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Founder's Articles

Pet Nutrition Expert Offers 14 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthier and Happier Pets

Clear Conscience Chief Dog “Ozzy”

“We hope that these 14 Resolutions for 2014 will help to keep our special four legged family members healthier and happier.” – Anthony Bennie, Clear Conscience Pet Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer

Clear Conscience Pet founder Anthony Bennie writes and speaks frequently on pet nutrition and wellness, and in keeping with the New Year’s Day tradition, today he released his New Year’s resolutions for pet health and happiness. “For 2014, we are offering 14 suggested resolutions, some that reinforce core pet nutrition concepts, some less obvious, and some that no doubt will be considered controversial,” said Bennie. The list includes some nutrition resolutions and some designed to boost what Bennie calls “AHQ,” short for “Animal Happiness Quotient.”

“Sometimes, because nutrition is such a crucial cornerstone, we don’t pay enough attention to other daily pet health and wellness choices, so this year’s list goes beyond food into broader areas of “food for thought,” said Bennie.

14 Resolutions for a Healthier and Happier Pet in 2014

1.    Reduce carbohydrates in your dog’s or cat’s diet: remember, just because a food or treat is “grain free,” it is not necessarily low in carbs.

2.    Make MEAT PROTEIN from clean American sources the cornerstone of your canine or feline food choices.

3.    Avoid any food or treat products with chemical preservatives including: propylene glycol, all forms of glycerine including “vegetable glycerin,” BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, ethoxyquin, titanium dioxide, and all artificial colors.

4.    Watch for “fractionated” carbohydrate ingredients designed to obscure the fact that a food is very high in cereal, such as several forms of rice (rice bran, ground rice, rice gluten meal, brown rice).

5.    Keep sugar in all of its forms out of, or extremely limited, in your pooch or kitty’s food and treats. This includes sugar, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, and even honey.

6.    Avoid OVER-SUPPLEMENTATION with synthetic vitamins and minerals: foods approved for daily maintenance are already required by law to include a long list of vitamin and mineral supplements.

7.    Shop wisely for your pet food or treats, but don’t fall into the trap of looking for the cheapest food your pet will eat OR choosing the most expensive food you can buy! The cheapest is bound to disappoint you with its results, and the priciest may be a very good product but still not right for your dog or cat.

8.    Learn to read pet food labels and if something doesn’t make sense or you don’t know what a certain ingredient is or WHY it is there, don’t hesitate to call or write the manufacturer.

9. HYDRATE dry dog food, no matter what the quality, for optimum digestion and stomach health. Do this either by simply adding water and allowing the food to absorb moisture, adding canned food, or by using SuperGravy, an award winning dry gravy mix that actually helps moisture to BOND with dry kibble.

10. NO ONE FOOD OR TREAT IS PERFECT FOR EVERY PET! If coats get dull, “stiff,” or greasy, your pet gets a sudden case of the “itchies,” or if you start to see skin irritations sometimes known as “hot spots,” your pet may be developing an allergy or sensitivity to the food or treats you are using.

11.    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.

12.    If you have a new puppy or kitten that has NOT yet been spayed or neutered, consider allowing the animal to reach early adulthood (about a year, depending on the breed) before performing these surgeries. 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.

13.    OLDER DOGS NEED TRACTION! As dogs reach older age, their bones age in the same manner as do human geriatric bones, and this is especially pronounced in large and giant breeds. But you may not realize that your older dog’s mobility issues can be helped with something much simpler than special foods, risky drugs, or even surgeries. Simply survey your home for slick stairways and other slippery areas, and provide “paths” with carpeted stair runners and “path rugs” that connect rooms. Help your older dog to regain some confidence and mobility in 2014!

14.     DOUBLE DOWN ON DOGS? Consider becoming a two dog household, if you can afford the cost of food and care for 2 dogs. Dogs with a permanent canine companion are typically much better adjusted and less prone to separation anxiety than single dogs.

“No list can take the place of being a good student of pet care and nutrition, but it is our hope that these 14 Resolutions for 2014 can lead to a greater awareness of the many ways that we can help keep our special four legged family members healthier and happier,” concluded Bennie.

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Senior Dog Nutrition: How to Make the Golden Years Better for Dogs

Senior Dog Nutrition: How to Make the Golden Years Better for Dogs

Challenging Pet Food Industry Myths with Biological Facts

© 2018 By Anthony Bennie, Founder & Chief Nutrition Officer

INTRO: The History of Senior Pet Nutrition: After almost thirty years of the “natural pet revolution,” one might think that there is broad agreement as to the basics. Until the 1970s, the term “senior dog food” was virtually non-existent, and it wasn’t until late 80s and early 90s that it became a mainstream phenomenon. Not so coincidentally, this corresponds closely with the emergence of the aforementioned natural pet nutrition movement.

But instead of reaching a scientifically and biologically sound consensus, the pet food industry has fallen back on clichés and assumptions, driven more by marketing than nutritional science based on the evolutionary biology of canines.

The critical question is, what is the right way to feed, treat, and care for the dental health of older dogs? How can we best maintain their health, well-being, and vitality? If we get this wrong, our older dogs will age prematurely and lose strength and energy long before their time. So it’s our job as advocates for the health of dogs to reexamine and correct the mistakes about senior nutrition that have been accepted as “conventional wisdom.”

In surveying the landscape of products for senior dogs, we find a vast disconnect between marketing trends and the biological needs of older dogs. The pet nutrition business is too often selling and recommending products for senior dogs that serve the corporate bottom line rather than the nutritional needs of aging dogs.

This false narrative has hurt older dogs, in my opinion based on 26 years as an animal nutritionist and pet food industry insider. Here at Clear Conscience Pet, we have come to reject the current “conventional wisdom” in regard to most aspects of nutrition for older dogs. This includes current trends in food, treats, and dental chews for older dogs. The following analysis represents our opinion, informed by biological science and decades of direct experience feeding dogs as well as advising consumers, retailers, and manufacturers.

Prevailing Trends in Senior Dog Nutrition: Is Less Really More?

Food and Treats for Senior Dogs- What’s Wrong?

The dominant model in senior dog nutrition is to make senior food and treats with less protein, less fat, and fewer calories while increasing carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Sometimes, extra supplements such as synthetic vitamins, minerals, or joint care nutrients such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are added. For treats, there is not as much differentiation between life stages. But treats labeled for seniors tend to follow the same trends as senior foods- LESS real nutrition, more synthetic supplements.

Dental Chews for Senior Dogs- Crucial to Long Term Health

In the dental chews category, older dogs often get left out completely. There is a false belief that older dogs have weak mouths and can’t handle rugged chewing. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if we don’t give dogs rugged chewing options throughout life, they will develop dental problems and their gums and palate muscles will weaken. And too often, our older dogs (and all dogs, for that matter) are given plasticky laboratory engineered “green” chews made predominantly from glutens, gelatin, and grain derivatives.

What’s Wrong with these Senior Feeding Concepts?

The trouble is that these senior feeding “rules” are not supported by canine biology. Protein and fat are the core life-sustaining nutrients for dogs, which is why the Guaranteed Analysis must declare the minimum percentage for both. Older dogs do not need less nutrients than younger adults, and “replacing” essential nutrients with synthetic supplements is a recipe for poor nutrition.

Mother Nature is our best teacher, if we pay attention to her lessons. One need only study wolves, our dogs’ closest wild relatives, to see proof that these canines eat the same basic diet throughout life. They need and want the same prey game as their younger pack mates. They most certainly do not switch to “low protein and low fat prey” as they age. Prey is rich in protein, fat, and numerous trace nutrients essential for vibrant good health. As it turns out, by eating what comes naturally, wolves in captivity outlive the vast majority of domestic dogs. In fact, wolves fed their natural diet or a close analogue have been documented to live well over 20 years. Note that we’ve never seen a zoo, wolf rescue, or wolf rehab feed “kibble,” certainly not as a core diet for wild canines without abundant fresh meat added.

The fact is, older dogs need digestible animal-based protein as the core of their diets, just like younger dogs. Older dogs also need healthy sources of essential fatty acids, which can only come from optimum levels of biologically suitable fats and oils. Most senior dog foods reduce fat content significantly; this leads to decreased energy, dull and appropriate amounts of. Attentive and conscientious dog parents don’t need to automatically change foods when their dogs reach a certain age. Continue to feed a high quality meat-based “adult” diet as dogs age, while paying close attention to your dog’s weight, coat health, and energy levels as indicators of overall health.
That said, digestive efficiency can diminish with age, and metabolism may slow down in older dogs if they don’t stay active. The most common dietary issue that we hear from those with “middle aged,” and especially advanced geriatric dogs, is that they start to lose interest in the food we’re giving them. If a dog is otherwise healthy but still starts to show diminished appetite, the “diagnosis” is often quite simple: your dog has developed taste fatigue from eating the same food for years, which leads to picky eating, increased begging for people foods, and stress for pet parents.

SuperGravy®: A Senior Dogs Best Friend

At Clear Conscience Pet, we decided seven years ago to focus on solving the challenges of senior dog taste fatigue as well as picky eating at all lifestages. Whether caused by aging, illness, medications, stress, or anxiety, diminished appetites are dangerous to a dog’s long-term health and happiness. Knowing that humans are busy and may experience “money fatigue” just as dogs get taste fatigue, we were determined to craft a new solution that would be very simple to use and inexpensive to add to any feeding program. So we invented the first holistic instant gravy mix for dogs, which we named SuperGravy. The name was a reflection of our commitment to using only ingredients derived from whole superfoods, with nothing synthetic whatsoever. In fact, the invention of SuperGravy inspired us to adopt our CleanLabel Pledge which promises that ALL Clear Conscience Pet products are made according to a strict philosophy of using only Pure, Pronounceable, and Purposeful ingredients.

Since then, we have been humbled by receiving 10 nutrition awards for SuperGravy, most recently the 2018 Family Choice Award. The testimonials and reviews that we have received along the way from those with senior and advanced geriatric dogs have been powerful and heartwarming.

We recently completed a major expansion and reimagining of the SuperGravy line from the original “Au Jus” brown beef gravy to a line of three artisan crafted holistic gravies. Each is made with a single protein to provide options for dogs with allergies, and all now include live probiotics and digestive enzymes to address the aforementioned concerns about digestive efficiency decreasing as dogs age.
To capture the joyful spirit of gravy as “comfort food” we gave the new recipes fun and memorable names: Au Jus brown with beef liver is now PAW JUS savory brown; BARKINARA is a zesty red with chicken liver and air dried tomato, and ARFREDO creamy white is made with Greek yogurt and three Italian-style dried cheeses.

In the “WHO IS IT FOR” advice on the package, we declare that SuperGravy “boosts appetites impacted by aging.” Keeping older dogs eating consistently and joyfully was a key goal for the SuperGravy line. Our thousands of customers with older dogs and advanced geriatric dogs agree that this simple and pure product has a major positive impact on the quality of life for older dogs. It’s a rare product that is actually life-changing for dogs and for the humans who care for them.

Neuroplasticity and Nutrition: Can Providing Variety in Taste and Aromas Stimulate the Brain?

Good quality, biologically appropriate food with a proper nutritional balance is essential for the optimum physical health and wellness of senior dogs. But what about brain health and cognitive ability? Neuroscientific research offers evidence that variety and novelty in the diet presents new combinations of aromas and tastes which stimulate the olfactory system to form new neural connections in dogs throughout life. Simply put, new smells and tastes keep the brain active and stimulated.

The three SuperGravy formulas are all designed to have very different tastes and smells, unlike some dog products that are differentiated more by marketing than substance. Typically, the “multiple flavors” in a dog food or treat line are all remarkably similar, with only one or two different ingredients to justify the additional product SKUs. This marketing strategy is about occupying more shelf space, not creating truly differentiated TASTE for the benefit of dogs as SuperGravy does.

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.” This exciting research shows that by continually providing variety in the form of intriguing new smells, we may be able to actually improve cognitive response in advanced geriatric dogs as part of an overall healthy diet. SuperGravy is the first and only appetite stimulating pet food topper with REAL variety, and that’s why the three formulas offer such an effective total solution to prevent taste fatigue while stimulating the canine brain.

Very importantly, SuperGravy stimulates appetites and brain cells without stomach-disrupting food changes. 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.

Other Clear Conscience Pet® Products for Senior Dogs

Treats that work well for Seniors: Lamb Airy™ Bark low-density crunchy treats

Lamb Airy Bark is an innovative spin on roasted lamb lung. Our tasty Bark is artisan roasted in slabs which makes it very easy to break and crunchy without being hard like a baked cookie. Most importantly, Lamb Airy Bark features our “SDR” Superfood Dry Rub, a proprietary and exclusive enhancement only available from CCP. The SDR process infuses these high-protein, low carb treats with beneficial plant-based phytonutrients from air dried milled flax, spinach, carrot, and tomato. And as a bonus, these infused ingredients provide the added stimulus of new smells to stimulate excitement and contribute to neuroplasticity. Because we believe in the all life stage nutritional philosophy for dogs, these treats are not labeled specifically as “senior dog treats;” they are just plain healthy, digestible, and delicious.

Chews for Older Dogs: Lamb and Beef Trachey™ Chews

Providing chewing options that scrape teeth and stimulate gums is essential to maintaining the dental health of dogs at all lifestages, and senior dogs are no exception. All dogs need continual access to “rugged” chewing options. This deep stimulation from chewing and gnawing is key to long term oral health. Imagine if, starting at age 40, people were told by doctors or dentists to start eating only “soft foods;” we would protest mightily and insist that we not be fed like babies! Yet, because of an arbitrary age number, millions of older dogs are deprived of this intuitive need. Well-meaning but misinformed dog guardians cut off their older dogs from bones and other hard chews because they are now considered “seniors” at ages as young as 7 based on pet food industry misinformation.

The “alternative” created in food science laboratories are typically “engineered” dental bones made from altered processed foods such as gluten meals, wheat and rice flours, glycerin, and gelatin touted as “all natural” and “rawhide-free” dental chews. Sadly, such products have been documented in complaints to the FDA for causing choking incidents in thousands of dogs over the last few decades but deep-pocket companies have the money and lawyers to obfuscate these claims and most often quietly make the complainants go away by paying settlements with non-disclosure agreements.

Clear Conscience Pet Rugged Chew Options: Natural Chews with SDR Infusion

Beef and Lamb Trachey™ Chewz: In the category of “dental chews,” we keep it simple and pure at CCP. We use artisan-roasted Beef Trachea and Lamb Trachea as our all-natural rugged chewing options for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. We have done older dogs a huge disservice if we stop giving them rugged chewing options at any age as long as they have healthy teeth and gums. And, in fact, frequent chewing with the right chews is exactly what dogs need to prevent dental problems in the first place!

  • Beef Trachey Chews are the most rugged option, and it’s a joyful experience for dogs to gnaw and chew on these 100% digestible yet very stimulating chews. These chews stimulate your dog’s teeth and deeply massage their gums to keep them strong. For added efficacy, we employ a “canoe cut” for our Beef Trachey Chewz that opens up the trachea tube to create stimulating edges that dogs grip while they chew, thus providing greater scraping action and a longer-lasting chew. Ozzy, CCP’s current CDO (Chief Dog Officer), is an almost twelve year-old Golden Retriever and he has beautiful teeth and healthy gums with no brushing from chewing 2 or 3 Beef Trachey Chewz per week.
  • Lamb Trachey Chews are a gentler chew option that still provides tooth and gum health benefits for older dogs who may have had some dental issues requiring an easier chew to help them strengthen their teeth and gums. Since Lamb Tracheys are thinner in texture and easier to chew, they’re a favorite for puppies and smaller dogs.

© 2018 All rights reserved
Anthony Bennie, Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer
Clear Conscience Pet®- The Most Award-Winning Brand in Pet Nutrition
See other articles by Anthony at https://www.clearconsciencepet.com/foundersarticles

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The Beginning of CCP CleanLabel: July 22, 2014 Press Release

Clear Conscience Pet® Launches Clean Label™ Pet Treats and Urges Consumers to Beware of Deceptive Labeling Practices

Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) July 22, 2014

When is an “all-natural” pet food or treat not really all that natural? In the opinion of one twenty year veteran of the natural pet food industry, all too often.

Anthony Bennie started as an entry-level pet food salesman in the nineties, and then started an independent rep firm that helped to build what for a time was the biggest brand in the natural pet food industry. Now he is a writer, an “accidental” radio host, and he and his wife Amanda Malone Bennie are the founders of Clear Conscience Pet, a manufacturer of multi-award winning pet treats and pet food toppers.

But along the way, Bennie has become disillusioned with what he feels is the cheapening of natural pet nutrition, and cites the practice of “creative formulation and labeling” as a form of consumer fraud against animal lovers. He says that every ingredient in every product in the Clean Label Pet line is Pure, Pronounceable, and Purposeful.

“Our conversations with consumers tell us that people are weary of all of the hype around pet food and of trying to decipher long lists of ingredients that they can’t even pronounce. All of this confusion hides the fact that many products on the market called natural are really ‘pretenders’ showing the image of clean and pure nutrition, but fluffed up with fillers and adulterated with chemicals. Too many ingredients are unrecognizable as real FOOD. All of this makes trying to understand pet food or treat labels stressful for today’s health conscious pet parent.”

Amanda Malone Bennie puts it this way, “With hundreds of products calling themselves all natural, the term is so overused that it has lost meaning. If you ask a consumer, they will tell you that they long for clarity and products they can use without worry for the health and enjoyment of their pets.”

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FREEDOM From Hype: Clear Conscience Pet’s CleanLabel Revolution

Breaking Free from Pet Food Hype with CleanLabel™: 4 Steps to Smarter Food and Treat Choices

It’s a fact that too many pet food and treat companies use marketing hype to sell low quality products. Learn how to make these 4 smarter choices and declare independence from mediocre pet nutrition!

Choose PURE products:
– Be a label detective: TURN OVER THE BAG and READ ingredient lists with a critical eye! Don’t just look at the pretty pictures on package fronts!
– Identify chemical preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors
– Just say NO to glycerin, propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, and other chemicals
– Less is More: Find products with fewer ingredients. If the ingredient list overwhelms you with dozens of ingredients in unreadable fonts, look for better products that don’t HIDE what’s INSIDE!

Choose Prounounceable products:
– Choose products with whole-food based ingredients that you KNOW and can PRONOUNCE!
– If you don’t understand an ingredient, look it up online and make sure it’s something you want your pet to consume every day. If not, don’t use the product.
– Avoid OVER-SUPPLEMENTATION! Be wary of treats, snacks, and food toppers that are full of synthetic nutrients. Every complete pet food is required by law to have a full daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals. Whole food ingredients can deliver many of the same benefits without risking overdoing it.

Choose Purposeful Products without Needless Fillers:
– Just because a product says its ALL NATURAL doesn’t mean that the ingredients serve a PURPOSE!
– Ingredients should not be in a product unless they are there to make your animal companions healthier and happier. This is the only honest PURPOSE of any ingredient in a pet food, treat, or chew.
– Ingredients that you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce may be FILLERS designed to generate a healthier profit margin instead of of making your pet healthier: Gluten meals, glycerin, grains and flours, tapioca, peas, and pea protein are just SOME common ingredients that, in excess, are simply fillers that contribute little or nothing to a dog or cat’s heath and vitality.
– Seek out species-appropriate nutrition with high levels of digestible meat protein and low carbohydrate levels.
– Ingredients may claim to be natural or even be Certified Organic, but if they serve no defined purpose they too are fillers. It’s far better to have a high meat conventional diet than a cereal-filled organic diet!
– Don’t get hung up on humanization! Pet foods that are designed to sound like people food may be misleading you. Remember, our companion animals are NOT little people! As carnivores or carnivorous-leaning omnivores, cats and dogs have very different dietary needs than humans

Choose what WORKS for YOUR Pet!
– Sounds obvious, right? Why keep feeding a pet food or treats if you are seeing negative results? But we don’t always know what to look for, so here are some tips:
– What results SHOULD you expect from a pet food, treat, chew, or food topper?
– Healthy, soft coats for long haired dogs and cats, and lustrous non-greasy coats for short-haired breeds
– No constant or excessive shedding
– Clear eyes and ears without discharges
– A nice smelling pet, but NOT from overshampooing or perfumes: Healthy dogs and cats should NOT smell super-funky unless there is a good reason (like rolling in disgusting wild animal poop or garbage, for example- YUCK!)
– Good energy, playfulness, and age-appropriate vitality- NOT constant hyperactivity and uncontrollable behavior as can be caused by high levels of refined carbohydrates or chemicals in the diet
– Don’t buy a product just because it’s constantly advertised on TV, radio, and online. Seek out artisan value brands by learning to read labels and choosing by QUALITY, not the best commercials!
– If a company spends too much on advertising and marketing, how can they also buy the best ingredients? Therefore, the more you see a company on TV, the more mediocre their products may be.

CONCLUSION: Make sure that you are getting the results that you and your pets DESERVE from your food and treat choices. Read Is it Time for a Pet Food Divorce? in the educational Founders Articles section of the Clear Conscience Pet® website for a detailed article about when you should break up with your current pet food!

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The Humanization of Pets: A Contrarian View

The Humanization of Pets: A Contrarian View

As an early soldier in the natural pet food “revolution” who got his first job knocking on retail store doors to sell dog food starting in the early 1990’s, I have a bone to pick with the industry that I love.

The bone lodged in my throat is the constant obsession with “humanization of pets” in our industry. One can hardly open a trade magazine without reading yet another “insightful analysis” stating that following the humanization trend is the key to becoming the next pet food millionaire or billionaire. Look at a few articles about “what’s new in pet food” or the “amazing growth of the natural pet food niche” and you’ll be treated to a big dose of self-congratulatory gushing about “the growing humanization trend.” By this, the writers mean making food and treats for pets that strive to sound more and more like human food every day.

I don’t need to mention examples. Just walk into ANY STORE that sells pet food, whether a mass merchant or a boutique pet specialty store, and you’ll see what I mean. Now, in all fairness, lots of products with people-food sounding names are high quality, biologically appropriate, and supply proper nutrition for dogs or cats despite playing up the “people food for pets” angle. And lest I be called a hypocrite, I’ll call MYSELF out since my newly expanded line of SuperGravy® Instant Pet Food Topper Gravy and Broth mixes uses “cutesy” names that are variations on human “sauces:” BARKinara Red, PAW Jus Brown, and ARFredo White. And no, I can’t blame a marketing agency. These were myideas. And guess what- people LOVE the names and dogs LOVE the gravies. But they are not “people gravies;” I formulated them meticulously to be species-appropriate for carnivores.

SO…what’s the problem? What am I whining and growling about? It’s this: if we buy into this concept “from soup to mutts” (go ahead, groan!), we will lose sight of the TRUTH and think that cute names that sound like people food and have the words “natural,” “holistic,” or “organic” attached to them mean we are feeding our canines and felines properly. We won’t be looking at the BACK OF THE BAGS and actually reading and interpreting ingredient lists. And we won’t be making consumers smarter about raising healthy and happy animals. Marketing will be the only driving force and substance will fall by the wayside. If, for example, we make “natural grain-free pet foods” that are made with 60 to 80% carbohydrates like tapioca and low biological value vegetable-based proteins like pea concentrates, we can call them anything we want but they’ll still be mediocre foods for carnivores, in my opinion as a nutritionist.

So I humbly suggest that everyone who loves their dogs and cats and treats them as family members keep doing just that, because they ARE part of our families. But don’t lose sight of the deeper truth: Our companion animals are brought into human families involuntarily, at our whim. WE set the rules and decide how to feed them, house them, and what level of medical care they receive. THEY DON’T GET A VOTE! Therefore, we need to be their guardians, not their “owners.” And we are obliged to learn their biology and needs instead of pretending that they are four-legged furry versions of us.

Those of us who are devoted to our dogs, cats, and other animals should relish the JOY, excitement, and emotional satisfaction that their loyalty and companionship brings us, and give them a special place of honor in our families. But we must remember that they are notpart of the human family! They proudly exist as members of other species, and for eons, humans around the world have found that companionship with animals is an endless source of fascination, and thoughtful people know that it’s a privilege to have them sharing our lives. The emotional and intellectual “reward” of having animals in our lives isn’t limited to companionship, though that is profound in a crowded world that sometimes feels so lonely.  At a deeper level it’s enlightenment that reminds us that we “human animals” are only one of millions of species on the planet.

Companion animals are just that: ANIMALS. Animals who are willing to put up with us and allow us a “high def” window out of our homo sapiens mindset and into the vast realm of NON-humanness. And it is really nice to get a break from humanity, don’t you think? I sure do! But instead of touting the HUMANIZATION of ANIMALS, how about cherishing the opportunity to ANIMALIZE HUMANS? After all, who has done all of the damage and represents the greatest threat to our home planet? Certainly not animals! So let’s not make them more like us, let’s learn responsible planetary citizenship from THEM.

Being entrusted with the health and happiness of dogs and feeding our family by creating things for dogs to eat entails a sacred obligation that requires holding ourselves to the highest standard of safety, healthfulness, and biological suitability. That means no all-carb “cookies” formulated to attract human sweet tooths which contribute to obesity and other health issues for dogs. It means rejecting chews like those plasticky green, pink, or blue so-called “dental bones” made from bizarrely unrecognizable “engineered” food ingredients. Instead, we and other ethical manufacturers must make food and treats for dogs that are nutritionally similar to the diet of wild canines which means high in animal proteins and healthy fats, and very LOW in carbohydrates. It means not being “grossed out” by organ meats which are excellent for dogs, and not being squeamish about giving them rugged treats made from connective tissue like trachea, tendons, and cartilage that satisfy their instinctive urge to chew. And it means rejecting deceptive marketing designed to get people to feed the WRONG things to their dogs. It’s not “rocket science,” it’s just common sense. If we do our jobs properly, dogs will not just eat to survive, they will experience true JOY by eating food and treats that speak to their spirit and not just their bellies!

I happen to strongly believe that the deepest bond with our animal family members only occurs when we truly understand that they are representatives of a separate species whose biology, intellect, and emotional lives differ vastly from ours. Clear Conscience Pet was founded on the core belief that we must treat and feed dogs and cats spiritually and nutritionally as canines and felines, while  RESPECTING their otherness instead of pandering to the notion that they are “little people.”

This heartfelt belief is core to our philosophy and informs our daily decisions about what to make, how to make it, and how we educate people honestly and without self-serving hype about the care and feeding of their companion animals.  We applaud others in our industry who do the same and humbly suggest that anyone trying to get rich by selling food and treats for dogs that are best left in the human pantry either get educated about REAL canine nutrition or get out of our industry and find a more suitable way to make a living.


© 2016 by Anthony Bennie All Rights Reserved

Anthony Bennie is the Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer of Clear Conscience Pet® He is a natural pet care industry entrepreneur and an advocate for the fair and honest treatment of pet guardians and companion animals who writes frequently for popular and trade publications, appears frequently on television and radio, and as a speaker both within and outside the pet industry. This essay is an excerpt from his first feature length book, “Confessions of a Dog Food Salesman,” slated for release in the Fall of 2019. In 2015 Anthony was named a “Pet Industry Icon,” one of only 25 individuals so honored by independent experts and the editorial board of Pet Age magazine. Anthony and Clear Conscience Pet have won 14 Awards for excellence and innovation in animal nutrition, including the aforementioned Icon Award, the 2016 Pet Insight Vanguard Award, the 2015 Pet Food and Animal Nutrition 2.0 “Innovation Award,” and the 2015 Pet Product News “Editor’s Choice Award.”

CONTACT Anthony by email: Anthony@clearconsciencepet.com

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Lending Older Dogs a Hand with Senior-specific Products

Lending Older Dogs a Hand with Senior-specific Products

Pet Age Magazine: April 2018

By:Sandy Robins
April 4, 2018

This excerpt features the contributions of Clear Conscience Pet Founder Anthony Bennie. The full story can be seen in the April 2018 print edition or at Pet Age online

With dogs living longer, the number of senior pets is on the rise. Now, with those over 7 years of age being categorized as adults and subcategorized as geriatric, it gives pet specialty retailers a golden opportunity to focus on this market and stock the growing number of products targeting this category beyond just food options.

According to Wendy Guyer, owner of the Pet House in Santa Barbara, California, asking the age and breed are leading questions when recommending products to customers.

“It’s important to know the age of the dog in order to make the correct recommendations whether it’s treat or toy related and is a guidance for numerous other categories of products within our store as well,” she said. “Lots of older dogs have plenty of zip and energy, but they can still benefit from products made with older canines in mind.”

Switching Things Up

As a 26-year veteran of the natural pet food business, Anthony Bennie, founder and chief nutrition officer at Clear Conscience Pet, admits that he has come to reject the conventional wisdom that prevails in the pet industry with regard to food, treats and chews for older dogs.

“The prevailing trend focuses on senior food and treats with less protein, less fat and fewer calories while adding supplements and dietary fiber. The trouble is that these senior feeding ‘rules’ are not supported by canine biology,” he said. “Protein and fat are the core life-sustaining nutrients for dogs, which is why the Guaranteed Analysis must declare the minimum percentage for both. Older dogs want and need the same game as their younger pack mates, products rich in protein, fat, and numerous trace nutrients essential for vibrant good health.”


Seven years ago, Bennie set about tackling the issue of senior dog taste fatigue creating his holistic instant gravy mix for dogs named SuperGravy.

“We recently completed a major expansion and re-imagining of the SuperGravy line from the original ‘Au Jus’ brown beef gravy to a line of three artisan crafted holistic gravies,” Bennie said. “Each is made with a single protein to provide options for dogs with allergies, and all now include live probiotics and digestive enzymes to address the aforementioned concerns about digestive efficiency decreasing as dogs age. Keeping older dogs eating is the main purpose for the SuperGravy line.”

Bennie has also focused on creating safe but tasty treats and chews that work well for older dogs.

“The Lamb Airy Bark low-density crunchy treats are an innovative spin on roasted lamb lung. It’s roasted in slabs which makes it very easy to break and crunchy without being hard like a baked cookie. And the Lamb and Beef Trachey Chews are our all-natural rugged chewing option,” Bennie added. “We are doing older dogs a huge disservice if we stop giving them rugged chewing options. And, in fact, frequent chewing with the right chews is exactly what dogs need to prevent dental problems in the first place!”

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How SuperGravy® Benefits the Planet: The Eco-Advantage of SuperGravy Over Cans and Liquids

How SuperGravy® Benefits the Planet: The Eco-Advantage of SuperGravy Over Cans and Liquids

SuperGravy by Clear Conscience Pet is the most Eco-Friendly innovation to ever come to the pet food, treats, and supplements space. It is truly an earth saver which at the same time provides exceptional health benefits to dogs and great utility and value to pet parent consumers.

The use of SuperGravy as a pet food nutrition enhancer, palatability booster, and digestibility supplement has the power to eliminate countless thousands of tons of landfill waste, excess packaging, and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the pet food industry in the USA and worldwide.

The SuperGravy concept and products are elegantly simple, yet massively impactful. Here is why:

Canned pet food has valid nutritional benefits because hydrated food is healthier for dogs and cats than dry food alone. Canned foods are usually added to the dry kibble pet diet rather than used as the sole source of nutrition. Despite this, in the USA alone, industry statistics indicate that over 3.5 BILLION units of canned pet foods are sold annually. The approximately 140 million dogs and cats in the USA are fed a staggering 700,000,000 lbs, or 350,000 TONS, of gross weight in canned foods annually.

SuperGravy Pet Food Toppers are completely natural dry gravy and broth mixes which are designed to REPLACE CANS and other liquid pet food toppers such as pre-made broths and ready-to-use pet food gravies. The SuperGravy recipes are nutritionally exceptional, made only with whole superfoods which are air dried and concentrated to create healthy and holistically balanced pet food enhancers that transform dry kibble into moist and healthy delicious pet meals.

SuperGravy is made in the pet parent’s home from our dry mixes by simply adding tap or filtered water. As proof of the nutritional value, SuperGravy has won 10 Awards in the pet food industry for excellence and innovation to date. NO other pet food topper can make this claim.

As proof of the ecological impact intrinsic to SuperGravy, please consider these eye-opening statistics:

  1. 700 Million lbs/ 350,000 tons of canned pet food sold in the USA- worldwide, this figure increases exponentially;
  2. All of these cans are packed in corrugated and plastic wrapped, adding more waste;
  3. This massive amount of cans must be transported, of course, by trucks burning gasoline or diesel fuel, creating carbon emissions that are so substantial that they are difficult to even calculate
  4. The manufacturing process for all of these cans is also very energy-intensive since the cans are heat cooked at the factory prior to final sealing for transportation
  5. Canned pet food is frequently discarded in the basic waste stream WITHOUT RECYCLING because of the smelly residue in cans making it difficult to place in clean recycling bins without attracting pests unless consumers clean the cans before recycling
  6. After use, the empty cans are still quite heavy; a fair estimate is that 20% of the gross weight of these products remains as can or outer packaging waste after the pet consumes the products
  7. Therefore, in the USA alone, canned pet foods generate approximately 70,000 TONS OF LANDFILL WASTE EVERY YEAR.
  8. If only 10% of users switched from cans to SuperGravy powdered mixes, 7,000 TONS OF LANDFILL WASTE could be eliminated! The more that switch from cans and other liquid pet food toppers to SuperGravy, the more reduction in landfill waste and carbon emissions would be achieved.
  9. SuperGravy pouches are recyclable and typically go into recycling bins instead of in landfills.


SuperGravy is a transformative pet nutrition disruptor with the capacity to create a huge shift in the pet food industry. Because we aren’t packaging, shipping, and selling water, SuperGravy leaves baby steps instead of big messy footprints on the environment. We do it all with dramatically less packaging and landfill waste, with a far smaller carbon footprint than production of premade liquid gravies, broths, and canned foods. In fact, 2 pallets of SuperGravy can replace an entire truckload of canned dog food or premade broth used as a topper! So this game-changing product is absolutely capable of slashing fossil fuel usage while keeping millions of lbs. of waste from landfills.

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For every bag of SuperGravy® instant Gravy and Broth mixes purchased, we will donate $2 worth of product to shelters helping displaced dogs.

Bring JOY to your dog’s bowl while helping dogs in crisis

“SuperGravy 2 the Rescue” is the charitable arm of Clear Conscience Pet, and we support rescue groups everyday. But when there are emergencies such as the recent hurricanes and floods, hard-working rescue agencies need extra help. So we have increased our giving and support by pledging $2 in free product for every SuperGravy pouch sold through Halloween. Free product will be distributed to groups directly involved in helping dogs displaced by the hurricanes.

How can SuperGravy help displaced dogs and their caregivers? Dogs often experience severe emotional distress and anxiety when they are displaced by storms in to shelters or foster care. This leads to loss of appetite and digestive upset.

SuperGravy helps in three ways:

  1. Makes any pet food taste and smell dramatically better, thus stimulating the appetite;
  2. Keeps dogs hydrated and supplies essential electrolytes when used as a “recovery broth;”
  3. As with humans, stress can cause stomach problems in dogs – SuperGravy gives a boost to gut health with digestive enzymes and active probiotics

SuperGravy can’t bring displaced dogs home – only dedicated rescue groups and families do that. But it has been proven to make a difference and we are honored to help in our small way. You can help, too! All you need to do is get some SuperGravy and bring Joy to your dog’s bowl while helping bring Joy to dogs in need.

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