Malaria-Sniffing Dog May Help Wipe Out Disease

Posted by & filed under Dogs.

We know all dogs have a powerful sense of smell. Whether we’ve brought a fresh loaf of bread into the house or carried a rotten bag of food out of it, their nose knows. And, of course, when we return home after sitting in a coffee shop or playing with someone else’s dog (gasp!), they sniff us down and let us know they know.

But some dogs take their sniffing to an entirely different level. Many have been trained to smell cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and even detect when people with diabetes go into hypoglycemia. And now, a Springer Spaniel named Freya who was trained by a charity called Medical Detection Dogs, is in the spotlight for her ability to detect malaria—in 10 seconds—by sniffing a sock worn for one night by a child who has the disease.

Scientists are calling Freya’s 70% accuracy record remarkable as they work to find ways to fight this disease that is spread by mosquitoes and has killed hundreds of thousands of people. There is hope that dogs may be able to help sniff out other infectious diseases, too, and right now dogs are inspiring scientists at MIT who are trying to create an e-nose to replicate their remarkable skill.

So while your pupper may not be sniffing out sickness, it’s important to remember how powerful and gratifying dogs’ sense of smell is to them, and to satisfy it with food and treats that deliver the scents they love like real, WHOLE chicken and chicken liver, wild salmon, sweet potatoes or pumpkin.

Keep Your Dog In Shape this Winter

Posted by & filed under Dog Food, Dog Treats, Dogs.

While scientific studies show that pets who are even slightly overweight have decreased vitality and are at risk for complications that shorten their lifespans, still 56% of cats and 60% of dogs in the U.S. qualify as overweight or obese.

So while we love to give dogs the food, treats, and even scraps they love, it’s important to make sure we’re helping keep them maintain a weight that lets them live their best lives. With winter approaching, the couch and the comfort food may be calling you both, but it’s important to stay on top of diet and exercise.

  • Daily walks are doubly good. You both burn calories and get to spend quality time together doing something they love. Be sure to have cold-weather gear close at hand—right next to the leash and doggie bags—to make it even easier to get out there and get moving.
  • Make time for play time. Remember how much you loved indoor recess as a kid? Special games and activities got pulled out just to keep us from climbing the walls? Do the same for your dog. Keep a few toys—like a house-friendly ball, treat ball, or tug toy—tucked away for those days when it’s too harsh to brave the elements.
  • Ingredients tell an important story. Read the label of your dog’s food and treats to make sure it’s loaded with real, WHOLE meat, vegetables, and other quality ingredients that you might find in your own kitchen.
  • Measure your love. Check with your vet to make sure you know how many calories your dog should get each day and then measure the exact amount into the bowl.
  • Make treats a treat. Biscuits and cookies are a wonderful way to please your pup, but know that they should be made with healthy ingredients and calculated into your dog’s calorie intake.
  • Filling up without filling out. Diets aren’t fun, but with healthy weight dog food, you can help your dog reduce his or her calorie intake and still feel satisfied.

 

Keep Your Cat Healthy over the Holidays

Posted by & filed under Cat Food, Cats.

While scientific studies show that pets who are even slightly overweight have decreased vitality and are at risk for complications that shorten their lifespans, still 56% of cats and 60% of dogs in the U.S. qualify as overweight or obese.

So while we love to give cats the food and treats they love, it’s important to make sure we’re helping keep them maintain a weight that lets them live their best lives—especially during the holidays when our schedules and habits tend to shift for a few weeks.

  • Keep up the exercise. You don’t need a treadmill to keep your cat active. A little bit of time each day with a favorite ribbon or string will keep your cat moving.
  • Ingredients tell an important story. Read the label of your cat’s food and treats to make sure it’s loaded with real, WHOLE meat, vegetables, and other quality ingredients you’d find in your own kitchen.
  • Measure your love. Check with your vet to make sure you know how many calories your cat should get each day and then measure the exact amount into the bowl.
  • Choose healthy treats. With clever names and playful shapes, it’s easy to lighten up our diligence with treats, but don’t slip. Read the ingredients label and make sure it’s made with real food that’s good for your cat.
  • Filling up without filling out. Diets aren’t fun, but with healthy weight cat food, you can help your cat reduce his or her calorie intake and still feel satisfied.

WHOLE Meat or “Meat Meal” in Pet Food?

Posted by & filed under Cat Food, Cats, Dog Food, Dogs.

Check the Label

As a pet parent, we all want to feed our furry family members with good, wholesome food. That’s easy to do isn’t it? I mean, almost all of the major premium “natural” brands tout meat as their first ingredient. We do. However, if you look closely at these other premium “natural” brands, you’ll notice the second, and many times third, fourth and fifth ingredients are various types of “meat meal,” like “chicken meal,” and “fish meal”. At Halo we use real WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish, and NO “meat meal” of any kind.

Other companies compare dry, rendered “meat meal” to WHOLE meat, arguing that “meat meal” is higher in protein and therefore better. Well, they have one thing right. “Meat meal” is higher in protein. It’s 65% protein and 10% water, while WHOLE meat is 18% protein and 70% water. The problem is, they’re using this fact to tell a false story.

What is “meat meal” in pet food?
We can debunk it by answering one question: What is “meat meal”? Don’t be fooled by notions of hearty stews or tasty trimmings that are gently cooked and dried. “Meat meal” starts as a slurry of parts. It is then rendered, which is a high-heat process that creates product as fast as it can to reduce costs. Then it’s pressed, ground, and again baked to remove excess moisture. In the process, proteins and fats are often damaged, and that affects both digestibility and nutritional value. So, while these companies and their packaging may shout how much protein is in their food, their ingredients quietly tell another story.

With “meat meal,” you get what you pay for
Economics is the whole reason companies use “meat meal”—it’s cheap protein that runs fast through the manufacturing equipment. As the economics of pet food become more and more difficult, the pressure is to get more yield out of less material. More and more bone (and who knows what else) is making its way into “meat meal”. The WHOLE meat Halo uses is sourced from the same food a consumer would purchase, which makes it much more expensive than “meat meal”.

Economics is driving another trend in premium “natural” pet foods. “Chicken by-product meal” is beginning to show up in their ingredients with the statement that it is a source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Another true statement used to mislead pet parents. Yes, “chicken by-product meal” is a source of glucosamine and chondroitin, but that is not why it’s used. It’s an even cheaper form of “meal” that provides protein. While “meat meals” are no replacement for WHOLE meat, “by-product meals” are the bottom of the barrel. “By-product meal” contains heads, entrails, feet and feathers, (there’s a lot of protein in those feathers). It contains glucosamine and chondroitin by accident.

Quality protein, quality process, quality pet food
Kibble made with “meat meals” can be made more quickly than kibble with high percentages of WHOLE meat (because WHOLE meat has more moisture)—another reason companies use “meat meals”. Their equipment can run faster so they have more capacity, which makes it cheaper to manufacture.

At Halo, our kibble manufacture almost never exceeds 210 degrees F. It is not a high-temperature or high-pressure rendering process. Heating kibble too high would cause the starches in it to burn and make it unpalatable. It has to be cooked and dried lower and slower. Like our ingredients, our process at Halo is more expensive, it takes longer, and it’s worth it to have a great-tasting food made with WHOLE meat that is super digestible.

We stand behind the cost of our cat food and dog food because we stand behind the quality of it. Talk to anyone who has switched to Halo and they will tell you about the transformation their pet has gone through, becoming noticeably healthier after the change. That’s why we’re proud to be the Most Loved Natural Pet Food. Pet parents can see the difference.

Fall is for Leaf Jumpers

Posted by & filed under Dogs.

Raking leaves is such a kid-chore. For parents, it’s an easy way to get them out of the house, keep them active, and complete a task. For kids, it’s a dream job. It beats emptying the dishwasher and comes with a big bonus at the end. Leaf jumping. Mom and Dad may not endorse it, but for kids, that freedom to fall, dive, or bury themselves inside a giant leaf pile is a rare treat.

Our other children are getting in on the fun, too. With human assistance to build the leaf pile, dogs are having the time of their lives. With their captivating scent, satisfying crackle, and mysterious depths, big leaf piles can give dogs a few minutes—or days—of enrichment and fun.

In fact, just like little kids, with all that fun, it might be hard to get them back in the house. Try tickling their noses with another scent they’ll love. After a good jaunt through the leaves in the lawn, bring out some fragrant, delicious treats that will get their attention and bring them running in your direction.