What does Non-GMO Actually Mean, Anyway?

Posted by & filed under Bloggers, Environment, Halo Sourcing, Tracie Hotchner.

GMO - 100% Free

There is much talk these days of non-GMO fruits and vegetables being desirable, but I’ve personally been a bit confused about it. When Halo changed its formulations to ensure there were only non-GMO veggies in their kibble, I wondered what my dogs were getting that I wasn’t!

What I learned was that all the vegetables and fruits in Halo pet food are sourced from farmland that prohibits the use of Genetically Modified Seeds. As part of their commitment to what they call OrigiNative® sourcing, the use of non-GMO ingredients means avoiding the vicious cycle of repeatedly tilling the soil to add chemical fertilizers and herbicides. By choosing non-GMO plants, it allows the land to function naturally, as it has over centuries.

Halo has a FAQ section of their website that explains non-GMO as well as many other of their commitments to the sourcing of their ingredients. In addition, they have information on their “What’s in Your Bowl? page.

For my own diet, I actually find it near-impossible to be certain that my own fruits and veggies are non-GMO, so it’s a good feeling to know that at least Maisie and Wanda are helping the planet with their Halo meals!

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.

An Arkansas Cat and Cow Are Best Friends

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

Photo Credit: Arkansas Matters

It’s not uncommon to hear about cats who are best friends with other cats. In your own life, you might even know a cat and dog who are, against all odds, best buddies. What about an interspecies friendship with a much larger size difference? One cat in Arkansas, who looks like she weighs no more than 10 or 12 pounds, has an unusual best friend who weighs one ton!

According to Arkansas Matters, a cat named Annie in the town of Center Ridge has made friends with a ten-year-old cow named Holly. Shannon Flowers and her husband, Stan, built a special house for Holly after bottle feeding and raising her from a calf by hand. The unusual house looks a bit like a child’s bedroom and includes a nursery rhyme illustration that shows a cow and a cat.

Maybe that picture is why Holly didn’t mind when Annie wandered by and moved into the cow’s home. Shannon told reporters that Annie and Holly soon became best friends. Shannon said that she normally finds the cat spending time with Holly, saying “Sometimes, she’s on the bench and sometimes she’s on the straw with Holly.” Although the two friends are different species and very different sizes, they seem to get along splendidly.

Most cows don’t get special rooms with electronic music boxes they can operate themselves. However, the care that Stan and Shannon show Holly is not unusual. As part of our mission, Halo works to change how farm animals are raised because we believe that all animals impact our lives and play a role in improving our collective well-being. It’s obvious that both Annie and Holly improve Stan’s and Shannon’s lives. And, of course, they improve each other’s lives like any pair of best friends.

Facebook Fan Says Dogs Are “Less Sluggish” Thanks to Halo® Garden of Vegan

Posted by & filed under Belkis Cardona-RIvera, Bloggers, Testimonials, Vegan for Dogs.

These dog now eat vegan dog food from Halo

With all the recalls and reading all the “nasties” about meat products in animal foods, I decided vegan…”

Halo Facebook Fan Michele Salterilli Kurtz share with us a story about her experience with Halo Garden of Vegan recipe. She says:

“I have to say since switching my dogs to Halo vegan, they seem to be less sluggish, and definitely less gassy! With all the recalls and reading all the “nasties” about meat products in animal foods, I decided vegan ( I’m vegan as well) and if they can sustain eating my veggies ‘n grains, why not give them a vegan dog formula designed with the correct nutrients. I did my research and my first and final was to go with Halo over the other brands. Thank you for an outstanding product(s). They get dry and canned vegan dog food.”

Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your story and we are happy that your dogs are thriving on Halo Garden of Vegan recipe.

MYTH DEBUNK #1 – Dogs Don’t Like Fruits & Vegetables

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

MYTH DEBUNK #1 - Dogs Don’t Like Fruits & Vegetables

There seem to be a lot of myths about what/when/how people should feed their dogs, with one of the overall Major Myths being that “people food is bad for dogs.” This is sheer silliness, as anyone who has been listening to me knows already, and is a good example of how generalized sweeping statements don’t advance knowledge or thoughtful decision-making.  Feeding your dog is as individual a decision as feeding your human child, which is where I think the idea came along that dogs and vegetables are not a good combination – because many children don’t like spinach, broccoli, beets and other fine examples of bounty from the garden. But dogs are often more open-minded omnivores than young two-leggeds – although many a dog can be as fussy and finicky as some “won’t eat anything” toddlers can be.

However, just as vegetables are very good for people’s’ health, they are also good for dogs, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals and a [usually] low-calorie way to feel full. The Healthy-Weight dry food from Halo that I feed my dogs is rich in non-GMO vegetables [and I do want to educate myself about non-GMO veggies and address that another day].  A couple of my friends who are lifelong vegetarians are deeply grateful for the Garden of Vegan food from Halo –  which is a complete and balanced recipe that proves the nutritional value of vegetables. Here is a partial list of those vegetables:  non-GMO green peas, chickpeas, pea protein, potato, sweet potato, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach,and  dried kelp (which I think of as a vegetable from the sea!).

Dogs benefit greatly from having a nice mix of vegetables in their diet, whether cooked in their food or given to them as raw snacks. I know lots of people whose dogs go nuts for raw carrots, string beans, broccoli and even zucchini. Mine are gluttons for handfuls of frozen broccoli (they will eat many cooked vegetables but mostly if they have some nice butte or olive oil on them!).  My sister’s little toy Brussels Griffons amaze me for how they hover around her feet when she’s cooking and will gobble up any sort of vegetable she drops for them – from Belgian endive to red pepper or romaine leaves. And they go nuts for apples, blueberries or watermelon!

I’d love to know what fruits or vegetables your dogs gobble up – or if you’re to start experimenting yourself.

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.

Climate Change and Your Cat – How Can You Help?

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Climate Change and Your Cat

Photo credit: Lil BUB

On Earth Day 2018, Lil Bub thanked Halo “for exclusively using humanely sourced protein from free-range sustainable farms,” adding, “It’s good for our pets and great for our planet.” Halo was proud to read Lil Bub’s kind words. As a mission-driven brand, Halo works hard to do what’s best for pets, people, and the planet. We’re no stranger to accolades for that work. In 2016 our Spot’s Stew won in the Best Pet Products, Food category of the Natural Child World Eco Excellence Awards. We were also finalists in the supplements and treats categories!

The accolades aren’t why we do it though. As Dave Carter, our Director of Sourcing, says in a Facebook video, “Nature’s kind of messy. Nature creates things that…are unique and individual and the more we learn to work within that system, those animals are helping to restore the soil. They’re helping to build a grassland that captures carbon and makes for a healthy ecosystem.” He added, “We just think that when you go back to that natural, that OrigiNative source, you’re getting a whole protein that’s healthier for us and healthier for our companion animals.”

Carbon capture is important. Jerry Melillo is an ecologist and a member of NOAA’s Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. Jerry told Energy News Network, “It’s pretty clear that climate change is not going to stop and it will be accelerating if we don’t move to a reduced carbon economy,” Jerry told Midwest Energy News, when he spoke at last year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists (AAAS).

We’ve seen some crazy weather over the past few years. As climate change continues, scientists say different types of extreme weather will become even more common. For example, some parts of the United States will see stronger and more frequent storms. Some areas will have more droughts and wildfires. Heat waves are also likely to become more common. How will all this crazy weather affect our beloved cats, and what can we do to help them – and ourselves?

Thankfully, Dr. Jason Nicholas, the Chief Medical Officer at Preventive Vet, took the time to talk with us about how these crazy weather patterns might affect our pets’ health. Dr. J, as he’s generally known, is passionate about pet health and helping pet parents better understand their furry friends.

We started by discussing the record-warm winter seasons that have been occurring, despite the late snowfalls that much of the United States has seen this spring. With warmer winters “the parasite seasons many people are used to or think exist are likely to change,” Dr. J explained. “So, ‘flea season’ is likely to start earlier and end later, and there may also be ‘unseasonal flares’ due to changing weather patterns. The same is likely for ‘tick season’ and even ‘intestinal worm season.’”

But seasons outside aren’t the only thing to think about, Dr. J said. Many of these parasites can thrive indoors and become hypobiotic — “sort of like a dormant/arrested stage.” As a result these parasites can be a problem for more of the year and make things worse.

Climae change could also lead to more infectious disease and mosquito-borne parasites. Mosquitos can easily spread diseases to cats. “From a mosquito standpoint, changing weather patterns isn’t just likely to mean longer and more erratic mosquito seasons, but it’ll also mean that places that haven’t historically had problems with disease-spreading mosquito populations are more likely to start having them.”

“Don’t forget, cats can also become infected by heartworms. They’re not just a dog problem,” Dr. J added. “In fact, it can take far fewer heartworms to cause significant disease in cats than it takes in dogs, and there’s no safe and effective treatment for heartworms in cats.” Fortunately, there are safe and effective steps to prevent heartworm infections.

In fact, in 2017 Dr. J wrote a blog post about mosquitos, heartworm disease, and cats. In it he warned that a single mosquito carrying a single worm is all that it takes to give a cat heartworm disease. Obviously keeping your cat indoors helps minimize the risk, but mosquitos can still get inside. He encourages people to do all they can to minimize mosquitos around their home. He also strongly recommends talking with your local veterinarian about the best heartworm prevention option for your individual cat based on where you live and any other parasites from which your cat or other pets may need protection.

In fact, Dr. J says talking with your veterinarian is the “biggest step” any pet parent should take in the face of these changing weather and parasite patterns. He suggests you ask about “the safest, most effective, and most comprehensive parasite prevention and treatment plan for all of the pets in [your] home,” including indoor-only cats.

With an increased risk of severe or more frequent storms, pets and their pet parents also face more risks for floods, fires, or other natural disasters. As with many parts of being a good pet parent, being prepared ahead of time is key. If you need ideas, Halo had a blog post about 7 Ways to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency just a few months ago. Dr. J also provides advice on putting together an emergency kit. People can download Preventive Vet’s Emergency and Disaster Prep eBook for free to get more ideas.

In addition to these specific steps to help your pet, you can also think about doing more to slow climate change. If greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced, some of the worst impacts of climate change could be avoided. Toward that end, scientists are studying a wide range of plans for countries and different sectors of industry to take.

People can also do a lot to deal with their own greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. Scientist Dr. Frank O’Sullivan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also spoke at the annual meeting of AAAS, “We don’t need one solution. We need a portfolio of solutions” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing Halo for your pets can be part of that portfolio of solutions.

One way that many people, including Sir Paul McCartney and Oprah, enjoy reducing their carbon footprint through Meatless Mondays. Although cats are obligate carnivores who cannot eat a vegan diet, wholesome vegan food prepared especially for dogs can allow dogs to safely join in a family-wide Meatless Monday with Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan Dog Food kibbles or cans!

In fact, Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble.com are even working with select shelters to help reduce their carbon paw print through Meatless Mondays for the shelter dogs! They’re supplying both Halo Vegan and Halo Whole Meat food for the dogs in the care of Second Chance Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida, and Dutchess County SPCA in New York. Since it’s not good for animals to have one day with a completely different diet, the dogs are achieving their Meatless Monday by having 1/7th of their food each day be Halo Garden of Vegan dog food.

All three shelters have reported that the process is simple and making the dogs very happy. Sheryl Blancato, executive director for Second Chance Animal Shelter said, “We are excited about being part of Meatless Monday and the Halo food donation has helped save the lives of many animals. Since foregoing meat even one day per week has an impact on the environment, imagine the difference with can make with all of the dogs at an animal shelter going meatless on Monday!”

Together we can make a difference for our planet so that cats and other animals can live their very best lives now and in the future. Halo is here to do our part to make that as easy as possible.