A Baltimore dog food company is coming to the defense of bully sticks — at least those it produces.
The treats, made from bull and steer penises, were maligned in a recent study that reported not everybody who buys them for their dog realizes what they are, that they are high in calories, and that — at least among the 26 bully sticks researchers purchased – about one of every three were contaminated with bacteria.
Boesl Packing, a Baltimore company that makes raw diet dog food and a variety of dog treats — all USDA approved — is recirculating this video, which it produced in 2009, about the making of its K-9 Kraving bully sticks.
Just as the video clearly discloses what bully sticks are, we need to offer some full disclosure of our own here. My former girlfriend (and Ace’s godmother) works at K-9 Kraving, which is how — though I wasn’t aware of it — Ace ended up in the video (around the 30-second mark), gnawing on a bull penis.
Despite all that, I have the ability to remain objective. But what fun would that be?
My opinion is that the study, limited as it was, goes too far in stating the potential safety concerns. The sample size was far too small to issue what — at least once the media got hold of it — amounted to something close to a blanket indictment.
As for the number of calories bully sticks contain — about 88 per six-inch stick — that doesn’t seem too out of line.
As for bacterial concerns, it’s hard to grasp how serious or widespread they may be, given only 26 sticks were tested, and the makers and vendors are not identified in the study. There was a recall in September of bully sticks made by Kasel Associated Industries, based in Denver, due to salmonella concerns.
But what one manufacturer produces sloppily, another may produce with quality. Look at chicken jerky treats, for example.
K-9 Kraving says its bully sticks are “dried at 165 degrees for 3-4 days (depending on girth) …In other words, cooked.” They come only from U.S. farms and are cleaned, odor-free and have the seminal tube removed.
Too much information? There’s no such thing when it comes to what we feed our dogs.
K-9 Kraving points out where bully sticks originated — that is, the country of origin of the bulls and steers to which they were once attached — can be a factor, as can cleanliness, production practices and quality controls.
The company says it was the first dog food company to achieve USDA Certification, meaning its production practices are held to a human grade standard — even in the case of bully sticks, which it began marketing in 2009.
The USDA certification means the treats are suitable for human consumption, and some humans do consume them — though usually not to their knowledge. Outside of the dog treat industry, Chinese restaurants are the biggest purchasers of bull pizzles, for use in preparing soups.
The study was performed by researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Guelph. Their findings were published in last monthy’s Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Tests on 26 bully sticks purchased from various unidentified vendors found that nine were contaminated with bacteria. One was contaminated with Clostridium difficile; one with Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics; and seven were contaminated with Escherichia coli.
The researchers advised pet owners to wash their hands after touching such treats, as they would with any raw meat diets.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 12th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bacteria, boesl packing, bull, bully sticks, calories, dog, dog food, dogs, health, k-9 kraving, k9 kraving, penis, pets, safety, steer, study, treats
And more than half of all consumers who buy them for their dogs aren’t aware that they are made from the penises of bulls.
Perhaps even more astounding, about four of every ten veterinarians didn’t know that, either.
The study, which pointed to some health concerns when it comes to bully sticks, also known as pizzles, was published this month in the Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Guelph examined 26 bully sticks purchased in the United States and Canada. A random sampling of those determined they contained between nine and 22 calories per inch.
That’s about 88 calories per six-inch stick, less than 10 percent of the recommended caloric intake per day for a 50-pound dog.
Slightly more alarming was the study’s finding — based on tests on all 26 bully sticks — that nine were contaminated with bacteria. One was contaminated with Clostridium difficile; one with Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics; and seven were contaminated with Escherichia coli.
The researchers advised pet owners to wash their hands after touching such treats, as they would with any raw meat diets.
Based on an online survey conducted as part of the research, only 44 percent of pet-owners, and only 62 percent of veterinarians, were aware bully sticks were bull penises.
Twenty-three percent of the respondents fed their dogs bully sticks.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, awareness, bacteria, bull, bully sticks, calories, canadian veterinary journal, consumers, cummings school of veterinary medicine, dogs, food, health, penis, pets, pizzles, research, safety, science, steer, study, treats, tufts university, unaware, university of guelph
As my soon-to-be 89-year-old father continues on a long uphill road to recovery, there’s a dog helping him get there.
Somehow, that makes me — being, until last week, on the other side of the country – feel more comfortable.
More important, I’m guessing it makes him — being a hard core dog lover — feel more that way, too, as well as more motivated, and more at home in a strange place.
I’ve long argued that most every kind of facility where humans are gathered needs at least one dog — be it prison or school, be it office or shop, be it assisted living center, group home or skilled nursing center.
So I was thrilled when I learned my Dad was working with a therapist with a dog, and even more thrilled, when I arrived in Phoenix for a week-long visit, to get a chance to meet them in person and watch them in action.
My dad became ill last year, entering a hospital with stomach problems and suffering a heart attack while there that would lead to an induced coma of several weeks.
Once he came out of it, he had to relearn things like eating and walking, and — having a lot more fight in him than most people — he made great progress during his stay in a skilled nursing facility in Mesa called Mission Palms. His recovery was so quick and so surprising the facility did a write-up on him in its monthly newsletter: “William Woestendiek’s Success Story.”
After several weeks there, he moved on to an assisted living center.
There, unfortunately, he regressed, to the point he was returned to the same skilled nursing facility, where he was fortunate enough to be assigned to a therapist named Cristina, and her dog, Henry Higgins.
Henry, now about a year and half, has been working at Mission Palmsy since he was three months old, and the first thing I noticed about him was how he made everyone’s face light up upon seeing him, both patients and staff, and definitely my father’s.
For starters, they played some fetch, which required my father hoisting himself out of his wheelchair and throwing a tennis ball. My father did the work, but I think the anticipation on Henry’s face — as he sat there looking at him, patiently waiting — provided the encouragement.
After that, a putting green was hauled out and my father tried to sink some putts, as Henry looked on.
Henry is a pointer-setter mix, with long brown hair from his tail to the top of his head, but short hair on his muzzle. Cristina, who chose him from a friend’s litter, said “he was the biggest, ugliest one, just a big huge fur ball.” Out of all the pups, she said, he seemed the most sociable and interested in humans. You can see Henry’s Facebook page here.
I know surgeons and doctors probably deserve most of the thanks, and are the main reason my father is still around. I know too that nurses — and he’s been fortunate to have some exceptional ones — can make all the difference in the world in times like this.
But as for right now, amid all other uncertainties, as my father spends at least a couple more weeks at Mission Palms, I’m probably most grateful that he’s in the capable hands of a caring therapist and an encouraging dog
(Photos: Courtesy of Henry)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bill woestendiek, dogs, facility, health, henry, henry higgins, illness, medicine, pets, recovery, skilled nursing, therapy, therapy dogs, william woestendiek
OFF THE MARKET AT LAST
It was a long time and hundreds of dog deaths coming, but Del Monte and Nestle Purina announced this week that they will cease to market Chinese-made chicken jerky treats sold under their brand names.
Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen products and Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats will all be pulled from the market after the New York State Department of Agriculture found possible contamination by an antibiotic that is illegal in the U.S.
The treats have been anecdotally linked to kidney failure, illness and death in hundreds of dogs, and the FDA — while never going so far as to recall them — has issued three different warnings to pet owners in the past five years about possible risks.
FDA tests for toxins and heavy metals have found no explanation for the alleged illnesses, and its unclear if the banned antibiotic is the culprit in the hundreds of dogs deaths in which the treats were suspected to be a factor.
Nevertheless, Nestle Purina and Del Monte decided to pull their products after New York officials announced they had found trace amounts of the banned antibiotic in tests of the products, ABC reported.
“Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are our top priorities,” said Rob Leibowitz, Del Monte’s general manager for Pet Products. “While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards. Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.”
Nestle Purina also stressed that “there is no indication that the trace amounts of antibiotic residue are linked to the FDA’s ongoing investigation of chicken jerky products.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canyon creek ranch, chicken, china, chines, deaths, del monte, dog food, dogs, fda, gone, hazards, health, illness, investigation, jerky, kidneys, market, milos kitchen, nestle purina, off, pet food, pets, pulled, recalls, related, safety, suspected, tests, treats, waggin train
Charles Quaid, 59, was walking along the beach with his wife when a large wave swept his dog into the ocean.
Quaid’s wife was also swept into the ocean at one point, but she was rescued by bystanders, and the dog managed to get back to shore on its own.
Quaid’s body was recovered in the ocean four hours later, after a search by helicopters and rescue teams from the fire department, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Park Service, according to ABC.
Quaid, who lived in Richmond, was described by his co-workers at a health care consulting firm as “a wonderful man” who “believed very passionately in everyone’s right to have equal access to health care.”
“He had a sense of our appreciation for what we’re doing here,” David Lansky, chief executive officer of Pacific Business Group on Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “One of his employees said this morning that he’d never in 30 years had a boss who he’d respected as much … He was honest and earnest and had integrity first and foremost.”
Quaid’s wife and dog were not injured.
The rough surf off the northern California coast claimed three other lives in November when a teenager and his mother and father were swept out to sea trying to rescue their family dog near Big Lagoon. An older daughter and the family dog survived.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, care, charles quaid, consultant, death, dies, dog, drowns, golden, health, ocean, pets, point reyes, rescue, retriever, shore, waves
The foundation would help people with diabetes buy trained dogs that can alert them when their blood-sugar levels rise too high.
She sees the Ron and Vick Santo Diabetes-Alert Dog Foundation as a way to continue Santo’s legacy, she said last week, on the second anniversary of his death.
Before Ron Santo’s death, Vicki Santo says she’d never heard of such dogs, but she says they saw evidence of that power in their own pet, Joker, near the end of the Hall of Famer’s life.
“I was in the basement, and Joker came and got me,” she told the Daily Herald. She followed him to the bedroom and found Ron unable to get off the bed because his blood sugar was so low.
While dogs can be trained to detect changes in blood sugar and alert their owner – often faster than a glucometer can — Joker had not been.
Still, Vicki Santo thinks he must have had some abilities.
Children with diabetes, especially, could benefit from alert dogs. Sometimes they are hesitant to participate in sports and other activities because they worry about how their blood-sugar levels might change, she said.
While Ron Santo was dedicated to helping researchers find a cure, Vicki Santo thinks that helping others cope with diabetes through the foundation’s work would make him happy.
“He loved dogs,” she said. “I think he would have been so proud to share the knowledge of what these dogs can do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, alert dogs, animals, assistance, chicago cubs, diabetes, diabetic alert dogs, diabetics, dogs, foundation, health, pets, ron santo, service, vicki santo
Sometimes, our powerful connection with a dog is the result of another powerful connection that was lost.
Such is the case with Joe Guinta of Newark, Ohio, who plans to spend his last cent, and then some, to fight the cancer that has stricken Hunter, an 11-year-old mixed breed that belonged to his son.
Levi Guinta was killed in 2005 in a car accident. He was 22.
“Being that Levi was my only child, he was all I had,” Guinta explained to the Newark Advocate. “Hunter and I are very close. We now call him Daddy’s Boy.”
Six weeks ago, Guinta took Hunter — a husky-shepherd mix — to the veterinarian because he was unexplainedly losing weight. The vet, after some follow up visits, eventually diagnosed cancer.
Hunter has been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, and has a mass on his chest and a lump near his penis. He has been put on steroids, and has had two of a scheduled 16 chemotherapy treatments.
While the dog’s outlook is improving, Guinta, a salesman for Bath Fitters, paid by commission, has struggled to cover the costs. “I owe it to him,” Guinta said, referring to the dog. “I took that responsibility on when I took over his care.”
Guinta is getting some help from the Magic Bullet Fund, which is helps families who can’t afford the cost of treating their pets raise the money to do so.
The organization was started in New York by Laurie Kaplan, author of “Help Your Dog Fight Cancer.” When her dog, Bullet, got cancer, she was able to raise the money to get him treated. He lived four more years, to the age of 14, before he died of natural causes.
The Magic Bullet Fund now helps other people raise money to pay for their dog’s treatments. Once approved, the campaign for the dog is announced on the MBF website and Facebook. A volunteer helps the family raise money, as well. The information is listed on the website for one month.
“In the seven years we’ve been around, we’ve been able to help 210 dogs,” Kaplan said. “We get requests to help between 40 to 50 dogs a year”
Guinta applied and was accepted. Hunter’s information will appear on the website and people can donate to Hunter directly for 30 days.
Fundraising isn’t new to Guinta. Since his son’s death, he has conducted annual golf tournaments, raising more than $20,000 which he has donated to The Food Pantry Network of Licking County.
Guinta, 49, found Hunter in 2001 on the side of the road, and — after seeking his owner — brought him home to his son.
Hunter is now Guinta’s constant companion and often accompanies him to the cemetery to visit Levi’s grave.
” … I will sell everything I have and go bankrupt in order to treat my dog,” Guinta said. “There is nothing more important than making sure he lives. I will do whatever I have to do.”
(Photo: Jason Lenhart / The Advocate)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cancer, canine, care, chemotherapy, costs, death, dog, dogs, facebook, fundraising, health, hunter, joe guinta, laurie kaplan, magic bullet fund, pets, sickness, treatments, veterinary
Here’s an in-depth report out of Canada on the rising concerns about chicken jerky treats from China.
CBC television’s Tom Harrington looks at the lack of pet food regulations in this Marketplace segment, called “Fighting For Fido.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, canada, cbc, chicken, china, chinese, dead, dogs, dying, fda, government, health, jerky, marketplace, news, pet food, pets, regulations, regulatory, report, safety, sick, tom harrington, treats
The company announced Saturday the recall of a limited supply of its “Nature’s Recipe Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken,” which were manufactured at its plant in Topeka, Kan.
The product is distributed nationally, primarily through pet specialty retailers, according to the Associated Press.
Nature’s Recipe officials say no illnesses have been reported in pets or humans, but suggest that pet owners monitor themselves and their dogs for signs of salmonella and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.
The company advises consumers who bought the recalled treats to discard them immediately.
The recalled treats were sold in 19-ounce stand-up resealable pouches.
The products included in the recall are marked with the Lot Codes 2199TP or 2200TP and a UPC Code of 30521 51549. The pouches also have a “Best If Used By Date” stamp of either 10/11/13 or 10/12/13.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, biscuits, chicken, discard, dog, dog food, health, illness, lot code, natures recipe, oven baked, pets, real chicken, recall, safety, salmonella, treats, urgent, warning
We haven’t warned you this year, as Halloween approaches, about chocolate and other candies that can harm your dog, assuming that by now you already know all that.
But you may not know about toxic toads.
It only took about half an hour for Deborah Barrett’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Willie, to die after he bit a Bufo marinus toad in his back yard last week.
“It was as big as a salad plate. My dog killed it, and when he came inside, within five minutes he went into convulsions, Barrett told Patch.com in Temple Terrace, which is outside Tampa.
Barrett said Willie died in the car on the way to an animal hospital.
The City of Temple Terrace is cautioning pet owners to watch out for the Bufo marinus toads, an invasive species that has taken hold in Florida. The gray-brown toads secrete a powerful toxin from their glands that can be poisonous to dogs, cats and other animals that bite them, and even people who handle them.
Small dogs are the most at risk, veterinarians say.
“Once they start having seizures, if you don’t address it quickly, it can cause massive brain damage,” said Dr. Paul Langston, of the Temple Terrace Animal & Bird Hospital.”If you can get them (to the vet) quickly, they’ll usually be OK.”
If you suspect your pet has bitten a Bufo toad, veterinarians advise rinsing its mouth and paws with water and seeking veterinary help immediately.
As with the mushrooms we told you about last week, the toads are being seen in higher numbers because of heavy rains.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bufo marinus, caution, dangers, deadly, death, deborah barrett, dogs, florida, halloween, hazard, health, heavy rains, jack russell terrier, marijuana, mushrooms, pets, poison, rain, temple terrace, toad, toads, toxic, toxic toads, toxins, warning, willie