Friday, August 22, 2008

Right down to the point, good health is so simple

I like what I read the other day on this blog’s news feed (on the lower right). There the feed showed an article titled “Family Time: How to keep your Pet Healthy – Keep those vet bills down” , written by Dr. Susan Lauten, a pet expert and nutrition consultant and published on the Norwich provided through ARA, a web content syndicator.
She says: ‘…
-Good nutrition is the key to good health. Instead of skimping on your pet food budget, select high-quality foods with high levels of meat proteins and whole grains. - Feeding your pet a variety of foods can minimize the development of food allergies. - Keep your pet clean and parasite-free. Paying extra attention to grooming during the summer months can help avoid skin disease, parasite-related diseases from ticks and fleas, and hot spots. - Make sure your pet visits the veterinarian for regular checkups.. - If your pet shows signs of illness, be sure to visit your veterinarian right away. Early detection can reduce the overall cost of treatment.”
Sure, these days it has become almost fashionable to provide advise on how to make sure your pet is healthy. If all the advise really helps remains to be seen down the road. I really like her’s because her writing is different, it’s short, right down to the point and easy to understand. Unlike others and that includes me, who always get carried away in too much detail. I don’t know why, but if I would have written the above I would have walked away completely dissatisfied and worried that I opened a can of worms and left all subsequently following questions unanswered. I like to see the reasons why someone says and does things, that makes it easier for me to be understanding and I guess I just extend that to what I try to get across to my readers.
Question: Why is it called “Good Health”? Isn’t bad health sickness anyway? Just wondering… (keep pets in mind when answering this question)

And just when did Rachael become a pet food expert?

Today’s news brought it up again: Rachael Ray now has her own brand of pet food. I saw it the other day at the local super market style pet food store. The bags look great, unfortunately I was too much in a hurry and didn't have time studying the labels. But I did so at home on the www. Holy smoke, it’s “Super Premium”. That is probably because it’s made with "Rachael’s Love" and EVOO (That’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Is "Rachael's Love" on the list of AAFCO approved dog food ingredients? Otherwise, the ingredients don’t look different than the ones in any other premium food, so after all it may not be bad. I’ll look into that deeper and analyze it some more in one of my future comparisons. Anyway, good luck, Rachael! Why shouldn’t you take advantage of your celebrity status and cash in on it. Being in your shoes I would do the same, you have to cash in as long as you are hot. Athletes and other celebrities do it too.
At least, when Michael Jordan sells his fancy sneakers and underwear I don’t have to worry that my dogs and cats get sick of allergies.
Ellen just did it, she even invested in a pet food company. Hope she spent enough money so that they can afford better pictures for their ads instead of their archived images with Ellen’s smile pasted into them in the most improvised manner. Because, Ellen, let me tell you: Making it look good on the outside seems to be all what counts to the masses of super market shopping pet owners.
Rachael: Just promise us one thing: Make sure it’s all healthy and good for our pets. I hate to see this turning into just another marketing gimmick. We got plenty of these in the pet food industry already. I plead: Don’t earn your bucks at the expense of our pets' well being.
And I have one last question: By any chance, do you know when Emeril is going to introduce his new 100% balanced, complete and all natural “BAM, Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya Dog Stew” ? I heard through the grape vines, it’s supposed to have a lot of his essence.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Welcome to All About Pets & Pet Nutrition. Find out here what this blog is all about.

First and foremost I am looking for an outlet to talk about and publish what I am doing in my function as the “Pet Food Examiner”. To state facts and express my opinion. To expand my horizon by listening to how other health conscious pet owners think about the things I have to say. Stuff going on related to healthy pet nutrition. To get constructive criticism on what I have to say and on products available to us as pet owners. To learn from the experience other pet owners have and hopefully be able to use that experience in my job and recommendations. What I am looking for is factual input and participation. This blog is not supposed to be about any company bashing or unqualified or subject unrelated comments. My goal is to create a community within which every member can benefit from each other’s experience and knowledge.
Second I do it because my wife Elizabeth told me so. She says, let others benefit from your work and anyway, that’s the way things are done these days and it will help promoting our business. Initially I was a little against it since I see the danger of getting hung up on blogging too much and loose sight of my daily, regular duties and priorities. But I give it a shot. I promised myself though that I will take out one hour of my daily schedule to maintain this blog and to provide you with my thoughts and comments.
Besides the pet nutrition aspect I am also looking to discuss on-line business in general. What makes it work, what are we doing right or wrong, what is expected, simply what makes customers come, tick (or better "click") and shop.
Having said all this, I am inviting everybody to actively participate and am looking forward to some interesting discussions. If this sounds interesting to you I welcome you to participate and look forward to make this a project in the interest of our pets benefitting all of us.

And just for how much longer is this going to go on?

A week ago we visited one of these big pet stores here in town. Just doing our regular thing, checking out the competition. What they offer, how they price stuff, etc., business as usual trying to stay competitive. I think there is nothing wrong with doing that and am sure that my competitors do the same in our store. Well, entering the place, we where immediately overwhelmed: They just must have gotten truckloads of dry pet food. It was difficult to see all the other items the store has to offer. The only other thing we saw a great deal of was employees. About 10 of them were standing around and chatting, Two were sweeping the floor, they were actually the only ones proving helpful when asked questions. Just wondering, how do so many employees impact the overhead and actual product prices? Those prices are supposed to be so much less than everywhere else. Well, next time you’re in one of those stores, check again and see for yourself. Just another myth.
Coming back to the food: All new commercial dry foods from well known labels. Now they all are natural, healthy and yes, the newest gag: Green. As far as the eye could see, pure health, the pets are going to be so happy. Or are they? A closer look at the labels reveals that actually extremely little has changed. Ingredients are still subject to the widely flexible rules and regulations which allow the largest manufacturers the generous use of quality and cost lowering synthesized chemicals. My point is, why bother guys? Slapping on a new label and a cuter picture just doesn’t cut it. Ok, I admit, there was another change: One of the employees at the food manufacturer’s plant, while eating breakfast was careless and one of his blueberries fell into the big 20 ton raw ingredient washer. So it ended up on the ingredient listing and the food, as the beautiful picture on the bag.shows, its rich in Vitamins and antioxidants. Sorry, almost forgot to mention that.
My point is, iIf you pretend you’re “Green” amd "Healthy" then live it by doing, don’t just say it. Being green is more than using a recycled, biodegradable paper bag, it must include the well being of our companion animals. I can’t help it, I just don’t see any “Green” in a chemical synthesizer. And how long can a manufacturer camouflage his food with a new package every time he’s involved in a recall, which is in one particular case about every 3 months? How long are consumers going to support this? How many recalls, how many suffering animals do we need to witness before things change? But the only player who can change this once and forever is ultimately a consumer refusing to buy product because it’s, excuse me but its true, little more than garbage.
I also noticed that some smaller manufacturers are trying to break into this high volume market. I am talking about the labels, which until now had and still have a great reputation for offering real, actual healthy food with the right ingredients and the right concept behind it. These guys utilizing this distribution arm really worries me. How long is it going to take until these so far great products are going to be watered down and becoming just another no-good premium pet food because of sheer competitive pressures? You know it’s going to happen, the big market players are going to buy tons of product, driving the small manufacturer into a dependency and then dictate how food has to be made and how much they are going to pay. And the number of companies making high quality healthy food decreases more and more, leaving the health conscious pet owner with a very few choices. But that would be simplifying our lives and after all wouldn’t be too bad either.