Just a heads up! There are some great, valuable coupons for Iams dog and cat food up on coupons.com. As many of you may know, these websites only allow a certain number of people to print each coupon…so even if you aren’t heading to the store, you might want to print them today!
While many might not find it a big deal, I think it is surprising (crazy? scary??) that there are currently no laws that hold pet food manufacturers to any kind of safety or quality standard. The FDA is currently trying to change all that. A new rule (proposed just last Friday) would require manufacturing facilities to uphold proper sanitation when producing pet food.
The regulations would work at keeping harmful bacteria and “other contaminants” (not exactly sure what those contaminants are…but it’s safe to say that currently there are a whole lot of them!) out of pet food and animal feed. They also would outline requirements to prevent food-borne illness and ensure basic overall cleanliness.
Of course, this seems to be the result of the incredible outbreak of illness due to tainted jerky treats. (For those of you who haven’t heard, read about it here. For the official FDA Fact Sheet click here.) With close to 4,000 dogs sickened – and 600 dead – it seems the government can no longer ignore the issue of who exactly is to be held responsible for what we feed our animals, To me, the most insane part of this story is the fact that NO ONE KNOWS why these pets are becoming so ill and what specifically is to blame. Really? How is it even possible that we can’t figure it out FOR SIX YEARS. I must assume that literally no one even knows what the heck is going on inside these facilities. Wow.
Not only are our pets affected when we serve them bacteria laden edibles, things like Salmonella and dioxin (which have both been tied to massive pet food recalls) can make us humans sick as well. I honestly don’t even want to think about this in terms of animal feed…what the heck has what we eat been eating.
Considering to what degree Americans consider their dogs and cats part of the family…I’m surprised this is just becoming an issue now. I’m embarrassed to say that just assumed (and you know what they say about assuming!) that someone was checking in on these pet food companies from time to time. (Although when the FDA estimates it will cost the industry $130 million to get this going…I understand why.)
A final formal ruling on the issue is still four months away.
This week, Beneful got a lot of press over a commercial that recently started airing in Austria. How does a dog food commercial create such a buzz? Well, the Beneful commercial was one of a kind because it was intended to grab your dog’s attention, not yours. Woven through the commercial are squeaky toy squeaks, dog whistle-like sounds, and high-pitched pings…this all according Nestle itself. Some of these noises you will be able to hear…some are meant just for your pooch.
While dog lovers (myself included) surely think this is a wonderful idea, others (one would assume these “others” to be those odd breed of humans who don’t have pets) are trying to hate on this ingenious idea. They argue that televisions for humans (ok, all TVs) can only play sounds at 20,000 Hertz while a sound “only dogs can hear” registers about 40,000 Hertz. They also argue that dogs don’t have money and therefore can’t buy the food for themselves. These haters then point out that not only do they not have money, they don’t know how to talk so they can’t even ask you to buy Beneful for them! (The Meow Mix song just popped into my head as I was typing that…all of a sudden they seem like marketing geniuses.)
I personally think this is a wonderfully clever idea. First of all, it’s getting a lot of dog lovers talking. Second, it has the potential to be very effective. If I walked into the room, and my dog was 100% focused on what was playing on our TV, I would definitely take notice. Just like I would take notice if I ever encountered one of Nestle’s “Stop-Sniffing” posters. You can only find them in Germany, but when I read about this I thought they were GENIUS! The posters smell like Beneful. Oh my gosh! Seriously! That is AWESOME! What an amazing idea….and can they make them for humans?
Even after hearing and reading about the commercial, though, I had my doubts that dogs would actually pay attention to it at all. I needed to perform my own observations, but where would I possibly find a pooch to participate in my not-so-scientific research? Oh yeah! I got one right here! I played the commercial (which I have posted just below so you can conduct your own experiment) for a half-asleep Buffy, and she perked right up. She even started looking at my computer screen (something that rarely interests her.) I was shocked to see that it really did instantly grab her attention….although by the end of the ad she was yawning and contemplating her next napping position.)
But no naps for Buffy just yet! The Nestle website (the German one at least) has “Dog Type Test.” By using sounds found in the commercial, you can discover if your dog is more “playful rascal” or “sensitive dreamer.” Buffy reacted to all of them with curiosity and intrigue (although I think she was leaning more toward “playful rascal.” ) I seriously recommend trying it with your pup. It was fun, and all of the sounds got adorable responses. I would love to hear how people’s dogs reacted, so let me know!
While a dog food commercial that caters to dogs might not be the most practical marketing strategy, I do think that it is definitely a sign that dogs are becoming more and more a part of our families – and therefore more influential in family purchasing decisions. If I thought that spending a few extra bucks on a different dog food would make my pup happy, I would do it without a second thought. And I wouldn’t even mind that she couldn’t front me the cash or thank me for doing it.
We here at Wags & Whiskers – the blog, the dog walkers, and the bakery – are SO excited about our new dog treats! No really, I don’t think you understand. We spent weeks perfecting our recipes to make sure that the treats were nutritionally perfect and deliciously munchable. After trial and error (and lots of big messes in our kitchen) we have put two varieties – Love Bites and Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bones – on Etsy for you to purchase. We’ve had a great response from our current clients (who are the best in the world, thank you!), but we are now looking to expand to all of you (you being the dog lovers outside of the Houston/Cypress area!)
So here is what we are going to do: We are going to give out our treats for FREE! Yes for FREE (no shipping and handling, no processing fees, no nothing!) Absolutely FREE! We do need your help, though. Here is what you have to do:
In the next two weeks (July 24-Aug 7) help spread the word about our new treats! There are two ways you can do this:
- “Like” our brand-spankin’ new page on Facebook: Wags & Whiskers Houston Facebook Page. Post something on your wall (just click Facebook button on the bottom of this post) for an extra chance to win!
- Tweet a comment, a link to our Etsy page(http://www.etsy.com/listing/77815836/love-bites-dog-treats or http://www.etsy.com/listing/77814833/peanut-butter-pumpkin-bones) or a link to this blog post (just click that little birdie at the bottom!) Make sure to include @WandWHouston in your tweet so we can see what you have to say!
We all want the best for our dogs. That is why you are reading this blog….why you reading tweets about what is going on in the dog world…why you bought your pup that toy yesterday knowing that he has 50 like it at home (but he doesn’t have the blue one!) You make sure your dogs get their daily walks. (Or you hire a dog walker to do the job!) You take Spike to the vet, you take Suzanne to the dog park, you let Rocco sleep in the bed. But what is your dog eating?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) establishes the rules that dog food companies must adhere to in the United States. You would think that an organization with such an official sounding name would have regulatory power similar to the Food and Drug Administration. Not so! The AAFCO is not affiliated with the government, and at the end of the day, really has no legal authority to regulate what your pooch is chowing down on. Sure, they analyze foods, but even within their loose guidelines for pet food companies, there are huge loopholes.
In a perfect world, you would have the time (money and energy!) to keep your dog on a raw, homemade, natural diet. This, for most people, is just not do-able. I’m guessing you don’t do this for yourself either. (Everyone has to eat fast food now and then, right? And I’m sure that Hamburger Helper I made for dinner last night was REALLY healthy!) You can, though, make small changes to your little furbaby’s diet that can go a long way.
Treats! That’s a place to start! How many do you give your dog a day? I recently decided to read the ingredients in the treats I’m feeding my own little lady. The front of the bag had claims like “fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals.” Well, maybe that’s true, but the list of ingredients was as long as my arm! With words I didn’t even know how to pronounce (yum – Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex!), things that I wasn’t even sure what they were (sausage flavor? how does one get “sausage flavor”?), and things that even I – I’m no nutritionist – know cannot be good (Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #40). Yikes!
So, I decided to do what everyone wishes they had the time too – start making homemade treats. After many failed batches, tinkering with recipes, and lots of taste tests – Wags & Whiskers is proud to offer them to you! I made sure to include ingredients that are healthy and will keep your pup (and their tummy) working as it should, even if you don’t buy that boutique, organic (aka SUPER expensive) dog food.
The biggest shock for me – dogs can actually TASTE THE DIFFERENCE. And they want the healthier option! (Unlike me! I usually want to eat the thing with the unpronounceable ingredients!) Dogs really do go nuts for these things.
Take a look and see what you think. We have tried to keep them at a reasonable price so everyone can have the luxury of keeping their dog as healthy as they already are happy. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions; please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of all – to make sure we spread the word, we are going to be giving out LOTS of FREE samples. I want to make sure as many pups and possible taste these and give them wags of approval. Check back here and on the website for details on contests and give aways.