. Balanced Breed is approved by pet pharmacists and made with all-natural ingredients in the United States. Balanced Breed helps senior dogs with immunity, joints, skin, and overall health, just to name a few.

Below are some of the most essential supplements you should consider for your senior dog

Green-lipped mussel, chondroitin, and glucosamine

These are all good options to protect the cartilage. If your dog already has osteoarthritis, you can add a joint supplement containing these ingredients to his food to help him get back to normal (or close to it). Because they are safe and long-lasting, joint supplements can be used for early interventions and ongoing treatment of arthritis.


Research has shown that antioxidants, combined with behavioral enrichment, can help improve … Read more