• CBD & Hemp: Hemp, CBD (and other) Safety Considerations

    In part I and part II we discussed the history of CBD, how it works, and the legality behind CBD for pets & people. While this can all seem a little overwhelming, especially considering the wide availability of CBD – the main take away is that it is important to be safe when choosing any supplement. One of the reasons I decided to put together such a robust series was to explain why it was so important to look for […]

    CBD & Hemp: What is CBD & how does it work?

    History & Today The use of cannabis goes back through civilization as one of humanity’s oldest crops, with records of use dating as far back as 6,000 years ago.1 Even then, claims of benefit from cannabis included constipation, gout, rheumatism, and absent-mindedness.2 For canines & felines, numerous potential therapeutic uses of cannabis have surfaced over the last decade. Although there is more research for use in humans, like many supplements, animal research into CBD is lacking to validate these claims and benefits. In […]

    June 2020: Journal of Animal Sciences Grain Free & Heart Disease Summary

    Background & History of DCM Investigation In June of 2018 a blog titled “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients” was published on the Tuft’s University blog ‘Petfoodology’. This blog was followed by a commentary article in JAVMA causing increased media and public attention. It’s important to note that neither of these papers were peer reviewed, and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) disseminated it as gospel.  This is unfortunate considering 80% of veterinarians […]

    How to determine food & supplement quality

    Transparency, or Lack Thereof Transparency has become a feel-good word for those who don’t know any better. However, for those that do, it’s become a cringe-worthy tagline that is an Achilles heel. In some ways, by leaning into companies who claim to be transparent, without holding them accountable to transparency one could argue that consumers and retailers are their own worst enemy. The fact of the matter is that many products within the pet industry, including food and supplements, lack measurable […]

    Journal of Animal Science Article Full Summary, Volume 98, Issue 6, June 2020

    In June of 2018, Lisa Freeman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist from Tufts University published a blog titled “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients.” This blog warned pet owners and veterinarians that ‘BEG’ (boutique, exotic, grain free) diets were causing heart disease in dogs. This left professionals and the public scrambling for more information, which was further fueled by media frenzy. As a result, the FDA launched an investigation which was complicated by sampling bias, overrepresentation of subgroups and confounding variables. For the past two years, despite additional commentary articles, scarce and vague scientific data and inconclusive FDA reports, information regarding DCM has been incomplete at best. Lack of information has been accompanied by abbreviated synopses of case studies with multiple variables and treatments, incomplete medical information and conflicting medical data and opinions from veterinary nutrition influencers.

    Summary Journal of Animal Science Article, Volume 98, Issue 6, June 2020

    In 2018 a blog from a veterinary nutritionist sparked a controversy between ‘BEG’ diets and heart disease in dogs. For the past two years, despite an FDA investigation, scarce and vague scientific data has created major issues for pet owners and the pet industry. For clarity, ‘BEG’ diets are known as Boutique, Exotic protein or Grain Free.

    A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Science titled, “Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns” that appeared to be a saving grace for many advocates of ‘BEG’ diets. This paper investigated a potential association between grain-free pet food and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. The authors state, “based on this review of the current literature, there is no definitive relationship between these implicated diet characteristics and DCM.” Despite this statement, realize the purpose of this paper was to identify numerous knowledge gaps surrounding DCM and nutrition, rather than to draw conclusions. While no link between ‘BEG’ (boutique, exotic, grain-free) was found, this does not mean that nutrition and other considerations are not at play.

    AVMA, Nutrition & (lack of) Ethics

    How many times have you heard a veterinarian or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) preach that those who are not veterinarians should not be giving nutritional advice?  Probably more than a few times. Interesting, maybe the AVMA should take their own advice before distributing an unvalidated, unscientific internet blog. Or, maybe they should rise to meet their own ethics pillars when disseminating information which is unable to withstand basic scientific scrutiny. In short, this is a scientific body distributing subpar work […]

    Facts, fear, sales, CBD & COVID-19

    I could probably go on forever questioning why the media (and even some “reputable” associations) continue to share non-peer reviewed, non-verified information, but I won’t. We know a great headline catches clicks and shares. This is a great example of how bad science is used to propagate either a false sense of security, fear – and sell a product. I’m also not “anti” CBD, but that isn’t the point. There are several applications where it is useful for pets and people, but in this instance there simply an overabundance of bad information swirling around CBD preventing and/or treating COVID-19.

    Redefining Transparency: a dirty word

    Transparency rarely exists in the pet industry. Despite what marketing tells us. So how do we fix it? There are a lot of products and companies that make health claims and clean sourcing which aim to provide a certain level of comfort to the consumer. However, most companies are not willing or able to prove it. Simple email requests for documentation of processes and testing from me, as a retailer, often go unanswered. The lack of response is sometimes from […]

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