Natural Dog Treats, Made in USA

October 20th, 2014

I always read labels on food I buy for myself, but I do that for my pets as well. It matters! I stay away from brands that have had recalls, and I never buy any pet treats or food that are sourced from China.

So, where do you turn for good, natural dog treats? Asking your local pet store about options is a good place to start. You’ll have better luck with the local pet store chains, not the big ones. However, some big pet stores have started to carry more natural options.

Whenever I get the chance, I test out new natural dog treats for my rescue pup Stella. (Well, she’s the one who eats them. I just give them to her, but she loves her job.) So, I agreed to receive a couple bags of Look Who’s Happy dog treats for review here.

And Stella loves these! My cat Choco wanted to try them out too. But cats are always curious…. (Time for honesty: My cat got into a little spat with Stella over these treats, but it’s all good now. I have a horribly shot video of this, but who wants to see a dog get whipped by a cat?)

chicken-jerky

The Story

Look Who’s Happy dog treats are made by Big Creek Foods, founded by two brothers, Jeff and Tommy Gay. All treats are made in Gainesville, Georgia. And I’ve got to wonder who does their photography. These are the happiest-looking dogs I’ve seen on packaging!

Look Who’s Happy highlights 

Safe Dog Treats: The brothers operate their own private processing facility according to FDA food safety production guidelines. They even meet much higher standards than the pet food regulations require. Plus, every meat and poultry ingredient is sourced from the USA, Canada or New Zealand (never China), and is USDA-inspected.

chicken-tenders-dog

Natural Dog Treats: Look Who’s Happy treats contain no by-products, or artificial stuff (like preservatives, colors or flavors). The treats are also grain and gluten free. Fetch’n Fillets and Tempt’n Tenders are even made with whole muscle meat or poultry. And, of course, the treats are slow-cooked for great taste. Apparently, they are so expertly cooked, even cats want them!

Do you feed natural dog treats? And, does your cat ever try to steal dog treats?

Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality Creates Suffering

October 16th, 2014

I’m happy to once again take part in Blog Action Day. Light Green Stairs has participated since the beginning in 2007!

The topic this year is especially important. Inequality exists all around us. Frankly, this topic is so important, it’s difficult to be specific in just one blog post. But I’ll try…

Rich and Poor

Oxfam is a key partner for Blog Action Day 2014. According to them, the richest 66 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. (A previous report indicated the richest 85, but that number has since been updated to the richest 66. It’s getting worse!)

 

oxfam-inequality

 

What does this mean, and why care?

If you’re poor, you’re more likely to die sooner than a rich person. Part of the reason is lack of access to health care. But another issue is the inability to afford healthy food, or living in a food desert with no access to healthy food. And extreme poverty is very stressful.

What else does inequality mean?

Yeah, I told you it’s difficult to be too specific with this issue! It’s not just about income. Inequality exists on many levels:

-Inequality against women, including violence, attitudes, sexual harassment and getting paid less than men for the same work

-Inequality against the elderly, including just not taking them seriously or placing value on their lives

-Inequality against the disabled, including bullying or not affording the same opportunities as abled-bodies people receive

- Inequality based on race, including police violence against unarmed black teenagers

 

BAD2014 copy

 

What can you do about it?

First, take a look at your own beliefs and attitudes. No one is perfect, including me. Ask yourself how you can work to make things better, not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world where there is suffering caused by inequality.

Most importantly, ask yourself how you can help end poverty. Your work could be political, or it may be humanitarian. It could be as simple as volunteering to help someone improve their literacy skills, or donating to a nonprofit that fights poverty.

Finally...

Stay in touch with the conversation on Blog Action Day, October 16, with these hashtags:  #BAD2014 #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16

Is no nut butter safe? Arrowhead and MaraNatha Recall.

August 20th, 2014

Peanut butter just doesn’t have a good track record for safety. If you think that sticking with a natural brand keeps you safe, maybe not! The FDA has a full list of recalled nut butters from nSpired Natural Foods.

recall-nut-butter

Who’s on the list of recalled peanut butters and almond butters?

  • Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter
  • MaraNatha Almond Butter
  • MaraNatha Peanut Butter
  • Store brands from Kroger, Whole Foods, Safeway and Trader Joe’s

Check your refrigerator and pantry for the recalled nut butters and throw them away, container and all. For a refund, call 1-800-937-7008, but you may be lucky to get through.

I had one of the recalled MaraNatha Almond Butter products in my refrigerator and couldn’t get through after calling several of the phone numbers listed, so I sent a message to MaraNatha via their contact page.

Did the recalled almond butter make me sick? I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I had a mysterious and very unpleasant vomiting episode a few weeks ago around the time I ate some of the almond butter, but I didn’t go to the doctor. I was the only one who ate some of it, and I haven’t eaten any of it lately, thankfully! I just didn’t make the connect.

Many cases of food poisoning go unreported. Right now, it’s suspected that four illnesses are linked to these recalled products.

I think I’m going to stick with just eating the nuts from now on, or make my own nut butter. How about you?

Your Dog Wants Real Meat Too.

August 19th, 2014

Stella, my 75-pound rescue dog that everyone says looks like a miniature Irish Wolfhound, barked at the FedEx guy who delivered her Bravo Crunchy Delights treats. Note: I received a free sample of Bravo treats.

BravoTreat_Group_4C

But soon Stella caught on that the package was for her. Curious as always, my cat Choco had to approve of the treats first, leaving Stella to whimper patiently!

 

Choco licks and approves Stella's new dog treats.

We tried a couple of “leave it” commands, and Stella dutifully waited until I gave her the “get it” command.

Stella waiting for the command to eat her dog treat.

Then, she enjoyed the crunchy goodness!

Blur as she goes for the treat.

Bravo dog treats really do look like homemade dog cookies.

Oven-baked goodness!

All you want to know about Bravo Crunchy Delights treats

  • Real meat or poultry is first ingredient
  • Also feature ingredients like quinoa, celery, squash and sweet potatoes
  • Made in USA by family-owned business
  • All natural with no artificial colors or flavors
  • Available in Beef, Chicken, Duck and Turkey
  • Sold in resealable 5-ounce stand-up pouches

So, has your dog tried these?

Not Sharknado, but Barknado for Bark Week 2014!

July 30th, 2014

Barknado is here. Barknado is here. Barknado is here.

Watch the exciting Barknado video from ASPCA.

Yes, you guessed. It’s a spoof on SyFy channel’s “Sharknado” and “Sharknado 2.” Well done.

Now, watch that cuteness again, and make a pledge at ASPCA to Make Pet Adoption Your First Option.

I signed today.

Why should you sign?

More than 7 million homeless dogs and cats enter shelters each year. They need you.

Consider adoption from a shelter in honor of ASPCA’s Bark Week, August 4 through 9. Woof.

Most Important New Movie on Netflix: The Paw Project

June 26th, 2014

If you have Netflix, stream “The Paw Project,” and you’ll never see cat declawing as routine ever again. Even if you don’t have Netflix, you can still receive a DVD of the movie when you make a $10 donation at The Paw Project. Or stream “The Paw Project” on iTunes, U-verse, Dish or amazon.

 

When I first adopted my cat Choco more than 10 years ago, I thought that declawing was just something you did to keep cats from scratching you. Thankfully, I was set straight by fellow animal lovers, and my kitty was spared the cruelty of losing his claws. And, I’m happy to say that Choco uses his scratching post. And he submits to claw trimmings without much fuss.

 

cat-claw-trim

 

Maybe you’re reading this, and thinking I’m some kind of hippie liberal cat-freak, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. It isn’t so. I’ve actually seen a cat declawing procedure firsthand, and while it looks like a quick and simple procedure, the effects can be devastating. To perform a declaw, the vet uses a tool very much like what you’d trim a cat’s claws with to cut the claw at the bone so it can’t grow back. A medical glue like super glue is applied to the tip, and the cat’s paws are bandaged.

 

Imagine that. You’re a cat.

You’re dropped at the vet’s office by someone you trust. You’re put under. You wake up without the ends of your toes. And it hurts to walk. And you can’t do things the same way anymore. You feel like you have a pebble on the bottom of your paw when you walk or stand. And the feeling never goes away. You may become lame or arthritic. You may lash out and develop behavior problems. You may start eliminating on the floor instead of the litter box. You may lose your life in a shelter because no one wants you anymore.

  Continue reading »

Siggi’s! Finally, yogurt without so much sugar.

June 26th, 2014

When I’ve attempted to shop for yogurt, it has usually ended with me putting everything back and walking away frustrated.

Why? Why? Why?

do you yogurt makers of America have to put so much

sugar in your yogurt?

And also, triple-why, do you have to put so many artificial ingredients in there too?

Isn’t it supposed to be healthy? Ah, that’s what makes me most angry of all: Thinking about the consumers who put sugary, artificial something or other in their shopping carts thinking they’re doing something good.

siggi-icelandic-yogurt

Well, the people at Siggi’s decided to make a good yogurt. One of the few good ones around, no doubt. Pardon my photos of Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt. I just can’t photography white things.

I like….

vanilla-yogurtthat this Icelandic-style yogurt tastes good.

that it has simple ingredients (pasteurized skim milk, organic agave nectar, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, live active cultures).

that it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or growth hormones.

that it has a tab you can pull it make it easy to remove the paper wrapper to recycle separately from the plastic tub.

that it doesn’t taste like it’s non-fat yogurt.

that a 5.3-ounce container has only 100 calories and 9 grams of sugar.

What do you like about Siggi’s yogurt?

Hug a Polar Bear, Take the Thermostat Challenge

February 9th, 2014

I know. I know! It’s a very yuck winter to be thinking about turning down the trusty thermostat, but will you do it in honor of International Polar Bear Day?

#PolarBearDay is February 27, and Polar Bears International is challenging you to take a not very icy plunge to lower carbon emissions.

 

polar-bear-international

 

All you have to do is lower your thermostat a couple degrees. If you live in a hot climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room temp is just a bit warmer, and if you live in a chilly climate, adjust your thermostat so that the room is a bit colder.

 

thermostat-challenge-1

 

Are you observing International Polar Bear Day?

Valentine’s Day Hints: Help Your Pet and Partner Get Along

February 5th, 2014

What better time to talk about love and pets than around Valentine’s Day?

Have you ever known a couple to break up over a pet? It happens more than you might think.

And sometimes it’s complicated. For example, one partner may be allergic to the other partner’s pet. That can be tough, but when it’s just a case of a pet and partner not getting along, well that’s a completely manageable situation!

valentine-hearts-candy

If a pet is coming between you and the love of your life, try these helpful tips from the ASPCA, and have a happy Valentine’s Day:

One: Ask your partner to be the bearer of all good things for your pet whenever possible. That means that your significant other should do the feeding and dispense treats. And, if your pet is up for it, your partner should also engage in play sessions with your pet.

Two: Ask your significant other not to force interaction with your pet. Pets tend to see the approach of someone they fear or distrust as a threat, so it’s best for your other to play it cool and let your pet make the first overture of friendship.

Three: Reward your pet with treats for every step it takes to investigate your girlfriend or boyfriend. Reward positive behaviors like sniffing, approaching or rubbing.

How have you solved problems between your pet and partner?

Thanks: Image via Maura Teague’s flickr photostream.

Merry Christmas with Alternative Holiday Trees

December 23rd, 2013

Merry Christmas to you, and happy end to 2013. It’s been a pretty good year.

Here’s a look at my Christmas trees this year. I bought a tree made from wood scraps. It was created by a local artist, so no, I don’t have the DIY for it, but if you’re imaginative enough, I bet you could figure this one out!

 

christmas-tree-wood

 

I love the colorful wooden ornaments! I see now that my old ceiling tile wasn’t such a great backdrop for the pic, but it will have to do.

 

reclaimed-christmas-tree

 

And here’s a look at something I experimented with this year. I have a lot of ornaments that have been gifted to me over the years. I keep explaining that I don’t put up a big Christmas tree because it’s just too much hassle with my two cats. I have no idea how my dog would react, and I don’t want to find out.

 

pasta-drying-rack

 

But I have ornaments anyhow, so I thought it would be nice to display them in a nontraditional way this year. I remembered the trusty old pasta drying rack, which hasn’t seen much action lately. I angled the ornaments to come to a point, and really it was kind of a fun project! The picture isn’t so great though, so forgive the blurry. Ah, maybe Santa should bring me photography talent. Or I should use my digital camera instead of my iPhone…

Once again, Merry Christmas. And, please have a charming 2014.

 







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