2017 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cats, Dogs, and Their People

It is the holidays, and once again it is time for us to find that special gift for our favorite feline, our delightful dog, and maybe even for our family members, friends, and co-workers who have pets. Green Acres Kennel Shop has come up with a list of gift ideas. To make it easy for you, we have categorized our recommendations by cats, dogs, cats and dogs, and people, Happy gift giving!

Especially for Cats

The Kong Company is well known for their dog toys, and they are stepping up the game with cat toys.

Kong Refillables are soft, snuggly, and plush. However, best of all, each one has a re-closable pouch to securely hold fresh catnip. The toys include a generous amount of KONG’s premium North American catnip in a re-closable vial.

When the catnip scent starts to fade, just add more fresh catnip for another round of fun! Catnip can be stored in the freezer to help keep it fresh. The toy is machine washable with the catnip removed.

Watch your cat attack, wrestle and snuggle with its KONG Kickeroo. This unique cat toy appeals to a cat’s instinctive desire to stalk and capture prey. The Kickeroo’s size, shape, and material were specially chosen to promote wrestling and hind paw kicking.

The fluffy tail provides movement for extra excitement, not to mention there is a generous amount of KONG’s potent North American catnip inside to further encourage play. Don’t be surprised if the Kickeroo becomes your cat’s favorite toy.

 

The KONG Snake Teaser is perfect for fun, interactive play and a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Irresistible feathers and unpredictable movement will stimulate your feline friend’s natural hunting instincts and provide beneficial exercise. The Snake Teaser is sure to bring out the playful tiger in any cat. Durable and safe, this item is for supervised play only.

 

 

Vital Essential Cat Treats – Cats appreciate treats just like our dogs do, but so many of the cat treats on the market are filled with unhealthy ingredients. Why not give your cat a treat that they will love and that is good for them. Vital Essentials cat treats come in a wide variety of formulas, and all are 100% freeze-dried meat. You can choose from Wild Alaskan Salmon, Chicken Breast, Chicken Giblets, Minnows, Duck Liver, Rabbit, and Ahi Tuna. Treat your cat like the friend you know they are!

Beco Cat Bowls – If you have not noticed, our cats are sensitive to their environment, including the types of dishes we use to feed them. The Beco Bowl for cats has a much lower rim so that our feline friend’s sensitive whiskers do not brush up against the sides making dinner time that much easier. Many sophisticated cats may refuse to eat out of a metal or plastic bowl, but because Beco’s bamboo plastic is toxin-free, they will happily eat out of the Beco Bowl. We have been using the Beco bowls in the cattery at Green Acres for a year now, and the cats love them

Especially for Dogs

Benebone Chews – Dogs love to chew, so one of the gifts you can give them that you will both appreciate is a chew toy. Our favorite new chew toys come from a company called Benebone; a small, family owned company that makes these fantastic treats right here in the USA. Benebone products are chew toys made of super-strong nylon and food-grade bacon, peanuts, and chicken. They use no chemicals or artificial flavors. The Wishbone comes in three sizes and three flavors while the Dental Chew comes in three flavors and two sizes. Our dogs love their Benebone’s and believe your dog would love one in their stocking.

 

Beco Environmentally Friendly Toys – Although your dog has probably not told you they are an eco-warrior, the fact is degradations in our environment are even more harmful to our pets than they are to us. That is why we love Beco Pets, a company that makes eco-friendly, long lasting and fun products for pets.

The Beco Hoop on a Rope is made from 100% natural rice husk rubber and is attached to natural cotton rope.  It is designed to be as stretchy and flexible as possible. It is the perfect toy for older dogs with fragile teeth, and the smaller version offers a great teether for any puppy, as it is soft and lightweight, while really durable.

Each Beco Soft Toy has an irresistible squeaker inside, and its covers are double cross stitched making them especially durable! These toys are made from recycled plastic bottles and are named after employees at Beco.

The Beco Jungle Triple Knot is the perfect rope toy for long distance throwing and fetch. The Beco Rope toys are made from 98% Hemp and 2% recycled cotton. Hemp is a very eco-friendly material as it grows very quickly and no pesticides or fertilizers are used in the growing process. Most importantly though it is better for your dog as unlike cotton and synthetic ropes, it has very short fibers which are more easily digestible. The short fibers mean that hemp is tougher than cotton or synthetic ropes, as it is harder for the dog to pull apart. Beco Hemp rope toys are better for you dog and better for the environment.

Ruffwear Toys & Coats – Ruffwear makes great clothing and toys for dogs.

The Ruffwear Huckama™ Rubber Throw Toy moves like a critter and is fun to chase. This durable, interactive toy keeps dogs engaged with its erratic bounce and roll. The hollow design accepts food for treat rewards and whistles when hurled through the air. Made from sustainable, natural latex rubber, a renewable resource.

The Ruffwear Gourdo™ Rubber Throw Toy rubber toy is designed for interactive play, from tugging to throwing, this durable rubber toy does it all. The kernmantle [really, strong and flexible] rope lanyard makes it easy to throw and pick up, while avoiding the slobbery rubber end.

Please note:  All Ruffwear toys are interactive and intended for supervised play. They are not designed to be chew toys. Once the interactive play has finished, place the Ruffwear toy out of your dog’s reach and replace with a designated chew toy.

The Ruffwear Front Range™ Harness is an everyday harness that is easy to put on and comfortable for dogs to wear. The harness features two leash attachment points: an aluminum V-ring centered on the dog’s back for everyday walks, and reinforced webbing at the dog’s chest for training or additional control. The ID pocket keeps dog tags quiet and easily accessible.

We live in Maine and let’s admit it; sometimes even our dogs are happier in a coat. The Ruffwear Overcoat™ is a classic cold-weather utility jacket. This vest-style jacket is built with sturdy, durable materials to keep up with the most active dog. Wind- and water-resistant outer fabric protects against harsh elements, while interior recycled polyester fleece lining keeps body heat in. Side-release buckles on both sides provide easy on/off, and a leash portal allows the Overcoat to be worn over our Front Range™ Harness.

Another favorite dog toy at Green Acres is made right here in Maine. The Floating Rope Fetch Toy by Downeast Nautical is a favorite, especially for dogs that love the water! My dog Muppy is a certified landlubber but still loves retrieving her rope toy when I toss it from the living room to the far end of the kitchen.

This fall we brought in a new line of soft toys from Tall Tails. The Tall Tails Plush Squirrel is inspired by the outdoors and is designed for endless interactive play. The squeaker is sewn into a separate pouch and stitched into the seam for extra protection against choking, while the plush exterior makes for a soft and friendly companion. While I was writing this post, my dog Muppy found this toy on the floor where I had inadvertently dropped it. I heard the noise, knew she was having fun, and realized that due to my inattention I had just bought her a new toy. Muppy gives the Tall Tails Plush Squirrel 5 Paws. She is sure that your dog would also like the Chipmunk, Duck, Goose, Fish and other toys in the Tall Tails family.

Vital Essentials Treats and Snacks – A favorite line of training treats are the Freeze Dried Meat Treats from Vital Essentials. They are small,  high value, come in a variety of flavors, and are a very healthy option. Please note, that while labeled dog treats, cats love these treats as well.

Training treats are great for training and giving our dog a small reward; however, like most of us, I occasionally like to give Muppy a special snack. That is when I go to the Vital Essentials Raw Bar for the tasty and healthy snacks she loves. Muppy’s personal favorites are the freeze-dried chicken necks and duck necks. They are the perfect size for her. Other dogs love the cod skins, salmon skins, turkey necks, turkey wings, and bully sticks. If you are looking for a high value and healthy snack, check-out the selection at the Vital Essentials Raw Bar.

Earth Animal No-Hide Chews are a healthier and more digestible alternative to Rawhide. No-Hide Chews gives new meaning to dog snack. They are more durable and digestible than any other chew on the market and dogs love them.

No-Hide Chews are available in Chicken, Beef, and their new Pork flavor.

Especially for Both Cats and Dogs

Raw Rewards Treats from Northwest Naturals are the latest addition to our treat selection at the Green Acres Kennel Shop. One of the things we like about these treats is that they are equally yummy to dogs and cats. However, we also love that they are manufactured in a quality controlled USDA human food inspected facility from meat sourced in the USA and New Zealand. These freeze-dried treats have only a single ingredient, making them ideal for pets with food-related sensitivities. Raw Rewards Beef Liver, Bison Liver, Chicken Liver, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver and Salmon treats are highly palatable and easy to feed.

Especially for People with Pets

At the top of my gift recommendations for dog owners, this year is the new book A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge –If your family includes children and a dog, if you have children that spend time with friends and family members that have a dog, or if you have a dog that spends any time around children, you, your children, and your dog will benefit from your reading A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!.

The goal of this new book from author Niki Tudge and Doggone Safe is to provide a resource that anyone can use to teach children how to be safe around dogs by teaching them how to “speak dog.” As a dog training instructor that teaches both adults and children how to train their dogs, we make teaching canine body language part of our classes. What I have learned over the past 22 years is that before taking a dog training class, even most adults are not aware of most aspects of “speaking dog,” which is why I believe this book will be of value to both children and adults.

A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! is written to be used as an interactive resource and uses cartoons and photographs to illustrate body language dogs use to signal when they are happy, afraid, and angry. By teaching children, and adults, how to read and respond to these signs the book helps keep people and dogs safe. The world is full of children and dogs, and it is essential that we teach them how to interact safely. A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! combined with a parent or teacher does just that.  I give this book five paws!

If you have a pet, you have pet hair in places where you would rather not have pet hair. The easiest and most effective way to remove that pet hair is with the Fur-Zoff. This simple tool does the job far better than anything else we have found. Bangor’s own amazing automobile detailer Jesse Bell of Adept Auto Detailing swears by his Fur-Zoff.

 

 

A Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card – If you just cannot decide or are unsure what to get, you cannot go wrong with a Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card. Available in the denominations of $5 and up, they can be used for any product or services at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

©5DEC17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Podcast – Pet Stuff with Don Hanson & Dr. Mark Hanks

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

10sep16-pet_stuff_w-don_mark-400x400In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from September 10th, 2016 Don and Mark address several timely topics about pets and Maine, including; dog bites, the canine flu, and the criteria they use to select and recommend flea and tick products and pet foods.

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

 

 

©17SEP16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?

tikken-was-fed-raw-most-of-her-life-800x800

Updated 05AUG17

Raw diets, either frozen or freeze-dried, are becoming increasingly popular with pet parents that want to feed their pet the best diet possible for optimal health and wellness. We started feeding our pets a raw diet in 2001 and started selling commercial raw diets at Green Acres Kennel Shop in 2002. Clients frequently ask me about my experience feeding and selling raw diets as well as specific questions about the raw diets we sell in the store. This post contains links to articles and podcasts that specifically address feeding pets a raw diet. I will update it as we add additional information.

If you prefer to discuss this in person, please stop by the store. We enjoy talking about nutrition and helping people find food that will benefit their pet and budget.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Book Review – Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultzehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/book-review-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health-by-kymythy-schultze/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Shared Blog Post – FDA on a Witch Hunt Against Commercial Pet Food? A Little Spritz of This Makes Pet Food Far Saferhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/28/shared-blog-post-fda-on-a-witch-hunt-against-commercial-pet-food-a-little-spritz-of-this-makes-pet-food-far-safer/

Shared Blog Post – The CDC Weighs in on Raw Food – Should You Believe Them?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/08/05/shared-blog-post-the-cdc-weighs-in-on-raw-food-should-you-believe-them/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Healthhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-kymythy-schultze-author-of-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Nutrition and Raw Food for Pets with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2016-10-01Holistic_and_Complementary_Wellness_for_Pets-Nutrition_Raw_Food_Pets-Bette_Schubert_Bravo_Pet_Foods.mp3

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow <Click here for a free download>

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

 

Web Sites and FaceBook Pages

Bravo Pet Foods(http://www.bravopetfoods.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/BravoPetFoods/)

Steve’s Real Food for Pets – (http://www.stevesrealfood.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/StevesRealFood/)

Vital Essentials – (http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/VitalEssentialsRaw/)

 

©28NOV16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton

dr-patton

On April 28th of 2016, Green Acres Kennel Shop hosted animal nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton for an educational seminar entitled The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition. This presentation is now available as a video.

<Click to watch video>

You will want to watch this video if your pet:

  • Has food allergies and intolerances
  • Has digestive difficulties
  • Is overweight or obese
  • Suffers from chronic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes
  • If you want to be sure you are doing the best for your pet nutritionally

Dr. Patton has over forty years of experience as a consultant on animal nutrition working in 22 different countries with everything from livestock and zoo animals to companion pets. He was an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University for 15 years and is the author of Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack, the Paradox of Pet Nutrition, a book which discusses pet nutrition and the pet obesity crisis. Not beholden to any one company, Dr. Patton is an independent nutritional consultant; his main concern is the health of our pets.

Last fall Paula and I had the opportunity to attend one of Dr. Patton’s seminars. We were not only impressed by his passion and breadth of knowledge on pet nutrition but were equally impressed by Dr. Patton’s ability to take technical concepts about nutrition and explain them from a common sense perspective. Dr. Patton discusses the following topics; the essential ingredients for optimal nutrition, wet food versus dry food, the drawback, and benefits of raw and natural diets, the role of behavior in nutrition; both the pets and the owners, an insider’s view of the pet food industry, and the pet obesity epidemic. He also answers several questions from the audience.

I want to thank Vital Essentials (http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/VitalEssentialsRaw/) for helping to make this seminar and video possible.

<Click to watch video>

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Books

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

 

©10-Sep-16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Food

Green Acres Kennel Shop is very excited to be offering the Carnivore Meat Companies Vital Essentials® line of frozen and freeze-dried pet foods, snacks, and treats.

As you probably know, Green Acres is pretty persnickety when it comes to adding a new food line. Just because a manufacturer or distributor wants us to sell their VE_Logo_Primary_webproduct does not mean we automatically say “Yes” and allow their products on our shelves. Even if we know a pet food is a big seller in other stores, if we are not comfortable with feeding that food to our pets, we will not sell it at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

We first started looking at Vital Essentials in the fall of 2015, requesting information on the company and the products. After carefully reviewing the information provided, we were very impressed and took the next step; to try the product with our pets. We were extremely pleased with our pet’s reaction to the food and decided to add Vital Essentials to our offerings at the end of April of 2016. This is the same time Vital Essentials helped us bring Dr. Richard Patten to town to present two free seminars on pet nutrition.

At the end of July, Paula and I went to visit the Vital Essentials plant in Green Bay,

Vital Essentials VP Kevin Malnor, Paula Hanson & Don Hanson
Vital Essentials VP Kevin Malnor, Paula Hanson & Don Hanson

WI. After meeting with the company President and marketing, quality and production team, we are even more pleased to have Vital Essentials as part of our product line-up. Thank you for your hospitality and openness Lanny, Kevin, Erica and others!

 

What We Like About the Vital Essentials® Company

  • PIONEERS – Raw food for pets is a relatively new market segment, but Vital Essentials roots in the raw food for pets business goes back to 1968 and they have been involved in the meat industry for even longer. They are a pioneer in the raw pet food industry and know what they are doing.
  • FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED – Vital Essentials is family owned and operated, and is a complete pet food company; they create the formulations, purchase the raw ingredients, produce, package and sell the food. From our twenty years of experience in this industry, we have observed that smaller companies like Vital Essentials produce a better product and are more committed to their retailers and end-users, you and your pets. We prefer working with companies that have control over the entire manufacturing process. Many companies without a manufacturing facility turn the production of their food over to another company, maybe even the lowest bidder. That is kind of like grandma having some big conglomerate try to make her famous yeast rolls. I know that would disappoint me. My point is, this, if the owner of the company does not actively supervise the selection of raw materials and the preparation of the food, how much control do they have over the quality of the food? I like that the owners of Vital Essentials monitor the quality of their food every day.
  • PET FOCUSED – Vital Essentials only provides meat products for pets; they are not in the business of making candy, baby formula or jam like the conglomerates in the pet food industry; Mars, Nestle, and Smucker’s. During our visit, company President Lanny Viegut indicated that he views Vital Essentials more as a meat shop for pets, rather than as a pet food company. We like that description and its focus on pets.
  • THEY KNOW MEAT & NUTRITION – Vital Essentials® understands that dogs and
    Freshly Ground Beef Patties Being Flash Frozen
    Freshly ground beef patties being flash frozen

    cats are carnivores that need meat in their diet and do not need soluble carbohydrates in the amounts found in most pet foods. With their extensive experience in the meat processing industry, they know and understand that the manner in which livestock is raised and handled is critical to their foods nutritional value, and choose only the best raw materials for their product.

THEIR MISSION – We love the Vital Essentials® mission: “We believe that every dog and cat in the world; regardless of financial means, urban or rural, deserves the opportunity to have access to the finest food available. We also believe that, other than natural prey, we provide the most healthy, delicious, innovative and biologically appropriate, commercially available pet food in the world. Therefore, we will leverage our God-given talents, passion and resources to do whatever is necessary to ensure that every dog parent or cat parent who wants us or needs us will have a convenient and effective mechanism to access and procure our “World Class” pet food and treats, in the United States and around the world.”

  • QUALITY INGREDIENTS – The ingredients that go into Vital Essentials products are all sourced from America’s heartland. They use only USDA certified and inspected animal protein. No foreign ingredients go into any Vital Essentials products. Nor do Vital Essential products contain; added hormones or antibiotics, added fillers or flavorings, artificial preservatives or coloring, synthetic vitamins or minerals, or rendered by-products. Vital Essential products do contain whole meat, organs, and bones and are free of gluten and grain.
  • NUTRITIONAL STANDARDS – Vital Essentials diets are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.
  • INNOVATIVE PROCESSING – Vital Essentials exclusive VE Freeze-Drying process retains all the active nutritional elements and allows the food to be safely and conveniently stored without refrigeration. Their 48 hour “slow” VE Freeze-Drying process locks in vital nutrients without cooking the RAW meat. The fresh, life-sustaining nutrients are NEVER lost during the VE Freeze-Drying process.
  • INNOVATIVE PACKAGING – Vital Essentials freeze-dried foods and treats are packaged in bags impervious to oxygen, once sealed, and are flushed with nitrogen before the bag is sealed to remove all oxygen from the package. This keeps the food fresher.
  • QUALITY STANDARDS – Vital Essentials products are made in a USDA Certified facility which means that they are packed under the continuous inspection of the USDA. Additionally, they are FDA registered and inspected, EU Certified and are also compliant with FSSC 22000 and the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). Paula and I had to read and sign-off on quality procedures before we could take the plant tour. We have visited other plants where that was not required. The quality standards at Vital Essentials are obviously very high, as they should be.
  • 60 DAY GUARANTEE – The Vital Essentials 60 day consumer satisfaction guarantee gives you the freedom to try their products risk-free. If your pet has a hard time switching to Vital Essentials or just doesn’t like a certain protein you can return the product to the store where purchased for a full refund.

 

What We Like About Vital Essentials Food

  • SINGLE PROTEINS – The Vital Essential entrées are made with a single animal protein. This is critical if your dog has food insensitivities or intolerances. Because these foods are so simple and natural, they are an ideal choice for a pet that is intolerant or “allergic” to certain food ingredients.
  • MULTIPLE PROTEIN CHOICES – Green Acres has been an advocate of rotating your pet’s diet for many years. The multiple protein options available from Vital Essentials make that very easy.
    • DOGS – Flash frozen options are available in the following proteins; beef, chicken, duck, fish, rabbit, turkey and wild boar. Freeze-Dried options include; beef, chicken, duck, fish, rabbit, and turkey.
    • CATS – Freeze-dried options include; beef, chicken, duck, fish, and turkey. Watch for flash frozen options for cats coming soon!
  • MULTIPLE FORMATS IN FROZEN AND FREEZE-DRIED PRODUCT – Depending on the size of your pet and the number of pets in your home, it is helpful to have various formats of food in different sizes available. If you have several large dogs, the Vital Essential chubs will be your most economical choice. If you have a smaller dog, you might find the mini-patties or nibblets to be the most convenient. You might prefer to feed frozen at home because it is less expensive, but choose to use freeze-dried when you travel because it needs no refrigeration, but is still as nutritious as the frozen food. We feed mostly frozen but always keep freeze-dried on hand for those times where we have not prepped frozen food ahead of time. Muppy loves either.
    • DOGS – Vital Essentials frozen entrées are available as; nibblets 2oz mini patties, 8oz patties or 5lbs chubs. Freeze-dried entrées are available as toppers, mini-nibs, nibblets, mini-patties, and patties.
    • CATS – Freeze-dried entrées are available as toppers and nibblets. Watch for flash frozen options coming soon!
  • EASY TRANSITIONS – It is often beneficial to switch a pet to a new food slowly, Vital Essentials offers many different options for transitioning to their product. One of the easiest ways to do so is with their freeze-dried toppers. All you need to do is sprinkle some of the topper on your pets existing food, either at every meal or at a frequency that is within your budget. Even if you do not feed a raw diet on a regular basis, your pet will benefit and enjoy you the addition of toppers on an intermittent basis.

 

What We Like About Vital Essentials Treats & Snacks

Vital Essentials takes the same approach to their treat and snack products as they

Don Learning to roll a cod skin so it can be freeze dried for the VE Raw Bar
Don Learning to roll a cod skin so it can be freeze dried for the VE Raw Bar

do their food. Their freeze-dried training treats make an excellent choice for a high-value training treat. The snacks and frozen raw bones are an excellent alternative to less healthy choices like rawhides and plasticized dental treats.

  • DOG TREATS – Freeze-Dried options include; beef nibs, beef tripe, chicken breast, chicken hearts, duck nibs, minnows, rabbit bites, turkey giblets, and wild Alaskan salmon.
  • CAT TREATS – Freeze-dried cat treats include; ahi tuna, chicken breast, chicken giblets, duck liver, minnows, rabbit bites, wild Alaskan salmon.
  • FREEZE-DRIED DOG SNACKS – Bully Sticks, Beef Tendons, Turkey Necks, and Salmon Skins are available as nutritious, snack options for your dog.
  • FROZEN BEEF BONES – If you like including fresh frozen bones in your pets diet, you can rest assured that Vital Essentials prepares their spare ribs, center cut arm bones, and knee caps so that they are both safe and nutritious.
  • TRIPE – Green Tripe is a great source of probiotics, calcium, digestive enzymes, and much more. Tripe promotes a healthy digestive system and boosts a pets’ immune systems. It is a super food for dogs and is available as frozen nibblets and patties or as freeze-dried I add a few nibblets to Muppy’s dish at almost every meal.

What We Like About Vital Essentials Raw Bar

Muppy enjoys a freeze-dried duck neck from the VE Raw Bar for her 5th birthday
Muppy enjoys a freeze-dried duck neck from the VE Raw Bar for her 5th birthday

The VE Raw Bar™ is an exciting new concept and Green Acres Kennel Shop is proud to be one of the first retailers to offer these healthy snacks for our pets. At the Raw Bar, you will find eleven exotic freeze-dried snack selections (chicken necks, duck necks, duck feet, turkey necks, turkey wings, turkey tails, pig ears, cod skins, salmon skins, bully sticks, and braided bully sticks.)  VE snacks give your pet an added boost of vitamins, protein, and stimulation while helpings keep dogs’ teeth strong and healthy. From our perspective, this is a far better option than a plasticized dog treat. Muppy gives the VE Raw Bar 5 Woofs, her highest rating.

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense –http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets? –http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton –http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-04-02-Pet_Nutrition_with_Dr_Richard_Patton.mp3

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Web Sites

Vital Essentials Website – http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/

 

©14AUG16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog?

<Updated 11SEP16>

< A version of this article was published in the June 2016 issue of Downeast Dog News>

<This topic was also discussed on The Woof Meow Show on 4JUN16 – click to listen>

Don and Muppy-Fall 2015-1Most of you know that I own Green Acres Kennel Shop and that we sell pet food. As such, it is not uncommon for someone to walk into the store and ask me, “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” Based on experience, I find that many people expect me to say “I feed my dog brand X because it is the best food for all dogs!” Sadly, when asked the same question, this is often the answer they hear from pet stores, breeders, shelters, and even veterinarians. Since that is not what they will here from me, and since my response will not be that simple, I thought I would answer it here.

If someone sells or even gives away pet food, he or she has a financial interest in which food they recommend. Green Acres’ sells pet food, and we gain financially when you purchase pet food from us. However, one of the things that I believe makes us different from many purveyors of pet food, is that once people get to know us they understand that all of us in the store care greatly about nutrition and want to help you find the food that will be the best for your dog and your budget. In fact, because we all have different dogs, with different needs, if you ask each staff member what they feed their dog you will discover you will get different answers. There is no single food that is the best choice for all dogs and all situations.

So when I am asked this question I typically respond with; “I feed Muppy, a variety of foods from a variety of manufacturers with a goal of rotating the primary protein source every time I purchase food.”

Twenty years ago I predominantly fed my dog’s kibble. Additionally, I have fed; canned food (wet food), homemade diets, frozen raw diets and freeze-dried raw diets. In 2002, we started selling Steve’s Real Food for Pets, a commercially prepared, frozen, raw food in the store. At the time, we had five dogs, so economics dictated that we fed a raw meal once a day and kibble once a day. When we were down to two dogs, we switched to feeding 100% raw. I made this choice after a great deal of research.

My fundamental reason for feeding a raw diet is that it is primarily composed of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone. Depending on the brand there is very little or no soluble carbohydrates in these foods. A diet with little or no carbohydrates is the natural diet of a carnivore like a dog or a cat. Even the best kibble is going to be high in carbohydrates which are not a necessary nutrient for dogs or cats. Our Golden Retriever Tikken lived to be 16, and I attribute that was partially due to the nutritional choices that we made for her.

When Tikken passed, we decided that we would down-size for our next dog. Our target was a dog weighing between 20 and 30 pounds. We did that for two reasons. One, both my wife and I have some back problems and carrying a 50lb dog (Tikken) up and down the stairs the last year of her life was not always easy. However, even more importantly to me, I wanted to make sure that we would always be able to afford to feed our next dog the best diet possible throughout her life. That is easier with a small dog who eats less.

Since the day Muppy joined us, just over three years ago, she has been fed a commercially prepared, frozen raw diet, which we occasionally supplement with canned food or freeze-dried food.  She is fed a variety of frozen raw foods made by Bravo, Steve’s Real Food for Pets, and Vital Essentials. We rotate the primary protein source every time we purchase food and also rotate between brands because each has advantages. Vital Essentials and Steve’s both offer their formulas in small nuggets which make portion control easier. We also keep freeze dried diets from Bravo and Vital Essentials on hand for those occasions when we fail to defrost Muppy’s frozen ration in advance of meal time. We vary protein sources at every purchase, rotating between beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and turducken. Additionally, we supplement her meals with freeze-dried green tripe, coconut oil, a probiotic and Wysong Dentatreat.

So that is how I answer the question; “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” Is that what I would suggest you feed your dog? What I recommend will depend on your dog’s nutritional needs and what you are looking for in a dog food because there is and never will be a single brand of food that will be the best food for every dog.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 

What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow <Click here for a free download>

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©10SEP16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>