newtraciepicThe snowiest, coldest winter in memory has been challenge enough, trying to entertain and burn off the energy of a young, super-hyper, over-the-top energetic young dog. It has been so brutally cold, and the snow at the side of the roads has been piled so high, that I have not been able to take my lovely rescued blue Weimaraner Maisie for the daily hikes she had grown accustomed to.

There has not been the opportunity to pull the car over and park by the roadside and the wind has been too bitter cold, anyway, to make a walk feasible.

One day last week, out of the blue, the temperature got into double digits, a bit of sun poked through the clouds, and I jumped at the chance to let my Crazy Maisie stretch her long limbs. I bundled up with an ear flap hat, scarf, Yak-Traks pulled onto the soles of my fleece-lined boots for traction, and managed to nudge my car onto the edge of the road without getting stuck in the mountain of plowed snow.

Maisie leaped out of the car as though she was dock diving, air-propelled, and plowed through the snow blanketed fields as though she was a living, breathing snow mobile.

I was chilled through and through, but disregarded my own discomfort (numb fingers despite my best ski gloves) because she was having such a grand time. And it’s all about the dog, right?! As we headed back towards the parked car on the dirt road (no dirt visible beneath the packed snow) I decided not to slip on Maisie’s leash while approaching the little road – my hands were so cold, and there was not another soul in sight on foot or in vehicle.

Maisie waited by the back of the car for me to catch up and let her in, when something caught her eye on the road and she started after it. “Wait!” I commanded, which has always caused her to pause in her forward motion – except no command was going to be equal to the fascinating waddling gait of the small black and white creature that was trundling rapidly away from us on the snowy road. White and black tail held high, there was only one thing this could be – the most unwelcome creature in a dog owner’s universe – except, perhaps, a porcupine!

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166“Nooooooooooo!” I yelled, realizing in one fell swoop that Maisie was about to get her first education about how an animal the size of a cat can drive away predators many times their own size.

Maisie wasn’t preying, she was only curious, wanting to give it a good sniff – and boy did she get a face-full, withdrawing in shock and shaking her head. When she didn’t leave immediately, the damn skunk had ht e moxie to come back at Maisie as if to drive her away, then turned and gave her another shot of perfume for good measure.

I fruitlessly called out “Come” in a tone I hoped sounded less desperate than I felt, knowing I’d be traveling home with the stench to end all stinks – and then have to get the poor dog de-skunked. As soon as I got home I closed Maisie in the mudroom and rushed for my copy of “The Dog Bible,” where I knew there was a recipe for “skunk shampoo.” I knew I had purchased a couple of quart bottles of hydrogen peroxide to have on hand, after a skunk encounter the previous year (I highly recommend you do the same – skunk encounters are shocking and you certainly don’t want to waste precious time heading off to a store when your dog is getting smellier by the second!)

In a big jug I poured the whole quart bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide, measured ¼ cup of baking soda, and pumped in a teaspoon of Dawn liquid (the best grease cutting dish soap). I poured in an equal amount of very warm water. I stirred it up and got poor Maisie into the shower with me, pouring the solution over her head and neck and rubbing it in vigorously, before dousing her again and again, rubbing it into her legs and chest.

Then I took the spray attachment and rinsed her repeatedly, until I couldn’t smell anything nasty when I sniffed right on top of her head. “The Dog Bible” also said that a gallon jug of white vinegar (something every grocery store has cheaply) or a big bottle of peppermint mouthwash can be used effectively, rubbed into your dog’s coat, then followed by shampooing and generous rinsing. Make sure to give your dog a lot of nice treats after this scenario, as he will be as traumatized as you are by the overwhelming stench and even the possible burning sensation of the skunk spray. If ever there was time for a super-tasty treat (like a real salmon Liv-a-Little), I’d say this was that time!

It may still seem like winter to us, but apparently skunks have their own internal clocks and the one Maisie encountered was risking the exposure of the road for the convenience of a plowed path. Try to keep your dog under your control in areas and at times when skunks may be trundling about – and lay in a good supply of the ingredients above because forewarned is forearmed!

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, Holistic Dog Food, Natural Dog Food, Natural Dog Treats, Natural Pet Products, Podcasts, Talk Radio, Tracie Hotchner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


dentalsticksDiscontinued or Short-Dated Inventory

We occasionally have a very limited supply of discontinued or short-dated inventory available. Here’s where you can find it at half price!

Please remember, while these products are wonderful, they are not the same as what you can buy at the store.

You’ll find earlier formulas, old labels, or short-dating. Short-dating means that the product will reach its “Best if Used By” date within 1-2 months of purchase.

Animal shelters: please contact us for special discounts on bulk purchases.

Click here to see items on special discounts.

Posted in Caroline Chang, Natural Dog Treats, Natural Pet Products | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment



For blog readers, newsletter subscribers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans only, we’re happy to offer this month’s store coupons for Halo products!

Remember, these coupons are only valid at stores where Halo is sold.

For Halo store locations, enter your zip/postal code here.

Products sell out fast, so please call ahead to make sure your nearest retailer has what you need (if not, they can usually order it for you quickly).

Posted in Caroline Chang, Natural Dog Food, Natural Pet Food, Natural Pet Products | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


tom-lgAt the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia, an orange tabby cat named Tom brings comfort to the terminally ill veterans there.

According to the VA Medical Center, the cat, who spends most of his time in the hospice unit, seems to have a special sense when a patient or a family needs him.

He makes his daily “rounds” around the unit, stopping in to visit where it seems like he’s needed most.

The patients on the unit, like Air Force Veteran Skip Wyman, enjoy Tom’s company.

“He was in my room yesterday for about two hours,” Wyman said happily. “Then he walked out. I don’t know where he went. I haven’t seen him this morning yet. He’s around here somewhere.”

Click here to read the complete story.

Posted in Caroline Golon, Pet Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


DonnaNewPicCroppedQuestion: I have a question about my 2 year old indoor cat. He has a hairball caused by an earlier skin problem when he licked a couple of places on his lower back. I have been giving him hair ball medicine for about 5 days twice a day.

He will wretch a lot and something comes up in his mouth, I can tell, but he will not allow himself to spit it out, he swallows it back down. He is trying to cough it up, but has always acted scared of throwing up. Can you help me?

What can I do for him so that he has to spit it on out? He has stopped drinking water but still wants to play and acts well, other than may be constipated too. Thank you or anyone who can help.

Answer: Thanks for your inquiry. The pattern you are describing is very common for cats and generally there is nothing we can do to make a cat “spit out” the material. Keep in mind that this may indeed be wretching—meaning your cat is trying to vomit or throw up a hairball.

The other thing in this age cat that often causes a wretching/gagging motion is coughing. I know it sounds crazy but a cat who is coughing often looks like they are trying to “bring up a hairball”. My recommendation would be to take a short video of what your cat is doing and have your vet take a look. The recommended treatment will be very different depending on if your cat is truly trying to vomit or if he is coughing.

Good luck.
Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency.

Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via

Posted in Ask a Vet, Dr Donna Spector, Holistic Cat Food, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment