With a Whole Lot of Difference™ – the New Halo Food Has Arrived!

Halo Family

I’ve been waiting for weeks since I learned about the amazing new food Halo was creating for it to finally be available. Now I can crow about it from the rooftops! What’s worth celebrating is that Halo, as “America’s best loved holistic pet food,” is now even more committed to uphold their underlying philosophy.

Nothing has been changed about Halo’s commitment to make their foods always with WHOLE meat and never any of the meat meal products like chicken meal or fish meal. Halo will still have fruits and vegetables, added vitamins and minerals, no corn, wheat, or wheat gluten, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

The difference now is that Halo is recognizing the welfare of all animals in their decisions about what to put into their pet foods. With an overall mission to change the way companion animals are fed and farm animals are raised, they want to consider our pets as well as those animals who go into the food.

With all new formulations, Halo has extended their holistic approach to pet food by being vigilant about where and how they source all their ingredients. They want to use only humanely raised farm animals. They want to use only non-GMO fruits and vegetables. They want to know where all the ingredients come from so that they are sourcing with principles. It is a lofty aspiration and one I hope we can all embrace and try to put into practice in how we feed ourselves and our human family members, too!

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

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Lil BUB Has a Special Announcement

You’ve probably heard of Lil BUB, “the most amazing cat on the planet.” Well, her owner, Mike has a special announcement to make in the video below. Lil BUB has partnered with her first ever pet food company – and you might recognize the brand!

Mike states in the video that they “are thrilled to be partnered with Halo who share the same passion for pets and the same mission that we do.” Well, Mike and Lil BUB, we’re thrilled right back!

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The Scoop On Grain-Free Dog Food

Dog Eating Food

“Grain-free” is often a distorted concept in pet food, even though some dog owners believe that pet food identified this way is of special value. “Grain-free” pet foods were developed and marketed in response to what people were seeking, perhaps as part of a human dietary trend to avoid carbohydrates, rather than the actual nutritional needs of dogs.

 What Does Grain Free Actually Mean?
In grain-free dog foods, ingredients such as potatoes or rice replace the grains in the food. Often these ingredients have more carbohydrates than the grains used in dog food, or in the case of potatoes have a glycemic index which has its own effects (as any human diabetic will know).

There is also the sim-identification by most people who include corn as a “grain” to be avoided, when corn is not a grain – as anyone on a gluten-free diet can attest. A side note is that corn is actually a really nice food source, whether for people or dogs (not cats, who should be getting barely any carbohydrates from any source!) but that is a story for another day.

Blaming Grains for Medical Problems
I am concerned that pet owners go to “Dr. Google” or chat with friends and come up with their own diagnoses and remedies for their pets’ illnesses.

I received a question from a lady about her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who began having seizures when he was 6 years old. She said that after hours of googling on the internet she found that corn (sic) and wheat were the probable reason, even though she had him on a premium dog food. She switched to a grain-free food and he never had another seizure, for which she credits the removal of grains – clearly without knowing that corn is not even a grain!

In any case, seizures are most likely an inherited genetic trait, or related to a medical condition. There is no logical way to tie seizures to any sort of pet food, nor to attribute the cessation of symptoms in two mere weeks to changing foods.

So is It Good to Feed Grain Free Food?
For me, it’s not really a concern that people are making a choice for “grain-free” without fully understanding what they are getting. They are surely getting nice quality foods that are made without grain – so all to the good. I will say that people have a misconception that they are getting a ‘carb-free” free at the same time, as mentioned above. All dry foods need carbohydrates to be manufactured. While there might not be “grains” like wheat, all kibble, grain-free included, necessarily has “carbs” of various kinds, whether it’s rice, potato, or a similar binder.

If Grain Free Isn’t “The Answer” Then What Is?
We all have a dizzying array of premium and “super premium” (whatever that means, quite honestly?!) foods to choose from. So how do we pick and choose in a way that makes us feel comfortable about the philosophies of the company we are supporting with our purchase, and the thought that goes into what their ingredients are and where they source them.

I guess this explains why I’m so happy about my personal choice of using Halo dry food for my dogs. It has been a wise one from those perspectives, since their commitment to giving back to shelters has been there from the beginning, and using only whole meat and no animal byproducts or rendered meal. They have recently gone one step further to choosing meat that is American-sourced, humanely raised and without growth hormones or antibiotics, along with non-GMO fruits and vegetables. In addition, I feed the canned varieties of Halo Stews made of salmon, lamb and chicken.

My dogs also eat dehydrated foods as part of their daily diet, which also contain whole meat (and also never any meat meals). These foods have also been proven to be more “bioavailable,” with the dog’s body able to absorb more nutrients because they are highly digestible, as is Halo.

I’d recommend that you should find also find companies that make “top shelf” foods and also have a heart and conscience.

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

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Canadian Dog Finds Missing Cat

Ghost and Cash from Canada

Many people have experienced their dog suddenly stopping on a walk, fascinated by something and unwilling to move. Thankfully when Shelly Colette’s dog did that on a walk this summer, the alert owner paid attention to what had caught her dog’s notice.

According to The Star, Cash is a black border collie who belongs to Shelly Colette in Sackville, New Brunswick. Early this summer, the two were on a walk when Cash suddenly stopped and wouldn’t budge. Shelly saw that Cash was stopped by a manhole in the ground, so she looked down. Shockingly, she saw an orange cat on the other side of the manhole’s grate. According to Shelly, “Cash was very intrigued and refused to leave. He wanted to save this cat.”

A four-year-old orange cat named Ghost had gone missing six weeks earlier. Shelly told reporters, “I had never met Ghost, but I had seen the missing cat signs around town and I thought, ‘That’s Ghost,’” about the cat in the hole. As one pet parent to another, Shelly called Izzy Francolini, Ghost’s owner, to tell her that she had spotted Ghost.

Read the complete story of Ghose and Cash.

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Is Whisker Fatigue In Cats Really A “Thing?”

Whiskers

This article in the New York Times about kitties having “whisker fatigue” during eating may sound a bit new-agey, but does a wonderful job of acknowledge the sensitivity of a cat’s whiskers – and the insult to our cats when we ask them to eat out of bowls that do not recognize the actual physical reality of their faces!

What’s So Important About a Cat’s Whiskers?
The 411 on a cat’s whiskers is that they are super-sensitive, finely-tuned instruments that help a cat feel his way in the dark, get vital information on the movement of prey, and receive facts about his environment. In my “The Cat Bible: Everything Your Can Expects You to Know,” I have a pretty thorough section describing all the little miracles that make up the feline body and physical abilities, with their whiskers right up on that list. This article shows the species-inappropriateness of putting down a bowl for an animal whose face is not “designed” for that space (especially the flat-faced Persians and Ragdolls, or mixes of those breeds).

A Chance to Remind You About “Kitty Crack”
As always, I’m looking for “teachable moments” to remind people that cats are “obligate carnivores,” who should be eating a wet protein diet. Please look for the best quality canned food you can afford for your cat, with the lowest carbohydrate content, keeping in mind that generally speaking any wet food respects a cat’s true dietary needs more than even the costliest dry food. Halo makes many different styles of canned food, with an admirable one being their pate-style food that has as little as 3-4% carbohydrates, a remarkable achievement!

What’s Better Than a Bowl?
The New York Times article above is good because it highlights yet another way in which “cats are not little dogs.” However, I do wish that to explore this issue the journalist, Jennifer A. Kingson, had interviewed some feline specialists or behaviorists about whisker fatigue/bowl feeding rather than designers and purveyors of cat bowls, since they clearly have a vested interest in selling their products!

And kitty crack is also part of the answer since feeding dry food requires a bowl or the little pieces will scatter all over the place. You don’t need any sort of bowl if you’re feeding wet food: a small saucer is the perfect flat serving vessel or some people use small paper plates and throw them away. Whether you use a bread plate or one of the saucers from under tea or coffee cups, your kitty can put her face right down on the food and eat the wet, high protein food nature intended for her. And her whiskers remain unchallenged!

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

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