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Celebrate International Cat Day with Halo®

Posted by & filed under Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Bloggers, Holistic Cat Food, Natural Cat Food.

International Cat Day

Halo is giving pet parents one free can of our holistic natural cat food. Simply go to halopets.com/CatDay, print your coupon, and redeem it at your local Halo retailer.

We will match every can of wet cat food we give away with a bowl of cat food donated to a shelter, in partnership with Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org. Plus, all pet parents who redeem a free can of Halo cat food or post a picture of their cat with #HaloPets and tag their favorite shelter will also be eligible to win 10,000 nutritious bowls of Halo to donate to a shelter of their choice.

The coupon can only be used on International Cat Day itself, August 8, 2018, and while supplies last.

Family, with Global Help, Saved This Former Stray

Posted by & filed under Bethany Meissner, Bloggers, Pet Stories.

A cat named Meatball with his family

Some people say that you have to seek out destiny. It seems that for Daniel Kershaw, in the village of Bankfoot in Scotland, destiny came to him. One day a small, stray cat crawled into Daniel’s house and changed his life.

Daniel told the Daily Record that he first met the cat who would change his life when the stray cat wandered into his home. The family wrote that the stray “was such a handsome boy” despite being in “a bedraggled state, with ticks on his face and matted fur.” They shared that at first the cat, who they named Meatball, “would snarl at us and run away whenever we approached him.” However, “after months of showing kindness to Meatball, including feeding him by lying down on the ground with a handful of wet cat food in my hand, we eventually gained his trust,” they shared. Success! “Gradually we groomed him, wormed him, de-flead him, and cared for him until his eyes burned bright once more,” they wrote of their early loving care for the former stray.

Daniel and his family decided to keep the cat and call him Meatball. He became a beloved member of the family who got on well with Daniel’s kids, Jack and Sophie Kershaw.

In the U.K. it’s normal for cats to be indoor/outdoor cats and Meatball was no exception, making full use of the cat flap in the door. That all went wrong on February 9. “Sadly one day he dragged himself through our cat flap using only his front paws after being hit by a car,” Daniel said. “His back legs were in a bad way and he was crying out in pain,” he further explained.

Daniel rushed the cat to a veterinarian. Daniel explained that they were informed that Meatball had a fractured pelvis and would also need one of his legs immediately amputated. There was only a 50% chance that Meatball would survive the expensive operation.

“We agreed to personally fund the £900 for the operation, as the only alternative was to put him to sleep, and no way were we going to let that happen” explained Daniel. The operation was successful and Meatball seemed okay with being a three-legged cat. Unfortunately, there was a problem. Meatball couldn’t pass urine. It was likely due to pain and might pass on its own, but if not, Meatball would still need to be put down.

The Kershaw family was determined to give Meatball his best opportunity to heal. They took to social media and started a GoFundMe to ask for help funding a prolonged hospital stay. Soon, donations were coming in from all over the world. They wrote a heartfelt plea for help and shared a video of Meatball from the hospital, as well as photos of him in happier times.

Meatball the Cat

“Within no time at all we had raised enough to fund Meatball for three weeks of hospitalization, catheterization, and medication.” The fundraiser brought in more than £1780 (more than $2,300) from people who wanted to help Meatball.

Over those three weeks, the family hoped and prayed for good news. “We never gave up hope on Meatball,” Daniel told us. Unfortunately, Meatball still wasn’t peeing. Finally, the family gave into what seemed to be inevitable and scheduled a date for Meatball to be gently put to sleep. They were determined to show Meatball how loved he was. They only considered euthanasia because they didn’t want Meatball to suffer.

“On the eve of the deadline,” said Daniel, “after exhausting all other options, we decided to bring him home and give him a special night with the family.” He added, “and one last try to wee.”

The family made sure Meatball had his favorite foods and a nice new comfy bed. Daniel spent the night lying beside Meatball on the living room floor. “I was hopeful until what we thought was his final few hours and he never let us down,” Daniel said.

Shortly before Meatball’s final vet appointment, Daniel went to fetch the key to their outdoor shed so that he could work on digging a grave.

Daniel described what happened. “Just as I opened the drawer, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he had climbed onto his cat litter,” he said. “Then,” Daniel continued, “to my absolute astonishment and delight, he proceeded to do the biggest wee I have ever known a cat to do. We couldn’t believe it. Our family had experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over the previous month and he kept us in suspense to the very end.”

A few months later, Daniel tells us that “Meatball is doing very well.” He added that Meatball “adapted extremely quickly [to] life on three legs and can move about pretty fast. Having a missing rear leg he does find it easier to go down stairs as opposed to up and jump down from things rather than up, but he’s doing great.”

A cat named Meatball

In fact, Meatball is still an integral part of the family. “He has a great bond with my children,” said Daniel, “and they are very good with him.” Meatball’s favorite family activity might be surprising, “he loves to be involved in everything we are doing, especially board games and the such,” revealed Daniel to us.

We’re certain that Meatball is grateful for the global help that allowed his family to care for him in the hospital for so long, and especially for his family who never stopped hoping he would heal. We believe that every animal in our life carries a halo, and that those halos shine brightest when nurtured in a two-way bond. It’s obvious that the halos above Meatball and the Kershaw family are shining extra bright because of their tremendous bond of love. That kind of bond is only further nurtured through healthy diets of healthy, nutritious food like Halo’s cat foods.

At Halo, we’re used to hearing about impressive poop, but we bet that a family was never more relieved to hear their cat pee than the Kershaw family was that fateful morning.

A Cat named Meatball

Myth About Your Dog #1: Do Dogs Share Happily?

Posted by & filed under Bloggers, Pet Health, Tracie Hotchner.

Filip and Liam with Liv-a-Little natural dog treats

I’m starting a little summer series of  “myth busters” about the way we misunderstand our dogs and cats, unwittingly applying human-type emotions and desires to animals, who are actually cut from a different piece of cloth than we are.  I hope these will serve as little reminder “taps on the shoulder” to us that we should respect other species for who they are, both as different mammals from us, and also as individuals.

Myth #1 – Dogs enjoy sharing the way people do.
Some of us like to think that our dogs are happy to share with other dogs. Share our love and attention. Share their toys. Share their sleeping places. Share their hunting spots. Share the back of the car. Share the prime spot on the sofa. Even share their treats and dinner!  Really!? We encourage sharing. We like to think that “share and share alike” is a positive quality that we can imbue in our dogs, even if they don’t come to us ready to embrace the concept. We expect dogs to share, we’re delighted when they seem to, and we even get annoyed if they don’t. (We’re a little unrealistic in believing that sharing is natural for people, too – but more on that below!)

It isn’t logical for dogs to share
Without specific scientific evidence close at hand, I’d have to say that it is rarely true that a dog willingly shares her valuable assets with another dog. Why would she? Where will that get her? “Survival of the fittest” is still at the root of it all, isn’t it? On a primal level, how would a dog survive as an individual – beginning with her littermates – if she always gave up her turn at the “milk bar” or the toy bin to those who wanted it more?  That’s technically called the runt of the litter! What creature has an innate desire to wind up at the bottom of life’s totem pole…which in the cold, cruel world of the animal kingdom is sort of where “sharing” gets you!

Hang on! But I’ve seen dogs who share and take turns
Yes, I’ve seen those dogs, too. My own dogs! But it doesn’t happen naturally or without constant and firm intervention. I actually raise all my dogs to share – and most of them join the family at random times in their lives from Weimaraner rescues, so who knows what their backgrounds were? Sharing happens because I play refere: “You wait: it’s Wanda’s turn to lick that pot, you’re next,” or “Let Maisie get on the bed.”

An exception to the not-so-quick-to-share can be when dogs have grown up together and developed “an understanding.” Most likely this is is simply a hierarchy in which one dog has evolved as the “top dog” so both dogs proceed on the assumption that “what’s his is his, and what’s mine is his, too!” That can look like sharing.

Wait! Do people actually share freely with others?
If you think that dogs should share the way people do, you clearly haven’t seen the vocalizations or physical expressions of indignation that can be expressed by toddlers (or older) whose snack or toy is under siege from someone else. Not to mention grown adults trying to get online at a wedding buffet or get a seat on the subway!

When dogs have high value treats or food they really love it can create an even greater reason not to share (my girls adore their Halo food – the kibble, but also the canned Spot’s Stew – so I’m extra careful to feed them at a distance from each other since Wanda eats a whole lot faster than Maisie).

Real Life Vs. Wishful Thinking
Sharing is a concept that might look good on paper, but in a dog’s real life (or ours) it doesn’t come naturally. Teaching a dog to share requires negotiation, patience, persistence and even the offering of bribes or recompense by referees  (like Halo’s Luv-a-Lots). For true harmony between dogs, you’re probably best off supporting the idea that each one gets his own stuff and his space is universally respected as his own.

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.

Do Dogs Need Meat?

Posted by & filed under Bloggers, Pet Facts, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Vegan for Dogs.

Halo Vegan Dog Food with Manny the Frnechie

Why a vegan diet is a great choice for dogs with ingredient sensitivity

Isn’t it natural for dogs to eat meat?
Between the growing popularity of the vegan lifestyle and concerns about dogs with protein sensitivities, more people have started feeding their dogs a vegan diet. This has surfaced a few questions, including, whether a vegan diet goes against dogs’ nature. Several studies, including some referenced by Linda P. Case in her article, A Taste for Meat?, and by veterinary nutritionist Dr. Cailin R. Heinze in her article, Vegan Dogs—A healthy lifestyle or going against nature? have demonstrated that eating meat is not innate or required.

Is a vegan diet healthy for dogs?
You’ve probably heard that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning there are nutrients cats need (vitamin A, arachidonic acid, and taurine) that they cannot get from a vegetarian diet. Dogs, however, don’t have that same limitation. They can get the nutrients they need from plants, which is great news for dogs who are sensitive to animal proteins. Plus, dogs’ anatomy—from their gastrointestinal tracts to their molars to their slightly longer small intestine—shows us that they are omnivorous, according to Case, in her article, Dogs are Carnivores, Right?

Will my dog get enough protein with vegan dog food?
A complete and balanced vegan dog food can be a very healthy choice for dogs. You don’t need to worry if vegan dog food has enough protein because Halo® Holistic Garden of Vegan® dog food is made with protein-rich, plant-based ingredients, like peas, chickpeas, pearled barley, and oats. It also uses non-GMO vegetables, and no rice or fillers. Plus, it’s a great choice for dogs who are sensitive to animal proteins.

Can a vegan diet help dogs with allergies?
If your dog has skin or coat issues or other signs that he or she could have an allergy, you may want to try eliminating the top four allergens—meat, dairy, corn, or wheat—from his or her diet. Halo® Holistic Garden of Vegan® has no meat, dairy, corn, or wheat in it, so it’s a great alternative for dogs with these ingredient sensitivities.

The many benefits of being an omnivore
Besides the advantage of not containing major allergens, dogs’ omnivorous diet is important for families who follow a vegan lifestyle, or who prefer not to feed dogs meat for ethical or ecological reasons.

 

Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Certification

Posted by & filed under Bloggers, Tracie Hotchner.

Global Animal Partnership

The CEO of Halo®, Myron Lyskanycz, is on a mission to improve the way farm animals are raised, for their sake as well as the betterment of the pets whose diets depend on high quality protein.

What is GAP?

The Global Animal Partnership is a global leader in farm animal welfare that has established a comprehensive step-by-step program for raising animals, with the goal of improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. It touches on issues like cage-free chickens, raising pigs gestation-crate-free and eliminating severe confinement for veal, all of which are examples of ways in which it is possible to consider the life of animals being raised for food.

Why Does Gap Certification Matter?

GAP certification of food is something most of us know little or nothing about, yet it matters in profound ways.  The GAP certification label verifies that the animals have been raised following comprehensive standards focused on their care and welfare. GAP makes it easier for us as consumers to find meat products that have been created with respect for all the animals in the food chain.

Halo embraces the Global Animal Partnership (GAP)

Assuming an impressive leadership role in the pet food industry, Halo has made a commitment to using meat and poultry proteins that are GAP certified. What is remarkable about this corporate decision is that doing so creates a challenge for Halo, to sustain a constant stream in the supply chain of pet food ingredients (to ensure that all the meat products come from certified providers, and that there is a reliable quantity of the ingredients. Sourcing this way also costs substantially more, thereby reducing the profit on the foods – but fundamentally it’s about taking a stand for a better world for all animals).

Compassion and consideration for all animals is a lesson to all of us that with a bit of extra effort and expense, it’s possible to provide nutrition that reflects our core values and shows respect for the farm animals, as well as our own pets.

Can You Find GAP certified foods for your human family?

I’m grateful I can feed my dogs Halo and know I am doing something to speak up for the farm animals whose lives contribute to their food.

Beyond the dogs’ food, the challenge is how to get assurances about all the ingredients that go into my own diet. It’s only when you set out to do that – to make sure everything you buy to eat is GAP certified – that you discover what how large Halo’s accomplishment really is!

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.