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LIVING WITH PETS (Ark Blog)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! FROM ARK NATURALS

Over this past weekend, Ark Naturals' own Rocco Monaco participated Doggie Door Costume Contest that was held in Winter Park, Florida!

"Ark Naturals donated a gift basket. There were 54 large dogs entries and more than 100 small pet entries for the contest. The event was a huge success put together by the Doggie Door benefiting the Sebastian Haul Fund (sebastianhaulfund.org) Helping greyhounds reach their forever homes. The Early estimates indicate there were enough funds raised to help another 75 plus greyhounds reach their new families through this event alone." said Rocco

Below you'll find photos from the event!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hansa Rose Needs a Forever Home!

Ark Naturals and Gray Muzzle have paired with Brooke’s Legacy Animal Rescue here in Naples, Florida to find this special dog her very own forever home. Hansa Rose is a 3 year old spayed female Boxer mix saved by Brooke’s Legacy Animal Rescue shortly before she was to be euthanized and we have decided to sponsor Hansa Rose’s adoption contribution to an approved adopter*!

Hansa is a real special, sweet girl. Her face is a little different on one side – she has very few teeth and her right eye is there but set way back. Brooke’s Legacy isn’t sure exactly what happened to her, but she is a very sweet girl who has been through a lot and really deserves her own happy ending.

Hansa has been doing Animal Assisted Play Therapy at the PACE Center for Girls in Immokalee. She loves people, forgiving all the abuse she has suffered. This is a great dog that has been overlooked. She can be overwhelmed by other dogs but is OK with cats.

Help us SHARE this great cause on Facebook, Twitter, and all social media sites to Help us find this beautiful, sweet, loving girl her own forever home.


Please visit BrookesLegacyAnimalRescue.org for more information about adopting her into your home.

  

*All approved adopters must be present in person to complete the adoption. Brooke’s Legacy does not ship animals.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After recent news reports regarding Pet Jerky Treats with imported chicken from China have caused illness and death to some animals, we've received an overwhelming response from our customers. We're here to put our customers at ease and rest assure that Ark Naturals and Gray Muzzle, all products including our Sea Mobility Joint Rescue in all flavors are and always will be 100% Made in the USA.

Below is a note, straight from the desk of Ark Naturals President, Susan Weiss:


For Immediate Release:

HERE WE GO AGAIN – MADE IN CHINA JERKY TREATS –

CAUSING ILLNESS AND FATALITIES

Once again, Chinese Pet Jerky Treats are causing serious illness as well as fatalities. I thought this problem was behind us, but here we go again……Once again the problem has surfaced. Purportedly, nearly 3,600 dogs the first time and now hundreds more have fallen ill or died. We wonder why retailers continue to keep these products on store shelves, on on-line sites and in pet catalogues.

I write this article today to try and reach the pet owners who have not yet heard or do not know the severity of the risk associated with Chinese jerky products for pets.

Today the phone calls and e-mails began again asking “What about Ark Naturals?”  We assure you that all Ark Naturals and now our new senior brand - Gray Muzzle, have always been made in the USA in USDA/APHIS facilities and/or FDA/OTC facilities.

Regarding the made in China products, the situation is so serious that once again the FDA has issued a cautionary statement warning of the risk in consumption by pets of chicken jerky treats imported from China. The FDA urges pet owners to use caution with regard to chicken jerky products, stating that if pet owners choose to give their pets these products to look for the following warning signs and to contact your veterinarian if these symptoms persist beyond 24 hours.

There is increasing pressure building for the FDA to take action.  Currently, the FDA’s website states that ‘scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses… and that, ‘unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take’.   FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products, and to contact your veterinarian if these symptoms persist beyond 24 hours:

  • decreased appetite
  • decreased activity
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, sometimes with blood
  • increased water consumption and/or
  • increased urination

How to know if the products you purchase for your pet are Made in the USA?

By law, products NOT manufactured in the USA must disclose that on the label.  However, the manufacturer can print this using the smallest size print possible and can place that information in a place you may never see it unless you look carefully.

After reading this, it is my hope that pet guardians will choose not to take the risk with their beloved pets and choose pet products that are made in the USA.  We as a company feel strongly about both the quality of products made in the USA and the fact that we don’t outsource our workforce.  Please read labels.  Your pet’s life could depend on it.  

 


About Ark Naturals® and Gray Muzzle

Founded by Susan and Jay Weiss in 1996 and based in Naples, Florida, Ark Naturals® offers natural health, remedy and lifestyle products for pets.  All of Ark Naturals products are made in the USA in either USDA/APHIS registered manufacturing facilities or FDA/OTC facilities, depending on the product. Our ingredients are sourced from human grade raw material suppliers, specially formulated for pets. We guarantee our products contain no artificial additives, dyes, flavor, yeast, soy, irradiation or harmful preservatives. Ark Naturals products are veterinarian recommended and formulated and meet the exacting standards that are a hallmark of our company.

In 2012, Ark launched a second stand-alone brand known as Gray Muzzle.  Gray Muzzle products address the needs of senior pets.

Ark Naturals now has over forty different all natural pet products and is a founding member of the NASC® with an audited A+ rating.  Ark Naturals is also a member of the NPA® (Natural Products Association and APPMA®.  For distribution inquiries, product information and publicity inquiries please call Alexa Taddeo, 800.926.5100 or alexat@arknaturals.com.  Please visit our web sites www.arknaturals.com and www.gray-muzzle.com for more information.

 

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pick up your copy of the Pet Business Retailer Handbook and turn to page 64 and 65. Ark Naturals since 1996 has taken the Natural Health and Remedies category by storm. Read below the full article on Ark Naturals, including a snippet about our Gray Muzzle Senior Products Line.

Enjoy!

  

Natural Remedies and Health

Susan Weiss, president of Ark Naturals Products for Pets, says educated retailers with a variety of natural health products for everyday problems will see great sales over the next year.

 

WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR NATURAL REMEDIES AND HEALTH PRODUCTS THAT CONSUMERS ARE GIVING THEIR PETS? WHY DO YOU THINK THEY’RE SO POPULAR?

Dental, joint, flea and tick, and herbal calming products – Products that are popular tend to be products from which the human can visually see a benefit. Products that are less popular are the vitamins, antioxidants for exactly the same reason. The benefit is hard to measure and see visually. It’s not because the products are ineffective, it’s because the nature of the antioxidants.

 

WHAT TREND SHOULD RETAILERS LOOK FOR IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

Great Sales! Education, blogs, websites and social media have made it much easier for the consumer to feel more comfortable purchasing natural remedy products.

I believe that now is a great opportunity for retailers to re-set their stores and make this category more visually important. Make it easy for the consumer to see what the retailer has to offer. The most successful retailers are the ones that are nimble, adaptable and wiling to think outside the box.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS EDUCATION IN THIS CATEGORY? WHAT ARE KEY SELLING POINTS RETAILERS SHOULD KNOW FOR THESE PRODUCTS?

In 1996, when I started Ark Naturals, it was a monumental challenge to convince retailers that remedy, wellness and natural lifestyle products could sell. Many of today’s retailers have not been in business long enough to remember that.

Products that are made in the USA and are natural solutions for everyday problems should be emphasized. More importantly, retailers have to do the same thing as their customers and should be educated and read blogs and manufacturer websites. You can’t sell what you don’t understand.

 

WITH ALL OF THE “GREENWASHING” THAT GOES ON TODAY, HOW CAN RETAILERS ENSURE THAT THE PRODUCTS THEY CARRY ARE TRULY NATURAL?

There is no definition for natural. It’s the same thing for foods that label themselves “premium”. They are self-styled words, sort of like crowning yourself the prettiest girl at the party. All-natural is another issue. For example, glucosamine and chondroitin are not really natural. Natural is something that grows on a tree or in the earth, and glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and others are neutraceuticals, which is something that started out from a natural source.

 

WHAT SHOULD RETAILERS LOOK FOR IN A SUPPLIER OF NATURAL REMEDIES AND HEALTH PRODUCTS?

The company’s longevity – The category suddenly got hot, and we see new brands. Most of the “newbies” are only in it because it’s become popular – not because they have a passion for helping animals naturally. The few companies that have been around for years are passionate about the potential of natural. We understand the potential benefits and can talk about it more easily than the newbies.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR RETAILERS TO MERCHANDISE THESE PRODUCTS?

Endcaps – one suggestion is a monthly calendar where the retailer features a different issue each month. Handouts pointing the consumers to information would be helpful. Network with vets and nutrition specialists, and ask them to come to your store. Also, don’t be lazy – re-setting your store multiple times in a year freshens up the store.

 

WHAT TYPES OF PRODUCTS LEND THEMSELVES TO CROSS MERCHANDISING WITH THE NATURAL REMEDIES AND HEALTH PRODUCTS?

We just introduced a line of senior products, branded as Gray Muzzle. We have a contest running across the USA for stores to set up exactly what you are talking about.

Most of us who have a senior dog or cat for the first time what to do the right things for their pets but may not know everything that is available in the senior category. So, ramps, special leashes, softer toys, special shampoos, piddle pads, etc…, would be a great fit with Gray Muzzle.


Article and Graphics Courtesy of Pet Business Magazine

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Five years ago this Thanksgiving my husband returned from North Carolina with our beloved Willie, an old-style red full standard Daschshund. My children swore they would forgo all other Christmas presents if they could have a dog. Bred back to “Tekkel” specifications with German stock, Willie is a barrel-chested 32 pounds. When his puppy rabies vaccination was expiring, I took him to one of the largest veterinary practices in the area. The examining vet said he was fine except for a heart murmur. I asked, “What can I do to help?” She replied, “Not much, really, just keep the dog fit and trim and never skip the heartworm medication. Make sure we see him promptly if he starts getting short of breath.” Despite this upsetting diagnosis, less than a year later we went back for Willie’s sister Schottzie, a black and tan Tekkel. Although the main goal in her life is to exceed her ideal 27 pounds by eating anything and everything, Schottzie has no signs of heart trouble, and Willie’s has not progressed.

Willie’s heart murmur is an early sign of myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD), the most common congenital heart disease in dogs. Also called endocardiosis, chronic degenerative valve disease, or chronic valvular fibrosis, MMVD accounts for 70% of canine heart disease. It is a genetic disorder which can progress to congestive heart failure and premature death. It starts with lesions that appear on the heart valve (usually the mitral valve), which eventually thicken and shorten the valve leaflets so they can’t close completely as the heart pumps blood through the chambers. MMVD is unlike atherosclerosis, the most common human cardiovascular disease, in which arteries become inflamed and trap cholesterol, blood clots, and/or proteins in a mass which eventually blocks an artery. Atherosclerosis is only partly genetic; its occurrence and severity is dependent on diet, lifestyle and environmental choices. The closest human analogy to MMVD is mitral valve prolapse.

Most of the breeds that have a high incidence of MMVD weigh on average less than 20 pounds. Some of these are listed in Table 1. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has the highest incidence of all breeds; in some Cavalier lines 90% of dogs will develop heart valve disease by age 10. Dachshunds are also very susceptible, particularly miniatures. On reason Willie has had no progression of his disease may be his large size. Another may be the exercise and nutrition program I developed for both dogs. Let’s examine both of these avenues.

Although definitive research has not yet been completed, several interesting genetic observations link MMVD to small weight dogs, especially toy and miniature breeds/forms. Here’s a brief summary of many studies:

  • Since dogs are exceedingly inbred, congenital defects are common.
  • All modern small dog breeds with a high incidence of MMVD share at least one common small dog ancestor that transmitted susceptibility genes.
  • Constant breeder selection for small size also selected for some other genes that are detrimental. Unfortunately there was little choice in the matter because genetic information is “swapped” in discrete blocks, not by individual genes.
  • Many genes that affect skeletal development also affect cardiac development.
  • Fairly recently there has been a trend to miniaturize breeds. The heart does not reduce in size in proportion to body size reduction. Body size decreases faster, hence the chest cavity becomes too cramped for the heart, reducing its ability to expand and contract properly. This is especially a problem in small dogs that love to run hard, and for overweight dogs.

Running hard and tending towards overweight are describe my Dachsunds exactly. Both Willie and Schottzie get one to two hours of off-leash exercise daily, running, stalking jumping up on logs, digging etc. When it’s hot I take them in shallow water to walk by wading. I also taught them to jump off a pier and swim, and they have free run of the house and yard. To support this exercise they get only wet or homemade food, with plenty of fish, shellfish, eggs, venison, buffalo and beef. Vegetables and fruits of all sorts are chopped and added to each meal, but I do not feed them any grains. They receive glucosamine/chondroitin and Ark Naturals Royal Coat fish oil/borage oil blend three times per week. No sense waiting until the dog already has arthritis—it can be prevented or deferred.

The fish oil/borage oil blend is incredibly important. Although MMVD is not directly associated with inflammation of the arteries like human atherosclerosis is, the progression of the disease to congestive heart failure is associated with dramatic increases in biochemicals associated with inflammation. Part of the damage the lesions cause to the heart valves is inflammatory in nature, just like chronic knee or back pain. The surest, fastest and safest way to reverse any sort of chronic inflammation in cats and dogs, from heart disease to arthritis to dermatitis is fish oil/borage oil. Fish oil has the added benefit of protecting all mammals studied so far from other types of heart disease such as abnormal rhythms (atrial fibrillation). Together these oils will also heal itchy skin, flaky coat and restore a lustrous, full healthy coat.

            As the dog ages he/she can be further protected from rapid progression of MMVD or other heart disease by using a supplement to strengthen the heart. When the valves leak, or the heart muscle becomes weak or damaged, the heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood. This can restrict exercise, which further weakens the heart and may cause the dog to gain weight, which again reduces mobility. A veterinarian will recommend that dog with congestive heart failure be exercise-restricted, but not an otherwise healthy dog with a heart murmur or slightly enlarged heart.

Ark Naturals Heart Healthy chewable supplement from the Gray Muzzle line provides three critical cardiac nutrients, taurine, carnitine and coenzyme Q10. When any of these are deficient the heart muscle runs out of energy. “Energy starvation” of the heart muscle is a primary feature of heart failure. Many research studies have shown that supplementation these nutrients for dogs, cats and humans with heart disorders is beneficial and safe. What makes Gray Muzzle Heart Healthy effective?

  • Taurine is often called an amino acid but it is a sulfonic acid. It is critical for the maintenance and function of all muscles, particularly the heart. It is present in seafoods and meat, and can be synthesized by humans and dogs but not necessarily at optimum levels, especially to support a damaged or aging heart. Cats have a very high requirement for taurine but cannot synthesize it, so it must be in their diet or they will eventually perish
  • L-carnitine is a non-protein amino acid that protects the heart muscle from oxidative stress and low oxygen levels due to poor circulation or partial arterial blockage. Like taurine, it is present in animal foods and can be synthesized, but not necessarily at optimum levels.
  • Abnormally low levels of CoQ10 in heart tissue are observed in patients with heart failure. Supplementation reduces fatigue, improves exercise capacity, lowers blood pressure and increases the ability of the heart to pump blood.
  • Adding the herb hawthorn to CoQ10 amplifies its ability.
  • Botanical antioxidants such as bilberry, wheat grass, grape seed (and the produce I feed my dogs) and sulfur amino acids (egg protein is a rich source) are critical to prevent oxidative damage to the heart tissue and lower blood pressure.
  • Diuretics such as dandelion slightly reduce blood volume, concentrating the oxygen-rich red cells and also reduce the fluid retention, which can occur if blood is not pumped through the kidneys at the optimal rate.

      We all want to give every dog with a chronic heart condition every chance possible to delay or defer disease progression. With a little knowledge, there is so much you can do with good nutrition. Why not try? We’re always here to help with questions or comments.

 

Table 1. Selected dog breeds at increased risk for myxomatous mitral valve disease. The first list breeds have weights averaging 10 kg (22 pounds) or less. Dogs marked with* have large and small forms that are considered one breed but both sizes are affected.

Chihuahua                               Bolognese                               Maltese

Toy Poodle                              Pekingese                                Dachshund*

Miniature Pinscher                  Shih Tzu                                  Miniature Schnauzer

Bichon Frise                            Pug                                          Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Miniature Poodle                    Whippet                                  Papillion

Yorkshire Terrier                     Cairn Terrier                            Fox Terrier

West Highland Terrier            Welsh Terrier                           Boston Terrier

Larger Breeds

American Cocker Spaniel       Beagle                                     Standard Poodle

Bull Terrier*                            Great Dane                              German Shepherd

Monday, October 7, 2013

Felix and Oscar, Inc

Springfield, VA 22150

After introducing Gray Muzzle for Senior Dogs, We challenged our retailers to create their own "Best in Show" Senior Department! We’re proud to announce that our September Winner is Felix and Oscar, Inc in Springfield, VA! Check out their fabulous Senior Department below and if you’re in the Springfield, VA area, stop in and take a browse around their store!

Felix and Oscar, Inc

6671-A Backlick Road

Springfield, VA  22150

Ph:  703-866-0222

www.felixandoscar.com

 

If you’re a retailer interested in joining the fun,

Enter Now to be our October winner!

Contact newsletters@arknaturals.com for more information!


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