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LIVING WITH PETS (Ark Blog)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Feature in the June Issue of Pet Product News International's NATURAL PET PRODUCT MERCHANDISER, Pet Industry Dialogue - A Natural Pledge with Susan Weiss of Ark Naturals.

Susan Weiss of Ark Naturals Products for Pets talks about her drive to produce all-natural health and wellness products.

by Marissa Heflin

Husband and wife team Susan and Jay Weiss founded Ark Naturals Products for Pets in 1996 as a way to answer the call for all-natural health and wellness products for companion animals. The launch, long before it was trendy to be “green” and “holistic,” according to Susan, was inspired when their standard poodle, Jordan, succumbed to cancer at 10 years of age. Jordan was raised with supermarket pet foods, low-quality treats and lots of shots and vaccines, Susan said. As they were already involved in the natural product business for humans, this experience opened their eyes to the benefits of natural pet health products, she said. Their Naples, Fla., company offers a full line of pet dental products, joint health and support supplements, probiotics, grooming aids, natural flea and tick alternatives, functional training products, wellness vitamins and antioxidants, and remedy products for eye, ear and digestive care for dogs and cats. Natural Pet Product Merchandiser spoke with Susan about the company’s role in the natural pet product market, how she has seen the industry grow, and her plans for the future.

NPPM: Ark Naturals pledges “to continue our efforts to not only produce the leading line of pet care nutraceuticals, but also to be aware that the pursuit of scientific data regarding preventive health care is a continuing process.” Can you elaborate?

SW: We used to believe that garlic in pet products would keep dogs and cats healthy. We know today that it can’t hurt the animals but it has no health benefit. We used to believe that pet foods with wheat and corn were OK. Today we know better. Science is ever-evolving.

NPPM: All of Ark Naturals’ products are “100 percent Made in the USA.” Why is this important to you? Is this something you find pet owners are seeking?

SW: When we started this business— up until the past five years or so—retailers and consumers did not give a rat’s a**. When I would point out that our products were “Made in the USA,” I was told that meant “more expensive.” No one wants or cares to spend more money. It was a very hard sell. From a historical time line, when we started Ark in 1996, part of our mission statement was to produce the finest-quality products for animals using top-quality U.S. Food and Drug Administration over-the-counter facilities and/or United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service facilities. As I said before, it was one giant yawn to retailers and consumers. Unfortunately, a lot of animals had to get sick and die for pet parents to care. [Weiss is referring to the mass pet food recalls that began in March 2007. Pet food manufacturers recalled more than 150 brands of dog and cat food nationwide after pets that ate the tainted food began experiencing health problems. Thousands of cats and dogs reportedly died as a result.] However, some of our competitors have found a way to beat the system. They buy chicken, meats and raw materials from China and have it shipped here. Per labeling laws—if the product is bagged, bottled and packed in the USA—they can claim the product is “Made in the USA.”

NPPM: How does Ark Naturals try to differentiate itself from its competitors?

SW: We consider ourselves the education company. I’m not afraid of answering hard questions, even if it is not beneficial to Ark Naturals. Additionally, when we get a call from a consumer about a pet that is taking a prescription and they want to know if they can use one of our products, we ask them to do nothing until we speak to our vet and get clarification. We’d rather not sell a product than make a mistake.

NPPM: How specifically does Ark Naturals educate consumers?

SW: Our first step is to educate retailers and distributor reps. Again, in 1996, this was an uphill battle. We were asking retailers to step outside their comfort zone, to add natural products to their shelves. We used everything that was available to us at the time—sales meetings, store visits—we had a training book that had so much information that the retailers were yawning before they got to page two. Today, among Facebook, Twitter, websites and retailers being sure of themselves, it is much easier. We also employ seminars and teleconferences, [distribute] samples and make personal appearances.

NPPM: Ark Naturals recently introduced Gray Muzzle, a company dedicated to keeping older dogs healthy. What was the motivation behind making natural products just for senior dogs? What would you like our readers to know about the company?

SW: Gray Muzzle was introduced about 15 months ago [in early 2013]. Because of all the wonderful humans in the pet community, and companies that have made it their mission to produce products with the most beneficial ingredients, dogs and cats are living way past the life expectancy chart. In some cases, it’s blown the charts away. That’s another example of being willing to pay attention to better scientific data and responding appropriately. So we now have this population of aging animals that are still able to be happy, play and bond with their humans [but have a number of health issues such as] joint problems and memory issues. Heart health [is another issue]. Our goal is to help humanshelp their animals maximize the next stage of their lives.

NPPM: Any other new products and/or upcoming launches you can tell us about?

SW: We’ll release new products in July at SuperZoo.

NPPM: Part of Ark Naturals’ mission statement is about being involved with charitable organizations that help animals. Can you share a couple of examples?

SW: We are major supporters of the Brody Project for Animal Assisted Therapy Inc., which benefits animal-related programs. We also stepped up and paid for life-saving heart surgery for Peanut, a 4-month-old Chihuahua mix dog that arrived at The Humane Society Naples. During his veterinary exam, it was discovered that the dog exhibited a loud heart murmur. [Upon further examination], the dog was determined to be at risk for heart failure or even a sudden death. However, balloon valvuloplasty was an option if the needed funds to pay for the procedure could be found.  He underwent a very successful surgery and initial recovery, and volunteers and staff at The Humane Society Naples are helping to continue his care until he will be adopted.

NPPM: Where do you see yourself and/or Ark Naturals in 10 years?

SW: For me, Ark Naturals is the best work I’ve ever done. It was the hardest but the most rewarding. Being the first in anything is ridiculously hard to get consumers and retailers to buy into. And it’s always easier to copy an idea than to create something original. We pride ourselves on our originality, and our ability to hang in there when others think you are batty! I have a very Buddhist philosophy— I try very hard to live in the present. If you plan your life looking ahead, you miss the present. 

 

article via - Pet Product News International

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Over this past weekend Ark Naturals participated in Care-A-Lot Pet Supplies' Dock Dogs Pet Lovers' Extravaganza. The event hosted hundreds of dogs and their families for 3 days of DockDogs competition. Apart from the competition, Spectators took part in amazing savings, meet and greet with manufacturer representatives as well as multiple contests and giveaways! This event was enjoyed by all! 

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Friday, April 4, 2014

 

Dog Rescued by The Humane Society Naples Benefits

from Generosity of Local Pet Business

Ark Naturals steps up to pay for life-saving heart surgery for "Peanut"

 

Naples, FL - When Peanut, a four month-old Chihuahua mix dog arrived at The Humane Society Naples, he was just like any other of the thousands of pets the no-kill shelter rescues each year. During his veterinary exam, it was discovered that the dog exhibited a loud heart murmur.  Fearing the worst, Dr. Rob Fox, Medical Director at the Humane Society, ordered an echocardiogram of the dog in order to make a complete diagnosis.

Upon consultation with specialists and review of the diagnosis, it was determined that Peanut's long-term prognosis was poor. The dog was determined to be at risk for heart failure or even a sudden death. However, balloon valvuloplasty (an expensive heart surgery) was an option if the needed funds to pay for the procedure could be found. 

The Humane Society Naples contacted veterinary professionals at Specialized Veterinary Services and arranged for a discounted surgery fee for Peanut.  At that same time, the shelter reached out to Ark Naturals, a Naples-based leading manufacturer of health, remedy and lifestyle solutions for pets. The company has been a supporter of the no-kill shelter for many years.

Susan and Jay Weiss, owners of Ark Naturals, had just recently lost their own precious pooch named "Lily Perez." The Havanese was a special needs rescue herself, and the Weiss Family was still in grief over the loss of their beloved pet. It was when they learned that they could help another rescued pet overcome its own special need they made the generous offer to pay the cost of the surgery for Peanut.

He underwent a very successful surgery and initial recovery, and volunteers and staff at The Humane Society Naples are helping to continue his care until he will be adopted by a forever family. The dog is currently meeting many potential adopting families at the HSN Satellite Adoption Center at the Coastland Center Mall.

The shelter is currently accepting donations to help continue to provide veterinary care for other rescued pets that require significant veterinary care before adoption to the general public.  To donate, please contact Andy Reed, Director of Development at (239) 643-1555 Ext. 21 or visit www.hsnaples.org. 

 

Peanut now awaits his forver home.

 

Organized in 1960, The Humane Society Naples is a private local non-profit animal welfare organization. Its mission is to provide animals shelter in times of need, locate lifelong homes and promote responsible pet ownership through education, legislation and sterilization. Located at 370 Airport-Pulling Road in Naples, The Humane Society's Adoption Center hours are: Tuesday and Thursday 11am to 7pm and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. A Satellite Adoption Site located at the Coastland Center Mall in Naples is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 9pm and Sunday from noon until 6pm. For additional information, visit The Humane Society Naples online at www.HSNaples.org or call (239) 643-1555.

 

ABOUT ARK NATURALS

Ark Naturals Products for Pets was incorporated in Florida in 1996. Ark Naturals® is dedicated to provide pet guardians with natural options, and an opportunity to be proactive when caring for their pets.  All Ark® products are premium and of course human grade. Part of our mission is to educate the consumer. Ark ® provides pet owners with scientific information that is clear and easy to understand. Our belief is that pet owners will choose natural alternatives when they understand the choice between natural and chemically adulterated products. Our goal is to not only develop products that allow our family of pets to enjoy a better quality of life, but also to allow their owners to rest assured that they have cared for their pets in the best possible way. For a list of our products please visit: www.arknaturals.com

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"New to the market is Ark Natural’s BREATH-LESS Brushless Toothpaste and Fizzy Plaque Zapper.

Brushless Toothpaste chews are filled with the company’s patented StayC50 toothpaste. The chews also contain breath-freshening ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla, clove and chlorophyll. The Plaque-Zapper contains enzymes that are activated by mouth saliva, which changes the pH level and deters the growth of oral bacteria.

“Pet owners simply empty a packet of Plaque-Zapper into a pet’s drinking water to help prevent dental decay, plaque, tartar and bad breath,” Susan Weiss, CEO of Ark Naturals, said. “It is odorless, tasteless and colorless and will not change a pet’s drinking or eating habits.”

 

Article from Pet Age Magazine Read more: http://www.petage.com/dental-hygiene-pays-dividends/

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Remembering Lily Perez.. Ark Naturals Official Bark Person

Written by: Susan Weiss

 

Somewhere in 2002 a severely abused rescue dog came into our life.  She came into our life via Pet Finder who connected us with Pekes and Pals Rescue, Fort Myers FL - They really didn’t know too much about her.  We decided to build her a ‘biography’.   They called her Sara but we changed her name to Lily Perez… as Perez in Cuba is like Smith in the USA –We decided to give her a first name and a last name.  We also gave her a birthday .

When we filled out the application to adopt her, Pekes and Pals shared some info about his dog.  She was abused. She was a fear biter.  She could be aggressive if frightened.  She had a low threshold for anxiety….. and she was extremely pretty,  a Havanese (maybe  Havanese with a little something else) and would we be interested in meeting her.

A few years earlier I had fallen in love with the Havanese breed – and even with all the problematic information I was given,  I was off and running to Pekes and Pals to meet her. 

The rescue organization carefully told me – she was a handful…. beginning with the simplest task of putting a collar on her and attaching a leash.  Lily and I went home that night, I introduced her to her dad (Jay) and we became a family of 3.

Lily was never the perfect dog.   But with patience and a real understanding of what she must have gone through we were able to love her, respect her boundaries and have a great life.

About 2 years ago her kidneys began to fail.  Additionally she had symptoms of hypertension.  With excellent veterinary care (Dr Victor Brown, DVM Brown Veterinary Clinic,  Naples, FL) and following his instructions to the letter we were able to get her into a holding pattern.   Life with Lily was pretty OK until about a month ago – Dr Brown did some more tests and told us her kidneys were in very bad shape.  We were prepared to do whatever it took to help her.  We did acupuncture, aquapuncture, IV fluids daily, Chinese herbs and a new special diet.

Despite all our efforts we were not able to stabilize her and she continued to go downhill. At the end Lily was not Lily- She didn’t care who held her (BTW she also hated being touched by strangers). We realized we had to think of her and let her cross the Rainbow Bridge.

With us at her side till the last minute, Lily Perez crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday January 28th 2014.

Our home is weird without her. I’ve washed her bed and bowls.  I went through her toys and decided which ones to keep and together Jayand I made a decision that the best way to honor Lily is to rescue another dog – so we are now focused on bringing another Havanese rescue into our life.

Why am I writing all this?  Part of this is to honor Lily and part of this is to let you know that rescuing an abused dog is not an easy trick.  However, if you have patience, an open heart and financial resources it is very doable.  Would I adopt Lily again knowing that Lily was a difficult dog with very special needs?  Definitely!

I hope when you consider adding a dog or a cat to your life you will always think RESCUE! 

 

 

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Friday, November 15, 2013

In the November 2013 Issue of Pet Business featured Ark Naturals Breath-Less Brushless-Toothpaste and our Breath-Less Fizzy Plaque Zapper in the Product Round Up for Oral Care!

View the full article here:

Brushless Toothpaste and Fizzy Plaque Zapper, from Ark Naturals (arknaturals.com) provide the benefits of brushing without the hassle. Brushless-Toothpaste chews are filled with the company’s patented STAY-CTM Toothpaste. The chews also have breath-freshening ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla, clove and chlorophyll. They are free of wheat, gluten, soy, corn, and artificial colors and flavors. Brushless-Toothpaste comes in mini, small/medium, medium/large sizes. Fizzy Plaque Zapper helps maintain saliva’s natural pH. Pet owners simply empty a packet into a pet’s drinking water to help prevent dental decay, plaque, tartar and bad breath. It contains natural enzymes including lysozyme, lactoferrin, and petizyme. It is odorless, tasteless and colorless and will not change a pet’s drinking or eating habits.


Article and Images courtesy of Pet Business.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Just yesterday, (10/31/2013) Florida Weekly published an article to help share Hansa Rose's story with Southwest Florida in hope of finding Hansa Rose her forver home.

Please share this story on your social media sites and with friends to help join the efforts!

Wanted: A home for Hansa Rose

Hansa Rose has been in foster care with Brooke’s Legacy Animal Rescue for almost two years. She’s been a favorite canine in the animal-assisted play therapy program at PACE Center for Girls-Collier at Immokalee, but now she’s ready for a permanent place.

Karen Hill of Brooke’s Legacy suspects Hansa Rose was a “bait dog,” one that is chained or otherwise confined and set against another dog for sport. The right side of her face doesn’t match the left (the right eye is there, but it’s set way back), and she has very few teeth. Ms. Hill estimates the lovable boxer/Labrador mix is about 3 years old. She has been spayed.

Whatever mistreatment she suffered in the past has not damaged Hansa Rose’s disposition, however, she loves people and is OK with cats (other dogs tend to upset her).

Brooke’s Legacy thanks Ark Naturals Products for Pets for sponsoring the effort to place Hansa Rose in a permanent home. For more information call: (239) 434-7480 or e-mail Admin@BrookesLegacyAnimalRescue.org or visit www.brookeslegacyanimalrescue.com

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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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