Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Tim's Momentum Dog Food feeds four of five top Iditarod finishers

    Dr. Tim's Momentum Dog Food was the dry kibble of choice for four of the five top finishers in the 2014 Iditarod on March 11, including the winner. Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska won his second Iditarod, setting a new course record of eight days, 14 hours and nine minutes. 
    It's the third year in a row that the winning musher was feeding Dr. Tim's petfood. This race was especially difficult as trail conditions were extremely poor with little snow and much ice as the Alaskan winter was unseasonably warm this year. Many mushers had to drop out of the race due to equipment failures or personal injury after the first 1/4 of the trail. Further up the trail it worsened again as glare ice and strong winds made travel very difficult, according to reports.

Global Pet Expo 2014 reports record-breaking numbers

    The 2014 Global Pet Expo reported record-breaking numbers in exhibitors, buyer and media attendance and total booths sold, according to show organizers. Experiencing an increase in growth on all fronts, the tenth annual show featured 5,597 buyers in attendance, a 5% increase over 2013 numbers, more than 3,000 new pet product launches, 985 exhibitors and 2,896 booths sold-the highest post-show numbers to date. Total show attendance came to nearly 14,000 people, with 289,600 square footage of exhibit space.
    "Over the past several years hosting this Show in Orlando, our numbers have consistently grown at an impressive rate," said Andrew Darmohraj, APPA executive vice president and COO. "So it was fitting that our tenth annual Global Pet Expo once again demonstrated record-breaking numbers across the board. It was the perfect time to announce that Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center will be the official home to our Show through 2019." 
    Sixteen percent of exhibitors were international, making up 156 of the 985 exhibitors, and 27% of buyers were from outside of the US, coming from 76 countries. The show saw 3,000 new products and had more than 900 entries in its annual New Products Showcase. "The 3,000 new product launches at this year's show included products with a charitable angle, more advances in technology, like interactive treat dispensers and dog collars that keep you apprised of your pet's activities while you're away, as well as products that provide innovative solutions for every day life such as pet raincoats and feeders that promote a slower eating process," said Darmohraj.
    The 2015 Global Pet Expo will take place March 4-6, 2015, in Orlando, Fla.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hillside Farms to open new US factory

    Premium dog treat producer Hillside Farms will open a new US facility in southern California. The factory will feature state-of-the-art automation in processing, production and packaging operations, according to the company.
    "We're thrilled to be expanding our production capabilities here in the US and southern California," said Steve King, vice president of sales and marketing. "As a pet-passionate team, we're always looking for ways to better serve our customers and their four-legged family members. This new facility will allow us to expand the availability of our wholesome, lean meat treats throughout North America." 
    The new facilities will also mark the launch of a new line of jerky treats for the company, American Authentics. Made with lean, US-grown chicken, the treats are high in protein while being low in fat and low in calories, said Hillside Farms. 

Jerky treat pet deaths still under investigation

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still investigating the illnesses and deaths of several hundred dogs that began in 2007 and are suspected to be the result of contaminated chicken jerky pet treats manufactured in China.
    The FDA continues to seek leads from veterinarians and pet owners-roughly 1,500 reports have some in since an appeal for information in the fall of 2013. "We are frustrated," said Martine Hartogensis, who oversees the FDA's ongoing investigation. "It's been a long, winding, twisting road . . . [But] we haven't given up." 
    The FDA says it has tested more than 1,200 jerky treats, looking for Salmonella, mold, pesticides, toxic metals, outlawed antibiotics, nephrotoxins and other contaminants. Federal officials have inspected factories in China that manufacture chicken jerky products for U.S. companies and sought input from academics, state and university research labs, foreign governments and the petfood industry. In spite of all that, the cause of the illnesses has not yet been found.
    According to the FDA, the illnesses overwhelmingly affect dogs but some cats have also been made ill. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky but also include treats in which chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruit, sweet potatoes or yams. Officials said there's no clear pattern based on breed or geography-pets have been sickened in every state, as well as in countries such as Australia-and the problems don't seem specific to any particular brand or manufacturer.
    The FDA said it is determined to find answers. "They want to solve it more than anything," said Hartogensis. "I'm confident we'll get there. It's a really complicated issue, but we've got a lot of great people working on it. And I think we're getting closer."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pet rescue film by Halo, Purely for Pets opens Sonoma film festival

    "Who rescued who?" was the impetus of a short film that opened the Sonoma International Film Festival in Sonoma, Calif., on April 2. 
    "Le Sauvetage" (The Rescue) is a six-minute film produced by Peter McEvilley, award-winning filmmaker and composer, and starring the Olate Dogs, winners of America's Got Talent. The film is a magical tale about life, love and finding our true destiny ... with a little help from a furry friend. The short film was sponsored and produced by Ellen DeGeneres' natural petfood company Halo, Purely for Pets.
    Halo has a track record of promoting rescue and adoption through film. The company sponsors all three episodes of Shelter Me, a PBS special dedicated to showcasing shelter dogs and the incredible lives they lead. Halo also sponsored the Humane Society of the United States' video campaign, "Meet My Shelter Pet," a series of videos featuring celebrities and their adopted pets.
    "Le Sauvetage" has also been selected to appear at the Court Metrage, Festival de Cannes in France in May.

America's VetDogs working to change US military veterans' lives

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    Service dogs like Benjamin from America's VetDogs change the lives of US military veterans.
    Proper nutrition and feeding a quality petfood are especially important for dogs that act as service and guide dogs, said Wells Jones, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and America's VetDogs, which train dogs to serve US military veterans and blind people. Speaking as the closing keynote for Petfood Forum 2014 on April 2, Jones discussed how his organization selects, breeds, trains and feeds its dogs that are matched with veterans like Joseph Worley, who served in Iraq as a Navy corpsman and also spoke.
    America's VetDogs, founded in 2003, trains dogs to assist veterans of all eras and active military personnel with tasks such as standing up, walking, opening and closing doors, retrieving objects, barking for alert and much more. Jones said America's VetDogs also now partners with petfood company Bil-Jac to offer a line of dog treats whose sales support veterans. The organization is a part of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, which was originally established in 1946 to assist veterans who lost their vision in World War II.
    The foundation has its own breeding program for the service puppies in both programs, with some of the dogs being descendants from dogs first bred in the 1960s. Jones explained that the foundation relies on volunteers and prisons to raise the puppies and teach them basic obedience at 7-8 weeks of age for about a year, at which time the dogs return to the foundation's program for formal service dog training. In order to enter the service dog program, dogs must pass a multi-level skills test, including retrieving of metal, wood, plastic and cloth, and a public access test. Dogs are primarily labrador retrievers and golden retrievers, as well as standard poodles, german shepherds, and a labrador retriever and golden retriever mix, he said.  
    After a dog has completed its service dog training, it is carefully matched with a student. Jones referred to these service dogs as a "designer dog," meaning that the foundation works to understand exactly what a person needs in the dog, and then a service dog is selected to meet their precise needs, taking into account capability, lifestyle and pace. 
    Once a student is matched with the right service dog, the student usually comes to the foundation's campus in New York, USA, to complete a training program that takes 12 days. Jones explained that the foundation's campus includes a student residence hall with 17 private rooms where students stay during their training, a training center equipped with kennels and training space, and a veterinary center.  

    Service dogs change lives

    Following Wells, US veteran Joseph Worley spoke with his service dog, Benjamin, about the dramatic impact on one's life that these service dogs make. 
    Worley joined the Navy in 2002, and he lost his left leg in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. Worley explained that he was working as a medic and was running toward a vehicle that had been hit by an IED, when he was also hit by an IED. 
    Two years after putting in an application for a service dog from America's VetDogs, Worley received Benjamin in October 2008. Worley said that after he returned from Iraq, his family gathered around to support him. "Despite that support system, when Benjamin entered my life, he became an integral and vital part of that," Worley said. 
    Worley explained that Benjamin not only helps him physically by helping him brace to stand up, stabilize him when walking, retrieve objects and more, but he also added, "Benjamin gives me confidence." 
    "These animals can save people's lives and change people's lives," said Worley. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RECALL: Robert Abady Dog Food recalls cat food on Salmonella concerns

    The Robert Abady Dog Food Co. LLC, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2 lb., 5 lb. and 15 lb. boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats" because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The recalled "Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats" were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders.
    The product comes in 2 lb., 5 lb. and 15 lb. corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot #14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
    The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in some of the product. Production of the product has been suspended while the US Food and Drug Administration and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.
    Consumers who have purchased the recalled products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1.845.473.1900, Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., ET.