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Founder's Articles

Why is SuperGravy a Better Pet Food Topper than Freeze-Dried Brands?

Why is SuperGravy a Better Pet Food Topper than Freeze-Dried Brands?

Clear Conscience Pet first invented and launched SuperGravy way back in 2011.
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The Truth About Frozen and Freeze-Dried Raw Pet Foods

The Truth About Frozen and Freeze-Dried Raw Pet Foods

As 30-year veterans of the natural pet nutrition business, we have seen lots of trends and fads come and go.
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What is Aspergillus and Why is it in SuperGravy?

What is Aspergillus and Why is it in SuperGravy?

One of the key foundations of the Clear Conscience Pet mission and philosophy is our CleanLabel™ Pledge. The Pledge promises that all ingredients in our formulas are Pure, Pronounceable, and Purposeful. (more detail here CleanLabel – Clear Conscience Pet ).   Sometimes, despite our commitment to simplicity and transparency, the “Pronounceable” part gets a little tricky since we need to use scientific names for ingredients to be accurate. The Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics, and Prebiotics that make up our Trigestive gut health complex are examples of ingredient names that are rarely heard in everyday conversation. Unless you are an animal nutritionist by profession like us, or a serious nutrition nerd, your dinner table conversation is unlikely to include “pass me the Aspergillus Oryzae, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and Fructooligosaccharides, please!”  But these and more tongue twisters are proudly present on our labels because they identify sources of active Digestive Enzymes, live Probiotics, and Prebiotics.

Recently, one of our wonderful customers (who is a very experienced dog professional) reached out to us because someone on Facebook made a disparaging comment about SuperGravy. The comment said that, because we have Aspergillus on our ingredient list, we have “mold” in our product. This was spectacularly ignorant, but we had to take it seriously. This sort of baseless misinformation could be very damaging to the reputation for impeccable quality and performance that we have worked so hard to earn for the past 12 years while earning 25 awards for nutritional innovation and excellence. We are blessed to have so many smart customers, because we were informed about it right away by several other loyal friends of CCP. We responded to this deceptive statement in very strong terms, and we believe that it has been addressed thoroughly.    

We decided to turn this situation into an educational opportunity, while also putting our detailed response on the record. We hope you find this info helpful, and that it reinforces your confidence and trust in our company and products!

Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger are cultured digestive enzyme sources. These living ingredients are included with all four SuperGravy formulas as the sources of our beneficial active digestive enzymes. Aspergillus fungi release enzymes to break down nutrients that support their own natural life cycle. Utilizing this natural phenomenon, manufacturers use active Aspergillus cultures to produce digestive enzymes for human and animal supplementation. The enzymes are then separated from the Aspergillus cultures and highly purified under precise laboratory conditions. The end results are purified natural active enzymes, with no residual Aspergillus. These ingredients do not introduce “mold” into the formulas. There are hundreds of animal supplements on the market that include enzymes produced in this exact manner and listed precisely as they are on our SuperGravy labels.   

 Naturally cultured Aspergillus is the source for a very high percentage of all digestive enzymes produced for use in human and animal gut health supplements. It’s also interesting to note that Aspergillus oryzae has been an active component in human food and beverage manufacturing for hundreds of years. Aspergillus oryzae is also known in Japan as “Koji,” and it has been used in Japanese food production for centuries. Aspergillus oryzae is the fermenting agent that turns mashed rice into Sake rice wine. Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae are what transform soybeans and water into brewed tamari, also known simply as soy sauce.  

On a broader level, all active digestive health components (including live probiotic strains) are produced through bioactive processes such as cultured fungi and probiotic microorganism production.  Molds are present in human foods such as bleu cheese. Bread mold led to the discovery of penicillin and all similar class antibiotics. All mushrooms are living fungi, and besides being tasty on a pizza, many mushroom species have been discovered to have powerful physiological properties, including adaptation for use as cancer fighting drugs.  Fungal and mold organisms are truly essential parts of the planetary ecosystem and food chain. Active microbiological agents are used in countless human food production applications. Just a few examples are yogurt, cheese, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and all fermented alcoholic beverages. Bees can’t make honey without enzymes, and no honey means no bees means no pollination to grow food!         

 Digestive enzymes produced by these Aspergillus varieties include Protease, which is essential for the digestive tract to break down proteins into essential amino acids; Amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates; and Lipase, which breaks down fats and oils into essential fatty acids. The ability to efficiently absorb nutrients is critical to support, strengthen, and regenerate muscle, blood, bone, hair, internal organs, neurons, and every other bodily structure and function. This is true for humans, dogs, or any other animal species.  

The Trigestive™ gut health complex in SuperGravy includes probiotics (beneficial bacteria essential for digestion), prebiotics (essentially “food” for probiotics), and digestive enzymes (active “keys” that unlock the structure of all food molecules). This combination helps dogs to maximize nutrient absorption and boosts immunity by supporting the balance and health of the gut microbiome, which is at the core of the immune system.

Put simply, besides being a delicious and healthy gravy made from whole superfoods, SuperGravy is a three-way digestive health powerhouse. The goal is to have a healthier and happier dog and helping them to get the most out of the food they eat. After all, what’s the point of feeding top quality food if too many of those nutrients wind up in a poopy bag.  

Clear Conscience Pet is a family business, started and still owned by animal nutrition experts with over 30 years of experience in the field. Everything in our products follows our Clean Label Pledge, which promises that every ingredient in our formulas serves a distinct purpose, and that we never have and never will use filler ingredients simply to increase profits. Every product and every ingredient is there to promote greater health, energy, longevity, and sheer JOY for dogs, period. By following this strict philosophy, we hope to provide peace of mind for pet parents. That’s what the “Clear Conscience” in our name is all about- your ability to use CCP products with confidence, knowing that they are meticulously well-researched, scientifically formulated, and lovingly crafted to the highest quality control standards. That’s what we do and who we are.

Anthony Bennie, Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer: Pet Industry Icon Award Honoree

Amanda Malone Bennie, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer: Women of Influence in the Pet Industry Award Winner
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What’s the Scoop on Pet Food Topper Supplements?

What’s the Scoop on Pet Food Topper Supplements?

A Brief Consumer’s Guide to Pet Food Enhancement Using Toppers, Broths, Gravies, & other Mixers 

As the inventors of SuperGravy, we at Clear Conscience Pet have 12 years of experience in the field of pet food enhancement. In fact, SuperGravy was the very first holistically formulated instant gravy and broth mix for dogs when it was first launched in 2010. We were way ahead of our time, because our many previous years of experience in the natural pet food industry had shown us that there was great need for a healthy solution to picky eating and more serious appetite depression in dogs caused by illness and emotional trauma.

Since that first SuperGravy launch, we have dedicated our hearts and our resources to this issue. Along the way, Clear Conscience Pet has won 25 awards for nutritional excellence and innovation. We are humbled by this recognition, but what matters to us far more is that we have helped thousands of dogs and their human guardians by dramatically improving the taste, digestibility, functionality, and sheer enjoyment of their daily meals. We have numerous reviews and heartfelt testimonials affirming that we have achieved a very high level of expertise in this area.

Now, big money companies have entered the “Pet Food Topper” category, and the number of products on the market has exploded in the last three years. Current estimates put annual sales of Toppers at over $150 million in USA sales, and that doesn’t even count canned dog food, the most common dry food mixer. The bottom line is that a large and growing percentage of consumers have become more educated and concerned about how they feed their dogs. One big change is that the most engaged pet parents have decided that plain dry kibble and other foods aren’t enough, so they are seeking to enhance their pet’s food with healthy Toppers, Gravies, and Broths.

We know that you have hundreds of Pet Food Topper choices, and although companies with the most advertising get the most attention, that doesn’t mean they are the highest quality or the best choice for your dog. We have written this analysis of the category to help guide your choice and make you a more educated consumer. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide the best way to bring better health and greater joy to your beloved dogs.

 

TOPPER TYPES:       

Toppers are available in several types and at a wide range of price points. The three dominant forms of Toppers on the market are:

  • Liquids/ Wet Toppers: includes premade broths, frozen broths, ready-to-use wet gravies and sauces, purees in pouches, and canned pet food used as a mixer/topper

a- PROS:

  • Easy to use, just open the container, pour it on the food bowl, and stir; or in the case of canned, throw some chunks in the bowl. Adds palatability and hydration, nutritional value varies depending on product
  • High quality canned foods (preferably with 80% meat or more) are a fairly easy way to add more meat as a source of digestible animal protein to your dog's diet; this is very important for carnivore health        

b- CONS:

  • Liquids are very expensive, especially for large dogs since it takes a lot of liquid to hydrate big bowls of dry food. A quart of liquid bone broth or goat's milk costing $6-$10 may only last 3-4 days for a medium to extra-large dog, so that’s about $2-$3 daily or $60-$90 more a month added to the family pet food bill. 
  • Canned dog foods are also quite expensive. Large (11-13 oz.) cans that previously cost about $2 have increased to $3.50-$4.00 over the past couple of years and are rising even more in the current inflationary environment. After opening and refrigerating for multi-day use, canned food becomes hard and lumpy, making it very easy for clever dogs to pick it out and walk away, leaving you frustrated and wasting food and money when you toss the rest of their food in the trash.
  • Liquid toppers and cans are NOT earth friendly. They are 80 to 99% water, so they generate a huge carbon footprint from shipping and storing tons of water. They take up more space in stores, they cost a lot more to ship, and they generate more post-consumer waste than any Topper option.
  • Premade liquids and canned foods generally can’t include Live Probiotics and active Enzymes because they must be cooked or pasteurized for safety

 

  • Freeze Dried Toppers: This category has emerged as a “spinoff” of freeze-dried complete pet diets. These are essentially the exact same products, but they are sold in different packages and labeled as Toppers. This marketing strategy helps freeze-dried pet food makers to introduce their products to dry kibble users as a Topper, with the goal being to switch customers over completely to freeze-dried. The problem is, although freeze-dried foods are generally very nutritious, they are not designed to be food toppers. They don’t blend well with food, even when moistened they stay “clumpy” in the bowl, and they can be removed by clever dogs from the bowl.

a-PROS:

  • Typically made with high quality meat, fish, and vegetable ingredients so freeze-dried Toppers can be a nutritious add-on to dry dog foods. Many dogs find freeze-dried food attractive because of the high meat protein content, so it can help with picky eating.

b-CONS:

  • Very expensive, $2-$3 per day if added as recommended to a big dog’s daily meals
  • Some dogs find freeze-dried food bland, especially if they are kibble eaters accustomed to the tricks that kibble makers use to make their food taste better
  • Clumps Up in water so it doesn’t mix well with dry food. This also makes it easy for dogs to “steal” the freeze-dried pieces and walk away. Wetting freeze-dried food doesn’t form a gravy or other infusion, it just makes the chunks moist
  • Freeze-dried is extremely dry at about 3% moisture, so it’s more than 333% dryer than kibble. This means that it’s essential to rehydrate any mix of freeze-dried and kibble very thoroughly for optimum digestion and nutrient absorption and to prevent dehydration and urinary tract problems.
  • The ultra-cold temperatures used in the freeze-drying process typically do not allow for live Probiotics and active digestive Enzymes. Processing also degrades the potency of natural food-based nutraceutical supplements, so it is difficult to make multi-functional freeze-dried toppers

 

  • Dry Mix Toppers: SuperGravy® and other dehydrated powdered dry Gravy and Broth mixes are the fastest growing segment in Toppers. The reason is because they offer the best combination of nutritional benefits, value, sustainability, convenience, and versatility among all Toppers. Instant dry Topper mixes are simply scooped on top of food and stirred well with water to form a gravy or broth Topper right in the bowl. They can also be mixed with water in a container to make a supply of broth that can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Broth can be added to food, or it can be served as a healthy hydration option that provides protein, energy, and digestive benefits between meals, on outings, or during exercise and canine athletic events.      

a-PROS:

  • The Best Value in Toppers; Example: Our SuperGravy® costs as little as 60 cents per day to add to any dog’s food
  • Very convenient, mixes up in a minute;
  • DOGS LOVE GRAVY so it’s a great solution for Picky Eaters;
  • Small serving size of concentrated ingredients means it’s low in calories and fat per serving, so it doesn’t disrupt the diet and cause tummy troubles;
  • Infuses food completely so dogs can’t cheat by stealing the good stuff, they must eat their meal to enjoy the Topper;
  • Dry Toppers can be safely cold processed which allows the inclusion of Live Probiotics and Active Digestive enzymes for daily gut microbiome and immune support;
  • Palatable dry toppers are the ideal delivery system for any functional supplement since cold processing preserves the potency of natural nutrients;
  • One lightweight pouch enhances weeks of meals so it’s the most convenient and earth-friendly Topper option

b-CONS:

  • Delicious gravy is addictive! Once a dog experiences “energized food” with the exciting smells, tastes, and hydration of a superior quality gravy or broth, it’s hard to get them back to plain kibble or clumpy freeze-dried without enhancement. But with a cost-effective product like SuperGravy, there is no reason to deprive your dog of this healthy and JOYFUL eating experience
  • Not yet as widely available in retail stores as liquids or freeze-dried, so dry Topper mixes are still easier to find online. Why not more retail? It’s simple: instant dry mixes are Topper category “disruptors” because they cost so much less to use than other options, so stores hesitate to upset the market. Retailers have been persuaded by corporate brands with big promotional budgets to fill their available space with expensive freeze-dried and liquid Toppers, but that will start to change as consumers learn that they can get a much better product for far less, and start asking retailers to stock these options.      

THE NEXT GENERATION: TOPPERS FORMULATED AS SUPPLEMENTS

Along with interest in food-enhancing Toppers, there has been tremendous growth in the category of functional pet supplements to boost mobility, gut health, skin and coat, immune health, and numerous other preventive health and wellness functions.  Based on their mixability, cold-processing options, palatability, and value proposition, dry mix functional Topper/Gravy mixes have emerged as the next generation hybrid between palatable comfort food and advanced functional supplementation.

 It’s difficult to get dogs to take their supplements, as anyone who has tried to “hide” a pill or capsule from a dog can attest! This makes tasty gravy or broth powder mixes an ideal “delivery system” for a wide variety of supplements. One Dry Topper/Supplement mix can supply multiple benefits. At Clear Conscience Pet, we have embraced this concept with SuperGravy as the pioneer in this category over the past several years. All four formulas are now enhanced with our “Trigestive™ gut health support complex of Live Probiotics, Prebiotics, and active Digestive Enzymes. Bon A’ La Goat with Bone Broth and Goat’s Milk includes our Bioactive Turmeric Complex, an advanced natural anti-inflammatory for greater mobility and cellular health.

These active ingredients can only be maintained and delivered at full potency through our proprietary cold processing manufacturing method.  The Trigestive™ complex improves any pet food by improving digestibility, critical nutrient absorption, and boosting the immune system by increasing the population of beneficial organisms throughout the gut microbiome. The beauty of using a gravy Topper for this purpose is that dogs get these health benefits every day, with every meal. SuperGravy also provides antioxidants and other natural vitamins and minerals. We don’t do this with synthetic supplements like typical pet supplements; we use only whole superfood ingredients like Chia Seeds, Kelp, dried vegetables, and delicious proteins like natural Beef, Pork, Yogurt, and Cheese that dogs LOVE. This is truly the marriage of Holistic Health Supplementation with Artisan Crafted Whole Superfoods.    

TOPPER SUMMARY:  Yes, it’s true that there are hundreds of options on the market to enhance your pet’s food.  Whatever you choose, as nutritionists, we encourage you to feed a hydrated diet to your dog. You can do that by adding SuperGravy and water to your chosen food to form a deliciously nutritious gravy topping, or by using another form of wet or frozen moist food. With SuperGravy instant Gravy/Broth food topper mixes, you can deliver great taste, supplemental nutrients, and daily hydration.  We humbly submit that our SuperGravy® Dehydrated/Powdered Mix Toppers are the healthiest, most palatable, most convenient, and BEST VALUE among pet food toppers.

© 2022

By Anthony Bennie

Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer

Clear Conscience Pet LLC

Cape Coral, Florida
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A Dog's Life Span

A Dog's Life Span

“Why can’t dogs live as long as humans?”

This lament is often heard when humans mourn the loss of a beloved family dog. But in those times of grief, we may find a sliver of comfort by remembering that dogs feel the passage of time very differently than we do. They live every day in the moment, unencumbered by knowledge of their own mortality. Dogs experience a full life, whether it lasts two years or twenty. If you share your life with canine companions, you’ll experience the joy of multiple canine lifetimes as well as the sadness of several end-of-life transitions. 

As deeply painful as it is when we lose our dogs, they are giving us a final gift at the end of their lives. We have experienced the grief of losing several dogs, cats, and small animals over the years, and it never gets easier. But if we open our hearts to receive it, dogs and other animals offer us the opportunity to gain profound spiritual wisdom at the end of their earthly lives. What do they teach us? 

  • Dogs teach us how precious life is, and remind us how blessed we are to be alive every day
  • Dogs teach us to love and care for another being, with no expectation of reward except the satisfaction of providing them the best life possible
  • Dogs teach us to grieve deeply, yet survive and move on
  • Dogs teach us that we can love again after an unbearable loss
  • Dogs teach us that the end of earthly life can be a peaceful transition
  • Dogs teach us to share our grief openly, so that we may be comforted by sharing our experiences, and offer comfort to others suffering from losing a beloved animal or human companion.

You will suffer great pain when a dog that you love dies. But as you grieve, allow yourself the grace and spiritual healing that comes from knowing that you provided your companion with the very best life you could.  Take comfort in knowing that your dog didn’t feel cheated by the length of their life. They lived every day to the fullest, they felt safe and warm as lifetime members of your family pack, and they always felt the power of your love.

The greatest gift you can give to your departed companion is to keep the cycle going.  Don’t rush to “replace” your beloved companion; you never will. But don’t allow the pain of loss to close your heart to loving and caring for another special soul. There is always a dog out there who is meant to be with you, and if your spirit is open and observant, you will find each other when the time is right.

By Anthony and Amanda Bennie, © 2022
Founders of Clear Conscience Pet® Award-Winning Animal Nutrition
Makers of SuperGravy® Pet Food Toppers, SLIDERS® and Airy Bark™ Dog Treats
www.clearconsciencepet.com ; info@clearconsciencepet.com

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Taylor Bay: Potcake from Paradise – A Tale of Love, Loss, and Renewal

Taylor Bay: Potcake from Paradise – A Tale of Love, Loss, and Renewal

By Anthony and Amanda Bennie, Co-Founders, Clear Conscience Pet

© 2022

The story of Taylor Bay started on the island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands. She and her five Potcake littermates were tiny two-week old pups with little chance of survival when they were pulled from the scrubby grass off the beach, but they were among the lucky ones rescued by the Potcake Foundation and the Turks and Caicos SPCA (TCSPCA). They received excellent care from volunteer veterinarians, and they were housed and fed so they would have a chance to be adopted into a forever home.

“Potcake” is the name for the indigenous mixed breed dogs of the British West Indies, Turks and Caicos, and The Bahamas Islands. Dogs in these countries were traditionally fed the hard chunks of residual rice, vegetables, and meat scraped from the bottom of a stew pot that’s been cooked over open flame. These hard chunks are called potcakes, and over time the dogs also became known as Potcakes by association.

For hundreds of years, dogs from many breeds have been brought to the islands by voyagers and settlers from all over the world. This blend of dog breeds have evolved into today’s Potcakes. Though they can vary quite a bit in size and color, there’s a “Potcake look” that one comes to recognize after spending time in the Islands. They are recognized as a distinct breed by the Royal Bahamian Kennel Club, but still are considered mixed breed dogs here in the U.S.A. Despite a lengthy career in pet care and nutrition, I had never heard of a Potcake dog before this trip.

This story, however, is not just about adopting a strange dog in a strange land; it’s about the spiritual cycle of love, loss, and renewal that is inherent in the bond between humans and dogs. The unlikely twists and cosmic convergences leading to our becoming Potcake parents may suggest to some that there are spirit hands, or spirit paws, acting cosmically to drive the life cycle between us and our dogs forward.

Taylor Bay’s trip from the tropical sun of Turks and Caicos to a Connecticut snowstorm really started as a conversation I had with Isis, our seven-year-old Golden Retriever. By “conversation,” I don’t mean the usual chatter that we humans inflict on our dogs as an antidote to our own loneliness and boredom; I mean a genuine conversation, in which Isis transmitted thoughts and images to me with a clarity and intensity that was startling, and disturbing.

After finishing work late one night in January of 2011, I tiptoed into the bedroom, hoping to wake neither my wife nor Isis and our other Golden, Ozzy. But I felt an urgent mental tug from Isis that compelled me to go and lie down next to Isis. A rush of thoughts and images came to me from her. Of course, it sounds insane, but the things coming into my head didn’t sound like my own thoughts. But the message was clear: Isis was afraid of dying. I saw images of our departed dogs, Carly and Charlie. Isis had lived with both as they grew old, and she grieved with us when they passed on at 4 and 15 years old. I felt that she was telling me that she never wanted to grow old and suffer the embarrassing loss of mobility and control that she saw in Charlie and Carly. But she was also worried about all of us, especially her mate Ozzy. She didn’t want to let us all down by dying.

This was craziness. Isis was a healthy seven-year-old with many great years ahead of her, right? In response, I tried to send out waves of thoughts and images, pictures of happy activities like swimming, chasing balls, and romping with Ozzy and the kids. I felt sure that she was just worrying needlessly and had so much more of life to experience!

But shortly after this late-night “psychic conversation,” Isis started making a scratchy sound in her throat. After a few days of this, we took her to the vet. We were devastated to learn that Isis had advanced cancer which had spread to her lungs. The vet told us that there was little we could do for her except to monitor her closely and manage her pain. We took her to a veterinary oncologist, and she received two chemo treatments. On one of her last nights, she rallied and played with Ozzy like old times, and we were praying for a miracle. But two days later, Isis died in our arms while we laid with her on blankets covering the floor of the vet office.

Watching Isis die so quickly was like a sharp sword piercing our hearts. I couldn’t grasp the shocking truth: she knew she was dying and had mentally told me so on that night when we communicated. This was far more difficult than losing our older dogs, and that was already incredibly painful. She was way too young. We were angry about breeders of Goldens who continued to reproduce generations of dogs with genetic dispositions to early cancer. Amanda and I sank deeply into grief over the loss of our beautiful Isis.

Months earlier, we had planned a first ever family vacation to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, in part to celebrate my parents upcoming 60th Anniversary. That trip was only two weeks away, and we thought seriously about canceling it. We couldn’t imagine celebrating and merriment at such a somber time in our lives. But cancelling the trip would have been selfish and disappoint our children and parents. Isis embraced the joy of life, and she would want us to go, we told each other.

The British West Indies (BWI) and Turks and Caicos Islands

As our family flew towards the Caribbean, I thumbed through the official Turks and Caicos tourist welcome magazine in the seat pocket. I flipped through and found an article about Potcake Dogs, and the Turks and Caicos Potcake Rescue Foundation. It was weighing on us that our Ozzy was also grieving. He needed company and would not thrive as a solo dog. But common sense told us that we couldn’t rush this, and that we would start searching for a new companion for Ozzy when we got home. I tore out the Potcake article and shoved it in my briefcase. Potcake dogs were the last thing on our minds as we touched down in Providenciales, the most populous island of the Turks and Caicos. We dove in and explored this beautiful island.

But the universe works in strange ways. After a resort stay, we switched over to a private rental. We drove our rental minivan across the island to a remote beach road to find our rental villa, located on the water between Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay. As we made our final turn, just three houses away from our destination, we passed a villa with a beautiful wrought iron gate. We looked more closely and saw that the gate was shaped to depict the profile of a dog. Then I saw that the house had a name, “Maison de Chiens.” Even with my rudimentary high school French, I knew that this meant “house of the dogs.”

What were the odds? We had randomly rented a house online, in a place we’d never been, yet we wound up three doors down from fellow dog fanatics. But we got on with our vacation, and out of respect for the privacy of   our unknown neighbors, we decided against banging on the gates of Maison de Chiens. That was that, or so we thought.

The next day, on a visit to the one restaurant near our rental, we happened to meet a wonderful man named Lovey Forbes. He was a well-known and highly regarded musician throughout the islands. As a musician myself, I was excited to meet him. After we talked music, Lovey asked me the fateful question: “what do you do?”

“We own a company called Clear Conscience Pet; we make SuperGravy and healthy treats for dogs,” I answered. This reply prompted a huge smile from Lovey. “You’re kidding, Mon! My wife Heather runs the Potcake Foundation.” Our jaws dropped! This was all too much to believe. When we asked where they lived, we hardly needed to listen to the answer. Of course, it was Maison de Chiens. Lovey’s wife, British artist Heather Simpson-Forbes, was indeed the Founder and Chairwoman of the Potcake Foundation, the only charitable organization dedicated exclusively to bettering the life and health of Potcake dogs in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Rescue Angel Heather Simpson-Forbes with her Potcakes at home on Sapodilla Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

If one were inclined to believe in signs of spiritual forces at work, this was certainly a persuasive example. What were the odds that, of all the places in the world, we would wind up here, at this moment, on an island thousands of miles from home, staying 100 yards away from a place all about the love of dogs? How could this all be chalked up to “coincidence?”

We were graciously invited to Heather’s bayfront villa that evening. After enjoying wine and listening to some of Lovey’s cool music, the main event happened and we met our first four Potcake dogs, the current pack in the Forbes home. They were friendly, high spirited, and beautiful. It turned out that Potcakes were amazing canines!

By the end of the night, we were set up to meet Susan Blehr, the Director of the Turks and Caicos SPCA (TCSPCA). Our goal was still only to visit the facility, donate money and treats to support the rescue efforts, and learn more. We most certainly were not going to look at puppies to adopt. That would be impulsive, impractical, and downright crazy.

We took the family to the TCSPCA office and met Susan, another rescue angel and sweet person. After some general discussion, she looked us in the eye and said, “tell the truth, aren’t you really here to look at puppies? We have some ready for adoption right now.”

My hands got clammy, and Amanda and I looked at each other. “Uh, well, we really couldn’t possibly bring home a new puppy,” I said. We explained about our recent loss of Isis, our concerns about introducing a semi-wild dog to our family, and of course worries that Ozzy would reject a strange new dog so soon after losing his lifetime mate. And what about the practical considerations of flying for hours, with a layover, and going through customs with a non-housebroken puppy? This would be impossible!

Susan reassured us on all fronts. The TCSPCA has placed thousands of puppies in homes in the U.S.A. and Canada, and has the process down to a science, she told us. Health certificates are supplied for travel, all puppies ready for adoption have had complete veterinary care including all required shots, and the puppy would be given to us in a pet carrier at the airport on our departure day with all papers. We would only need to take the puppy’s paperwork to the airline counter and pay a $100 fee to take the puppy on the plane for the trip home.

We reluctantly followed Susan from the TCSPCA office to the Pampered Paws kennel where the Potcake puppies were housed. I was anxious, knowing that leaving the office and going to the kennel was a huge step. Any dog lover reading this understands how difficult it is to look at dogs who need a home and walk away. We were happy to see that the kennel was clean and well-managed, and the dogs were in large runs with plenty of running room rather than confined to kennel cages.

It was here that we first saw three puppies, two females and a male that had been rescued 3 months prior in late November. They were only two weeks old, and part of a litter of six rescued by volunteers from an area near the beach. At such an early age, their survival was doubtful; but the pups received excellent veterinary care, and they pulled through.

By then, three had been adopted and the remaining three were about twelve weeks old. They needed homes very soon or they would get too big to fit in a handheld carrier for the flight back to the USA. Without off-island adoption, their future was uncertain. This was the “moment of truth.” Would we cast aside our fears and form a bond with one of the Potcake puppies? Or, more sensibly, make a generous donation and walk away?

One of the females was very shy and tentative, but she crawled over to our son Nicholas and nuzzled him. Then she came to me and sat right on my feet and put her head against my legs. The others were more playful, but when this little girl looked at me with her soulful brown eyes, I knew we were in trouble. I fell in love with her instantly.

We were told that this puppy might not be our best choice, as she was very fearful and might have a harder time adapting. But I saw something in those eyes that anyone who has ever rescued a dog will understand; it was a plea for life and an offer of unconditional lifetime love. My heart melted along with my resistance, and we made a family decision to take a leap of faith and rescue this little girl and make her a part of our family.

Anthony and Taylor Bay Meet at Pampered Paws Kennel  

The next day, Susan brought the puppy to the airport to meet us. We decided to call our new baby “Taylor Bay,” after the location where we rented our island beach house. Susan had placed her snugly in a soft carrier.

Nicholas Carries Taylor Bay on Board for the Flight Home

She behaved beautifully during the flight, with barely a peep. All our fears and anxiety faded away as we embraced this beautiful new presence in our lives.

Taylor Bay Looks at us trustingly as she prepares to fly away to her new life in the U.S.A.

Sleepy Taylor behaves beautifully on the flight home

We had an unexpected overnight stay in Charlotte due to a canceled flight, another scary experience. Would we find a hotel that would allow us to stay with her? But it all worked out and again, she was an angel. After we finally arrived home, her first experience in Connecticut was stepping out of the car only to see two feet of snow. This was certainly nothing like the Caribbean weather to which she was accustomed, but she surprised us by being more curious than concerned.

Ozzy, our Golden boy, was a little shocked at first that we had brought this strange looking little creature home with us. Of course, he was still in mourning for his lost mate, Isis. But after a few days, Ozzy warmed up to her.

Ozzy accepts Taylor Bay and allows her to share his bed, what a relief!

They quickly became inseparable. Her shyness melted away with the snow, and by spring, she was fully integrated into our family and brought joy and laughter to us every day. She grew into a vibrant and loving 50-pound adult. Her personality was cautious with new people, and she was an alert watchdog. But she loved people and warmed up to new friends quickly. No dog lover could resist her island dog vibe, her quirky personality, and her beautiful face.

I hope that this story can give some comfort and hope to those wounded by the grief of losing a beloved dog. No dog “replaces” another, of course. You’ll grieve as hard as you must, and you’ll cry as many tears as you think you can produce and still find more. But keep your heart open. Somewhere, out there, whether on a faraway island or in a shelter a mile from home, is the dog that will come next in your own cycle of life with dogs. And who knows? Just maybe, if we choose to believe, the dog you think you lost forever is watching over you from the other side, helping guide you to the next doggy love in your life.

Epilogue, February 2022

It is with profound sadness, but with the deepest gratitude for our time together, that we must announce that Taylor Bay passed away on February 4, 2022. She was only eleven, and we are devastated by this enormous loss. After the above story was originally written, it appeared in a book called In Dogs We Trust; we received numerous kind notes of appreciation for her story. She was a star to us, and her story touched many other dog-loving hearts as well. Taylor is also a star as the “cover dog” on SuperGravy Paw Jus, the original brown gravy recipe that started it all. Her beautiful face, tongue out and all, is being seen by thousands of families right now as a symbol of the healthy joy that our humble invention brings to so many dogs. We know that her energy and spirit on that package have contributed tremendously to its success.    

Taylor Bay went on to enjoy many more years with Ozzy, and we adopted her sister, Tiva Marie, 5 years ago. Taylor Bay had a great life full of love and excitement. She enjoyed 5 years at our home in Connecticut, loved spending time at our lake cabin in Pennsylvania, and she was thrilled about returning to her tropical roots when we moved to Florida 6 years ago.

Taylor Bay had an endearing but sometimes frustrating habit of taking one shoe from us or our unsuspecting visitors, who inevitably laughed while hopping around our house searching for their lost footwear. Tiva Marie learned this from her, and we’ll always think of Taylor when Tiva runs off with a shoe or other article of clothing!

She loved car rides, playing with Ozzy and Tiva, boating, belly rubs, and ear scratches. And food! But Taylor was always happiest during any activity that involved having her entire family around her. She was a gorgeous girl and we told her so, all the time; she always enjoyed hearing that.     

Our family is grieving, and our hearts are especially broken for Tiva, knowing how hard it is for her because she can’t understand why her best friend in the entire world is gone. But we know that Taylor Bay will always be with us on the other side, in Heaven along with Charlie, Carly, Isis, Maui, Ozzy, and Tux. As much as it hurts right now, our tears will eventually dry up.

The happy memories of eleven joyful and loving years with our beautiful “TayBay” will overcome the profound sadness that we feel right now. And most of all, we pray for the strength to listen to our own advice and open our hearts to another special dog who needs us, who will help us and Tiva to heal. We must and will keep the cycle turning, and embark on the journey of love, life, and loss again.

Taylor Bay Bennie

Forever in Our Hearts

November 2010 - February 4, 2022

©2022 by Anthony and Amanda Bennie

All Rights Reserved

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Top 10 Tips for a Healthier and Happier Dog in 2022

Top 10 Tips for a Healthier and Happier Dog in 2022

1. Reduce carbohydrates in your dog’s or cat’s diet: This recommendation is always at the top of my nutrition “watchdog” list. Despite all of the advances in natural pet food, excessive carb consumption and high-carb commercial diets are still the chief cause of obesity in dogs and cats. Just because a food, treat, or topper is “grain free,” it is not necessarily low in carbs.

  • How to Spot High Carb Products: Avoid products with too many ingredients like wheat, corn, rice, and potato. Sweet potato, pumpkin, quinoa, and other healthier carbohydrates are better but still should only be fed in moderation. No bread and pizza crust as snacks! If you see too many of these non-protein ingredients listed high on the ingredient panel, you are probably looking at a HIGH CARB food, treat, or topper.

2. Make identifiable MEAT PROTEIN from clean sources the cornerstone of your canine food choices. Healthy meat protein ingredients include fresh or freeze-dried Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb, Egg, Fish, etc.

  • VIP “Very Important Point:” A high quality kibble food must contain not only fresh meats but concentrated dry proteins such as Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Dried meats, Dried liver, Dried egg, Fish meal, etc. Without these concentrated protein ingredients, it is very difficult for a dry food to perform optimally by delivering the proper levels of digestible animal-based proteins.

3. Don’t feed your pets anything with chemical preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, or other food additives. Stay away from foods, treats, toppers, and supplements with chemical preservatives. The NO GO list includes propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, potassium sorbate, ethoxyquin, and all artificial colors. Xylitol Warning: Xylitol is used as an artificial sweetener in chewing gum and other products for humans, but it can be fatal for dogs and the sweet taste and smell can attract them. Prevent your dogs from gaining access to any products with Xylitol, and educate all household members including young people that no candy should ever be given to a dog, especially “low sugar” and “sugar free” which may include this canine-killer ingredient.

4. Get Rid of Glycerin! Glycerin deserves a separate mention because it is used very widely in dog treats and chews, even those labeled “all natural.” It is chiefly used as a preservative to prevent mold in “soft chews,” jerkies, and tender moist treats.

  • Although it is used in products called “natural,” glycerin is not found in nature, it is an engineered ingredient derived from the distillation of Ethanol or grain-based alcohols, as well as other industrial food processing operations. While it’s not as harmful as Propylene Glycol when used to prevent mold in moist products, glycerin is far more widely used. When you start looking for it, you’ll be shocked as to how many products include some form of glycerin.
  • It particularly concerns us that almost all of the “functional” soft-chew treats on the market with CBD, Joint Care support, and other nutraceutical supplements include some form of glycerin. The bottom line is that glycerin is not a natural food ingredient. We don’t believe that it has any place in your pet’s diet, and the Clear Conscience Pet® CleanLabel™ Pledge forbids the use of any form of glycerin.

5. Sugar is bad for dogs! Eliminate all sugar from your dog’s diet. Sugar may be listed in many forms, including evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, and honey. Exception: small amounts of these ingredients may be used as natural preservatives in moist treats instead of glycerin or glycols.

6. Avoid OVER-SUPPLEMENTATION with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Any pet food approved by AAFCO as “complete and balanced” to meet the daily nutritional requirements of a dog or cat is required by law to include a long list of vitamin and mineral supplements. We have been conditioned to believe that vitamins are always a positive addition to the diet, and therefore if a little is good, wouldn’t more be even better? The answer is an emphatic “NO! The concern is that certain vitamins are fat-soluble only, so they accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body rather than being excreted in the urine like water soluble vitamins. For example, vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins. In excess they can actually cause toxic effects, including damage to vital organs with synthetic Vitamin A, D, and K, and internal hemorrhaging with overdoses of synthetic Vitamin E.  DON’T PANIC: These effects are rare and would only be triggered by heavy and frequent over supplementation, or inadvertent toxic overdoses such as a dog consuming a whole bottle of supplements at once. Nevertheless, these cautions should be taken seriously, especially with very small dogs for whom a little of anything goes a long way.

  • The alternative is to feed a varied diet with whole foods that naturally supply essential micronutrients, including fresh muscle and organ meats, vegetables, antioxidant-rich superfoods like chia seed, and mineral-rich cold water Sea Kelp. It is impossible to “overdose” on whole food ingredients! The body will simply excrete them. Therefore, we developed all of our products including SuperGravy and treats with ZERO synthetic supplements. Instead, we use only whole food sources to supply nutrients. This is the essence of our award-winning CleanLabel™ Pledge and formulation philosophy which promises that all ingredients are Pure, Pronounceable, and PURPOSEFUL.

7. NO ONE FOOD OR TREAT IS PERFECT FOR EVERY PET! After 30 years of dedication to animal health and nutrition, the question we still hear most is, “what food should I feed my dog or cat?” That’s a great question, and we wish that we could provide a simple answer for every dog and their guardians. But the truth is that no food is great for every pet, even if it’s the most expensive product on the market. The recommendation of your veterinarian, breeder, or best dog-loving friend might not work optimally for your animal companion. To complicate matters further, the food you’ve been  using for years may stop working well for your pet. This can happen as a function of changes in your pet’s body as they age, development of sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients over time, or changes in a product that may not be transparently revealed by the manufacturer. Pet Food companies operate in a legal environment allows them to change products without changing the label for a certain period, presumably to allow them to use up packaging or adjust to changes in ingredient availability. So, the question is, when should you question your current daily pet food choices? One of our popular past articles, “Is it Time for a Pet Food Divorce,” offers some great guidance. Some of the signs to look for are changes in stool consistency that last more than a few days, or if your dog’s once beautiful coat gets dull, “stiff,” or greasy. Another red flag is if your pet gets a sudden case of the “itchies,” or you start to see skin irritations sometimes known as “hot spots” popping up. These are all signals that your pet may be developing an allergy or sensitivity to the food or treats you are using. Don’t ignore these signs, seek out a new food for your companion.

8. HYDRATE DRY FOODS THOROUGHLY, including kibble or freeze-dried foods. It doesn’t matter what brand you use, how much it costs, or the ingredients. DRY is DRY. The evolutionary nutritional biology of canines and felines requires lots of moisture at the molecular level. Think about it logically for a moment. Is there any instance in nature in which a canine or feline gathers hard and dry chunks of combined protein, fat, carbohydrates, and micronutrients to sustain life? The answer is obviously “NO.” They eat game, which is by definition a moist food.

  • For decades, since the introduction of dry food in the 1940s and 50s, veterinarians and other pet care providers have been influenced by grain-based pet food manufacturers to push dry foods. The rationale is that dry foods are better for the dental health of dogs and cats. But if this were true, wouldn’t wild canines and felines suffer from constant dental disease? The truth is that a wet diet rinses through the oral cavity more effectively than a dry diet. And in our experience, pets eating a hydrated diet have fewer digestive issues.
  • How to hydrate dry and freeze-dried foods? You can do this by simply adding water and allowing the product sufficient time to absorb moisture. The problem is that kibble is difficult to hydrate because it is manufactured as a “sealed” chunk to resist moisture for long shelf life. To help solve this problem, Clear Conscience Pet invented SuperGravy, our multiple award winning all-natural dry gravy mix. SuperGravy not only helps moisture to BOND with dry kibble or freeze-dried foods, it adds delicious taste from whole superfoods to please even the pickiest eaters. SuperGravy also improves gut and immune health with our Trigestive™ blend of live probiotics, prebiotics, and active digestive enzymes that bring “dead” kibble back to life.

9. LESS VACCINES: MORE TITER TESTING. Reconsider “routine vaccines” as part of annual vet exams; instead, ask your veterinarian to do blood work and send it out for titer testing by a reputable lab. This testing assesses your individual pet’s level of antibodies to a wide variety of canine and feline diseases. The argument sometimes made against titer testing is that if you determined that your dog does not have sufficient immunity then you’re going to have to get the vaccine anyway yeah, which means you’ll pay both for the test and for the vaccine. But if you think about it isn’t it worth it to spend a little extra money to prevent over vaccination? People don’t retake routine vaccines every year because it is a known medical fact that these immunities last for years or even for life. If people don't need to be re-vaccinated every year, why should pets? If your veterinarian doesn’t agree with this common sense approach, you might want to consider a different veterinarian.

10. DELAY SPAY and NEUTER UNTIL EARLY ADULTHOOD: If you have a new puppy or kitten that has NOT yet been spayed or neutered, consider allowing the animal to reach early adulthood before performing these surgeries. This means waiting for a year to 18 months, depending on the breed. Yes, we know that this recommendation will not be popular with those who look only at preventing pet overpopulation, rather than the impact on an individual animal. We have been harshly criticized for making this recommendation in the past, but we stand by it. The reason is that early removal of the reproductive organs can have a profound impact on the growth and maturation of a dog. Instead of reaching their full growth potential, bone strength, muscle density, and mental capacity, their development is frozen at a pre-adolescent level. Think about it: if we performed hysterectomies and castrations on human children, we would have a population of humans who could never reach their physical or mental adulthood.

  • Although there is much heated debate on this subject, a growing number are starting to feel that there are significant benefits to having a dog or cat fully develop “adult strength” bones, muscles, and other organ systems before artificially stopping their hormonal and endocrine systems from functioning as nature intends. But choosing this path requires very disciplined human guardians who have control of their dogs to protect them and others from inadvertent pregnancy.

Original Content ©2022 by Clear Conscience Pet

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ADDING A NEW DOG TO YOUR PACK: A dog guardian’s guide to expanding your canine family

ADDING A NEW DOG TO YOUR PACK: A dog guardian’s guide to expanding your canine family

Tiva and Taylor look quite ferocious here, don't they?

We took this photo a few years ago when Tiva Marie first joined our family. She was only a year old then, and Taylor Bay was six. Despite the toothy engagement, there’s no hostile intent. This is a snapshot of classic physical canine play. It lets dogs expend pent-up energy, challenge each other for pack position, gain trust that they won’t be deliberately hurt by the other canine, and share the sheer joy of being dogs.

It took about three weeks for this to happen, and when it did, we were very happy and relieved. This bonding and play behavior meant that Tiva had now been accepted by Taylor and was now being treated as a pack member, not an “outsider.”

 When we supervise with minimal interference, and let dogs be dogs, this is how they roll; or should we say roll, tumble, snarl, growl, nip, and leap? It’s a little like “pro wrestling” on TV, with lots of drama and noise, but usually no one gets hurt. There's an occasional yelp, indicating that someone chomped down a little too hard, or stomped on a tender body part; in "fair dog" play, that yelp is an important signal and prompts the other dog to respectfully back off and let things cool down. It’s fun to watch their antics, and we marvel at their athleticism.

This was cause for celebration, because until a new dog is accepted by his or her species mates, the family can’t be re-integrated as a new whole. Humans may think that we can “force” dogs to accept each other, but inter-dog relationships are ultimately determined by the dogs. They need to build a relationship in which they like and trust each other.

It is our job as guardians and stewards of our dogs to prepare properly for new dogs and manage the situation intelligently.

SHOULD YOU ADD ANOTHER DOG? For those considering adding a new dog to an existing one-dog or multi-dog family, there are many things to consider. On the plus side, a family that has a well-adjusted, reasonably well-behaved, and healthy dog (or more than one) has proven their dog parent credentials. This experience means that they have a head start in integrating a new dog and giving the newcomer a wonderful new home. But making the leap from one dog to two or more is a big step. This article was written to help guide families in making this decision and to provide practical guidance to increase the chances of success.

ARE MULTI-DOG HOUSEHOLDS HAPPIER? Your solo dog may benefit from the addition of a well-matched canine companion. Based on 30 years of observation with our own dogs, and thousands of contacts with other dog lovers, I believe that most dogs are better adjusted and less stressed when living with at least one other dog. They flourish when they can bond with a friendly member of their own species who "speaks their language." Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes of serious behavior problems and canine depression in solo dog homes, and this is especially so with busy working families who need to leave their dogs home alone daily. The good news is that separation anxiety and its sometimes destructive behavioral results are very rare in multi-dog households.

THE DECISION TO ADD A NEW DOG SHOULD BE MADE CAREFULLY. You don't want to bring a dog home and then have the gut-wrenching experience of having to return them to the shelter or rescue because of failure to successfully integrate into the household. Failure to integrate can be caused by aggression and tension between the new and existing dogs. And despite the above reference to safe “rough canine play,” there is always a risk of actual fighting or one-sided aggression that can cause serious injury or even death to one of the dogs involved.

SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE ADDING A NEW DOG: By no means is this article intended to discourage you from adding a new dog. Instead, look at it as a checklist of reminders. Before getting another dog (or getting your first dog, for that matter) you must first think seriously about it and decide if it's right for you and your family. Enter this commitment as one would enter a marriage, with eyes wide open and the intention to MAKE IT WORK even when its neither fun nor easy. Here are the questions:

  1. Can you afford it? The extra dog will mean more money for food, toys, accessories, and the biggest obligation, proper veterinary care.
  2. Do you have the time and patience? It sounds like fun, and indeed it can be very rewarding, to have a new canine companion in your family. But before making that decision, be honest with yourself about whether family members are prepared to step up to the plate and find time to handle the extra demands on your time to walk, feed, play with, and clean up after a new dog. If your kids are begging for another dog, make sure they are ready to help out to the best of their ability based on age.
  3. Can you deal with a few bumps along the way? You'll need to accept the inevitable housebreaking accidents and minor damage that can come with a new dog. This is not to say that you should tolerate these things long term, or that you shouldn't intervene to prevent them! But even if you adopt a mellow older dog, some mishaps can still occur. Don't bring a dog into your home if the first chewed shoe or pillaged trash can will have you exploding with anger! That stress is bad for your health and the dog's future. Take it in stride and correct firmly but gently. This too shall pass.
  4. Will you work to properly, and safely, integrate the new pooch into the family pack? Not only do you have to teach the newbie how to follow your house rules, you also must be the leaders of the pack when it comes to supervising a new pack social structure among the dogs. Plan on playing an active role in stopping conflicts and encouraging positive play and mutual respect. In our experience, this is a lot easier than getting human siblings to stop squabbling!
  5. Will you resist an impulsive decision? This is extremely important. As dog lovers, we can get caught up in the emotion of an opportunity to get a new dog. But a new dog decision made in haste has a dramatically lower chance of success. By choosing to read this guide, you're already ahead of the curve. Follow the guidelines, and study your current dogs' behavior, lifestyle, energy level, and demeanor with other dogs before moving forward. TIP: Even if your dog seems anxious when they meet new dogs on walks or at the park, that could change completely when a new dog actually becomes part of your family and their pack. Keep an open mind and do your due diligence by arranging "meet and greets" between existing dogs and new prospects.
  6. Will you carefully choose a new dog based not only on your preferences but on the criteria for compatibility with your current canines?

TAKING THE PLUNGE WITH A NEW DOG: In our case, we acted a bit impulsively when bringing Tiva home from a local rescue. But the situation was unusual because of our being deeply involved in the pet care industry and knowing the owner of a local rescue, training, and doggy daycare business who we trust and respect tremendously. She is a very knowledgeable dog person, an expert trainer, and she has rescued, raised, and trained very strong-willed working dogs for decades. She made a recommendation based on already knowing our dogs' personalities, and after carefully watching her interact with other dogs at the rescue. Tiva was a "go along and get along" girl, not a fighter or a strongly dominant dog. This would make successful integration far more likely to succeed.

BE CAREFUL WITH DOMINANT DOGS: Bringing a dominant dog or one with a known history of aggression into a current dog-occupied household (or any home for that matter) is work for an expert, not a family who loves dogs but who isn't experienced in advanced training. Do your family, your current dogs, and the new dog a favor by not bringing him or her into a situation in which he or she is being set up to fail. At the very least, there could be the sadness and guilt of realizing that this dog can't work as part of your family, and then having to return the dog for re-adoption after you have already bonded. In a worst-case scenario, your current dogs and the new dog could be seriously injured if they decide to fight and you can't stop it.

CANINE COMPATIBILITY ASSESSMENT: If you have honestly answered "YES" to the tough questions above as to whether you have the time, money, and patience to go ahead with a new dog, the next step is choosing the right one for your family.

  1. Exercise caution: no hasty adoptions! This means not making a one-visit impulsive decision. If you are drawn to a certain dog, as often happens, look at that as a starting point, not a final decision. Hopefully, the dog is in a situation where they have been monitored for at least several days. This provides shelter and rescue staff the opportunity to observe the dog's personality, and to assess their interaction with other dogs. Hopefully they have gotten along well with most or all of them.
  2. Size matters with dogs! Use basic common sense when narrowing down your choices. Part of the potential for canine compatibility is based on the size, demeanor, and energy level of the new dog when compared to your current canine companions. It doesn't need to be a perfect match; little dogs and big dogs can be amazingly close friends. Rather, it's an "educated guessing game" based on physical realities with a little "dog-dar" intuition thrown in. For example, is adding a two-pound pocket pooch like a toy breed to a home with two rambunctious 80 lb. Labs a great match? It might work, but it's less likely to allow free play and interaction. You'll wind up "babying" the little dog and the big guys will get the short end of the deal. Dogs of very different size and energy levels who were raised together can get along beautifully, but throwing them together as adults is more challenging.
  3. Assess the new dog's personality: Get the best feedback you can from everyone who knows the dog, from shelter managers to the volunteers who may have interacted with the potential new family member. It's tough to assess a dog's personality when they are between homes, since they will act very differently when stressed, scared and lonely. They tug at our heartstrings from behind a crate door and seem meek and mild, but this evaluation is of little value in assessing what will happen when they are set loose in your home! The more you know, the better the chance of success. Ask lots of questions.
  4. Take a Walk on the Mild Side: Ask to take the dog for a safe and gentle walk on a secure lead with proper supervision of the current caregivers. Don't judge too harshly if the dog isn't a perfect "citizen canine" on a lead. Dogs in shelters or temporary foster homes tend to be stressed, and you are a new wild card in their already tumultuous lives. But the "test walk" is still a valuable part of an initial compatibility assessment.
  5. Arrange a meet and greet between your dogs and the prospective adoptee. This should be done with complete supervision, initially at the place where the potential new dog is living. It’s not recommended just walk the new dog into your home for the first meeting. Have modest expectations; although it can happen, don't expect doggy love at first sight. A successful meet is one where you see curious and cautious mutual canine interest without TIP: Don't interpret a lot of barking and noise making at a first meeting as dealbreakers. Many dogs just love to raise a ruckus with new canine contacts. Posturing and bluster are expected as long as there is no overt aggression, the first meeting shouldn't signal a mismatch. But beware if it seems too quiet, with circling and raised hackles, curled back lips, or other pre-fight behaviors. Stay in control.
  6. DON'T FORGET ABOUT YOUR CAT or other pets. In the excitement of considering a new dog, did you forget about your cats, birds, or small animals? Birds and small animals can be protected, but cats have free reign in a household, so they are especially vulnerable. Ask if the new dog is good with cats. Sometimes, there isn't enough history to answer honestly and accurately, so you'll have to have this understanding as part of your trial arrangement. (see below for trial arrangement procedures and expectations)
  7. Arrange a visit at your home. If the meet and greet goes well, ask if you can do a home visit. Ask a volunteer to bring the dog and hang out at your home with you and your dogs for 30 minutes to an hour. If you can, offer to donate a little extra money or volunteer some of your time to the rescue for their extra time and effort. Warning: be very wary of a rescue that has little time or concern for insuring compatibility and just wants you to "pick a dog, donate your money, and move on." That's a rescue or shelter that is thinking more of short-term placement than achieving the goal of a forever home for the dog who needs it.
  8. Learn all about the adoptee's health status. Sometimes there are no records at all, and other times, you will get a complete history. If you have verified vaccination records, DON'T do repeat vaccinations until they are due. Over-vaccination has been proven to cause adverse reactions in many dogs, and "extra" vaccinations don't add more immunity or protection. If you are told that a dog has existing health issues, don't immediately reject the dog. It may be a minor situation easily treated such as parasites (worms), or a temporary situation such as kennel cough which is common in dogs rescued from disaster areas or unknown circumstances. Protect your family dogs by treating the new dog for worms if needed and allowing the kennel cough virus to work through its course before bringing the new dog home.

Serious health issues: Many people adopt dogs with a chronic illness such as diabetes, arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other conditions that are very treatable but won’t get better. This is one of the noblest and most generous things you can do for a dog that needs a new guardian and caregiver. But as much as you may want to help a dog with serious health problems, make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into financially as well as emotionally. You won't be helping the dog if you get 3 months in and decide you can't handle their needs.

Geriatric adoptions: Sadly, there are countless older dogs in need of homes because of changes in their human situations. Many rescues specialize in helping older dogs who find themselves homeless. Please consider opening your heart and home to these wonderful senior canine citizens; but again do so with eyes wide open as to the sometimes higher cost of caring for an older dog and with the intention of taking care of them for the rest of their lives, for better or worse.    

TAKING THE PLUNGE WITH A NEW POOCH: If the dog stars align, you’ve considered the facts above, and you feel the doggy love bug biting you, it may be time to go forward. But attention, "grownups;" you're in charge. Not the kids, not the shelter manager, not your Social Media friends. NO ONE ELSE CAN MAKE THIS DECISION BUT THE ADULT HEADS OF THE HOUSEHOLD. Reach consensus with your spouse or significant other. If it’s one for, and one against, you're heading for trouble down the road.

Don't get freaked out by rescue and shelter "investigations:" Reputable and conscientious shelters will ask lots of questions and may require more paperwork than you expect. Sometimes you will be asked to allow a home visit to assess your living situation. All of this can feel quite intrusive. After all, you’re about to make a huge emotional and financial commitment out of love and kindness. But if the shelter management aren't crossing the line by being nasty or violating your privacy with excessive or inappropriate questions about your personal life, be patient and candid. Try to be good-natured about it and realize that it's their protective instincts at work, not suspicion personally directed at you and your family. Every rescue has had negative experiences with new guardians, so they are just trying to insure the best chance of a successful result for everyone.

THE TRIAL ADOPTION ARRANGEMENT: Just as you should be tolerant of questions about your suitability for the new dog, you have a right to get an ironclad understanding of your rights and the shelter's obligations. This should always include a reasonable and brief trial period in which you can return the new dog. One week is a fair minimum, and two weeks is a fair outer limit. This is not just for you; it is for the safety and well-being of the dog. Trial adoption isn't "borrowing a dog to hang out." It's only properly done with those who sincerely and wholeheartedly have decided to make a lifetime adoption commitment. The return option exists if, despite your best and most sincere efforts, things go drastically wrong. If you can’t see any chance of things getting better, you must consider the extraordinarily difficult decision of returning the dog to the shelter. Your broken heart is a small price to pay to give the dog a chance at finding the right home if yours is the wrong one.

ADVICE FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS AT HOME WITH A NEW DOG: These key guidelines will help to dramatically increase your chance of successfully integrating a new dog with your family pooch or pack:

  1. GET A CRATE, OR DIG OUT YOUR OLD ONE: This is critical! When introducing a new dog to your household, you need a crate for the protection of your home and the safety of both current and newcomer dogs. This will come in handy when you are home and need quiet time or space to get things done without the dogs underfoot. Crating the new dog is essential whenever you leave the dogs alone. DO NOT leave a new dog roaming around your house without competent human supervision until you’ve had plenty of time to establish trust. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
  2. CRATES ARE NOT “PUNISHMENT”: Placing the new dog in a crate is the proper method of giving the dogs a “time out” if they are getting too rowdy, but never treat it as punishment; always be very upbeat and speak softly and positively when gently but firmly ushering the new dog into their crate. Place the dog in the right-sized crate, leave them a toy, and give them a treat. If you believe that crating a dog safely and securely is "cruel," rethink. Without the safety net of a crate, your chances of a smooth transition and ultimate success plummets. With a proper crating option readily available, your likelihood of a successful integration increases dramatically. This advice is not just for the benefit of the dogs, it’s for your You’ll be able to leave your house without worry if you have the new dog crated until you are 99% sure that neither conflict nor destructive behaviors will occur in your absence.  You'll know when it's safe to trust the new dog, but expect that it could take weeks or a few months before a new canine family member has unsupervised house freedom.
  3. Get a "fresh" bed and a couple of toys for the new dog. The current dogs will probably be protective of their bedding and toys. Launder a retired bed or buy a new one. Buy a rugged toy or two so the newcomer can have their own toys to play and sleep with.
  4. FEED AND TREAT NEW DOGS SEPARATELY AND CAREFULLY: The biggest potential conflicts between current and new dogs is usually around food and treats. Use common sense. Feed your new dog in a separate and safe place away from the current dogs. Do this until the dogs adapt to a new routine and can go to their bowls and eat without food competition causing dinnertime dust-ups.
  5. IT'S OK TO PLAY FAVORITES WITH YOUR CURRENT CANINES: While your instinct may be to show the current dogs that the newbie is welcome by being effusively affectionate in their presence, it's the wrong way to go. You'll be giving them a reason to distrust the new kid in town. Too much fawning over the new arrival could cause intense jealousy and protectiveness that will cause your dogs to initiate guarding behavior to keep the new dog away from you. After all, you belong to your dogs as far as they are concerned! Instead, make it clear that you care for and intend to make a home for the new dog by your actions as well as a kind voice and demeanor. Go ahead and reassure your established dogs by being especially affectionate and attentive (without going over the top). Of course, there's no harm in sneaking in some hugs and belly rubs with your adorable new pooch when you can do so privately without getting the others jealous.
  6. GROW AND LEARN AS A FAMILY "PACK": Take advantage of this new beginning to review your nutritional options, enroll in obedience classes with your dogs, and get more active exercising with your dogs if they are the active type and not couch potatoes. This will keep you and your canine family healthier!

Congratulations and thank you for saving a dog. It is often said that there are so many dogs who need homes, so what can one person do about it? The answer is really quite simple: you can make an enormous difference in ONE dog's life by making the commitment and opening your heart, home, and wallet to a new dog. But by thinking it through and doing it the right way, you've given this new dog much more than a place to live and food to eat. You've given this new dog the greatest gift that a human can offer a dog: a forever home, with a loving and bonded family of both human and canine pack mates, for LIFE.

Anthony Bennie is the Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer of Clear Conscience Pet. He is a Pet Industry Icon Award-Winner and writes frequently on pet care and nutrition topics. Visit clearconsciencepet.com for more articles and to explore the award-winning healthy products made by Clear Conscience Pet.

Contact: Anthony@clearconsciencepet.com
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The Top 11 Causes of Picky Eating in Dogs

The Top 11 Causes of Picky Eating in Dogs

An updated exploration of the most common reasons for decreased canine appetite and changes in eating behavior

Although the term “picky eating dogs” is frequently thrown around, there is very little information available about the causes of picky eating and more seriously depressed appetites in dogs. Even more importantly, guidance is scarce when it comes to practical solutions for dog parents dealing with these potentially health-threatening situations.

By comparison, cats have the reputation for being “finicky.” Reluctance or refusal to eat is perceived as evidence that cats are independent and free thinkers, and these behaviors are even considered to be an endearing and amusing trait by some cat guardians The result is that many cat guardians accept the frustration of constant food switching, coaxing, and flat out begging their felines to eat.

In contrast, many see dogs who don’t eat well as picky or “manipulative.” We’ve been taught that dogs are supposed to love eating whatever we give them, and gobble it down with gusto at every meal. One illustration of this is the term “chow hound,” which is used to describe both dogs and people who love food and eat with unbridled enthusiasm.

Some who promote themselves as dog behavior experts direct their harshest judgment against the human guardians of picky eating dogs; they disparage dog parents for being weak and failing to take charge as “Alpha Pack Leaders.” Our belief is that letting a dog become malnourished to “teach them who’s boss” is ill-advised at best, and dangerous when taken to extremes.

Our conversations with customers and internal surveys indicate that picky eating is a more complex and widespread issue than has been commonly acknowledged. Dogs who previously ate well don’t just “decide” not to eat; there are many possible causes that may be at the root of significant changes in a dog’s appetite.

For those who doubt that this is even an issue, consider this: in the past few years, tens of millions have been spent by big Pharma to develop veterinary pharmaceutical drugs for canine inapppetance, the medical term for loss or decrease of appetite. These companies wouldn’t have invested so much if there wasn’t a large potential market for such drugs. At Clear Conscience Pet, we don’t like this idea at all. We feel strongly that natural solutions should be tried before considering putting a dog on a pharmaceutical drug with potentially serious side effects. This option should only be reserved for the most extreme and life-threatening situations, and only after natural options have been exhausted.

It’s our job as dog guardians to be open-minded and pay close attention to significant changes in eating behaviors. We should not automatically shrug this off as voluntary pickiness.  Drastic changes in appetite can be signals of physical or emotional problems that need to be evaluated thoughtfully in an overall assessment of the health and well-being of our canine companions.

As the inventors of SuperGravy, the #1 most award-winning pet food topper and palatability enhancing supplement, we have over 10 years of experience dealing directly with this issue. That real world research has given us a lot of insight into the canine appetite.

To bring a fresh perspective to this issue, following is an updated list of the 11 most common causes of decreased appetite in dogs:  

THE TOP ELEVEN CAUSES OF PICKY EATING AND APPETITE LOSS IN DOGS

  1. Mild to moderately severe illnesses such as viral or bacterial infections that may not be obvious to the human guardian;
  2. Chronic Illnesses such as severe arthritis, IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease),  early stage organ failure, and cancers;
  3. Aging: As they get older, dogs can experience loss of appetite due to decrease of smell and taste  sensitivity; this is especially concerning in advanced geriatric dogs who are at high risk if they become undernourished;  
  4. Changing foods: We see many cases where a dog turns up their nose after being switched to a new food for whatever reason. Two common scenarios that we have seen are when a dog is switched to a senior diet by well-meaning pet parents, or to a “prescription diet” recommended by a Vet for whatever reason. Pet Food manufacturers have also been known to change pet food formulas without notification; this explains why a dog starts turning up their nose at a food they used to like;
  5. Feeding ONLY dry food to dogs; the evolutionary biology of canine nutrition is based on eating prey, which is “wet” food. Dogs should eat hydrated food! That’s why SuperGravy transforms hard dry kibble into a thoroughly moistened meal which more closely replicates what a canine would eat in the wild;
  6. TASTE FATIGUE: Can you imagine if you had to eat the same thing, every day, for your entire life? It’s not hard to understand why dogs get bored with their food! SuperGravy lets you give your dog a stimulating variety of different tastes and smells to keep them excited about their food. And best of all, SuperGravy provides variety and eliminates picky eating without the stomach issues that often come with food changes;
  7. Changes in family circumstances, such as: moving to a new house, animal or human family members leaving the home, separation, or divorce. Grief from the loss of a human or animal family member can lead to depression and appetite loss;
  8. Emotional stress from relocation; this can be very prevalent in rescue and shelter dogs;
  9. Environmental Toxins:  This is a significant issue for all dogs, and very small or especially sensitive dogs are  at highest risk. whether we live in the city, suburbs, or country, we are constantly surrounded by industrial airborne toxins as well as lawn spraying or other activities that involve toxic chemicals and pesticides. Remove dogs for at least 8 hours when applying pesticides in the home.  Be aware that construction, repairs, and renovations may release toxic or irritating substances into your environment;
  10. Medications, Vaccinations, and Anti-Parasite Treatments:  Some dogs may experience side effects from all of these substances, including temporary or longer-term loss of appetite. Of course, some or all of these may be absolutely essential for your dog. This is a very personal determination between you and your Veterinarian. But, in our experience, administering multiple vaccines at once seems to lead to more prevalent side effects, especially in small dogs. Consider titer testing for immunities as an alternative to re-vaccinating dogs who’ve already been inoculated for certain pathogens. De-wormers and flea/tick preventives can also lead to side effects, whether administered internally or topically. Essential treatments such as antibiotics for an infection can also lead to appetite changes. Be aware.
  11. HUMAN GUARDIANS SPOILING THEIR DOGS with unhealthy people foods, thus ruining their appetite for the biologically appropriate foods they should be eating! People foods to avoid most are sweets, breads, grains, and other carb-heavy foods. Adding lean meat and other clean animal protein-based snacks is biologically appropriate for dogs, but one must be cautious and only do so in moderation because it becomes a habit that is very difficult to break and therefore is likely to lead to picky eating if overdone.  

As you can see, picky eating in dogs isn’t a “one reason fits all” situation. The bottom line is that dog parents must be attentive, aware, and vigilant. If your dog has experienced a loss of appetite, it’s very possible that one or more of the Top 11 Causes may be responsible or contribute to the problem. 

SOLUTIONS for Picky Eating: SuperGravy is the #1 award-winning healthy pet food topper and broth mix for dogs. It dramatically improves the palatability of any pet food while supplementing the diet with superfood nutrients, Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Digestive Enzymes. Over a 10-year period, when used as recommended, SuperGravy has achieved 90%+ success in significantly improving “picky eating.” It has also been effective in boosting depressed appetites in dogs facing more serious health challenges.

We developed SuperGravy to naturally boost canine appetites and restore the JOY of eating to dogs. It’s the healthiest, most convenient, and best value choice you can make to boost dog appetites.  Our 100% Doggy Love Guarantee means that if your dog doesn’t eat better and enjoy their food more when using any SuperGravy recipe, we will either swap it for another formula or refund your money. That’s how we roll at Clear Conscience Pet, The Most Awarded Brand in Pet Nutrition since 2010.

© 2021 By Anthony Bennie, Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer

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Neuroplasticity and Canine Cognitive Health: How SuperGravy Can Stimulate a Dog’s Brain by Providing Daily Variety in Smells and Taste

Neuroplasticity and Canine Cognitive Health: How SuperGravy Can Stimulate a Dog’s Brain by Providing Daily Variety in Smells and Taste

Good quality, biologically appropriate food with a proper nutritional balance is essential for the optimum physical health and wellness of all dogs. But what about brain health and cognitive ability, especially in senior dogs? How do our daily food, supplement, and treat choices affect canine cognitive health and wellness?

Neuroscientific research into how both human and canine brains work offers evidence that variety and novelty in the diet can improve brain health and may lessen and delay the effects of aging on the brain. Offering new combinations of aromas and tastes stimulates the olfactory system (consisting of the nose and all smell receptors) to form new neural connections in dogs throughout life. Simply put, new smells and tastes keep the brain active and stimulated. And of  course we know that a dog’s sense of smell is their most powerful sensory input, and exponentially more powerful than that of we humans. 

Why is taste variety so important? As it turns out, there is evidence from Neuroscience proving that introducing new smells causes the olfactory system to create new neural connections in the brain throughout life. This phenomenon is called “neuroplasticity” and it means that the neurons which transmit information in the brain can continue to expand throughout life, even in geriatric brains.

This exciting scientific breakthrough shows that SuperGravy may help keep dogs' brains healthier by providing a variety of different smells and tastes in their food and stimulating the creation of new neural connections. This research strongly suggests that we can support and even improve cognitive response in geriatric dogs by providing a rotating menu as part of an overall healthy diet. SuperGravy is the perfect tool to achieve this, since it is the only full line of appetite-boosting pet food topper meal supplements that offers REAL variety. Rotating among the 4 SuperGravy formulas is a practical and cost-effective way to prevent “taste fatigue” while potentially stimulating the growth of new neural connections in the canine brain. Very importantly, SuperGravy stimulates appetites and neuroplasticity without stomach-disrupting food changes.

All four SuperGravy formulas are designed to have very different tastes and smells, unlike some dog products that are differentiated more by marketing than substance. (see detailed descriptions on our website here: https://clearconsciencepet.com/pages/which-supergravy-should-you-choose-for-your-dog)

Typically, the “multiple flavors” in a dog food, topper, or treat line are all remarkably similar, with only one or two different ingredients to justify more shelf and digital space rather than truly differentiating the core products from each other. This “one taste fits all” approach is a big factor in dogs becoming bored with their food. This marketing strategy from pet food companies is about occupying more shelf space, not creating truly differentiated TASTE for the benefit of dogs as SuperGravy does.

SuperGravy empowers pet parents to add variety without changing the dog’s core diet. This connection between food and neuroplasticity is an exciting new frontier for older dogs that we will continue to pursue as we develop new products. You can rotate among  SuperGravy formulas by purchasing any of our value priced multipacks, available in 3 and 4 packs in 7scoop, 14 scoop, and 30 scoop selections.  

And don’t forget the exciting smells, tastes, and textures of our treats and chews, featuring SLIDERS Beef Cheddavegg artisan functional meat treats with our exclusive Bioactive Turmeric Complex, and our ever-popular SDR Superfood Dry Rub infused treats and chews: Lamb Airy Bites, Lamb Airy Bark, and Lamb Trachey Chewz.    

© 2021 by Anthony Bennie
Founder & Chief Nutrition Officer
Clear Conscience Pet
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Use of SuperGravy® to Boost Appetite in Dogs with Kidney Disease and Other Chronic or Acute Health Conditions

Use of SuperGravy® to Boost Appetite in Dogs with Chronic or Acute Health Conditions: SuperGravy has been safely used as recommended for dogs with cancer, kidney disease, pancreatitis, liver disease and other health challenges as well as advanced geriatric dogs   

© 2020 by Anthony Bennie
Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer of Clear Conscience Pet®
2015 Pet Industry Icon Award Recipient

Summary: Award-winning SuperGravy® products have a 10-year history of safely and effectively boosting canine appetites and improving digestive health for dogs at every life-stage as well as those with underlying health challenges. SuperGravy is recommended for all breeds, sizes, and ages of dogs from weaning puppies to the oldest senior dogs. The safety and versatility of SuperGravy is based on a strict philosophy of precise natural formulations used in moderation. All formulas are made only from easily digestible whole superfood ingredients, and with NO added “free” minerals, synthetic vitamins, artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or genetically modified ingredients.    

First, if your dog is facing any health challenge, we are sorry and very sincerely hope that you will experience a positive outcome. Over the 29 years in which I have been actively involved with dog nutrition, cancer, kidney, and liver disease are topics with which I have unfortunately become very familiar.

This article is intended to provide the most accurate answers possible to questions about canine disease as it relates to diet, specifically the intake of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

First, some background information and nutritional facts that will help give context to the facts presented:

1- Transparency and the ethical practice of animal nutrition are at the core of the Clear Conscience Pet philosophy, above all considerations of marketing or promotion.  Our  obligation is to give you the very best advice that we can. If we think one of our products is wrong for your dog or any dog, we will always say so. Fortunately, that is very rarely the case since we have formulated the products to work in the widest variety of health circumstances from the healthiest puppy to the geriatric pet with health challenges.

2- We respect the boundaries between nutrition and veterinary care, so we don't give medical advice; but we are eager to share our nutritional experience in hopes of helping dog guardians to sort out all of the confusing and sometimes conflicting claims and recommendations that you may hear from different sources;  

3- We've created SuperGravy and our other products to be impeccably clean, pure, and simple. Over the years, we have had veterinarians using the product with great success including with animals under treatment for liver and kidney disease, with very positive results in boosting the appetite, improving digestion, and keeping health-challenged dogs eating well. After all, without the right balance of nutrients, properly digested and utilized by the body, the ability of our dogs to fight disease is greatly compromised. That's why we are often sought out as the best in the industry at boosting appetites naturally, safely, and with a high level of successful results.

Now for the specifics.

SuperGravy® doesn't include any added "free" minerals or synthetic vitamins like virtually all pet foods and most treats. When I use the term "free minerals," I am referring to adding metals and mineral elements such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and others as separate ingredients, usually included by manufacturers as part of a vitamin and mineral premix. This supplementation of mineral elements like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, etc.is required by regulations to declare a food to be a "complete and balanced diet” for dogs or any animal being fed.  

We're not against supplementation; but we do believe that our dogs are already getting plenty of these synthetic supplements in their food. What concerns us at Clear Conscience Pet is that too many treat makers also add these supplements to their products to present themselves as being "more nutritious" when in fact this introduces the possibility of over supplementation since the foods the dogs are eating already fulfill the daily requirements for these vitamins and minerals.

The reason that you can confidently continue to use our products as directed is that we do NOT add synthetic vitamins or "free" minerals. Instead, all of the nutrients present in SuperGravy and all of our treats and chews come from what is naturally present in the whole food ingredients we use. Providing all nutrition through whole foods allows the dog to digest the food and absorb minerals and other nutrients naturally present in those foods gently and naturally as opposed to just dumping heavy metallic elements into the body.

For example, Kelp, which is essentially dried seaweed, naturally contains trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. But adding a little bit of kelp to the diet through SuperGravy is not like taking these minerals on their own. The supplementation is beneficial, but the amounts supplied are very minimal to prevent imbalances or excess intake when combined with other dog foods and treats.     

This is particularly important when facing diseases or disorders impacting essential regulatory organ systems such as the kidneys, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and thyroid. When these essential yet potentially toxic trace minerals are fed as "mined" from the ground rather than bound up with the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in food, these "free heavy metals" are more likely to accumulate in the organs and cause excesses and imbalances that are detrimental to the function of these organs. This is especially true when there is already a stressed organ such as is the case in Kidney or Liver disease.

Again, I must be cautious and stress that the body can NOT function without essential minerals, electrolytes, and vitamins. By no means am I suggesting that we deprive an animal or person of minerals and vitamins; just as excess accumulation of minerals can cause or contribute to disease, deficiencies  in these essential elements can have devastating effects as well.

The answer is to feed whole natural foods that provide clean, pure, and digestible life sustaining macronutrients (Protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and also contain naturally beneficial levels of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.    

Since we do not add any of these free minerals to the products, the amounts added to the diet of a dog eating food supplemented with SuperGravy is extremely low. Following this note, we will provide you with calculated estimates on a per serving basis based on the average amounts of these minerals found in the whole food ingredients we use. You will see that the levels are extremely low, but In any event, since these minerals are present only as naturally occurring in the molecular structure of the food ingredients themselves, excess mineral consumption is virtually impossible; this is true even if a dog were to consume many times the recommended serving amount of any SuperGravy recipe. At the recommended daily serving amount of 1.5 teaspoons (15 cc) by volume (about 4 grams by weight), the chance of over supplementation with minerals or metals is essentially zero.

The Intake Equation: Understanding Percentages vs. Consumption Amounts:  This is where a lot of misconceptions arise when it comes to nutrient and mineral intake. The percentage of a nutrient present in a food product is important, but it is meaningless if not considered in the context of the amount of the food product consumed.

Example: How can whole milk add MORE fat to your diet than cream? The answer is, your consumption amount determines the total intake of any nutrient. Here's an example of the math:

  • Light cream contains approx. 20% Fat;
  • Whole Milk contains approx. 4% Fat;

So the cream obviously has a much higher fat content, right? BUT, if you add ONE ounce of cream to your coffee, you will consume about 6 grams of dietary fat. If you drink an 8 oz. glass of whole milk or add that amount to your cereal, you would be consuming 10 grams of dietary fat.  The consumption times the percentage determines the intake, not the percentage itself.

Protein Consumption: Bringing this example to the protein content in SuperGravy, Paw Jus contains 48% Protein, the highest percentage of protein among the 4 formulas. But a serving only has 4 grams total weight, so the dog getting a scoop of Paw Jus daily is only adding 1.9 grams of protein to their diet. One half ounce of 93% Lean ground beef, a chunk about the size of the size of a strawberry, has 3 grams of protein.

"Prescription" Clinical Diets:

The following is used here only as an illustration. Hills K/D is only one of hundreds of clinical pet diets sold chiefly through veterinarians made by Hills(Colgate), ProPlan (Nestle-Purina), Royal Canin (Mars), and Blue Buffalo (General Mills).  These brand names are registered trademarks of their respective parent companies. 

Hills Dry K/D "Kidney Diet" has 15% Protein, and the recommended feeding amount for a tiny 5 lb. dog is 50 grams daily. That means that the dog is getting 7.6 grams of protein from the K/D or 4x the amount as in the SuperGravy Paw Jus serving scoop. For a 70 lb. dog, Hills recommend 370 grams per day. That means the dog gets 57 grams of protein in their daily intake of Hills K/D, 30 times the amount in a scoop of Paw Jus.  But how can that be, if Paw Jus has 48% protein and Hills K/D only has 15%?  That's the Intake Equation at work: Amount Consumed x Percentage of Any Nutrient =Actual INTAKE of that nutrient.

Unfortunately, the pet food industry and the veterinary profession hardly ever touch on these calculations. Too many veterinarians either don't understand this at all (a scary thought), or they dumb it down for their clients and just push incomplete advice like "don't feed more than 20% protein to a dog with kidney disease." But you have just seen incontrovertible mathematical evidence that you can safely and easily use a 48% protein product if used correctly and in the right quantity. It's sad that such misinformation can lead to dogs being deprived of things that could be very beneficial for them on the basis of incorrect assumptions and lack of fundamental knowledge.           

No matter what the condition or size of a dog, adding 1.9 grams of protein in the form of a scoop of SuperGravy can't possibly overload a dog with protein. The same goes for  phosphorous, other minerals, or dietary fat. It is physically and mathematically impossible for SuperGravy used as directed to "overload" a dog with any of these substances.         

SuperGravy Average Nutrient Values in All Formulas

Values provided are calculated based on average naturally occurring levels of nutrients in our natural whole food-based ingredients. Natural whole foods will vary in nutrient and mineral concentrations. 

  • calories: 17
  • carbohydrates: < 1 gram (less than 1 gram)
  • protein: < 2 gr. (less than 2 grams)
  • fat: < 1.5 gr. (less than 1.5 grams)
  • phosphorus  < 6 mg (less than 6 mg)
  • potassium     < 10 mg (less than 10 mg)
  • sodium  < 6 mg (less than 6 mg)
  • calcium   < 15 mg (less than 15 mg)
  • Note that these values would be similarly low with some variation in all four SuperGravy recipes

Conclusion: SuperGravy® products used as recommended provide a very safe method for boosting the appetite, improving digestive health, and increasing the absorption of essential nutrients for all dogs, regardless of underlying conditions. The only situations in which SuperGravy is contraindicated are in the presence of specific proven allergies to any ingredient present in any of the formulas. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you and your dog. 

Anthony Bennie, December 19, 2020
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Featured on The Savvy Pet Owner

Featured on The Savvy Pet Owner

SuperGravy Adds Sparkle, Magic & Optimum Nutrition to Your Dog’s Diet

By Carolyn North / October 27, 2020

Does your dog get bored with his regular food? Is he a picky eater or just stops eating a particular food from time to time? The answer to this problem may lie in one of the commercial pet food toppers sold to enhance your dog’s regular meals. Having studied several of those products, I found Clear Conscience Pet SuperGravy® to be superior to many of the others.

Our Murphy is a picky eater. Some days, he will eat his food without a problem.  Other days, not so much. We feed him a Fromm’s dry kibble with a little canned mixed in, so we know he is getting the best nutrition.  But Murphy is spoiled and doesn’t hesitate to let us know when he doesn’t want to eat.  Enter SuperGravy!  We skip the canned food on top and add the SuperGravy® pet food topper, and Murphy loves it!

Clear Conscience Pet SuperGravy® offers extra nutrition in several flavors to top off your dog’s meal.  The gravy is easy to prepare and easily digestible. All flavors are created using vitamins and minerals and include their Tri-Gestive Microbiome support system to improve your pet’s gut health with probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes.

Mixing SuperGravy® Is Easy!

Just sprinkle the desired amount on top of the dog’s dry food.

Add warm water and stir it all together.

You can also mix the gravy and warm water together and pour the liquid on the dry kibble.

Why This Pet Food Topper Is Special

The owners of the company produce products that contain only healthy ingredients. They are committed to the CleanLabel™ pledge with ingredients that are pure, pronounceable, and purposeful. You can read more about this pledge here.

Perhaps you noticed the occasional coupon on our corresponding Facebook page for Clear Conscience Pet SuperGravy® with special discounts.  Those ads come from my personal page, because I want to pass on the opportunity for readers to try the products at good prices.  You will also find occasional coupons for discounts on their dog treats. The company’s Lamb Airy Bites are the only treat Murphy actually barks and begs for.

I know the owners of the company and appreciate that they are a small business with many years of experience in the pet manufacturing world, and I feel confident in sharing my preference with you.

Would Your Dog Benefit from SuperGravy®?

According to the Clear Conscience Pet site, their SuperGravy® would benefit the following:

  • ALL DOGS EATING DRY FOOD will enjoy their food more and digest it better with SuperGravy. It’s that simple.
  • HELPS STOP PICKY EATING and boosts appetites impacted by Aging, Medications, Illness, Food Changes, Anxiety, or just “taste fatique”.
  • SLOWS DOWN RAPID EATING: Dogs savor their food more and are less likely to “inhale” kibble when it is thoroughly hydrated with Super- Gravy.
  • USING CANNED FOOD AS A KIBBLE TOPPER? SuperGravy blends much better with dry food, eliminates smelly can waste, and costs far less to use
  • USING FREEZE DRIED or FROZEN? Add SuperGravy for great taste and TRI-GESTIVE gut health support from Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Digestive Enzymes.
  • DOGS WITH DIGESTIVE ISSUES and SENSITIVE STOMACHS may also benefit from the TRI-GESTIVE microbiome support system.
  • ATHLETIC, ACTIVE, and WORKING DOGS: SuperGravy broth encourages proper hydration and supplies natural electrolytes with less than 20 calories per cup.

How SuperGravy® Improved Murphy’s Life

Last week I shared a few of Clear Conscience Pet Lamb Airy Bites with my neighbor for her dog. She complained that Bitsy had become a problem eater, thus giving me the perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of SuperGravy®.

When Murphy first joined our family at 2 ½ years old, he was nervous and clearly missed his previous family.  His first activity was to take a huge dump in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Then he refused to eat. His owner failed to tell me what brand of food Murphy ate, saying he couldn’t remember, so it was hit and miss for a few days.

Even after we settled on an excellent brand of dog food, Murphy would eat a couple bites and go sit by the front door, as if waiting for his owner to arrive.

SuperGravy® Convinced Murphy He Belonged to Us

One night, I mixed a scoop of the SuperGravy® with a little warm water and poured it over Murphy’s kibble.  That boy gobbled up every bite! After several days of worrying about Murphy’s sporadic eating, this event sparked a huge relief! It was also the beginning of our new dog settling into his forever home.

If this sounds like a testimonial, it is, since I truly believe in this company’s products.  This family-owned company has won 25 awards for nutritional excellence, innovation and sustainability.  The full line of SuperGravy® won the 10th Anniversary Eco Excellence Award for Pet Food.

There are so many things you can do with SuperGravy® to enhance a dog’s meals, and below are a few special recipes, shared from company co-founder Amanda Malone Bennie, to spice up your pet’s diet:

CleanLabel™ SuperGravy® Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lb. Chopped meat, your choice
1/2 Cup SuperGravy®
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup of chopped, green vegetables (kale, green beans, spinach, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a casserole dish or a baking pan with sides to hold juices and bake approximately 45 min. to one hour.

CleanLabel™ SuperGravy® Howlin’ Hound Cake

3 lb. Ground Turkey plus 1 lb. Ground Beef
1 bag Organic Spinach
1 can Sweet Peas
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds or Flaxseed
Chopped stems of 2 large broccoli heads
1/2 to 3/4 Cups SuperGravy® – any flavor

Bake at 325 until done

Optional:  Set aside 1/4 Cup of cake drippings for making icing.

  • Cake can be frozen and then thawed before serving. You can make it in different shapes, like a dog bone or candy cane or whatever you choose.

Howlin’ Hound Cake Icing

1/4 Cup drippings from making the cake
1/2 – 3/4 package of softened cream cheese
1 – 2 ounces of SuperGravy® ARFredo recipe

Mix all until creamy and spread over the COOLED Howlin’ Hound Cake.

Is This Pet Food Topper Perfect for Your Dog?

Clear Conscience Pet SuperGravy® helped convince Murphy to enjoy his meals, and it may also provide the extra boost your dog needs. Whether your pet suffers from digestive issues or is just a picky eater like our Murphy, consider this pet food topper as a possible solution to the problem. Murphy’s current favorite flavor is the new Bon A’ la Goat. Order it here and let your dog decide his favorite!

Original Article Source: https://www.thesavvypetowner.com/supergravy-adds-sparkle-magic-optimum-nutrition-to-your-dogs-diet/

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