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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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Dogswell Withdraws Jerky Treats

Today we received notice that Dogswell "voluntarily" withdrew select jerky treat from the market. This is rather ironic because just a couple days ago we visited the Dogswell's booth at Superzoo, a huge pet trade show in Las Vegas, and asked them about their new marketing campaign "Live Free." When asked what that means, a salesperson told us that not only does it refer to their ingredients (i.e. the chickens are supposedly raised cage-free, even though they source the meat from China!), but also that their products are free of corn, soy and fillers, etc. Plus, it means dogs can live free of harmful, unnatural ingredients! Oh my. Obviously this "voluntary" (a misnomer if there ever was one) withdrawal belies that assertion. Note this is the same "antibiotic residue" problem that happened with the Chinese jerky that we reported on here.

 

This notice is from the Dogswell site.

Dear Fellow Pet Parent:

At Dogswell, our number one priority is the safety of our products and the health of our canine and feline customers. We strive to make and sell only the highest quality treats and food with added vitamins that provide great taste and functional benefits such as improved hip health, skin and coat health, and other benefits.

During routine testing of our products, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) discovered that a sample of our Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. It is important to note that this antibiotic is accepted for use in other countries (including the European Union), and there is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets or humans. Since we were notified by the NYSDAM the week of July 22nd, we have made the decision to voluntarily withdraw Chicken Breast and Duck Breast jerky under the Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty brands that are labeled with a “Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date. The vast majority of these products were distributed before March 1st of this year. No other products are affected.

Since January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing procedures to ensure that our chicken and duck products do not contain these or other unapproved antibiotics. All chicken and duck breast jerky products with a “Best Before” date of January 29, 2015 and later have been fully tested for and do not contain these antibiotics.

It is important that you know that all Dogswell and Catswell products remaining on the market are safe to feed as directed.

We have issued a press release to make our consumers like you aware of the situation. We also identified the stores that received the product, and contacted them to destroy any affected products in their possession (if any).

We are doing everything we can to resolve this situation quickly and ensure that our consumers like you can feel confident feeding Dogswell and Catswell products to their companions, as we do here.

To learn more about the affected product, we invite you to read our “frequently asked questions” below. If you would like to speak with someone live, you can call us at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com. If we are unable to get to your call or it is after hours, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

We thank you, our valued customers, for your understanding, and we hope to be able to regain your trust.

Yours,
Brad Armistead

Frequently Asked Questions
What products are being withdrawn by Dogswell and Catswell?
Dogswell and Catswell are voluntarily withdrawing Dogswell and Catswell brand jerky treats made with chicken or duck with a ”Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date.

Why are Dogswell and Catswell withdrawing these treats?
We were recently notified by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) that a batch of our Happy Hips Chicken Jerky treats contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. Therefore, the company decided to withdraw any chicken or duck jerky treats that have not been tested for this antibiotic.

Have there been any reports of pets getting sick from eating treats that contain this antibiotic?
There is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets.

How can I tell if I have a product that is affected by the withdrawal?
First, you should check the name of the front of the package. If it says anything other than Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, it is not a part of this withdrawal.

If your package does say Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, you should turn the package over. In the bottom right hand corner of the package printed in black ink on the seam, you should find the words “Best Before”. After “Best Before” is a series of eight numbers, such as:

07262015 or 07/26/2015

This number would be translated to the date July 26, 2015 (07 for July, 26 for the day of the month, and 2015 for the year). The products affected by this withdrawal are for “Best Before” dates of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date (which would read as 01282015 or 01/28/2015). Any product with a “Best Before” date after that time has been tested for unapproved antibiotics and has been cleared.

If you find that you have a product that is affected, please call us for a full refund at 1-888-559-8833.

If you are having trouble determining if you have the product that was affected, or if you would like to speak with us directly about a full refund, please contact us directly at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com.

I just went to the store and saw your products there. Why is there so much Dogswell product on the shelf there if it has been withdrawn?
As of January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing on each batch of chicken and duck jerky to ensure that they do not contain these unapproved antibiotics. All of the products that you see on the shelf have passed testing and were approved to be sold.

Call us directly if you have any concerns or questions about DOGSWELL® products. We're here until 5:00 PM PST Mon-Fri  888-559-8833.

What does DOGSWELL do to make sure its products are safe?
Our manufacturing facilities are designed to prevent cross-contamination and all of our products are manufactured under strict sanitary conditions. We closely monitor these facilities, and also regularly visit them to ensure the quality and safety of our products. Our co-packing plants operate under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a system for managing food safety. Also, U.S. - based Third Party Food Safety Auditors make announced and unannounced visits to the audit all food safety and quality systems in which our facilities have always received high scores.

Where are your products manufactured?
Most DOGSWELL products are manufactured in the US. Some of our treats are manufactured in China, but we hold these facilities to the same stringent quality standards we maintain at our US facilities. DOGSWELL sources its ingredients based upon where we find top quality ingredients and a high quality supplier whose facilities and practices meet our safety testing standards.

Why are the jerky treats made in China?
China is a country where dark meat is more popular due to its inherent fat and flavor. DOGSWELL believes it is less wasteful to obtain our white meat in China where it is abundant, rather than sourcing it domestically, where white meat is less available and held at a premium. Not only do we care about your pet's health by sourcing only the healthiest meat available, we also practice sustainability by reducing as much waste as possible.

How do you test your products?
Every batch of DOGSWELL product is tested for melamine, bacteria and other contaminants.  All of our ingredients are carefully chosen and we conduct regular testing in U.S. facilities using APPA-approved methodology. Quality assurance is critically important and has been part of our standard operating procedure, and an integral part of our company, since day one. Please see below for a link to our test results.

How do you prevent salmonella from contaminating your jerky products?
The DOGSWELL® facility is specifically designed to prevent any cross contamination. Salmonella is one of the easiest contaminants to prevent. Salmonella is killed after 23 seconds at 160 degrees. We ensure that that all of our poultry jerky products are cooked at 160 degrees for ten hours. While some manufacturers choose a quicker “flash cooking process” to irradiate their products, DOGSWELL® has chosen the slow-cooking method to provide a clean, safe treat.

What is the Cage-Free Difference?
Cage-free chickens are kept in barns where they can roam, scratch and perch as they please. Our chickens eat a natural diet, have plenty of room to roam, and live and grow free of stress.

To view our Quality Assurance Brochure, please click here

News: Editors
A Heartwarming Homecoming
Reunion with a soldier and the dog who loves him

This is one of the best reunion videos of all time. A soldier returning home after six months, greeted by so much love. I wonder what people who don't believe dogs have emotions would say watching this! My dogs joined in when they heard her whimper, seeming to express their empathy. There is something so tender about this shared love and happiness.

My friend who showed it to me said she thought the dog was saying at the end, “Don't ever do that again! Promise!” What do you think? How did your dogs reaction when they heard it?

The video can be viewed here.

 

News: Editors
Dog Days from BBC Radio
Worth tuning in

A friend of The Bark’s just told me about BBC Radio 4’s marvelous series called Dog Days. You have only a few days left to listen to them. Each runs around 15 minutes, and discusses various aspects of dogs behavior and dog culture. Interviews with researcher, John Bradshaw, and other British dog aficionados. From My Dog Tulip and Flush to current research on dog love. As the programs’ presenter, Robert Hanks (along with his Whippet Timmy), describes it, “When we tell stories about our dogs, we are also telling stories about ourselves.” Give a listen.

News: Editors
Be More Dog
Brilliant UK Ad Campaign

The UK mobile phone network O2 has lauched a new £10million campaign that encourages viewers to "embrace their inner dog" and shun their more cynical 'cat-like' side. Be sure to look  this video, and otheres are their site, and create your own "dog bomb" like this one or this one

Gary Booker, O2 marketing and consumer director, told the Guardian: "We're living in one of the most exciting eras as far as technology goes... but somehow we've got a little jaded by it all.

"'Be more dog' is all about encouraging Britain to embrace the new, have a go with the unknown and dabble in innovation.

"We're also gearing up for our 4G launch later this summer, so it's the perfect time to get the nation trying more and being a little bit more dog."

The campaign, which features the slogan "Life's a stick - go chase it", has been developed by ad agency VCCP.

 

News: Editors
Dogs are asked to "Do it"!
And imitate novel human actions and store them in memory

Researchers have shown that dogs can indeed not only mimic human actions, but can retain actions in their memory. According to a new study by Claudia Fugazza and Adám Miklósi, from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, this deferred imitation provides the first evidence of dogs' cognitive ability to both encode and recall actions. The research is published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.

In order to test if dogs possess the cognitive ability of deferred imitation, Fugazza and Miklósi worked with eight pet dogs who had been trained in the “Do as I do method” by their guardians. While dogs are good at relying on human communication cues and learn by watching humans (and other dogs), what this study set out to test was if dogs can perform imitatively not directly after seeing a human do it, but some time after seeing the action.

So they made the dogs wait for short intervals before they were allowed to copy the observed human action. An example of the action done by the human and then performed by the dog was ringing a bell or walking around an object like a bucket.

“The researchers observed whether the dogs were able to imitate human actions after delays ranging from 40 seconds to 10 minutes, during which time the dogs were distracted by being encouraged to take part in other activities. The researchers were looking for evidence of the dogs' ability to encode and recall the demonstrated action after an interval.”

Fugazza described how one of the tests was carried out: “The owner, Valentina, made her dog, Adila, stay and pay attention to her, always in the same starting position. Three randomly chosen objects were set down, each at the same distance from Adila. When Adila was in position, Valentina demonstrated an object-related action, like ringing a bell with her hand.

“Then Valentina and Adila took a break and went behind a screen that was used to hide the objects, so that Adila could not keep her mind on the demonstration by looking at the object. During the break, Valentina and Adila either played with a ball or practiced a different training activity, for example, Valentina asked Adila to lie down. Or they both relaxed on the lawn and Adila was free to do whatever she wanted—sniff around, bark at people passing by, and so on.

“When the break was over, Valentina walked with her dog back to the original starting position and gave the command 'Do it!'. In a control condition, the ‘Do it!’ command was given by someone other than the owner, who did not know what action had previously been demonstrated by the owner. After the 'Do it!' command, Adila typically performed the action that was previously demonstrated.”

It is remarkable that the dogs were able to do this. But the length of time varied—with an action familiar to the dog, delays were as long as ten minutes. If the action/task was novel and the the dogs had not be exposed to it before, they were still able to perform it after a delay of one minute.

“The authors conclude: "The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration. In addition, the ability to imitate a novel action after a delay without previous practice suggests the presence of a specific type of long-term memory in dogs. This would be so-called ‘declarative memory,’ which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge."

To view more demonstration on the "Do as I do" method, see this, and the following demonstrations.

 

 

Reference

Fugazza C & Miklósi A (2013). Deferred imitation and declarative memory in domestic dogs. Animal Cognition; DOI 10.1007/s10071-013-0656-5

 

 

 

News: Editors
Botanical Delights: Living Sculptures
Mosaïcultures Internationales 2013
  Contemporary Landscape

An amazing exhibit of Mosaiculture, including this living sculpture of Hachiko, the Loyal Dog, can be found at Montreal Botanical Garden this summer. I saw this article on Houzz, where it was noted that:

It's not an invasion from the zoo — it's mosaiculture, a type of horticultural art as wild as it sounds. Mosaiculture designers install carefully selected and pruned plants onto two- and three-dimensional designs, creating massive and surprisingly realistic living sculptures. In this exhibit visitors walk along a 2-kilometer (1¼-mile) path to see the work of 50 participants from more than 20 countries. Each designer worked with a set plant catalog to sculpt something from his or her country's culture.

 

Living Sculptures Delight at the Montreal Botanical Garden */ Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Home improvement can start with something as minor as installing track lighting or a unique ceiling fan.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining benches and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and kitchen knives sets for food preparation.

News: Editors
Beehive Detection Dog

Bazz, wearing his new bee-proof working gear, is Australia’s first apiary dog. Beekeeper Josh Kennett devised this suit so that his Lab, and working partner, Bazz could help sniff out a virulent bee disease, the American foulbrood.

Dogs can’t get near a hive of bees without being aggressively chased away. So Kennett got the idea to train Bazz from his American counterparts but in the U.S. the colder temperatures negate the need for protection.

“Their winters are far colder than ours, with snow over the top of beehives. We don't have that situation here in South Australia.

“So I’ve tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung.”

He also said that he tried a variety of prototypes because he wanted a suit that “doesn’t restrict him too much,” so had to do a lot of trial and error, especially with the head part.

After a long training period that was started by a professional detection dog trainer, and refined by Kennett to get Bazz used to the suit and to the hives, the beekeeper team is now ready to go

“We’ve now proven the concept, he can find the infected hives.

“To fully cover a dog up and expect it to do the same thing, it takes time to change how he behaves and to get used to that suit.”

 

Source: ABC Australia

 

 

News: Editors
Listen to Your Dogs

Sometimes our dogs communicate with us on levels that are surprising and revelatory. A case in point, having three dogs means that when I work from home, I’m kept busy doing door duty for them—they constantly ask to go out into the backyard, and a few minutes later, after they erupt into a chorus of “chase the squirrel,” I need get them back inside. There they’ll settle down for a few minutes, but then their asking to go out begins anew. Lola, our seven-year-old Pointer, takes her duties on squirrel-patrol very seriously. The two smaller dogs support her cause and cheer her on with a cacophony of barking, whining and high-pitched baying.

One day last week, I finally had it (as I’m sure the neighbors had as well) and decided that the dogs had to stay inside if I were to do any work. Charlie, our newest family member, is a gem of a Terrier boy and if he isn’t already glued to my side, he has spot-on recall, so he came in first. Kit, our Kentucky coy-girl, takes more coaxing but rattling a bag of treats did the trick. Lola is another story, she gets totally transfixed staring up at the taunting-bushy tails, who inspire her to run circles around the trees up on her back legs, like a crazed circus dog. This resulted in a sweaty and not-so merry chase as I tried to grab hold of her. But I finally got her, so in she went too.

I sat down to my computer, and within a few minutes, Lola walked up and looked at me motioning to the back door. I told her, no way am I going to let you out again, but she did this a few more times, even using her chin to gently tap on my hand. But I held firm, and ignored her pleas.  A few minutes passed and I decided to go into the office after all, and take the dogs with me, so I called to them to get leashed-up.

But loyal Charlie was missing, and once again, Lola looked at me, and ran to the back door. I then heard a little whimper, and opened the door to find that Charlie had been locked out and was softly crying to come in. His cries were so muted, that I hadn’t heard him, although big sister Lola had. Now that the door was opened, I thought that Lola would bolt out, but instead she and Charlie did a merry little dance, greeting each other as if they had been parted for hours (and not the few minutes it was). I thought that was so touching, and so telling too. All along Lola was signaling not that she wanted out but that Charlie was stranded—but I didn’t have the good sense to figure this out.

It was an eye-opener to me, marking a “Lassie” moment for Lola. It was the first time—or the first time that I “got” it—that she was trying to cue me not for herself but for someone else. Could this be an altruistic act? What do you think, have your dogs done something similar?

Culture: DogPatch
Interview Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Dogdom's Grande Dame
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

The 80-plus-year-old writer Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has a new book, A Million Years with You: A Memoir of Life Observed. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her amazing life and her observations of the natural world.

Bark: What first drew you to dogs?
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas: Our family always had dogs. I grew up with dogs, and one of them, a Newfoundland named Mishka, was our nanny.

Bark: In this book, you write that the Bushmen regarded and respected lions, and were rarely attacked by them, unlike their pastoralist neighbors, who attacked lions and, in turn, were attacked by them. Do you think the same dynamic may have existed between early humans and wolves (and protodogs)?
Thomas: A study was done in the 1970s that found no attacks on people by wild wolves except for a man who dressed himself as a bear cub and rolled around on the ground as if he were injured or ill. Wolves attacked him, but that should come as no surprise —they thought he was an injured bear cub. I [once] spent a summer alone in a small cave on Baffin Island next to a pack of denning wolves. They could have had me for lunch, but they never as much as threatened me. They did tear up my [anti-mosquito] head-net and a sweater, but I had carelessly left these at my lookout post on top of a hill. Those wolves worked very hard to find enough to eat, and I would have been easy prey if they had decided to attack me. Now and then, they would come to my cave to look things over, but always when I was asleep. I felt no fear of them whatever. They, on the other hand, felt cautious of me but tolerated my presence very well. If they were worried about me, they would have taken their pups and moved to another den. But no, they stayed. I don’t think it’s known why wolves seldom, if ever, attack people.

Bark: The Hidden Life of Dogs was perhaps the first best-selling dog book; have you been surprised by how many have followed? And do you still believe that dogs “want” other dogs?
Thomas: I don’t have an answer for the popularity of dog books, but I do think that dogs enjoy the company of other dogs because, like wolves, they are highly social animals. We, their owners, could almost be called surrogate dogs, usually in the role of pack leaders, but not always.

Bark: What do you think inspires our ongoing fascination with dogs?
Thomas: One reason might be that dogs represent something “other.” They are perfectly comfortable with people, but they are not people. Dogs fascinate me because they are windows to the natural world—they have thoughts, dreams and emotions; they make plans just as we do. What this tells us is that human beings are not the only creatures to have such abilities and do such things. To a great extent, dogs show us the “one-ness” of the animal kingdom.

News: Editors
Rescuing Dogs with Medical Needs
Arizona group steps up to help

I got to “meet” this adorable, adoptable dog, Pippy, a Pit mix, this morning when I opened my “smiling dog” email messages. I also got to learn about a remarkable rescue group in Phoenix, AZ called M.A.I.N., Medical Animals in Need. More about them later, but as for  the two-year-old, Pippy, he came into their foster program when they found him at the county shelter (where he came in as a stray) suffering from a very sad condition known as “happy tail,” something that I had never heard of. As they note in his description:

"The concrete walls of his kennel have caused his tail to split open and his tail cannot be treated properly as long as he remains at the shelter. Contrary to the term, Happy Tail is actually very dangerous. Dogs end up with this ailment by wagging their tails so much that the concrete walls of the kennels split open the tips of their tails—causing infection in some cases and a bloody mess in most. Some dogs come into MCACC with Happy Tail, and others develop it after a short while. The danger, of course, is that it can make the dog go from being very adoptable to very unadoptable—through no fault of its own. They wag their tails and try to be as friendly as possible, and this is what they get for all of their hard work."

As with most of the dogs who M.A.I.N. rescues, his condition was treated by the kind vets at the Bethany Animal Hospital in Phoenix. Dr. Katie Andre and Dr. Melissa Miller work with M.A.I.N. to ensure that all the animals are treated and well-cared for. Then fosters step up to complete the final step of a dog’s rehabilitation, and help to find forever homes for the dogs. What really impressed me when I looked around their site is how much information is provided for each dog, including notes from foster homes and trainers so you get to really know each dog. And then they have wonderful videos (of before and after) like the one below, which makes a adoption all that more possible.

M.A.I.N.'s mission is statement: M.A.I.N. Team is an Arizona based 501(c)3 all volunteer group focused on identifying, transporting, aiding and promoting animals from Arizona shelters who need immediate and sometimes costly medical attention the shelters are unable to provide.

Good news about their dogs, they seem to be open to out-of-area adoptions, if you are interested in any of them, do let them know! Or if you are in the Phoenix area you might want to step up and volunteer to help or become a foster for this program.

 

 

 

 

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