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  • My Human "N" Me Launches with a Superior Jerky for Dogs

     

    Three years in the making, and I am so happy to finally announce the launch of my dream company for dogs, My Human "N" Me, Inc. with a top of the line jerky treat that is sure to please even the most finicky pups. As a devoted dog Mom who home-cooks most of the meals for her pack, I understand the concern that many pet parents have regarding the quality of store-bought pet foods, and it is precisely this concern that prompted me to start a human-quality pet food company for dogs. My luna is sensitive to many foods, including grains, legumes, and potatoes. She does best on meat, so the perfect snack for carnivores like her is jerky. Unfortunately, I just didn't trust the jerky products on the market after the China jerky scare. If Luna was going to get jerky, I'd have to make it myself. And that's what inspired my first product line . . . Simply Primitive Jerky for Dogs.

     

    Now I'm going to be brutally honest with you . . . I had many reservations about launching a jerky line at a time when jerky was so under fire in the media, and rightfully so. Many dogs died from eating China-made jerky and the FDA has still not identified the cause with 100% assuredness. Some articles I read actually touted that jerky, much like the grape, may be inherently toxic to dogs with no identifiable cause. This just didn't seem right to me. Dogs are meat-eaters. They co-evolved with humans, and primitive humans relied on drying and/or curing meat with salt as a preservation technique. It seems reasonable to infer that dogs would have eaten dried meat in the past. Why then would it harm dogs today? Eventually it came out that sweet potato jerky had also lead to illnesses, which led me to the conclusion that dried meat wasn't the issue, but rather a processing problem, or a quality of ingredients problem. 

    To validate my thoughts, I called the veterinarian from whom I had taken the canine nutrition course and whose opinion I valued deeply, and asked for her thoughts on the safety of jerky, and whether or not I should move forward with this project. Her response lifted any residual doubt off my shoulders. "I make jerky for my dogs all the time," she said with confidence. "Jerky is great when its done right."

     

    DOING JERKY RIGHT

    So I had to do it right. For me, that meant all ingredients had to come from the USA, be made in the USA, and packaged in the USA. I wanted absolutely no China ties. And it had to be made in a USDA inspected facility that was not a dog food plant. I needed to find a facility that handled real, human-food meant for human consumption, and let me tell you, that was not an easy task. I had to rifle through a long list of USDA inspected facilities in search of a company with drying capabilities that was willing to do a human-quality jerky for dogs. Some were interested in the project at first, but changed their tune when they discovered that the product was for dogs. It took me two years until I finally found a co-packer for the job.

    As for the jerky itself, I wanted to use the fewest ingredients possible, so I started with just one . . . USDA ground meat. Unfortunately, shelf-life studies yielded inconsistent results. Microorganism spores are naturally in the air, so they can always pose a risk, especially in food products that retain some moisture. And since I didn't want bone-dry, brittle jerky, I needed to add something that could inhibit microbial growth.  Sea salt and celery powder - nature's preservatives - were the best solution. And at less than 1%, they make up a tiny, tiny, percentage of the jerky so dogs don't even know its in there.

    The health and well-being of dogs is my utmost concern. So, as an added measure of safety, I submit random bags from each batch to an independent lab to test for E.coli, Staph, and salmonella. I want you to realize that I made this product for my own furry family. . . and I only give my animals the highest quality foods. I feel like I have done everything in my power to create a superior jerky for dogs . . . one with limited ingredients that looks and smells like real food, which is made, packaged, and sourced right here in the USA. My hope is to give jerky a good name again, because dogs sure love it. Treating is an important part of the human "n" canine bond. And I tried to make one very special treat. We hope you and yours like Simply Primitive Jerky for dogs as much an my Luna "n" I do.

    But don't take our word for it. See what others have to say. Read a review of our Simply Primitive Jerky Treats for dogs written by New York City Pet Provider, PetYen. PetYen strives to unite NYC dog owners with the highest quality services and products in the area, and they loved our jerky!

    http://petyen.com/blog/dog-treat-review-trainer-human-n-jerky-dogs/

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Coalition to Unchain Dogs . . . Helping Humans Help Their Pets

    Something that always hurts my heart is seeing a dog on a chain or confined to a crate. My immediate reaction is that the tethered or caged dog leads a loveless, lonely life void of meaningful play, exercise, and human interaction. In a perfect world, all dogs would be free to run through a large yard with a toy box of balls and a loving human to play with them throughout the day. But life is far from perfect, and not all families are blessed with the time and resources to realize the ideal situation when it comes to caring for their pets. 

    A facebook post from The Coalition to Unchain Dogs in North Carolina caused me to act. They had a unique idea . . . real people trying to make a real difference in the lives of dogs who are tethered. Run mostly by volunteers, the aim of this organization is to provide free fences, dog houses, and spay and neutering services to owners that cannot afford it themselves. 

    More importantly, the organization is trying to educate people how to be better pet owners. Too many people still view animals as objects, not realizing they are emotional beings who can experience pain, sadness, joy, and love. Chained dogs are unhappy dogs. Barking dogs. To free a dog from a chain makes a happier dog, and a happier owner. And this can lead the way to a stronger bond between people and their pets.

    I visited their site, http://www.unchaindogs.net/ to make a donation. Any donation amount, no matter how small, was welcomed. After watching their video of "Mama" and "Oreo" I knew what I had to do. I whipped out my credit and bought a fence. Sure it would take me a while to pay it off. But it was worth it.

    A dog would soon be free from life on a chain. 

    Soon being the best word in that last statement. My donation would go to work quick. Real results, fast. A fence could be erected by an experienced volunteer team in a few hours . . . and a dog's life forever changed in an instant. Never has a purchase felt so good, or meant so much.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Science Validated that the Human "N" Canine Bond is Real.

     

    Yes, I admit it. My dog is my child. No, that doesn’t mean I clothe her in outfits, or push her around in a baby carriage everywhere . . . I let her be a dog. It's just that the love I feel for her is very real, and I’m always thinking about her best interests, just as I would for a child. Some members of my extended family simply don’t understand this. They look at me funny because I home cook for her, and they are simply appalled by the fact that she has free reign of seating furniture in my home. I must say I secretly enjoy when any not-so-dog-loving guests drop by for a visit, and my beautiful 4-legged Luna takes her position by my side on the couch, sitting erect, not wanting to miss any of the conversation. And I’m telling you . . . if she could speak, she’d be far more interesting to listen to than some members of this close-minded bunch.

    So at the last gathering of not-so-dog-loving folk, when a wise crack was made about “princess” Luna on the couch, I started a conversation about Oxytocin, a hormone produced in the brain that is released when people are snugging or bonding socially, and one that is very important in promoting the bond between mother and child. Then I casually brought up a recent study conducted by Takefumi Kikusui at Azabu University in Japan about the bond between humans and their canine companions, the findings to which my guests had no response:

     

    Human-dog interactions elicit the same type of oxytocin positive feedback loop
     as seen between mothers and their infants.

      

    Science validated what I, and millions of other dedicated pet parents, have known all along. We do see them as our children. A devoted pet parent has the same hormonal response to seeing or engaging with their animal, as do mothers interacting with their infant children. Likewise, the dog has the same hormonal response when gazing into the eyes of their human. The longer the interaction, the longer the eye contact, the stronger the response. Even subjects that simply looked at photos of their pets generated an elevated oxytocin level. On a side note, this response was not elicited if the subjects saw photos of other people’s dogs. It was only in response to their animal . . . their fur baby. 

    So for the doubters out there, the human “n” canine bond is real. But we pet parents didn’t need a study to confirm that. One look into our dogs eyes is all the proof we need.

    So go hug your pup, and let the oxytocin flow!

  • What's This White Stuff on My Jerky?

    In my quest to bring to the marketplace a human-quality jerky for dogs that is more like home-made jerky without glycerin, fillers, and artificial preservatives, I soon discovered that natural foods will act in natural ways, and sometimes this can result in white spots on your meat. So, what exactly are these spots? Is it safe for dogs to eat jerky that has these white spots? Let's take a look at three potential sources for white spots on jerky.

     

    White Spot #1 - Fat Deposit

    Safe - In fact, dogs like fat, and fat is necessary for assimilation of nutrients in the body

    Normal Fat Deposit on a piece of Simple Primitive Beef Jerky for Dogs made by My Human "N" Me

    Example of fat deposits on a piece of beef jerky.

     

    Meat has fat in it. Even lean meat has some fat. Think of leftover hamburgers and meatloaf, or even a homemade chicken stew or soup. Once the meat cools, some of the natural fat will solidify and you may see the hardened fat as a film on top of your soup, or patches stuck to the bottom of your burger. The same thing can happen to jerky. If you touch these spots with your finger, they will usually feel soft and slippery. In the fridge, they harden more, and appear brighter white. If your Simply Primitive Jerky has a spot on it, you can simply wipe it off if it bothers you . . . but there is no need to do so. Dogs like, and need, fat. It's natural. My dogs prefer it.

     

    White Spot #2 - Salt Surfacing

    Safe - Mineral salts in the meat form deposits on the surface as jerky dries.

    Sample of salt deposits on a piece of venison jerky. This is perfectly safe and edible.

     

    When My Human "N" Me was first experimenting with making a line of venison jerky for dogs, I remember panicking when I opened a newly made bag that was professionally packaged and saw a white residue on portions of the jerky. I quickly sent the samples to a lab for testing, and the results confirmed that the residue was crystalline in nature, not microbial. It was an accumulation of salts present in the meat. 

    Think about it this way. If you dissolve a small amount of salt in a glass of water and stir, the salt appears to disappear. Now leave that glass on the counter for a while and the water will eventually evaporate, but the salt gets left behind, forming visible deposits that adhere to the inside of the glass. 

    Meat has mineral salts in it, which are soluble in the oils/juices of the meat. As jerky dries, moisture in the meat evaporates into the air, and the salts can no longer stay dissolved. Instead, they get left behind and may form a visible deposit on the surface of the jerky. The deposit feels like a fine white powder. It is perfectly safe for your dog to eat. However, if it bothers you, you can brush off the minerals, or rinse the jerky piece under water for a few seconds.

    Also, please note that if you experience a salt surfacing on your Simply Primitive Jerky made by My Human "N" Me, is not occurring due to an excessive amount of added salt. We add less than 1% salt for its natural preservation qualities only . . . and that's a small amount. In fact, we have witnessed salt surfacing on jerky samples in which we added NO salt at all. Simply put, salt is just naturally present in meats. And as jerky dries, there is the chance for salt deposition on the surface of the meat.

     

    White Spot #3 - Mold

    Unsafe - Throw out any food that is moldy.

    The above picture is copyright of the Jerky Joint, and is not mold that was found on our jerky. I just thought it was great photo that they used to demonstrate mold on jerky.

     

    It's hard to mistake mold. It's hairy, scary, and may have a green tinge. Discard moldy food immediately. Do not serve moldy food to your dog.

    So, what is mold? Mold is a fungus that often forms fibrous, threadlike masses on plant or animal materials. Mold spores are transported by air, water, and insects, and can be found in virtually all environments, both indoors and outdoors, year round. According to the USDA Food Education Website, no one knows how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.   Molds most often found on meat and poultry are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Thamnidium. These molds can also be found on many other foods.

    To minimize the chance of your jerky molding once you open the bag, you must limit it's exposure to the air since mold spores are always present in the air. Cool and dry storage conditions are best. We recommend refrigeration of our jerky after opening to prolong freshness and inhibit microbial growth.

    If you open a brand new bag of jerky and are greeted by furry-looking green and white meat-monsters, then the bag is either beyond its prime, or more likely there was a bag defect . . . perhaps a faulty seal, a missing oxygen absorber, or a small puncture hole.  Always inspect the integrity of your jerky bags prior to purchase to avoid surprises. And if you do encounter moldy jerky, please discard it immediately. Do not feed moldy jerky to your beloved pets. That's just gross.