Friday, April 28, 2006

Her Sweet Sixteen

Now, I must admit at my age, I am a big fan of Vh1's My Sweet Sixteen, a show in which, gazillionaires lavish $1M birthday parties on their spoiled, brat kids. I watched the show this week and I loved the episode about LA Reid's kid, Aaron, having an extravagant birthday party. Although I don't know him, Mr. Reid, seems like a very classy guy. The party was lavish but executed in good taste. Aaron is definetly spoiled by his father's wealth but he seems like a very good kid. Although he didn't get a car for his birthday, he recognized that he got star appearances instead. And that, was priceless. The episode was tastefully done with appearance by P. Diddy, Kanye West and Jermaine Dupri. And it was extraordinary that this trio didn't seem as vulgar as they usually do. What was also exciting was that my neighbor's kid was shown in the episode.

But, I got invited to a sweet sixteen this week too. Not of course in The Reid style. This party has no party planner, just the girl's mother. The invitation is not a deluxe kit but an email correspondence. There is no IPOD containing the voice of the host but a picture of the young lady in a tiara. The party is not set at Jay Z's club 40/40 but in New York City's Washington Square Park. This party is not for a divo but for a bitch, named Vanilla. She is not really sixteen but a two year old Chi-Chi (Chihuahua) and the invitation mentions her latest accomplishment, winning the Glamour Wear Contest at the Barkin 2006 pageant.

Oh boy! I have been writing about pet trends for a year and this really takes the birthday cake. I have had parties for my dogs in the past. Hell, the NYT came to Burberry's last party but I find it too much that someone is throwing a sweet sixteen party for their dog and that we are to celebrate the dog's accomplishments. If she were to finish therapy training and visit patients like Westminster publicist, David Frei's two Brittanys; or she would sniff out cancer like the Brittish research dogs that were written about in the NY Times a few months ago; or she helped find bodies like the Captain Shield's Golden Retriver, Bear, and the other search and rescue dogs at The World Trade Center...then maybe, I would really have something to celebrate but a clothed, beauty pageant for dogs. What would Miss Fido Manners ( say...."Bad taste!"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Free Pet Toothbrush

BRUSH AFTER EVERY MEAL: There is a new offering from GloveBrush Corp. They make oral hygiene products for pets, and are now pushing PetsToothBrush, "the next generation in pet dental hygiene." Their product is a patented disposable toothbrush glove for your dog or cat and they're offering a free sample box via their Web site,

Prepared Pet Food

IT'S A DOG'S LIFE, INDEED: Nestle Purina Petcare is well aware of how much Americans dote on their dogs, and is wisely creating and then filling a niche that is sure to be a moneymaker. Its Beneful premium dog food line is coming out with Beneful Prepared Meals, and it's exactly what it sounds like: family-style food for dogs made with real beef, chicken, turkey, pork and lamb. The special entrees, including Beef Stew, Simmered Chicken Medley and Roasted Chicken Recipe will go for $1.59 per 10-oz. serving, which is about a dollar more than a can of regular dog food.

Diabetic Pets Need Special Tests

For diabetics, checking blood sugar levels a few times a day is crucial, and it's equally important for the approximately 500,000 dogs and cats that also suffer from diabetes.

Plenty of glucose meters are available for people. Testing sugar levels at home is a pinprick away -- a drop of blood on the meter's testing strip gives an accurate reading within minutes. But it's not so easy for our furry friends.

Pet owners usually make frequent, expensive veterinarian visits to get accurate glucose readings. Or, they use human meters, which are often inaccurate for animals.

So, two companies have developed glucose meters especially for pets. Abbott Laboratories recently launched AlphaTRAK and Animal Diabetes Management, a small private company in Janesville, Wisconsin, sells a meter calibrated specifically for pets.

Abbott Labs' device is the first pet meter to undergo extensive testing. Researchers used blood samples from 452 diabetic and non-diabetic cats and dogs to compare Abbott's pet meter with two human meters. The AlphaTRAK's results were close to the lab test sent out by the veternarian, while the human meters were inaccurate by nearly 40 percent.

Margo Hupe, diabetic herself, used her own meter on her diabetic dog, but found the results were significantly different from lab tests done by her vet's office. So she switched to Animal Diabetes Management's device.

"It made me a lot more comfortable because I wasn't guessing any more," she said.

The biggest risk diabetic pets face is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, says Robert Judd, who conducts diabetes research at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine. So if a meter shows an even lower reading, a pet owner could overshoot and give the animal more glucose than they need.

Pet testing is complicated because the distribution of glucose and red blood cells in plasma is different in pets and humans. So the algorithms used in human meters will underestimate the sugar levels in pets, Judd says.

Kris Dahl, a biochemist who develops Animal Diabetes Management's meters, says they change the test strips on human meters and tweak the meters' calibrations to tailor them for animals.

The company has garnered 500 customers without heavy advertising, Dahl says. And with pet waistlines apparently expanding along with their owners', an increasingly large market exists for pet glucose meters.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Truth Hurts

Don't you just love Sunday Nights? In four minutes, The Sopranos. I must admit it that I do hate the dream sequence stuff. The garbage that we saw two weeks ago. Come on Dave Chase. We had to wait for how many years? Something, like two. Give us all a break. Be a bit more creative. Well, give me a minute. I need to think......After a weak last session, please, restore your creative genius. And besides, let's face it Hollywood. Nobody did THE DREAM SEQUENCES better that the writers of Dallas.

God help us! Did you hear? They are going to make a Dallas movie. Have you seen whom they are going to cast. Okay, big man Travolta is a good call but J.Lo as Sue Ellen and Shirley MacLean as Miss Ellie. Get real. Movie is ruined before it starts. I really don't want to get into now but I could recast that movie in five minutes. I will give you a sampling of my creative talent. Forget Jessica Simpson. Cast Britney Spears in that simpleton role as Lucy Ewing. She needs a break more than ever now. Stuck with Popo. Popajodo. Brit should have listened to her ChiChi, BitBit; it seemed that the Chichuaha liked to bite Kevin. Girl, he is no good. Remember, dogs tell no lies.

Back to pets. Rumors are always-JUICY. Well, I shouldn't say rumors. The truth hurts. I heard a few things this afternoon and this evening. I just want to let you know that I can't give you names, dates or places. Let's just say a pet company Big Time Exec was axed by his overseas boss. A few others fell by his hand before he got the axe but I understand he didn't know it was coming.

Life's a funny thing. You never know when the other shoe is going to drop or kick you in the ass.

On Planes & In Automobiles

I recently read about a San Francisco man who filed a lawsuit against American Airlines after his 2-year-old English bulldog died following a cross-country trip in the jet's cargo hold. Terrence Ing claims in the suit that his dog Willie "was vomiting and breathing poorly when he claimed him in the baggage area after the flight from New York to San Francisco landed," writes the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
(free registration). He alleged that airport workers said a veterinarian was called and would arrive in five minutes, but no vet ever showed up, The Associate Press reports. Ing's suit claimed workers would not release the dog, and then took Willie to an off-limits area for about five hours, during which time the dog died.

The Star-Telegram noted that the lawsuit claims the takeoff temperature for Ing's flight was 84 degrees in New York, with the paper adding that AA's policy "for transporting snub-nosed dogs requires that the temperature be 75 degrees or lower, because they can have trouble breathing in hot weather." AA spokesman Tim Smith said he couldn't comment on the case because he hadn't seen the suit, but added "we do transport safely more than 100,000 pets per year." The Department of Transportation investigated the incident when it happened in August 2005, and the agency concluded that "all policies and procedures were followed."

Firstly, shame on American Airlines. You are still having trouble transporting dogs. And that's why I now have a small dog that can fit under the seat, folks. I know that having a toy dog is not for everyone, but take a read of Darlene Arden's Irrespressible Toy Dog and you might find a pint-sized pooch of your dreams. And then TRAIN HIM NOT TO BE A SPOILED BRAT!

If you have a big dog, travel by car or call an airport shipper like O'Brien Animal Transportation in California. They ship big, small and so many that I bet you couldn't name them all. No, seriously, they even transport zoo animals.

I understand a few years back Renee Zellweger travelled by car cross country so her mixed breed dog, Dylan, would be comfortable. Well, it goes to show you that at least she has some brains. Let's be frank, first the White Stripes guy (she looked ridiculous dating him) and next Cheesy Chesnut, country music singer with the big cowboy hat. Does anyone know if he was bald under that big ass hat? I bet he is.

No wonder Michael Douglass ragged on you. Frankly, Michael, I luv ya but you need to keep your mouth shut. My pops always told me you never know what goes on between a couple in their bedroom. So, mind ya business. And besides, is your wife a real angel? I heard a few years ago from some of our mutual friends-yours and mine- who attended your Daddy's birthday party at the Russian Tea Room that your fiance was so obnixous and rude they could believe that you were going to marry her. Since then, they really have NOT changed their opinion of her. Let's only hope she doesn't ruin Mostly Martha, a movie which I loved. Well, she can't be that bad, you do have dogs.

Back to Ms. Zellweger. Renee, I know Hollywood is full of pressure to get a rocker or musician boyfriend, but stay home, hang with your dog and find someone who can support your talent. You were pretty damn good in Cold Mountain. So stop playing the victim. We are all bored with you.


Smartpak, a Plymouth, MA-based merchant that specializes in equine supplies and gifts, launched the 40-page SmartPak Canine catalog at the beginning of March. After the ship, it also launched its Internet store,

I wrote about SmartPak late last fall for an article in Pets International. It was called Think Pink, a short article about how fashion, especially the color pink, has trotted into the horse world too. SmartPak supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and designed some horse gear in pink. I hope they let me know if they will be making their horseblanket coats and other gear for dogs in pink.

Good job, Smartpak! Thanks for giving back to the community that supports you-Women!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lindsay Lohan

Yesterday, I borrowed my neighbor's copy of the NY Post. I couldn't resist. As a celebrity hound, I read Celebrity Living, US Magazine, Intouch and all those magazines the male species deems as just dreadful. But I just had to read about Naomi Campbell attacking yet another maid. Frankly, the story was boring, but I did find out some interesting news about Lindsay Lohan from Page Six of the New York Post.

Poor Lindsay, with her exhaustion, anoxeria, infamous daddy and hee motivating mama manager, who has had to keep an eye on her partying, and of course, those dolts that she chooses as boyfriends. Well, Cindy mentioned that Lindsay talked to her about the utter devotion that Lindsay shows for her dog. So, I am going to send Lindsay a care package of wellness products for her Maltese puppy, Chloe. P

Personally, I find Cindy a bit "dated." And besides, the general public really never got to see Jazzy or know him. Other than her book, which I must admit I have never read, Jazzy is all over New York or is it Juicy this time. Unfortunately, for Jazzy, I do remember Spike and I am sure most people to do. Joan Rivers always spoke of Spike. I met her in Grand Central a few years ago and asked where Spike was. She replied, "Dead! But I got a few other dogs to make me happy!" I expressed my condolences.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the close bond between pet and owner. I did never find out which kennel killed Jazzy. If you know, tell me. But Cindy is good friends with the meticulous Gayle Martz, owner of Sherpa, so she can't be all that bad.

On Global Pet Exp

I just arrived home from the APPMA Global Pet Expo. It was exhausting walking up and down in the San Diego Convention Center. How many footballs fields is that venue? Orlando is better for walking, and I am looking forward to the APPMA utilizing that site next year for another great show. If you don't know, it is very difficult to see it all. I really felt like I needed another two days to see everything. To keep me on my game, I’d best stop indulging in having lunches and dinners with those corporate folks. I should only be hungry for pet products and new product knowledge.

The show was interesting, but I have just a few comments and a few questions.

I had heard APPMA's Bob Vetere was on television promoting products. I am curious—what did he promote? He generally doesn't do that. Perhaps I should ask him, or maybe someone will tell me.

I am always happy to see Bud Most of Iams. He has such energy and always a big smile. Thanks to Iams and my lovely breeders, Diane Boettcher of Dal-bo's cattery in NC and Lynn Knight of Burbrae cattery in MD, my Himalayan Harrison, or Dal-bo's Write-in-Style, is a GC, GP and will be a Northeast Regional CFA Champion. It was also nice to meet Petlane's Lane Nemeth. I have heard so much about her and her pet parties, which are thrown similarly to Tupperware parties. Watch for Lane's continue rise.

Alan Kerzner, formally of Hartz, has been watching the natural product market for years. He predicted quietly to me that this trend is really ready to hit big. I agree with him. Pet Stores will no longer be wary of selling natural products because pet owners will consider natural products a mainstream means to care for their pets. This year, there were a lot of all natural products, especially snacks. And yes, no one really uses the word "holistic" any more. Use the word "natural" – better for sales and not as scary to consumers and customers.

As a writer, I had many people approach me at the show so that they could introduce me to their new, all natural products. But where are these snacks coming from? Before retailers buy, they need to ask that question so that they can assess the quality of the manufacturing. If you want to learn more about all natural products, talk to Halo's Andi Brown and Susan Weiss from Ark Naturals. Andi writes a column in New York Dog and Hollywood magazines that is quite good. And Susan is always telephone-ready. I also want to thank Andi's staff; they fed my dog, Thames, and he loved the Spot's Stew.

Secondly, innovation was at a minimum. I very rarely hit the new product showcase first. I like to see if I am up to the challenge of finding the new products myself. I found a few and will be writing about them in an article for American Express Publishing this week, as well as posting them in a press release which will be distributed at the beginning of next week of Profnet.

Thirdly, tech is back. A few years ago, all the media was writing about was all the high-tech pet products. Well, guys and dolls, start writing about it again. There are some very interesting products, especially self-cleaning cat litter boxes. Today's self-cleaning litter box is round shaped. I was very impressed by the Cat Genie. Can you believe this? The Cat Genie uses a plastic-type litter and it is really self-cleaning. First, it rakes and scoops the waste. Urine streams to the bottom of the unit. Then, water and sanitizer clean the "litter." This new litter is then blown dry. I only wish that I could find an invention that could clean my toilet with such thoughtfulness. Did I forget to mention that you have to attach a water supply and the toilet pipes to this new invention.

As a pet trend watcher, I try to read as many books and magazines and watch as much TV as possible. So, since being back home in NYC, I watched the Today Show and Good Morning America. Could these shows find someone who really knows about pet products? Here's a hint to the young ladies who demonstrate the products. If you are going to be showing pet products on television, mention the manufacturer’s name! For example, on Good Morning America, did the viewer know that the Quick Control Collar was a Bamboo Pet Product? And also, let the Today Show know that you are working for a particular company and that you will be showing their products. Don't get me wrong, I like XXXX products, but was it necessary to show two of them when there were so many other products that were just as innovative? The self-cleaning litter was box was better than the other product that she showed. All in all, I hope that Animal Haven got some calls about their pets. They are quickly becoming the NYC animal hot charity. Bid-A-Wee and the ASPCA should watch out and learn! Marcello and his staff are lovely. Please help them by donating money, products and your time.

Lastly, caution to all Little Red Riding Hoods out there. Central Pet and Garden, what a big booth you had! I am so curious as to what else are you going to buy this year. I almost lost count of all the companies that you have devoured. On a more interesting note, we are all curious as to how you are going to restructure and run your big empire. Can't wait for that chapter to begin. Please put me on your press list.

On a pleasant note, last night I watched Quincy Yu of Sea-Yu Enterprises hawk her odor eliminator product on QVC. Good job, Quincy. Now, watch out! You and Dennis, your co-owner and husband, may be gobbled up by a big company one day.