Podcast – Pierre’s Story with Dr. Mark Hanks

<Click to listen to podcast>

27AUG16-Pierres Story 400x400Don talks with Dr. Mark Hanks from Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic about Dr. Hank’s recent experience dealing with a serious health crisis with his dog Pierre. This was the first time that Mark had not treated one of his own pets in many years, and he describes how the experience has changed him and his approach to veterinary medicine.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>

©29AUG16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Homeopathy and Holistic Health Care for Pets – Dr. Christina Chambreau

<Click to listen to podcast>

30JUL16-Homeopathy-Holistic_Health_Care _Christina_Chambreau 400x400Don and Kate interview Dr. Christina Chambreau from Sparks, Maryland. Dr. Chambreau has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1980 and started using homeopathy in 1983, and with Dr. Richard Pitcairn, and Dr. Jana Rygas, was one of the founders of the Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy in 1995.

We ask Dr. Chambreau how she came to study homeopathy and add it to her practice, as well as other complementary veterinary medical modalities such as Reiki. Dr. Chambreau also discusses the importance of keeping a wellness journal for our pet. Lastly we discuss a seminar that Dr. Chambreau will offer in Maine called “The Introduction to Homeopathy.”

This seminar will be at Healing Spirit Farm, in Buckfield, ME on September 24th and 25, from 9 AM to 5 PM each day. You can learn more about the seminar at http://www.healingspiritfarm.com/ and more about Dr. Chambreau at http://christinachambreau.com/

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>

©30JUL16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry – Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic

<Click to listen to podcast>

23JUL16-Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry-Kindred 400x400Kate and Don discuss the growing problem of pet obesity in the United States with Dr. Chris Barry from Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic. We discuss why obesity is such a serious problem for our pets, and what we can do to manage their weight so that they live longer and healthier lives.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>


©23JUL16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – The Bangor Humane Society and the 23rd Annual Paws on Parade with Suzan Bell

<Click to listen to podcast>

20AUG16-Bangor Humane Society–Suzan Bell 400x400Kate and Don talk with Executive Director Suzan Bell from the Bangor Humane Society. We discuss the history of the organization, how they are funded, the amazing pets they care for and rehome, and their upcoming event and fundraiser, Paws on Parade. Tune in and learn more about this amazing organization that helps thousands of pets throughout northern and eastern Maine.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>

©23AUG16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Respiratory Disease in Cats-Dr. Mike McCaw – Veazie Veterinary Clinic

<Click to listen to podcast>

16JUL16-Respiratory Disease in Cats-Dr. 400x400First broadcast on 16JUL16, Don and Kate talk with Dr. Mike McCaw from the Veazie Veterinary Clinic about respiratory disease in cats; one of the top two health issues for our feline friends. We start our discussion with upper respiratory infections; symptoms, risk factors, potential causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Then we move on to asthma in cats and finally the detriment of second-hand smoke to our cat’s health.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>

©16JUL16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Behavior – Dog Bite Fatalities & Dog Bites – Parts 1, 2, and 3

<Updated 11JUN17>

< Part 1 of this article was published in the July 2016 issue of Downeast Dog News, and Part 2 was published in the August 2016 issue of Downeast Dog News, and Part 3 was published in the September 2016 issue of Downeast Dog News>

Dog Bite Fatalities & Dog Bites – Part 1

On Saturday, June 4th, deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a dog attack at a home in Corinna, ME. A seven-year-old boy died as a result of the attack.

Don and Muppy-Fall 2015-1As of a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, the media often contacts me to comment on incidents where a serious dog bite occurs, and this one was no different. The following week I was interviewed on two radio stations and by reporters from the three major TV networks in Maine. Typical questions in this type of interview are; why do dogs bite or kill, is it because of the dogs breed, and how could this have been prevented?  Unfortunately, because of the way the news works, I felt my comments were far too brief for a topic of this complexity. Without adequate information, I do not see the dog bite situation changing, so I arranged to interview a national expert on dog bites on The Woof Meow Show and to also to discuss this issue here in a series of articles.

How “serious” of a problem are dog bite fatalities?

Janis Bradley is a professional dog trainer, author and the Director of Communications & Publications for the National Canine Research Council. Her first book, Dogs Bite, But Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous was written as a result of an especially horrific dog attack and fatality that occurred in San Francisco in 2001. At the time, Bradley was working at the San Francisco ASPCA, teaching professional dog trainers and working with what would be considered ‘high-risk” dogs, yet she nor none of her colleagues had experienced a serious dog bite. Yet, both the local and the national media were giving extensive airtime to this incident using phrases like “dog bite epidemic.” As a result, Bradley started researching the academic literature on dog bites because she wanted to understand the seriousness of this issue. What she learned was that there was not much reliable research on dog bites. Thankfully, due to Bradley’s efforts, we have a better understanding of dog bites and fatalities today.

Dog bites resulting in fatalities to humans in the US are thankfully very rare. Over the last decade, there were about 30 human deaths per year due to dog bites.   That is about one person per 11 million people. While this is an extremely tragic event for all those in some way connected to the victim and the dog, statistics indicate that you are far more likely to be killed by other causes. For example:

  • You are1000 times more likely to be killed in a car accident or an accidental fall.
  • You are 500 times more likely to be murdered by another human.
  • You are 1.5 times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike.

The Center for Disease Control has stopped tracking dog bite related fatalities because they are so rare and cannot make any useful conclusions from the data.

While death by a dog bite is tragic, such deaths are exceeding rare, and it is their rareness and often the horrific nature of the incident that attract a disproportionate amount of media attention. Add to that the response by people on social media, and it is understandable how misinformation is created and circulates.

I want to thank the Penobscot County Sheriff’s office for their responsible release of information for this particular incident.

Next month I will address non-fatal dog bites and what we think we know and what we really know.

Dog Bite Fatalities & Dog Bites – Part 2

Last month I started a series on Dog Bite Fatalities and Dog Bites due to the death of a seven-year-old boy on Saturday, June 4th. My July column dealt specifically with fatalities from dog bites and the fact that while they are tragic, they are also quite rare. You are 1000 times more likely to be killed in a car accident or an accidental fall than to die as the result of a dog bite.

There are some common factors in dog bite fatalities. A study published in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) in December of 2013 identified several controllable factors that played a part in dog bite fatalities. Four or more of these factors were present in at least 80.5% of the dog bite fatalities examined.

No able-bodied person was present to intervene to attempt to stop the attack. In 87.1% of the cases reviewed, it is quite possible that an attack could have been prevented or interrupted if another person were present. This is why all interactions between a child and a dog should ALWAYS be closely monitored and supervised by a responsible adult. The same applies to an adult who may not have the physical or mental capacity to interact with the dog.

The victim had no relationship with the dog. In 85.2% of the incidents, the victim did not have an established relationship with the dog for at least ninety days. They were not necessarily a total stranger, but they were not part of the immediate household or one who interacted in a positive manner with the dog on a regular basis.

The dog had not been spayed or neutered in 84.4% of the incidents. The decision to spay or neuter a dog has many variables, and it is not as clear cut as it was a few years ago. In some cases, people delay a spay/neuter due to medical reasons or the cost. However, the benefits of spaying and neutering from an animal welfare and a behavioral perspective are also well established. An individual who does not choose to spay/neuter should consider that their decision may increase their dog’s probability of biting.

The victim was physically unable to manage their interaction with the dog or defend themselves due to their age or physical condition (77.4%). – For purposes of the study, “Victims were deemed unable to interact appropriately with the dog if they were < 5 years of age or they had limited mental or physical capacity that increased their vulnerability (e.g., dementia, alcohol intoxication, impairment from drugs, or uncontrolled seizure disorders). As noted above, dogs must be supervised when they are left around those who may not be able to control the dog.

The dog was not a family pet, but lived on the property, often kept outside and often kept in isolation from people, resulting in little or no regular opportunities for positive interactions with people (76.2%). It does not surprise me that dogs that are considered to be part of the family, and thus have a closer bond with people are less likely to bite as opposed to a dog that is mostly consigned to an outdoor kennel or being tied-out on a rope or chain. The study described the latter as “residential dogs.” Those that keep a residential dog as opposed to a family dog, should make sure that said the residential dog is contained to limit any possibility of interactions that could result in a bite.

There was a documented history of inadequate management of the dog (37.5%). In this case, there was evidence that the owner of the dog had allowed the dog to be a danger to others in the past as indicated by previous bite incidents or allowing the dog to run at large.

The owner abused or neglected the dog (21.6%). Neglect by an owner included the dog not being given access to shelter, food, or water or having an untreated medical condition. Abuse constituted cases where the dog was used for fighting or where there was clear evidence of deliberate physical punishment or deprivation.

So what about the breed of dog? This same study reported that the breed of the dog which had killed could NOT be reliably identified in more than 80% of the cases. Sadly, when a dog bite fatality is reported, often the first question from the public and media is “What breed was the dog?” Far too often the dogs breed then becomes the focus of local authorities who then propose new laws centered on breed (Breed Specific Legislation [BSL]) when the dogs breed is not relevant. This paper discusses other studies that have demonstrated that breed-specific legislation has not been effective at reducing dog bites or dog bite fatalities. That is why “…major professional bodies (e.g., veterinary associations in the United States and Europe, the American Bar Association, the National Animal Control Association, and major humane organizations have not recommended single-factor solutions such as BSL.”

Clearly, reducing dog bites is the responsibility of all of us. Next month I will address some of the things that I believe we could all do that would help do just that.

1 Gary J. Patronek, Jeffrey J. Sacks, Karen M. Delise, Donald V. Cleary, and Amy R. Marder. Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite–related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, December 15, 2013, Vol. 243, No. 12 , Pages 1726-1736.  (doi: 10.2460/javma.243.12.1726)

Part 3

Even though statistically, dog bites are not a serious societal problem, a dog bite, no matter how superficial, is a traumatic event for the person bitten, the dog and the dog’s owner. We need to do everything we can to prevent dog bites and it is going to take all of us if we want to be successful. We also need to understand how dog bites are classified by canine professionals, the legal system, and insurance companies. You can learn more about canine bite levels by downloading this poster from Dr. Sophia Yin <Click Here>

Here are my thoughts on what we can do to decrease the incidents of dog bites. First of all, we need to accept some basic facts.

  • All dogs, irrespective of breed or how good they have always behaved in the past have the potential to bite.
  • Misinformed beliefs about canine behavior and the continued use of aversive training tools and philosophies (choke, prong, and shock collars and the dominance construct) are a major reason for behavior problems such as aggression and dog bites which often result in a dog’s death.1
  • Most dogs give ample warning before biting, and if people would learn these signs, many dog bites could be prevented.
  • Not all dogs will like all other dogs nor will they like every person just because that is what we want.
  • If you have a dog that is aggressive and has bitten or has almost bitten, seek out professional help from your veterinarian and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant immediately. The longer this behavior continues, the longer you delay, the lower the probability of changing the behavior. Biting is often an emotional response and training alone will not make your dog feel emotionally safe. There is no evidence to suggest that dogs will outgrow this behavior.
  • Not all dogs with behavioral issues can be rehabilitated.

Prospective Dog Owners – Do not get a dog on impulse nor should you get a dog without first meeting it in person. You will hopefully have your dog for many years, probably longer than you keep your automobile and perhaps the home where you live. You are making a lifetime commitment, so it is essential you choose wisely.

Do your research before you start looking for a dog, Seek advice from trained professionals such as veterinarians, dog behavior consultants, and dog trainers. These individuals typically have knowledge and experience with a wide variety of dog breeds and temperaments and can provide less biased information than someone trying to convince you to adopt/purchase a dog.

If you are unsure of your ability to evaluate a puppy/dog, consider hiring a qualified pet care professional to assist you.

When you do agree to adopt/purchase a dog, make sure you have the return policy in writing.

Breeders are often criticized, and shelters and rescues are often given a free pass; judge both critically. In the past several years we have had more clients complain about bad experiences with rescues than with breeders or pet stores.

For my information on finding the right dog or puppy <Click Here>

Puppy/Dog Owners – Attend and complete a pain-free, force-free and fear-free dog training class with your puppy/dog, taught by a dog training professional accredited by either The Pet Professional Accreditation Board, The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. In my experience, most of the dogs that I see for aggression and other serious behavioral issues have never attended a training class and were often not properly socialized during the critical period between 8 and 16 weeks of age. Taking a training class with your dog will further your understanding of their behavior and needs and will strengthen your bond. For information on what to look for in a reputable trainer – <Click Here>

If the training class you attend does not thoroughly discuss behavior, canine body language, and dogs and kids, seek that knowledge elsewhere. You can find many articles on my blog (http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/),

Those Selling/Placing Puppies – Please make sure your puppies stay with their mother and siblings until they are 7 to 8 weeks of age. Puppies that do not have this opportunity to learn are often more likely to develop behavioral issues.

When you sell or place a puppy, make sure that you inform the new owners of the importance of properly socializing that puppy between 8 and 16 weeks of age. If you keep the puppy longer than eight weeks of age, make sure that you are properly socializing the puppy daily. Emphasize the importance of pain-free, force-free and fear-free training classes specifically structured for proper puppy socialization. For more information on puppy socialization <Click Here>

Shelters/Rescues – Rescue dogs, and I have had several, can be wonderful companions; however, they often have a rough start in life and thus have a higher probability of behavioral problems. Do your best to assess a dog’s behavior and to be completely and totally truthful about what you learn or suspect. Do not omit any information, even if you believe it will make the dog less adoptable. You are not doing your organization, or the dog, any favors when you adopt out a dog with a history of biting or aggression.

Thoroughly assess, in-person, any potential adopter. Please make sure an adopter is physically and mentally equipped to care for the dog. Be especially careful with adoptions to the elderly who may have been able to care for their 12-year-old sedentary Doberman, but will find a young, hyperactive Doberman with behavioral issues beyond their capabilities, despite their best intentions.

Understand that placements do not always work out. If a dog you have placed is threatening people in its new home or bites someone, be proactive in removing the dog immediately. Do not attempt to shame the family into keeping the dog by telling them that it will be euthanized or require that they keep the dog until you find a foster home.

All Pet Professionals (Veterinarians, Dog Behavior Consultants, Dog Trainers, Boarding Kennel & Daycare Operators, Groomers, Shelters & Rescues) – Read and make sure you understand the American Animal Hospital Association 2015 AAHA Behavior Management Guidelines and adopt an official policy statement demonstrating your support of these standards. Ensure that you train all staff and volunteers on the basic premises of the guidelines as well as canine and feline behavior, canine, and feline body language, and the standard definition of bite levels. Commit to pain-free, force-free and fear-free pet care and make that philosophy a core part of your educational efforts in your community.

1 American Animal Hospital Association, AAHA 2015 Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines, https://www.aaha.org/professional/resources/behavior_management_guidelines.aspx


Thank you to colleagues Mychelle Blake, CDBC, Gail Fisher, CDBC, Tracy Haskell, CPDT-KA, and ,Melissa McCue-McGrath, CPDT-KA for their input on this column.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Adopting A Pet – Finding the Right Dog for You and Your Familyhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/01/16/adopting-a-pet-finding-the-right-dog-for-you-and-your-family/

How to Choose a Dog Trainer http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/01/08/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/06/27/dog-behavior-puppy-socialization-and-habituation/

Pet Behavior as an Essential Component to Holistic Wellnesshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/10/28/pet-behavior-and-wellness-pet-behavior-as-an-essential-component-to-holistic-wellness/

Canine Body Language – How To Greet A Dog and What to Avoid – Dr. Sophia Yinhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/04/canine-body-language-how-to-greet-a-dog-and-what-to-avoid-dr-sophia-yin/

Dog Behavior – Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

Canine Behavior – What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/07/18/canine-behavior-what-should-i-do-when-my-dog-growls/

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/11/01/canine-behavior-understanding-identifying-and-coping-with-canine-stress/

Behavior Consulting – Management of An Aggressive, Fearful or Reactive Doghttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/04/behavior-consulting-management-of-an-aggressive-fearful-or-reactive-dog/


Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 Podcast – Dog Bites and Fatalities with Janis Bradleyhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/06/24/podcast-dog-bites-and-fatalities-with-janis-bradley/


Web Sites

Was It Just a Little Bite or More? Evaluating Bite Levels in Dogs – https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/was-it-just-a-little-bite-or-more-evaluating-bite-levels-in-dogs/

Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale (Official Authorized Version) – http://www.dogtalk.com/BiteAssessmentScalesDunbarDTMRoss.pdf

Dr. Sophia Yin Canine Bite Levels Posterhttp://info.drsophiayin.com/download-the-bite-levels-poster

Dog Bite Preventionhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-bite-prevention


©11JUN17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>


Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Food

< Updated 18JUL21 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/VitalEssAtGAKS >

This post was originally written in August of 2016 after my wife Paula, and I toured the Carnivore Meat Company plant in August of 2016. We continue to offer Vital Essentials® line of frozen and freeze-dried pet foods, snacks and treats at Green Acres Kennel Shop. It is also one of the foods we feed our personal pets. I have updated the post to reflect Vital Essential’s current offerings and to include links to two new podcasts recorded in July of 2021.

As you probably know, Green Acres is pretty persnickety when it comes to adding a new food line. Just because a manufacturer or distributor wants us to sell their VE_Logo_Primary_webproduct does not mean we automatically say “Yes” and allow their products on our shelves. Even if we know a pet food brand is a big seller in other stores if we are not comfortable feeding that food to our pets, we will not sell it at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

We first started looking at Vital Essentials in the fall of 2015, requesting information on the company and the products. After carefully reviewing the information provided, we were very impressed and took the next step; to try the product with our pets. We were extremely pleased with our pet’s reaction to the food and decided to add Vital Essentials to our offerings at the end of April of 2016. At the same time, Vital Essentials helped us bring Dr. Richard Patten to town to present two free seminars on pet nutrition. You can view one of those

Vital Essentials VP Kevin Malnor, Paula Hanson & Don Hanson

seminars as a video at http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton.

At the end of July 2016, Paula and I visited the Vital Essentials plant in Green Bay, WI. After meeting with the company President and marketing, quality, and production team, we are even more pleased to have Vital Essentials as part of our product line-up. Thank you for your hospitality and openness!

What We Like About the Vital Essentials® Company

  • PIONEERS – The commercialization of raw pet food for pets started to take off in the early 2000s. However, Vital Essentials’ roots in the raw food for pets business go back to 1968. They are a pioneer in the raw pet food industry and continue to be an innovator. In November of 2020, they received their second consecutive award from Pet Independent Innovation. Vital Essentials FUSION Dinner Patties were recognized as the Frozen/Raw Dog Food Product of the Year.
  • FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED – Vital Essentials is family-owned and operated. They create the formulations, purchase the raw ingredients, produce, package, and sell the food. From our twenty years of experience in this industry, we have observed that smaller companies like Vital Essentials make a better product and are more committed to their retailers and end-users, you and your pets.
  • PET FOCUSED – Vital Essentials only provides meat products for pets. They are not in the business of making candy, baby formula, or jam like the conglomerates in the pet food industry; Mars, Nestle, and Smucker’s. During our visit, company President Lanny Viegut indicated that he views Vital Essentials more as a meat shop for pets than a pet food company. We like that description and its focus on pets.
  • COMMITTED TO SOURCING QUALITY INGREDIENTS – Vital Essentials recognizes that their products’ quality depends on the farmers that raise the animals that are the raw ingredients for their food and treats. That is why they make sure that those animals are fed species-appropriate diets free of; added antibiotics and hormones, artificial preservatives or coloring, rendered by-products, added fillers or flavorings, and synthetic vitamins or minerals. In addition, their suppliers operate under the auspices of the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.
  • THEY KNOW MEAT & NUTRITION – Vital Essentials® understands that dogs and
    Freshly Ground Beef Patties Being Flash Frozen
    Freshly ground beef patties being flash frozen

    and cats are carnivores that need meat in their diet and do not need soluble carbohydrates in the amounts found in most pet foods. In addition, with their extensive experience in the meat processing industry, they know and understand that how meat is handled is critical to their food’s nutritional value. For that reason, No meat is hung to dry, and all meat is flash-frozen within 45 minutes of slaughter.

  • COMMITTED TO QUALITY AND SAFETY – Vital Essentials complies with the Global Food Safety Initiative FSSC 22200. They were the first company in the raw pet food category to receive this certification. This means that their product packaging must list ALL ingredients; additives, preservatives, antioxidants, and color. Unlike US regulations, no ingredients can be hidden. By meeting this standard, Vital Essentials products are fit for human consumption.
  • INNOVATIVE PROCESSING – Vital Essentials proprietary 48-hour “slow” Freeze-Drying process locks in vital nutrients without cooking the raw meat. The fresh, life-sustaining nutrients are NEVER lost. It allows the food to be safely and conveniently stored without refrigeration.
  • INNOVATIVE PACKAGING – Vital Essentials freeze-dried foods and treats are packaged in bags impervious to oxygen. Each bag is flushed with nitrogen before the bag is sealed to remove all oxygen from the package. This keeps the food fresher.
  • THEIR MISSION – We love the Vital Essentials® mission: “We believe that every dog and cat in the world; regardless of financial means, urban or rural, deserves the opportunity to have access to the finest food available. We also believe that, other than natural prey, we provide the most healthy, delicious, innovative and biologically appropriate, commercially available pet food in the world. Therefore, we will leverage our God-given talents, passion and resources to do whatever is necessary to ensure that every dog parent or cat parent who wants us or needs us will have a convenient and effective mechanism to access and procure our “World Class” pet food and treats, in the United States and around the world.”

What We Like About Vital Essentials Food

  • SINGLE PROTEINS – The Vital Essential entrées are made with a single animal protein. This is critical if your dog has food insensitivities or intolerances. Also, because these foods are so simple and natural, they are an ideal choice for a pet intolerant or “allergic” to certain food ingredients.
  • MULTIPLE PROTEIN CHOICES – Green Acres has been an advocate of rotating your pet’s diet for many years. The numerous protein options available from Vital Essentials make that very easy.
    • DOGS – Flash-Frozen options are available in the following proteins; beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, salmon, and turkey. Freeze-Dried options include; beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, and turkey.
    • CATS – Flash-Frozen options are available in the following proteins; chicken, duck, rabbit, and turkey. Freeze-dried options include; beef, chicken, duck, pork, rabbit, and turkey.
  • Depending on the size of your pet and the number of pets in your home, it is helpful to have various formats of food in different sizes available. You might prefer to feed frozen at home because it is less expensive but choose to use freeze-dried when you travel because it needs no refrigeration but is still as nutritious as frozen food. We feed mostly frozen but always keep freeze-dried on hand when we have not prepped frozen food ahead of time. Muppy loves either.
    • DOGS –Vital Essentials frozen entrées are available as patties. Freeze-dried entrées are available as toppers, mini-nibs, nibblets, mini-patties, and patties
    • CATS
    • Flash-frozen options include; patties and tubs. Freeze-dried entrées are available as toppers, mini-nibs, and patties.
  • EASY TRANSITIONS –It is often beneficial to slowly switch a pet to a new food; vital Essentials offer many different options for transitioning to their product. One of the easiest ways to do so is with their freeze-dried toppers. All you need to do is sprinkle some of the topper on your pet’s existing food, either at every meal or at a frequency that is within your budget. Even if you do not feed a raw diet regularly, your pet will benefit and enjoy the addition of toppers on an intermittent basis.

What We Like About Vital Essentials Treats & Snacks

Don Learning to roll a cod skin so it can be freeze dried for the VE Raw Bar

Vital Essentials takes the same approach to their treat and RAW BAR products as they do their food. Their freeze-dried training treats make an excellent choice for a high-value training treat. Likewise, the items found on the Raw Bar are an excellent alternative to less-healthy options like rawhides and plasticized dental treats

  • Freeze-Dried options include; beef liver, beef nibs, beef tripe, chicken breast, chicken hearts, duck nibs, lamb, minnows, rabbit bites, turkey giblets, and wild Alaskan salmon.
  • CAT TREATS – Freeze-dried cat treats include; ahi tuna, chicken breast, chicken giblets, chicken hearts, duck liver, minnows, rabbit bites, wild Alaskan salmon.
  • FREEZE-DRIED DOG SNACKS – bully sticks, chicken necks, cod skins, duck heads, duck hearts, duck necks, moo sticks, pig ears, pig snouts, turkey necks, and salmon skins are available as nutritious snack options for your dog.
  • FREEZE-DRIED CAT SNACKS –chicken necks, cod skins, duck heads, duck hearts, duck necks, and salmon skins are available as nutritious snack options for your cat.
  • TRIPE – Green Tripe is an excellent source of probiotics, calcium, digestive enzymes, and much more. Tripe promotes a healthy digestive system and boosts a pets’ immune system. It is a superfood for dogs. I add a few nibblets to Muppy’s dish at almost every meal.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttps://bit.ly/VitalEssAtGAKS

Video The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/RuinedByExcess-BookReview

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts  )

 Vital Essentials Pet Food-Part 1-The Company-17JUL21 – https://bit.ly/WfMw-VE1-17JUL21

 Vital Essentials Pet Food-Part 2-The Company-24JUL21 – https://bit.ly/WfMw-VE2-24JUL21

Podcasts-Two Conversations with Animal Nutritionist Dr. Richard Pattonhttps://bit.ly/WfMw2wPattonAPR21

Web Sites

Vital Essentials Website – http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/


©18JUL21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Our Pets – Remembering Hanger

After Batman had passed in April of 2013, we talked about getting another cat, but Paula indicated she was not ready. That was until a June day in 2014 when she came home with Hanger.

In Memory of Hanger 800x800Hanger was 12 years old and in need of a home when Paula found her at the ARK in Cherryfield, ME. She was named Hanger because apparently as a kitten she enjoyed hanging on window screens.

Hanger settled into our home very quickly, extremely tolerant of Muppy’s curiosity about the new addition sitting in Paula’s lap every night. If Paula was in her recliner, the odds were Hanger would be either on her lap or lying on her chest.

In December Hanger was having some issues with one of her ears which ended up being diagnosed as a squamous cell carcinoma in January. The typical surgical intervention, removal of the ear canal, would have been quite traumatic for Hanger so on the advice of Hanger’s veterinarian we elected to explore other options. Working with our homeopathic veterinarian, we saw significant improvement and all of the lesions in Hanger’s ear disappeared very quickly.

Unfortunately by July of 2015 Hanger had become less social, ate less and was losing weight. While additional treatments helped some, she had not eaten for the past few days. At her examination on August 4th, 2014 it was evident that she had a growth inside her nasal cavity which was making it difficult if not impossible to eat. Sadly we decided it was time to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Hanger you were only with us for a short time, but you fit right in and we feel fortunate to have had you as part of our family. Hanger, rest easy and thank you for sharing your life with us.

©04AUG16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

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Our Pets – Remembering Trivia (13NOV74 – 04AUG89)

< Updated 15JAN21 )

< A short link to this post – http://bit.ly/TriviaNOV74AUG89 >

This morning (13JAN10) as I opened my Outlook calendar I saw a small notation in purple, the color I use to denote birthdays and anniversaries, stating “Trivia Arrives (1975).” It was thirty-five years ago today that I brought home my first dog, a cute little ball of black fluff I would name Trivia and end up calling “Trivy” for short.

TriviaI had wanted a dog since I was five. We lived in an apartment most of my childhood and a dog had never been an option. The autumn of my junior year in high school we moved into a house, and that changed. Around my seventeenth birthday, my parents told me I could get a dog but that I would need to be financially responsible for it. They made it clear that it would be my job to feed it and more importantly, especially to my father, it would be me that would pick-up the “dog crap.”

As I look back now, I understand how my parent’s decision could be considered to be less than wise. My dad would be retiring in a year, and my parents most certainly realized that I was at an age when I would not be around as much. They loved to travel and to get a dog now would clearly tie them down. They knew that I planned on going to college and must of suspected that I would not live up to my end of the deal, but they said yes. I am so grateful that they did.

I started my search for my first dog at the Dane County Humane Society, but I could not find the “right dog” for me. I ended up at the Monroe Street Pet Shop in Madison, WI, which unlike most pet shops at the time, sold mixed breed puppies. That was all I could afford and as far as I was concerned a dog was a dog. I had no clear vision of breed or look; I just wanted a dog.

The pet shop had two puppies reported to be from a mother that was a Poodle/Keeshond mix. The clerk joked “They never caught the father.” One of the pups had a Poodle-like coat and was quiet and shy. The other pup, the one I would take home and name Trivia, had wavy hair and was as excited to see me as I was to see her. It was love at first sight. I left the pet shop with Trivia, a collar, a leash, food and water bowls, a couple of toys, a rawhide, and the name of the veterinarian recommended by the pet shop. I was thirty plus dollars poorer but felt like the richest guy on the planet.

Over the next few days, I made sure Trivia had her shots and was spayed. I fed her a veterinarian recommended puppy food, got her licensed, and loved her. However, I certainly didn’t provide her with the level of care and devotion she deserved or what we would expect today.

I made no attempts to train Trivy and at the time had no idea dog training classes even existed. As a result, Trivia was not house trained properly as a puppy. When we moved again a year later, she ended up spending time in the basement or an outside pen when I was not around to prevent accidents in the house. Sadly, as I became more interested in girls and other extracurricular activities, I was around less and less. My mom, as so many mothers do, ended up stepping in and taking care of Trivia, making sure she had food and water, opportunities to go outside and some level of human interaction. I did not exactly abandon Trivia, but she was clearly not the priority she should have been, and as a result spent more time outside or in the basement then she should have.

Like many dogs, Trivia loved the snow. I still remember that first winter when she would dive into a fluffy snow bank and bury her head, then pull it out to shake off the snow. She was a social butterfly in that she never met a person she did not like. When I had friends over or had a party, Trivia always had to be in the middle of it, and my friends always insisted that she be there.

She was afraid of rabbits or at least acted like it. I can still picture the day we walked around a corner of the house and came within three feet of a cottontail. The rabbit just sat there, and Trivia immediately rolled over on her back before the rabbit could strike.

Snakes were a different matter. We found evidence of several snakes she had dispatched in her pen and even one in the basement. When we would take her for walks, we started to notice how Trivia would detect snakes well over 60 feet away. It is fortunate for her we had no venomous snakes where we lived.

Trivia liked toys and was especially fond of an old tennis shoe. My father was more than a bit distressed at her amorous adventures with that shoe, questioning poor Trivia’s sexuality. Strangely Trivia was never a big chewer other than some minor puppy explorations on a kitchen cabinet. She still had her one and only rawhide the day she died, as intact as it was the day I brought her home as a puppy.

Although I had never taught her bite inhibition Trivia was not a voracious play biter, nor did she ever bite anyone. I am proud to say that she never experienced the physical pain of a choke collar or a leash correction, nor was she ever yelled at. I did not teach her to sit; I had no idea how to do that nor could I see a compelling reason why I should teach her to sit.

When Paula and I got married three years later, I was around even less as we moved into our apartment leaving Trivia with my parents. A year and a half later I graduated from college, and we moved into another apartment, even further away, to be close to my new job. Finally, when Trivia was about six and a half years old, we were able to buy our first home. It was a duplex, so we were reunited with Trivia as well as my parents.

We finally got Trivia a crate. When we were away at work, she spent time out in her pen or with my parents. When we were home, she spent time with us and at night slept in her crate. She still loved toys and had a green frog and an old sock that were favorites. She still had the old tennis shoe, but that was kept out in her pen.

It was at this time that we started to call her “Hoover” for the excellent job she did cleaning up the crumbs in the dining room and kitchen. Somehow she also must have overcome her fear of rabbits as we also had two Netherland Dwarfs at the time and she just ignored them. We would take her for walks in the park down near the river and had a great time together.

Life continued, and when Trivia was almost twelve years old, I changed jobs. Once again I was driving over an hour to work, and when Paula started doing the same a year later, we rented a small apartment in Madison. We stayed there during the week while Trivia stayed with my parents at our house. We still got to see her most weekends, and my parents were quite attached to her, but it was also evident that Trivia missed our being around. Sadly, that situation remained until Trivia crossed the rainbow bridge three years later.

Whether due to hybrid vigor or something else Trivia was the epitome of the good of health. She never had a flea collar or flea shampoo, things like FrontLine and Sentinel did not even exist, and in spite of all the time she spent outdoors she never had a flea. She was never ill and never experienced an accident that required an emergency trip to the vet until the last six months of her life.

The decline in Trivia’s health started with bladder control issues and then some trouble getting around. Then one day she tumbled down the stairs, and I thought for sure we had lost her. She was barely breathing and motionless. It was a Sunday, and this was before the days of emergency veterinary hospitals. We finally found a vet that offered 24-hour service and rushed Trivia off to see him. She survived, but it was shortly after that that she was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome. Paula was working for a veterinarian at the time, and we started Trivia on a course of treatment, but she quietly passed away in her sleep a few days later just a few months shy of what would have been her fifteenth birthday.

I know there are those that insist animals have no souls and therefore that we will not be reunited with them in the afterlife. I do not know what the “afterlife” is, but I am quite confident that Trivia is there and has been watching me and guiding me every day since she crossed the rainbow bridge. She has helped me be a better guardian to the dogs that joined our family after her (Gus, Shed, Queenie, Crystal, Tikken and Dulcie). Every day my experiences with Trivia help me work with others and their dogs. I know Trivia influences me every single day.

Trivia you were small of stature and your name suggests you were unimportant and insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth. You had a huge heart and a tremendous capacity to give. Thank you for being part of my life then and now.

©4AUG16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foods

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

3aug13-bravo-rationale-for-feeding-raw-400x400In this episode of The Woof Meow Show on August 3rd, 2013, Kate and Don interview Bette Schubert one of the founders of Bravo Pet Foods. We discuss how and why Bette became one of the pioneers of the raw pet food industry. We will talk about the rationale for feeding our pets a diet of raw food and recent changes in regulations affecting the pet food industry.

< Click to Listen to Podcast>


Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

What do you feed your dog?http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/


Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow <Click here for a free download>

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

Web Sites

Bravo Pet Foods – http://www.bravopetfoods.com/index.html


©03AUG13, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>