2017 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cats, Dogs, and Their People

It is the holidays, and once again it is time for us to find that special gift for our favorite feline, our delightful dog, and maybe even for our family members, friends, and co-workers who have pets. Green Acres Kennel Shop has come up with a list of gift ideas. To make it easy for you, we have categorized our recommendations by cats, dogs, cats and dogs, and people, Happy gift giving!

Especially for Cats

The Kong Company is well known for their dog toys, and they are stepping up the game with cat toys.

Kong Refillables are soft, snuggly, and plush. However, best of all, each one has a re-closable pouch to securely hold fresh catnip. The toys include a generous amount of KONG’s premium North American catnip in a re-closable vial.

When the catnip scent starts to fade, just add more fresh catnip for another round of fun! Catnip can be stored in the freezer to help keep it fresh. The toy is machine washable with the catnip removed.

Watch your cat attack, wrestle and snuggle with its KONG Kickeroo. This unique cat toy appeals to a cat’s instinctive desire to stalk and capture prey. The Kickeroo’s size, shape, and material were specially chosen to promote wrestling and hind paw kicking.

The fluffy tail provides movement for extra excitement, not to mention there is a generous amount of KONG’s potent North American catnip inside to further encourage play. Don’t be surprised if the Kickeroo becomes your cat’s favorite toy.


The KONG Snake Teaser is perfect for fun, interactive play and a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Irresistible feathers and unpredictable movement will stimulate your feline friend’s natural hunting instincts and provide beneficial exercise. The Snake Teaser is sure to bring out the playful tiger in any cat. Durable and safe, this item is for supervised play only.



Vital Essential Cat Treats – Cats appreciate treats just like our dogs do, but so many of the cat treats on the market are filled with unhealthy ingredients. Why not give your cat a treat that they will love and that is good for them. Vital Essentials cat treats come in a wide variety of formulas, and all are 100% freeze-dried meat. You can choose from Wild Alaskan Salmon, Chicken Breast, Chicken Giblets, Minnows, Duck Liver, Rabbit, and Ahi Tuna. Treat your cat like the friend you know they are!

Beco Cat Bowls – If you have not noticed, our cats are sensitive to their environment, including the types of dishes we use to feed them. The Beco Bowl for cats has a much lower rim so that our feline friend’s sensitive whiskers do not brush up against the sides making dinner time that much easier. Many sophisticated cats may refuse to eat out of a metal or plastic bowl, but because Beco’s bamboo plastic is toxin-free, they will happily eat out of the Beco Bowl. We have been using the Beco bowls in the cattery at Green Acres for a year now, and the cats love them

Especially for Dogs

Benebone Chews – Dogs love to chew, so one of the gifts you can give them that you will both appreciate is a chew toy. Our favorite new chew toys come from a company called Benebone; a small, family owned company that makes these fantastic treats right here in the USA. Benebone products are chew toys made of super-strong nylon and food-grade bacon, peanuts, and chicken. They use no chemicals or artificial flavors. The Wishbone comes in three sizes and three flavors while the Dental Chew comes in three flavors and two sizes. Our dogs love their Benebone’s and believe your dog would love one in their stocking.


Beco Environmentally Friendly Toys – Although your dog has probably not told you they are an eco-warrior, the fact is degradations in our environment are even more harmful to our pets than they are to us. That is why we love Beco Pets, a company that makes eco-friendly, long lasting and fun products for pets.

The Beco Hoop on a Rope is made from 100% natural rice husk rubber and is attached to natural cotton rope.  It is designed to be as stretchy and flexible as possible. It is the perfect toy for older dogs with fragile teeth, and the smaller version offers a great teether for any puppy, as it is soft and lightweight, while really durable.

Each Beco Soft Toy has an irresistible squeaker inside, and its covers are double cross stitched making them especially durable! These toys are made from recycled plastic bottles and are named after employees at Beco.

The Beco Jungle Triple Knot is the perfect rope toy for long distance throwing and fetch. The Beco Rope toys are made from 98% Hemp and 2% recycled cotton. Hemp is a very eco-friendly material as it grows very quickly and no pesticides or fertilizers are used in the growing process. Most importantly though it is better for your dog as unlike cotton and synthetic ropes, it has very short fibers which are more easily digestible. The short fibers mean that hemp is tougher than cotton or synthetic ropes, as it is harder for the dog to pull apart. Beco Hemp rope toys are better for you dog and better for the environment.

Ruffwear Toys & Coats – Ruffwear makes great clothing and toys for dogs.

The Ruffwear Huckama™ Rubber Throw Toy moves like a critter and is fun to chase. This durable, interactive toy keeps dogs engaged with its erratic bounce and roll. The hollow design accepts food for treat rewards and whistles when hurled through the air. Made from sustainable, natural latex rubber, a renewable resource.

The Ruffwear Gourdo™ Rubber Throw Toy rubber toy is designed for interactive play, from tugging to throwing, this durable rubber toy does it all. The kernmantle [really, strong and flexible] rope lanyard makes it easy to throw and pick up, while avoiding the slobbery rubber end.

Please note:  All Ruffwear toys are interactive and intended for supervised play. They are not designed to be chew toys. Once the interactive play has finished, place the Ruffwear toy out of your dog’s reach and replace with a designated chew toy.

The Ruffwear Front Range™ Harness is an everyday harness that is easy to put on and comfortable for dogs to wear. The harness features two leash attachment points: an aluminum V-ring centered on the dog’s back for everyday walks, and reinforced webbing at the dog’s chest for training or additional control. The ID pocket keeps dog tags quiet and easily accessible.

We live in Maine and let’s admit it; sometimes even our dogs are happier in a coat. The Ruffwear Overcoat™ is a classic cold-weather utility jacket. This vest-style jacket is built with sturdy, durable materials to keep up with the most active dog. Wind- and water-resistant outer fabric protects against harsh elements, while interior recycled polyester fleece lining keeps body heat in. Side-release buckles on both sides provide easy on/off, and a leash portal allows the Overcoat to be worn over our Front Range™ Harness.

Another favorite dog toy at Green Acres is made right here in Maine. The Floating Rope Fetch Toy by Downeast Nautical is a favorite, especially for dogs that love the water! My dog Muppy is a certified landlubber but still loves retrieving her rope toy when I toss it from the living room to the far end of the kitchen.

This fall we brought in a new line of soft toys from Tall Tails. The Tall Tails Plush Squirrel is inspired by the outdoors and is designed for endless interactive play. The squeaker is sewn into a separate pouch and stitched into the seam for extra protection against choking, while the plush exterior makes for a soft and friendly companion. While I was writing this post, my dog Muppy found this toy on the floor where I had inadvertently dropped it. I heard the noise, knew she was having fun, and realized that due to my inattention I had just bought her a new toy. Muppy gives the Tall Tails Plush Squirrel 5 Paws. She is sure that your dog would also like the Chipmunk, Duck, Goose, Fish and other toys in the Tall Tails family.

Vital Essentials Treats and Snacks – A favorite line of training treats are the Freeze Dried Meat Treats from Vital Essentials. They are small,  high value, come in a variety of flavors, and are a very healthy option. Please note, that while labeled dog treats, cats love these treats as well.

Training treats are great for training and giving our dog a small reward; however, like most of us, I occasionally like to give Muppy a special snack. That is when I go to the Vital Essentials Raw Bar for the tasty and healthy snacks she loves. Muppy’s personal favorites are the freeze-dried chicken necks and duck necks. They are the perfect size for her. Other dogs love the cod skins, salmon skins, turkey necks, turkey wings, and bully sticks. If you are looking for a high value and healthy snack, check-out the selection at the Vital Essentials Raw Bar.

Earth Animal No-Hide Chews are a healthier and more digestible alternative to Rawhide. No-Hide Chews gives new meaning to dog snack. They are more durable and digestible than any other chew on the market and dogs love them.

No-Hide Chews are available in Chicken, Beef, and their new Pork flavor.

Especially for Both Cats and Dogs

Raw Rewards Treats from Northwest Naturals are the latest addition to our treat selection at the Green Acres Kennel Shop. One of the things we like about these treats is that they are equally yummy to dogs and cats. However, we also love that they are manufactured in a quality controlled USDA human food inspected facility from meat sourced in the USA and New Zealand. These freeze-dried treats have only a single ingredient, making them ideal for pets with food-related sensitivities. Raw Rewards Beef Liver, Bison Liver, Chicken Liver, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver and Salmon treats are highly palatable and easy to feed.

Especially for People with Pets

At the top of my gift recommendations for dog owners, this year is the new book A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge –If your family includes children and a dog, if you have children that spend time with friends and family members that have a dog, or if you have a dog that spends any time around children, you, your children, and your dog will benefit from your reading A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!.

The goal of this new book from author Niki Tudge and Doggone Safe is to provide a resource that anyone can use to teach children how to be safe around dogs by teaching them how to “speak dog.” As a dog training instructor that teaches both adults and children how to train their dogs, we make teaching canine body language part of our classes. What I have learned over the past 22 years is that before taking a dog training class, even most adults are not aware of most aspects of “speaking dog,” which is why I believe this book will be of value to both children and adults.

A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! is written to be used as an interactive resource and uses cartoons and photographs to illustrate body language dogs use to signal when they are happy, afraid, and angry. By teaching children, and adults, how to read and respond to these signs the book helps keep people and dogs safe. The world is full of children and dogs, and it is essential that we teach them how to interact safely. A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! combined with a parent or teacher does just that.  I give this book five paws!

If you have a pet, you have pet hair in places where you would rather not have pet hair. The easiest and most effective way to remove that pet hair is with the Fur-Zoff. This simple tool does the job far better than anything else we have found. Bangor’s own amazing automobile detailer Jesse Bell of Adept Auto Detailing swears by his Fur-Zoff.



A Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card – If you just cannot decide or are unsure what to get, you cannot go wrong with a Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card. Available in the denominations of $5 and up, they can be used for any product or services at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

©5DEC17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Ticks! & New Products to Keep Them Away

Everyone is reporting it that it is going to be a terrible year for ticks. Considering the increase in incidents of Lyme disease and the other diseases spread by ticks you will want to take preventive measures for yourself and your pets. Ticks are not limited to tall grass and the woods. I know several people who have found them on their pets and on themselves just from being on a well-groomed lawn.

So what do you do to avoid the tick menace? First and foremost make sure that your dog is tested for Lyme annually. Secondly, consider tick preventatives for you, your pets and your lawn. We have several products at Green Acres that you might find helpful.

Cedarcide Original Personal + Pet + Home Spray

Cedarcide Original (formerly known as Best Yet) is a safe, all-natural, non-toxic insecticide made in the USA from 10% Cedar Oil and no DEET. This versatile cedar-based solution is fast and effective on everything from general insect control to major infestations. Cedarcide Original’s quick-drying, non-staining formula makes it great for personal, pet and home use. It is safe for people and pets of all ages and can be applied directly to the skin as a repellent. Cedarcide Original kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, chiggers, ants, flies, moths and more.

Tips for Using Cedarcide Original

People – Spray directly on skin, clothing, and gear to kill and repel insects & other pests. Use hands to apply to face-do–not spray directly. Avoid contact with eyes. Use before and after outdoor activities to kill and repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting pests. Reapply as needed.

Pets – Spray a light mist directly on fur, or spray onto hands and massage into coat until the solution reaches the skin. Use hands to apply to face-do not spray directly. Be sure to apply to apply all over, including armpits, in between toes, and on and around ears and tail. Use on pets before and after outdoor activities to kill and repel pests like fleas & ticks. Reapply as needed.

For Cats – Use sparingly, and apply with hands. Test for sensitivity with light initial application. On rare occasions, some cats have shown moderate sensitivity to Cedarcide Original.

Home – Spray as needed to kill and repel insects in all areas of the home: including flooring, counters, doorways, window frames, furniture, and pet areas. Cedarcide Original dries clear and will not stain.

Cedarcide TickShield Extra-Strength Organic Insect Spray

Made from 20% Cedar Oil, not DEET, this product kills and repels ticks, mosquitos, fleas, bed bugs and many other insects. Made in the USA from all natural, non-toxic ingredients the oils and scent of the natural Texas cedar oil deters ticks from attaching to you and the TickShield formula kills on contact by attacking the tick’s respiratory system and softening the exoskeleton. TickShield is Cedarcide’s strongest and longest-lasting formula, making it an ideal choice for hikers, campers and those who frequently spend time outdoors. TickShield dries quickly and will not stain.

If you want a natural and safe solution for tick removal and prevention, TickShield should be your first choice. TickShield is safe to use on humans, including small children.  TickShield is not recommended for any cats or dogs under 15lbs.

Tips for Using Cedarcide TickShield Extra-Strength

People – Spray directly on skin, clothing, and gear to kill and repel insects & many other pests. Use hands to apply to face-do not spray directly. Avoid contact with eyes. Use before and after outdoor activities to kill and repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting pests. Reapply as needed.

Pets – TickShield should only be used on medium to large size pets. Spray a light mist directly on fur, on a brush, or spray onto hands and massage into coat until the solution reaches the skin. Use hands to apply to face–do not spray directly. Be sure to apply all over, including armpits, in between toes, and on and around ears and tail. Use on pets before and after outdoor activities to kill and repel pests like fleas & ticks. Reapply as needed.

For Cats: We do NOT recommend using TickShield on cats.

Home – Spray as needed to kill and repel insects in all areas of the home: including flooring, counters, furniture, doorways, window frames and pet areas. TickShield dries clear and will not stain.

Cedarcide Cedar Suds Original Cedar Pet Shampoo

Safe for people, the environment and pets of all ages and sizes, Cedarsuds gently removes mats and tangles while leaving your pet with a shiny, clean, and great smelling coat. The Original Cedar scent formula safeguards your pets from insects and other pests, such as fleas, ticks, flies, mosquitoes, chiggers and other biting insects.

Cedarcide YardSafe

Yardsafe is an all-natural, nontoxic and ready-to-use solution for outdoor pest control. Yardsafe eliminates unwanted insects without adversely impacting the soil or the environment. Use Yardsafe on lawns, gardens, pet spaces, sports fields, barns, agricultural land, foundation barriers and countless other outdoor spaces. Yardsafe kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, chiggers, ants, flies, moths and many other pests.

Cedarcide PetSafe Granules

PetSafe Granules are made of 100% Cedar shavings and are safe for pets, plants, and people. Use this natural repellent to keep pests such as bugs, scorpions, and snakes out of your yard.


Recommended Resources

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

Pet Health and Wellness – External Parasites – Ticks and Fleashttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2014/05/03/pet-health-and-wellness-external-parasites-ticks-and-fleas/

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

Podcast – Worms, Fleas, and Ticks, Oh My!-Parasites & Your Pets with Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinichttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/24/podcast-worms-fleas-and-ticks-oh-my-parasites-your-pets-with-dr-dave-cloutier-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

PODCAST – Ick! A Tick! –with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinichttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/06/15/podcast-ick-a-tick-with-dr-dave-cloutier-from-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

PODCAST – Lyme Disease with Drs. Zev and Ben Myerowitz from Myerowitz Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic – Part 1 and 2http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/11/01/podcast-lyme-disease-with-drs-zev-and-ben-myerowitz-from-myerowitz-chiropractic-acupuncture-clinic-part-1-and-2/

Web Sites




Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harrington

<Click to Listen to Podcast>

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show on May 6th, 2017 Kate and Don interview Kohl Harrington the director of the new documentary film Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry. Pet Fooled offers a critical review of the pet food industry, and it is not pretty. Listen to this show and learn why big pet food companies may not be as concerned about your pet’s health as they want you to believe.

Issues explored in the film and on this episode of The Woof Meow Show include; regulatory lapses which led to the pet food recalls of 2007, the high-powered marketing used to promote food that is not biologically appropriate for cats or dogs, confusing but legal advertising that makes pet foods look better than they are, and the major pet food companies problematic influence over veterinary education and the regulation of pet foods, and more.

Green Acres’ will offer four free screenings of Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry on Saturday, May 13th at 3:30 PM, Saturday, May 20th at 9:30 AM, Wednesday, June 7th at 6:30 PM and Monday, June 26th at 6:30 PM. Each screening will be followed by a question and answer period. Seating is free but limited, so please call us at 945-6841 to reserve your seat.

<Click to Listen to Podcast>

FMI on Pet Fooled

Website – http://www.petfooled.com/

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/Pet-Fooled-1793771757524419/

Recommended Resources

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

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

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

Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1 – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2 – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Homemade Food for Your Pet – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/10/31/pet-nutrition-homemade-food-for-your-pet/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Determining True Pet Food Costs – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food? – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

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

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Food – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

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 Patton – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Our Personal Journey – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/10/08/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-our-personal-journey/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellotti – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Nutrition and Raw Food for Pets with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foods – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/10/02/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-nutrition-and-raw-food-for-pets-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foods – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

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

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Pets – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Pets – http://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/



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>

Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat – Lynn Curtis

Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health – Kymythy Schultze

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


©6MAY17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Product Review – Wysong DentaTreat™

At least 80% of dogs and 60% of cats have gingivitis, periodontitis, or tooth decay. Wysong’s DentaTreat™ can assist you in maintaining your pet’s oral health, so they avoid these diseases while preventing you from having to pay to have your pet’s teeth cleaned by your veterinarian.

Researchers have found that cooked starches, a significant component of processed, dry pet foods like kibble, are a major contributor to oral health problems in our pets. Cooked starches remain in the mouth longer, creating a sticky mouth residue which bacteria feed upon, and can cause tartar and plaque buildup.

Wysong DentaTreat uses the beneficial properties of cheeses, probiotics, minerals and other natural ingredients to maintain your pet’s oral health. The cheeses used in DentaTreat have unique properties which help prevent tooth decay and help neutralize the tooth destroying acids found in plaque. Made entirely of safe, natural foods, DentaTreat has no artificial colorings or flavors. DentaTreat can be fed on a daily basis by sprinkling it atop your pet’s food.

Paula and I have been using DentaTreat™ with our pets for several years. We will be the first to admit that we are not very diligent about brushing our pets’ teeth. It is a difficult habitat to establish and so easy to break. That is what makes DentaTreat perfect for people like us – you just sprinkle it on your pet’s food at every meal and, voila! The dental-active natural cheeses, minerals, and apple polyphenols in DentaTreat go to work, keeping your pet’s mouth clean and healthy. Yes, we know, that sounds way too good to be true, but the fact is when we use DentaTreat with the fur kids it has significantly reduced our need for cleanings at the veterinarians.

We started using DentaTreat way back in December of 2000 when our Golden Tikken was three. At most, Tikken only required three dental cleanings by her veterinarian during her sixteen years of life. Our current dog Muppy is five and a half and has had DentaTreat since the day we brought her home. She has never required a dental at the vets. DentaTreat works which is why we continue to use it seventeen years later. If you find brushing your pet’s teeth a challenge you should consider using Wysong DentaTreat™ as an economical and easy alternative.

You can find all of the technical details on DentaTreat at http://www.greenacreskennel.com/images/stories/pdf/Product_Info/Wysong/dentatreat.pdf



Recommended Resources

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

Health & Wellness – Pet Dental Carehttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2017/02/06/health-wellness-pet-dental-care/

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

PODCAST – Pet Dental Health with Dr. Mark Hanks from Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinichttp://blog.greenacreskennel.com/2016/02/28/podcast-pet-dental-health-with-dr-mark-hanks-from-kindred-spirits-veterinary-clinic/


©2017, 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>

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellotti

< Click to listen>

Kate discusses raw pet food diets; frozen and freeze-dried, with Dee Ferranti of the Carnivore Meat Company, maker of Vital Essentials Pet Food, and Jodi Langellotti, from pet food distributor, Pet Food Experts.

16APR16-Raw Diets and Vital Essentials 400x400If your pet has health issues that may be related to nutrition (food allergies, digestive difficulties, obesity, chronically underweight, diabetes, kidney disease) or if you just want to learn more about pet nutrition and how you can do the best for your pets nutrition and your wallet, you will not want to miss this show.

Key discussion points include: the benefits and objections to feeding pets a raw diet, food safety issues and why feeding a commercial raw diet for your pet may be safer than feeding yourself or your pet from what you buy from the meat department at the supermarket, the economics of feeding raw and how combining raw food with kibble can benefit your budget and your pets health, why raw food is a healthier and more nutritious choice, the differences between VE_Logo_Primary_webfrozen raw and freeze-dried raw diets, how to transition a pet to a raw diet, the history of the Carnivore Meat Company, how Vital Essentials sources its ingredients to ensure quality, and the numerous products in the Vital Essentials line.


< Click to listen>

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 12 Noon on Saturday. If you’re 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.

Recommended Resources

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

Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-04-02-Pet_Nutrition_with_Dr_Richard_Patton.mp3


Web Sites

Vital Essentials Websitehttp://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/


©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Product – The Thundershirt™

The Thundershirt™ is a patent-pending pressure wrap that applies a gentle, constant pressure on a dog’s torso. It is used to help alleviate anxiety due to; fear of thunder or fireworks, separation or travel, crate training, problem barking (when barking is a result of anxiety or stress), hyperactivity, and other causes of anxiety. It is available from a myriad of sources, and we have been selling it at Green Acres for a few years now.

When I first heard about the Thundershirt I was skeptical, but anxiety in a pet is a heart-wrenching issue and is often difficult to treat, so I knew it was worth a try. Plus there is a money-back guarantee. If you are not happy with the Thundershirt, just return it to the manufacturer within 45 days along with your receipt.

I cannot give you a detailed scientific explanation of why the Thundershirt works. It provides a gentle, constant pressure around your dog’s torso, and pressure of this type does seem to have a calming effect on the nervous system. For example, veterinarians often use pressure to relax cattle during the administration of vaccines; pressure shirts are often used with children with behavioral issues to relieve stress and gain focus, and for ages, mothers have held infants to provide comfort. When used as directed the Thundershirt cannot harm your dog and if it helps resolve their anxiety, why not try it?

In some cases the Thundershirt may be used by itself and in other cases the dog may benefit from also using a behavior modification program, Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP), Bach Flower Remedies, and veterinarian prescribed anti-anxiety medications.

At this time we have three Green Acres staff members using the Thundershirt with their dogs; one for thunderstorm issues, one for combined thunderstorm and travel issues, and one for general anxiety. All have noticed a marked improvement since using the Thundershirt.

These are some testimonials from the Thundershirt website:

“We’ve been using Thundershirt at my clinic, and the feedback from our clients is very positive. Thundershirt is a good alternative solution to try versus medications. And it will definitely ‘Do no harm’.”

Dr. Donald Heagren, DVM
Cornwallis Road Animal Hospital
Durham, NC

“Pressure wraps are an effective, non-invasive way to help dogs to feel more at ease. I like the Thundershirt especially because of its soft material, easy-to-apply Velcro closures, and low cost. I recommend this product to my training clients for thunderstorm phobias, nail trims, and a variety of other fears such as sounds, riding in the car, and generalized fear of walking outdoors. I wish the Thundershirt had been around when my thunder-phobic German Shepherd was alive. I’m glad dogs everywhere can now reap its benefits.“

Nicole Wilde, CPDT-KA

“Ratchet is one of the dogs rescued from Iraq by Operation Baghdad Pups. Through a partnership between Operation Baghdad Pups and Thundershirt, I was sent one in the mail. I’d have to say that I was skeptical about the claims… for about 15 seconds. Ratchet had problems with barking, anxiety, and fear of unfamiliar noises. He was particularly anxious around other dogs, having been a guard dog in Iraq. Suddenly, while wearing the Thundershirt, Ratchet seemed to gain new confidence. Other dogs didn’t worry him. Thunderstorms were just things that made the grass wet. Airplanes, repairmen, and even the cat that went for walks outside our apartment were no longer worries for him. He could sit on the balcony and enjoy the day without anxiety, and that made both of us believers! Thank you, Thundershirt!”




©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Events – Helping Pets and Their People In Need

<A version of this article appeared in the September 2014 Down East Dog News>

If you read DownEast Dog News I have no doubt that you understand and appreciate the companionship of a pet. Unfortunately, not all pets are so lucky, which is why I’m going to use this month’s column to highlight three organizations with three very important events that will be occurring over the next three months.

BARKK To End The Silence -5K Walk, Run Or WOOF! – Sponsored by Mutt Nose Best and the Paw It Forward Foundation and in its second year, this event is meant to raise awareness of domestic violence and to raise funds that will help to equip local domestic violence shelters with designated “pet friendly” rooms that have separate ventilation and outside fenced areas. Funds will also help pay for veterinary care and emergency “get out” kits for families in violent relationships. Currently, in the state of Maine, there are no Domestic Violence shelters equipped to house family pets. That means that people don’t leave a violent situation for fear of what may happen to their pets, or if they do leave, they and their pets face being separated at this critical time. BARKK wants to change that.

Taking place on Saturday September 27th on the Bangor Waterfront, this is a dog friendly walk or run. Last year over 500 participated, raising a total over $7,000. You do not need to participate to donate. All contributions are welcome.

For more information, or to donate or to volunteer to help at the 5K run, call Mutt Nose Best at 207-262-8773 or muttnosebest@gmail.com. You can also find information online at: – https://www.facebook.com/BARKKMuttNoseBest and http://www.muttnosebest.com/.

As you may be aware, BARKK To End The Silence was the focus of Green Acres’ first Cash for Your Cause fundraiser held from June 1st through July 5th. We raised $3187, but equally important we raised awareness of this critical issue with our clients, the community and our staff. In fact many of our staff will be participating in this event, some running, some walking, and we hope to see you there!

Bangor Humane Society Paws on Parade – The Bangor Humane Society was founded in 1869, making it the oldest Humane Society in the State of Maine. They are also Maine’s largest animal shelter both in terms of the total number of animals handled and the geographical area they serve. They care for approximately 5,000 owner released and stray animals each year. Their ability to do so depends on generous donations from people like you and me.

Paws on Parade is the Bangor Humane Society’s largest fundraising event of the year. This year’s Paws will be the 21st and is scheduled for Saturday, October 4th on the Bangor Waterfront. Last year, Paws on Parade raised over $70,000 and drew a crowd of over 700 two-legged and four-legged participants!

Paula and I didn’t purchase Green Acres Kennel Shop and move here until October of 1995, but we’ve participated in every Paws on Parade since then and will be there again this year. Having previously served as the President of the BHS Board of Directors I know how critical this event is to BHS. I hope that you can help!

Eastern Area Agency on Aging Furry Friends Food Bank – This organization is all about keeping pets and seniors together and healthy. No one should have to choose between feeding their pet and feeding themselves or being able to afford heat or their medications. The pets in these homes play a vital role in the physical, mental, and emotional health of their human companions, especially those that are isolated and live alone. Sometimes a pet may be the only living thing a person interacts with on a daily basis. By helping people feed their pets, the Furry Friends Food Bank helps keep pet and person together and keeps both healthier.

During the month of November, Green Acres Kennel Shop will be holding its annual fundraising drive for the Furry Friends Food Bank. Last year we raised $1387 from clients and added a $1000 donation from Green Acres. This year our goal is to raise $2000 from clients and the community. If we reach that goal, Green Acres will contribute $1000. You may follow the activities of the fundraising drive on the FaceBook page for the Friends of EAAA Furry Friends Food Bank at (https://www.facebook.com/GAKS.FFFFB)

Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>