If it moves, it dies.
ANYONE who lives with a cat knows that they are creatures of comfort. They also love to be in a snug place that's high above with a good view.
A window-mounted cat bed like the one from Oster offers your cat all these kitty comforts; you only need to provide a big glass window to hang it from.
This no-frills cat bed doesn't take up much space at 12”x22”. Inside the box you will find four heavy-duty suction cups, a durable canvas cover and reversible comfy pad (both machine washable) and a four-piece plastic frame set. A pair of strong plastic strings attached to two of the suction cups help hold the cat bed in place.
ROCK-A-BYE BABY. MetroPets' resident reviewer, Papa Chong, warmed up to the Oster Sunny Seat in no time. We can almost hear him say: "The world is an "oster", go shuck it!"
The Oster Sunny Seat is a no-brainer to assemble and install. It requires no tools and it took us probably 20 minutes tops to put it together, hang it up and invite a cat to try it. Soon, we have a snoozing cat on it who obviously felt very much at home in his new soft cradle by the window.
At least two adult cats can sleep comfortably together in the Oster cat bed which can hold up to 50lbs. It also offers indoor cats a perfect place to watch birds or to wait for you. It is designed to give cats maximum comfort where they could see a slice of nature or the outdoors.
For our review, we decided not to line the canvas with the reversible comfy pad because it doesn't stay in place, especially when a big cat jumps on the bed.
One true test of a good cat product is how quickly a cat enjoys or warms up to it. In this case, our subject, a cat named Chong, immediately fell sound asleep on his brand new Oster Sunny Seat. Chong weighs about 6 kilos. He has since made the Oster Sunny Seat part of his expanded territory.
The Oster Sunny Seat is distributed locally by Pet Discount, Inc. and being retailed in pet shops that may have priced it differently.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
A startup dog food company, Escuin Pet Food Manufacturing, is making a strong pitch for raw feeding with its fresh line of frozen uncooked meat with vegetables and dog treats made from natural ingredients.
Its brand, Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs, hit the ground running at the start of the year with two ready-to-serve raw dog meals (chicken or beef) and three varieties of dog chews – pumpkin biscuits, chicken strips and sweet potato chips.
Necessity is the mother of invention and for Donna Escuin, a self-taught canine nutrition expert, she built Natural Goodness from the ground up to save her little dog Audrey from obesity due to unhealthy diet.
Back in 2012, Audrey, a Pomeranian that should ideally weigh 2kgs max, tipped the scales at 4kgs. For a year, Audrey would see a vet every three weeks for check-ups and x-ray tests. As the dog got heavier, Donna's purse got lighter.
Fast forward to 2016, Donna not only got her dog healthy again after putting her on a natural diet, she also left the corporate world for the kitchen where she developed her first batch of Natural Goodness products that are “homemade, human grade dog food that the consumers can trust,” she said.
Aside from ground meat of fresh raw chicken or beef, every pack of frozen Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs contains nutritious and calcium rich meaty bones such as necks, wings, and backs for chicken and ribs, necks, tail for beef. It also contains organ meats like liver and muscle meat such as thighs, tenderloin and hearts. For added nutrition and flavor, a cooled slow-cooked vegetable stew is added to the mix along with fresh eggs, virgin coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, turmeric and malunggay.
“We have four resident testers (two Pomeranians, an Aspin, and a cross-breed) plus dogs of breeder friends who tried our products and they loved them,” said Donna.
A 2-kilo bag of frozen chicken doggie food costs P570, and P710 for beef. Donna gives discounts for bulk orders.
For treats, Natural Goodness' sweet potato chips (with malunggay flakes) and pumpkin biscuits are both priced P120 each for a small bag, and P370 each for a big bag.
A small pack of chicken strips costs P150 while the big pack sells for P450.
The raw meals can be frozen for four months from manufacturing date, while the treats are good for one month when kept in room temperature not exceeding 30ºC, and two months in a refrigerator. She also keeps her products fresh by preparing them based on demand. Most of her initial customers are dog breeders.
Donna arranges meet-ups at BF Homes Parañaque with customers who order the frozen doggie food. The treats, however, can be delivered to customers from Metro Manila for a minimum P60 shipping fee.
A popular local online pet store is interested to carry Natural Goodness products, said Donna, adding that supplying to other retailer pet stores later may be the way to go to give her more time to focus on product development and marketing.
WHAT'S (not) COOKIN'?
With Natural Goodness now in the market, Donna plans to enroll herself in an online course in Australia to formalize her education in canine nutrition to boost her and her products' credibility.
To date, she has relied on her own intensive self-study on raw feeding and advice from veterinarians to come up with her own carefully balanced dog food close to the “natural prey model” of eating that is intrinsic in every dog.
“I came to fall in love with the Biologically Appropriate Feeding method...I kept sharing my recipes in groups on Facebook. The only thing that saddened me was too many people I talked to would say they could not continue the diet because it was too much work. So, in my head I was like, okay I'll do it then,” said Donna.
She believes raw feeding is gaining traction among local pet owners though misconceptions such as how bones will choke dogs or raw meat will turn them into blood-hunting monsters continue to dissuade others from trying it.
Raw feeding advocates like her believe that switching a dog's diet of kibbles to raw food should be second nature.
“All dogs are designed to consume raw so it should be natural for them to love this diet. However, when a dog is too accustomed to over processed kibbles or canned food, it may find it strange at first. If you are feeding cooked, try mixing some raw little by little. However it is not recommended to mix raw to a kibble because these two foods require a different level of acid to be digested and may confuse the dog's digestive system which may lead to upset stomach,” said Donna.
The suggested amount of raw feeding is 3 percent of the dog's ideal weight, but Donna said it is best for a dog owner to first seek a veterinarian's expert opinion before changing a dog's diet and for how much more or less.
“Feeding dogs raw food can start with one meal once a week. One natural meal a week is better than nothing,” she added.
Meanwhile, she plans to move Natural Goodness' kitchen out of her house in the coming months and to open a Natural Goodness store next year.
“We are a very small company—so small that the owner who answers the emails also does the cooking, packing and arranging shipping and meet ups,” Donna revealed.
But she's not complaining because advocating raw feeding and offering alternative dog food is what she really wanted to do ever since she saw how it helped improve her dog Audrey's health.
“I decided to go into this business to spread awareness and knowledge. To be able to offer much better option for pet owners to better care for their loved ones. If there are any Audreys out there suffering, I hope to help them through our product,” said Donna.
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* A few words from two vets about dogs
RESCUED dogs need a lot of tender loving care. Plucked from the streets they call home, rescued dogs not only need an immediate bath, they also usually need to be rid of ticks and fleas.
Flea and tick infestations usually don't end after a dog's first bath. The pesky parasites have high survival instincts so prepare for a long drawn-out battle before your dog can be rid of them.
Choose your medicated dog shampoo well. It's better to use a strong yet gentle and affordable solution like Flea Away to flush out your dog's enemies. It's the “weapon” of choice of McDo, the eager dog in the photo who found his forever home, as did the army of ticks and fleas he hosted.
Rescued near a burger joint, McDo is a very furry dog that requires more shampoo and more frequent treatments. He could definitely use an inexpensive yet effective anti-flea shampoo. He knows its bath time when he sees the familiar bottle of Flea Away.
A 30-year-old product, Flea Away sells for only P85 for a 120ml bottle (price may vary in other stores). The fact that it actually works when used regularly makes it still one of the more cost-effective products in its category today. A small part of it can also be mixed with water to spray the dog's favorite areas that are likely inhabited by ticks and fleas and their eggs.
Manufactured locally and distributed by Gilbert Emerson Marketing Corp., Flea Away has never changed its original packaging design because the company wants to keep the product's long lasting, albeit vintage appeal. What won't last are the fleas, which means this product “ticks” all the boxes. -- MetroPets
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By ALMA J. BUELVA
HOUSE cleaning is more arduous with indoor pets. Cats and dogs, even the short-haired ones, shed regularly, so routine sweeping is necessary or your floor will soon be carpeted with pet hair.
But not everyone has time to always clean after their pets, so your place gets “hairy” before you can pick up the broom and dustpan again. One solution is to use one of these cylindrical robot vacuum cleaners that can sweep your fur littered floor as often as you want.
Online shops offer a wide range of smart vacuum cleaners that can perform cursory sweeping while you do other things. One of the cheapest brands we found online is the Tocool TC-350 Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Remote Control that costs from P2,999 to P3,299 depending on the color.
This little machine is a life saver as it does the sweeping for you, even in hard to reach places such as under your bed, table and cabinets. Plus it gives pets, cats most especially, some moment of entertainment as they follow the vacuum cleaner around.
The Tocool TC-350 Robot Vacuum Cleaner has two side brushes, a sensor and a wheel at the front and back. It has a dirt collector inside the size of a kid's lunch box. Ideally, we prefer a bigger dirt bin but maybe the more expensive brands and models will have it.
It's a hardworking robot that will keep on going around the room and in every nook and cranny as long as its battery allows. The battery fully charges overnight and then it works for a long time.
The remote control lets you direct where the Tocool TC-350 should sweep but it's better to just let it carry on with its task so you can do yours, too. So far, we've not seen it get stuck in a corner or tight spot. After some maneuverings, it always finds a way to set itself free and continue sweeping.
When it's on, this clever sweeper automatically stops working if you pick it up, but instantly resumes when replaced on the floor. Always clean the dirt receptacle, the brushes and the wheels after use as some fur tends to coil around these parts.
We recommend this or any similar type of robot vacuum cleaner to those with free roaming pets inside their homes. This modern appliance helps keep the fur and other dirt on the floor to a minimum at the push of a button. It's truly the little helper that could.
Here's a short clip during the first time our resident cat reviewer took the Tocool TC-350 out for a spin.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
PURINA Petcare Philippines, a business unit of Nestlé, plans on making 2016 more fun and exciting for people and their pets.
Without giving specifics, Joshua Frederick P. Alarkon from the local Purina office told MetroPets that they will continue the meaningful programs they have done in the past like the Lend A Paw campaign. He also hinted at the possibility of additional pet products to provide local consumers with more choices.
Known for its creed “Your pet, our passion”, Purina staged the social media-driven Lend A Paw program in 2014 and 2015 which encouraged pet owners to share original photos of themselves and their pets holding hands as a way of reaching out to shelter cats and dogs with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
“We saw the way pet owners love to take photos of their pets, so might as well do it in a way that could help,” said Alarkon.
For every valid photo entry, Purina donated a bowl of Alpo or Friskies for the animals at PAWS. In total, 17,000 bowls of pet food were donated in 2014 and 18,000 more in 2015.
Alarkon said it's likely that there'll be a third run of Lend A Paw this year, again for the benefit of PAWS.
“We chose to partner with PAWS because what they do is close to what Purina stands for,” he added.
The Lend A Paw campaign was primarily an avenue for Filipinos to help shelter animals, but it also attracted a big share of participants from abroad. This year, Purina aims for bigger participation among local pet lovers.
Meanwhile, Purina is in the middle of a Facebook-based campaign called PuspinsofMeownila that seeks to elevate the image of the humble native cat to high-quality pet material. (See related story).
“Purina wants to fulfill the lives of pets and pet lovers. Across the year we will have programs and events for dogs and cats,” Alarkon added.
Purina is the maker of the premium canned cat food Fancy Feast and also the popular brands Alpo, Friskies, Beggin' Strips and Tidy Cats (non-clumping cat litter). Asked if there'll be new products coming in the market this year, Alarkon declined to answer but emphasized that “pet lovers will be happier this year”.
SANTA CLAUS' signature attire now comes in redesigned version for dogs, thanks to the creative designers at Odra Pooch Couture. The pet fashion couturier has released its 2015 holiday pet collections, giving dog owners a choice of three Santa Claus-inspired looks.
Santa vests, Santa dresses and Santa overalls are now available at PetExpress branches nationwide, as well as in True Value, Dogs and the City, Pooch Park and Pet Passion stores.
For only P300, each individual Santa outfits are crafted using Velor fabric, synthetic fur and plastic belt buckle. Odra said the festive Santa dog clothes are selling well more than ever as more dog lovers are going out of their way to include their pets in their holiday activities.
Odra has made available different sizes of Santa costumes to fit different kinds of dogs. They also shared this size chart guide to help customers choose the right size of clothes for their dogs.
Odra said they hope more people will see the fun side of getting their dogs fashionable and ready for Christmas by dressing them up in their latest Santa pooch apparel. After all, dogs are like gifts that keep on giving, which is exactly the essence of the big man in his red suit.
* Meow Project makes cat cartoons that will stick with you