Supporting Your Core Values By Choosing The Pet Companies You Buy From

This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking on our dog blog every weekday by Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake. Join us here and with a million other followers on Facebook for your daily dose of animal rescue and adventure presented in a FUN way!

Every year, we are excited to attend the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida as press.  This is not just any expo.  It is only open to professionals in the pet industry and is the largest pet industry expo in the world.  This is where all new pet industry products are officially launched, and all the biggest brands attend.  According to a recent press release, “the number of exhibiting companies came in at 1,174, with 295 first-time exhibitors making their debut at the Show, an 8 percent increase over 2018. Additionally, Global Pet Expo had 304 international exhibitors representing 35 countries at the Show. The Show Floor also expanded with 3,604 booths, a 2.3 percent increase over last year’s Show.”

I even got to do some fun gigs like this at the Tails and Toys booth!

Yes. Imagine three football fields worth of products.  I was excited always to attend so that I could see what companies and new natural and organic products were available.  This year, I attended with a fellow influencer and his “momager”, Rambo The Puppy.  It was indeed the makings of a good time eating breakfast with this little dude.

As usual, I had planned what I would be covering during this event. I wanted to concentrate my efforts on new, organic products available.  But also, as usual, my focus changed when I saw the amount of rescue animals available at many of the booths.  I was thrilled!  There were companies that believed so much in animal rescue that they chose to partner with local rescue organizations in the Orlando, Florida area.

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An Adoptable From The “Dog For Dog” booth

Of course, if you know 2 Traveling Dogs, you know that we are all about animal rescue and presenting it in a fun way.  So when we choose to work with a company on sponsorship deals or product promotions, those companies must be in line with what our values are.  But I asked myself personally a question.  Are products that I choose to buy as a consumer in the pet industry in line with MY values? All of my core values?  Personally, for me, that was animal rescue, a healthy lifestyle and giving my dogs the best life possible.  Were the companies I supported promoting these values?  It was a hard question.  I have to admit, I probably wasn’t looking close enough.

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We visited the Dog For Dog booth. I wasn’t particularly familiar with their products, but when I saw the rescues there, I stopped and spoke with Alexa.  I found out with every purchase, they make a donation to rescue organizations. I asked her why she decided with all of the hectic goings on at the expo why she would choose to bring adoptables.

“As cliché as it may sound, I got into this business because I absolutely adore animals. So for me, it’s a no-brainer to have dogs seeking adoption in our booth. At Dog for Dog we want to use every single platform, product, and opportunity to help fur buddies in need.
We started the tradition of having dogs at our booth last year at Super Zoo and had two successful adoptions there, so we plan to do it at every convention we make an appearance at in the future. We have to keep that win streak going!”

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I loved this.  And so when I walked by the Purina booth and saw puppies, I asked if they too were rescues and adoptables. The answer was no.

And certainly, that was their choice.  But I decided to ask them why.  I was excited to hear their response.  Via Facebook, they told me, “Hi Rachael, you are correct. We have a long-standing relationship with a breeder in the Orlando area who allows us to feature their puppies at the Purina booth each year. The puppies are there purely for the enjoyment of our team and fellow attendees. All of the puppies who attended the show are healthy and were already spoken for by local families. Purina supports pet shelters extensively throughout the year by providing millions of dollars in funding, pet food and litter, as well as sponsorship of many pet adoption events. Many of us have rescued our own pets and are rescue advocates ourselves. However, we intentionally don’t feature adoptable pets at our booth at Global because most of the attendees travel in for the show, and we don’t encourage spur of the moment pet adoption.”

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When reading their response, I actually understood the last part of their reasoning in that they “don’t encourage spur of the moment pet adoption.”  However, I found out that the process of applications and protocol was still followed for the rescues at the Global Pet Expo.  I also knew I had to acknowledge internally that as a big company, Purina is able to donate more to whom they choose in way of funds and food.  So what was a consumer to do?  I had to dig deep!

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An adoptable at the Serta and Beautyrest Booth

What was a consumer to do?  I found the answer after visiting with Pet Releaf.  You know that we love Pet Releaf organic CBD products for the difference they have made for our dogs.

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We were happy to film a funny game show of “Stop Hounding Me” with them to announce their new way of helping rescue organizations.  They gave us our answer after the video.

You see, we all have our core values. What we believe is right and wrong. What we believe are the right ways to care for our pets and family.  If we follow these core values and don’t compromise on them, the products we buy will reflect that.  And in turn, those products are what represents a company.  It is a direct and absolute manifestation of who they are and what they believe in.

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I have found that when I follow my belief system on holding products to my standards, often the companies that make them have the same principles.  Just some of the companies that we saw promoting rescues were Serta who told me about their upcoming natural bed products in the future.

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We also met the folks at Kurgo.  Kurgo is a company who is giving away grants and funds this year to rescue organizations and celebrating the bond between humans and dogs!  We can get behind that.  And their products for our active lifestyle are ones we can get behind too.  Isn’t it amazing how that all lines up?

The beauty in all of this? YOU have the power. YOU have the choice to make in the products YOU purchase for your pets.  There are so many, if not too many products available to us as consumers. I know that we are all busy. Doing the right thing does take extra effort.  If you choose to support the big companies that make a difference in their way, that is certainly not the wrong choice. There are no wrong choices. But individually, make the right choice for you. Do your research on the brands you trust just as much as  you research what you buy.

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The boys having a slumber pawty while we worked hard at Global!

Before we professionally were in this industry, I was the typical consumer. I thought everyone in the pet industry must love pets, that they all had pets, and they all cared. The truth?  That’s not the reality. Many times, the people who run these companies don’t even have animals in their homes. They are doing a job.  So it is up to US to do OUR job and go the extra mile. We can’t put the lives of our pets in the hands of the pet industry as much as I love this industry.  We share responsibility.

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So dig deep and think about your core values. All of us can make a change if we do it together.  It may take time. But there is power in numbers! Let’s be that change. Things will only get better in this industry if we demand it. We can do this!

-Rachael Johnson, Co-Founder of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner

We were not compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.

 

Do The People You Buy Your Pet Products From Even Have Pets As Family?

This week’s Editorial is sponsored by Pet Releaf. Use coupon code 2TD at checkout to save 10% off of our first order. 

It was one of those moments in life that I will always remember.  There I was, exhibiting at my first trade show with my new line of dog treats.  I was excited at the possibilities of my new business, one that I had given up a lot for, and spent a lot of money to get started.  As executive after executive walked up to our booth and looked at our products, I was getting nervous. Here I was, making products for dogs because I wanted life to be better and more enjoyable for them.  Somewhere in my mind I had expected that everyone in the pet industry felt the same.  Or…at least they loved dogs.  Otherwise, why would they be in the business?  I was in for a very rude awakening.

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As I tried to make conversation, I often asked these executives about their own pets at home. The most common response?  That they did not have time for a pet. I soon got the hint halfway before day one’s end at this trade show.  I was in the minority in this industry.  I had dogs.  I had pets that I considered family.  And my family’s health for many years had rested on confidence in these executives who represented companies I thought cared.  Sure, I knew that these same large companies had to make money.  But the magnitude of what I was learning floored me.  This truly was a business.  This wasn’t just any business though.  They had literal lives in their hands.  And I wasn’t about to trust them any longer. Not with my boys’ health.  No.  Way.

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But even beyond that realization, it occurred to me that others, even our fanbase on social media and readers of our blog, needed help to see this as well. I no longer make pet products, but I now find it to be my mission to tell others what we have learned from not only inside the industry, but outside as well, being dog parents.

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So when a new segment of the pet industry began to emerge, CBD products for dogs and cats, we were interested.  Interested in the benefits, but also interested on who we could trust that were making these products.  Being unfamiliar with CBD, I did know one thing.  I was ready to learn about it.  Because I truly believe that products considered alternative by some standards in the industry are often the most basic and ones that work the best. Some don’t blink an eye when they read ingredients on a label they can’t pronounce, or see colorings or dyes added.  So why do some of us close our minds to looking at the most basic and organic ways of helping our pets, like CBD?  I had to learn more.  Not just for our sake, but for yours as well.  But first on my agenda in this research was who could I trust that offered CBD products?  Did they have pets? Why did they start the company in the first place? Who and what was their motivation?  That’s when we met the people at Pet Releaf.

I listened to their story and although I was more than impressed, it also mattered if their products were the best in the CBD segment.  Because as I learned, many companies are using CBD in their products or product lines.  Why does it matter who you purchase your CBD products from?  As Pet Releaf’s website states, “here at Pet Releaf, we consider our pets equal members of our family. For that reason, we believe that the products they consume should also be of the highest possible quality.From the food that they eat to the medications or supplements you give them, you should feel confident.”  We could not agree more.  YOU deserve that. Your pets deserve that.  When did this become lost in an industry that could have been so much better?

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As we did the research, we learned what we should look for when purchasing CBD products.

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Not all CBD hemp oil products are the same.

Pet Releaf’s website breaks it down for you as follows.  What do you need to look for?

1. Source of Hemp and CBD

Pet Releaf products are made from hemp oil that is extracted from the largest USDA certified organic hemp farm in the country. Many alternative products being offered use Chinese (and sometimes Russian) hemp because it is far cheaper. The problem here is the Chinese and Russian hemp are NOT organic and are often grown in toxic soil in an attempt to “clean” the soil.

2. Method of Extraction

Pet Releaf uses ONLY super critical CO2 extraction to safely and completely bring the healthy and essential oils out of the plant. Almost all other CBD products on the market utilize toxic solvents to extract the oils – such as butane (yes, lighter fluid) or heavy alcohols. The problem with those methods is that the toxic solvents often remain present in the CBD oil. Another significant issue is that these toxic solvents destroy the health benefits of the hemp oils being extracted. Just think what butane or isopropyl alcohol does to sensitive living plant material. Would you ever drown your broccoli in lighter fluid and then serve it to your family after it supposedly evaporated??

3. Whole Hemp Plant or Hemp Seeds Only

Pet Releaf uses the whole hemp plant AND the hemp seeds to make their CBD products and CBD oil. Some companies only use hemp seeds (again much cheaper) in their products. Hemp seeds do NOT contain any CBD at all. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein and Omega 3, 6 and 9 but don’t hold the multitude of healthy cannabinoids found in the plant itself.

4. Suspension or Mixing Agents With CBD Hemp Oil

CBD hemp oil by itself is very concentrated and has a consistency similar to molasses so it must be mixed with something in order to be used as an oil. Pet Releaf CBD hemp oil is ONLY mixed with organic coconut oil to preserve the health benefits of the hemp oil. The majority of CBD oils on the market are mixed with ethanol or propylene glycol and often contain flavoring such as peppermint – all of which are potential health hazards for our pets. Those are much cheaper but actually significantly reduce and even destroy the living and active cannabinoids present in CBD hemp oil.

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For pet parents considering CBD to help their pets, consider why we personally believe that Pet Releaf is the only company to purchase from. Simply put?  You can go right to their website and read all of their testing reports.  Their products are organic and made in the USA.  Everything is transparent, you can ask them any questions with a personal response, and there is something else.  We have used the products from Pet Releaf.  We have witnessed the change in Brickle’s travel anxiety, Digby’s mobility and their overall mental health has improved.

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I won’t tell you that I think this is cure all for every ailment or for every dog or cat.  No, I won’t make promises to you like other companies.  But what I will do is let you know you owe it to your pet to do the research.  That’s where we should all start.  No, I don’t want you to take my word for it.  But I do want you to know that their products work for us.  We trust them as a company.  And that is saying it all.  You know that our boys mean the world to us.  They have inspired us to try and change the world for other animals.  And we need them with us for a very long time.  We will have Pet Releaf with us for the long haul.

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I have often wondered since my first trade show if I should have even tried to enter this pet industry with alternative pet products.  Because the truth is, they failed.  I lost a lot of money, I was simply hurt, and I felt defeated.  I still believe in what we tried to start with our cook for your dog mixes.  But I know the industry does not believe in us. And maybe, just maybe, that is ok.  Because sometimes, in supposed failure, you find another path to the same place.  And if we can help other pet parents think for themselves and inspire you to go the extra mile for your pet, you will have many more miles to walk together.  And with companies we find like Pet Releaf, it inspires us and shows us that there are still people that care and that actually have pets in their own families!  And that says it all.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person and Owner of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner

Use coupon code 2TD at Pet Releaf to save 10% off of your initial order.  www.petreleaf.com

Although we received compensation for this post, all opinions and views are our own.

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