We are proud to team up with, The Cat Network,Inc. and The Catington Post for our first Virtual Cage campaign! It’s another fun and easy way for you to help feed shelter pets!

Check out our new Facebook cover photo. Rescue a cat from our virtual cage by LIKING our page. For every new LIKE, will donate one Halo pet food meal to The Cat Network, Inc. courtesy of The Catington Post!

The Cat Network is dedicated to reducing the overpopulation of stray and feral cats in South Florida through the humane practice of sterilization, vaccination, and release. Through their membership-based network, thousands of cats and kittens have been spared a life of neglect, cruelty, or euthanization.

They offer a low cost spay and neuter program and a community of support to help you help homeless cats. For more information, please visit

Already “like” our page? Forward our page to a friend so they can help shelter animals as well. Spreading the word is always appreciated and thank you for giving shelter pets a chance to receive tasty, nutritious Halo pet food meals.

Posted in Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Giving Back, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Food, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


19653862_500x333SideWalk released this exciting press release last week:

Local animal rescue Midwest Animal Rescue Services (MARS) had more than one reason to celebrate National Dog Day yesterday: a delivery of 2,000 pounds of food arrived on their doorstep, courtesy of Captain Phillips actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi.

The donation was facilitated by Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets, in partnership with and These companies joined up to give 20 non-winning Oscar nominees 10,000 doggie meals to donate to the animal rescue of the celebrity’s choice.

While most celebrities donated to Los Angeles shelters, Abdi joined an elite group of actors (including Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep) who chose to donate outside of LA. Having lived in Minnesota since 1999, he wanted to give to a rescue in his adopted home state. And MARS couldn’t be happier about it.

Click here to read the complete press release.


Posted in Caroline Chang, Giving Back, News, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


student-dog-lgDuring finals season for colleges and universities across the country this past spring. While many students take breaks from studying for coffee or snacks, some students at Washington State University in Spokane were busy snuggling with furry stress-relieving dogs and cats.

According to the Spokesman-Review, the 5 dogs, 1 cat, and a litter of 3-week-old kittens were courtesy of the Spokane Humane Society, who brought the pets on to campus to help put smiles on faces and ease tension in stressed out coeds.

“It just gets your mind off of it for a while,” WSU student Madison Creel told the Spokesman-Review on her way to a final
exam. “It’s nice to have a mental break.”

Click here to read the complete story

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DicksonCountyWhen you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals annually.

Halo is proud to partner with and to achieve noticeable results for shelter pets together!

Here is a recent report from Humane Society of Dickson County in Dickson, TN:

HSDC relies completely on donations from the community for funding, pet food, litter and day-to-day supplies. Our shelter has on average 40-50 dogs in its care.

The food donations we receive from our local supporters are an assortment of brands. The constant changing and/or mixing wreaks havoc on the animals’ digestive system. Many of these animals have never had proper nutrition and a good quality food is key to getting them on track. While feeding Halo, we are seeing improvements in their health, coat, weight and eliminations.

This generous Halo donation has allowed us to assist pets in the community to stay with their families and out of our shelter due to financial hardship. Not being able to afford food for their pet is a common reason owners surrender their pets.

While feeding Halo, we are seeing improvements in their health, coat, weight and eliminations.

Halo is not only providing 9,600 meals but also providing a dog with a chance to LIVE! Our county also includes some homeless individuals and thanks to Halo’s donation, we are able to provide their furry companions with good meals. (Don’t worry. Dog’s best friend got a good meal, too).

Baby Boy, a 13 yr old Min Pin in our foster home has always had skin issues and infections due to allergies. His skin is scaly, balding, inflamed and itchy. It’s been a constant cycle of food changes, medicated shampoos, antibiotics, steroids and antifungals. These treatments have only provided temporary relief.

I’m happy to report that since his diet has been permanently switched to Halo, he has shown major improvements. He has grown the majority of his hair back and has stopped scratching. Granted his allergies go beyond food but I know this diet is building a foundation of better health. On another good note, he really loves it, too!”

Thank you Humane Society Dickson County for making a noticeable difference for pets in your community!


Posted in Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Giving Back, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Food, pet adoption, Pet Shelters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


newtraciepicRecently I got an email from a radio listener complaining that their dog was “allergic to grain” and wanted my advice on whether a “grain free” dog food would solve their problems. I have found that “grain-free” seems to be a distorted concept in pet food. Some dog owners believe grain free food is of “magical” value to their dogs and give it credit for solving extensive problems—which may not be completely accurate.

In addition, dog owners and some veterinarians have a mistaken perception that dogs commonly develop grain “allergies” which cause skin problems. While this does indeed happen, grains are some of the least likely causes of food allergies. I am eager to clear up some fundamental misunderstandings about the word “grain” and the word “allergic” by pet owners.

Let us start by clearing up what is meant by “grain” — something I know a lot about since I happen to have celiac sprue disease (which means an intolerance to the gluten in grains). I am supremely aware of what constitutes a grain since I have to carefully avoid grains in any form, with wheat (as bread or flour) being the one most often seen in foods. This is also true of lower quality pet foods — the presence of wheat is a red flag about a product. Wheat is the grain primarily seen in dog food.

While celiac disease (called gluten enteropathy in dogs) is exceeding rare in dogs and seen only in a few certain breeds, wheat is generally considered to be best avoided as a quality source of nutrition. Pet foods based on corn are also seen on the list of lower quality foods, which is because it is high on the glycemic index and may contribute to issues such as obesity and blood sugar issues.

The presence of corn indicates that a pet food is heavily carbohydrate and plant protein-based rather than relying on a good meat protein source as the primary ingredient. When I was the PETCO spokesperson in 2011 for their natural foods, the signs on the wall in the natural section of their stores said everything you needed to know in choosing a high quality pet food: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy. However, I also want to make sure to clarify that corn is not really considered a grain and is fully allowed on a human celiac diet, as is rice — wheat is the big no-no, as other people who are gluten (grain) intolerant will confirm.

I have written before that “grain free” is not really what it seems to be because it does not mean “carb free.” One reader wrote that her Pomeranian Spunky “began having seizures at 5 years old and sniffling and scratching a lot, losing much of his hair. I bought him expensive dog food which I thought was GOOD dog food. I sat up for hours one night researching allergies in dogs and found that grains in dog food, corn and wheat in particular, caused allergies in dogs like intense scratching and biting of paws, groins, and near top of back end, but also seizures. I have wheat allergies, my daughter has gluten allergies. I put Spunky on a grain free dog food and all his symptoms cleared up in less than two weeks.”

I can pretty much assure her that if any of Spunky’s symptoms were food related (which was not actually established with elimination diet or allergy testing like SPOT Platinum) they went away because she stopped feeding the previous food. She believed it to be a “good” food but apparently it contained various sub-optimal ingredients, which she didn’t know because she had not read the label before feeding it.

There could have been something in the previous food (preservatives, chemicals, poor basic ingredients) that had something to do with his scratching if it resolved that quickly — it was fixed by eliminating the previous food, not substituting it for a new better food. However, the “sniffling” that she mentioned is an upper respiratory reaction probably from an environmental allergy (like people who take antihistamines) and not food related. Lastly, seizures in a 5-year-old Pomeranian are most likely an inherited genetic trait.

I recall when a man named Bill wrote into HALO in response to a blog I had written and said: “My vet says absolutely no grain for my allergic 5 year old mini-Sheltie, Bonnie. She came from a shelter with a bad yeast infection of her skin and ears. The vet said no grains, beef or poultry, because they are the most likely cause. I certainly don’t want to keep aggravating a food allergy. So, what can you suggest?”

To Bill I would respectfully suggest changing to a veterinarian who actually understands food allergies in dogs, because that advice is so general and without scientific logic! A dog that has been in any shelter can arrive with all sorts of conditions, including previous neglect, poor hygiene and often poor nutrition. Trying to avoid chicken, beef and wheat “just in case” would be a lifetime of management without any proven reason.

As far as wheat or wheat gluten (or corn for that matter), you won’t find them in any premium dog food. One step on the path to improved health would be to switch to a high quality premium pet food like HALO as a powerful tool for ongoing health. Many shelters have the privilege of feeding Halo to their dogs thanks to that spread Halo’s generosity. I’ll bet little Bonnie has left those problems in the rear view mirror now that she has a Forever Home with Bill!

Here are a few take-away points when making nutritional decisions for your pets:
1) Issues with human nutrition and digestion are not parallel to the dog digestive system or immune system.
2) Reading anecdotes on the Internet is not a good way to diagnose or treat any medical or health issue, for our pets or us.
3) Dogs are rarely allergic to food ingredients — poultry (including eggs) is the number one allergen for dogs (not grains), but the only way a responsible veterinarian instructs owners to discover if their dogs are genuinely food allergic is to go on a two month elimination diet in which ALL commercial food is removed from the diet and the owner cooks a simple diet of a protein and rice. Dr. Donna Spector, my co-host on THE EXPERT VET on Radio Pet Lady Network has spoken on our show about how to utilize an elimination diet, and written about it on her blog for Halo.
4) Never let guesses or assumptions about pet food be a substitute for a visit to a smart veterinarian who will help you figure out your pet’s problems using common sense, medical skill and modern technology.

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Natural Dog Food, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment