Who really makes our dog food?

As I get more involved with this process, I am learning so much more about what is going on in the Pet Food industry.  There are 5 major players in the pet food world

  1. Mars (yes the candy bar company) owns 41 brands of dog food including: Iams, Eukanuba, Evo, Royal Canin, Pedigree, Nutro, Natural Choice, Greenies, Whiskas, Ceasra, Dentabone and many more…my first questions is how did a candy company get involved with the Pet Food Industry?  Can you say 17.8 Billion dollars? Yup, that is right they are in it to make money with their 63 plants and 15,000 employees, it’s hard to support all that production!
  2. Nestle (the hot chocolate company), they have over 27 brands including Purina, Beneful, Fancy Feast, Beggin Strips, Alpo, Friskies, Zukes, Bonz, Waggin Train.  They have over 46 plants and over 14,000 employees AND over $12.8 Billion in revenue
  3. Smukers/Delmonte (the jam/jelly company & vegetables) they have over 15 brands including Milk Bone, Natural Balance, 9 Lives, Nature’s Recipe, Kibble n Bits, Pup Peroni, Gravy Train, Ole’ Roy, Skippy, Snausages, Meow Mix. They ave over 5 plants and over 2,000 employees and over $2.5 Billion in revenue
  4. Colgate-Palmolive (toothpaste and dish detergent) they have over 4 brands including Hill, Hills Prescription, Ideal Balance. They have over 6 plants, 2,000 employees and generate $2.3 Billion in revenue
  5. General Mills just bought Blue Buffalo…isn’t that wonderful?  BB is the BIGGEST pet food brand on the market and they also have over 5 recalls…how is that possible?

So as I keep seeing the similarities with this companies it no wonder there hundreds of recalls on our pet’s food and the number keeps going UP!  There have been cut backs, salmonella and the worst…pentobarbital the drug found in euthanized pets is now being found in dog food.  When will this change?

IT STARTS HERE AND NOW! The more we keep posting, sharing, writing and STOP purchasing these brands from these companies…they will be forced to LISTEN!


Make sure there are no ingredients like Corn, Gluten, Wheat, Barley, Meat by-products, dyes, colors, FLAVORS instead of meat/proteins especially in the first 5 ingredients listed…stay with foods that have words and ingredients you can pronounce or recognize.

I am hear to help and be that resource you can count on for finding the right solutions for your pet…but it does start with the choices we make everyday…please remember they can chose for themselves and it up to us to MAKE BETTER CHOICES!

Take the Healthy Pet Challenge! http://bit.ly/rufflifeusa


Grain Free or NOT to Grain Free…that is the question!

I have got to hand it to the marketing people for Dog Food Brands!  They have us all wrapped up on feeding our dogs Grain Free is soooooo much better than regular food.  But is it?  I went that route with Tucker and am seeing it with ITCHY dogs, when I ask “what are you feeding your dog?” the response 80% of the time is “of course, Grain Free….”!

So with my research and my experience with both Bella and Tucker, they Grain Free foods make them itchy, rashy or lumpy, whatever comes first and they start with making large bald patches on their skin and it just keeps getting worse.

So what is in the GF foods that would do this…it’s the PEA PROTEIN that is in all GF foods!  They replace the flour product with Pea Protein to make the kibble stick together, but not all PP are the same and in fact it’s hard to know what percentage of PP is used in each GF foods.

So if you dog is itchy on a regular basis and is digging at their feet, legs, body and neck, look at the food and see if it’s got Pea Protein, Corn, Wheat, Wheat Gluten, Corn Gluten or even Barley can do it.  The are the targets that I have used to help my itchy Labs.


Still finding our way…with pet food!

Here we are another week and pet food recalls are still coming in!  I am hoping that the reason Tucker came into my life with such problems with eating pet food is why I am here to help deliver the message to as many as I can regarding the horrible integrity of the pet food companies.


Merrick Pet Care (owned by Nestle Purina), manufacturer of Merrick dog foods and Castor & Pollux dog food, and Whole Earth Farms dog food, has has initiated a limited recall for their Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Prime Patties, Prime Buddy Sausage Cuts Real Beef Recipe, Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky, Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts, and Backcountry Great Plains Real Steak Patties lines of treats due to the potential that they contain elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone.

ALSO more information this week was the Heart Worm Medications coming from discounted websites, Big Box Stores (Costco, Sam’s, BJ’s, Walmart, Target etc…) and 1-800 Pet Meds are getting boxes sent from China (they may not even know) and these boxes of medication contain NO medication in the supplement and have the SAME box and logo’s on them…and the dogs are getting sick from Heart Worm and sick in general from these dosages.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BOXES, INSTRUCTIONS AND AVOID PURCHASING FROM THESE STORES AND DISCOUNTED WEBSITES!  If something looks wrong on the packaging or instructions please throw out immediately!

I don’t want to scare my customers, I am a person who would not have know either…but if my pups got sick and I would hate myself for not knowing…

What is going on with Dog Food?

Some of you know and most don’t, in 1998 I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease effecting my eyes.  I am actually one of the lucky ones because it is a disease associated with inflammation with my entire body and can lead to MS.  I have an awesome doctor who is integrated with Eastern & Western medicine.  While dealing with so much inflammation in my eyes, she has been advising me on diet…NO sugar, NO dairy and NO Gluten.  I was not a happy camper and told her that was NOT going to happen! She advised me to get a book on the Paleo diet and than it lead me to a documentary on Netflix called “What’s the Wheat?”…it didn’t take me 15 minute to give up gluten after watching that movie and I have never felt better…surprisingly my eye issues are better and I am medication free.  Netflix was not done with me yet…it then suggested another documentary called “Pet Fooled” and that put me on a mission to find solutions for my rescued dogs Tucker and Bella.

We adopted Tucker January 2016, who was super skinny and not holding on to any food.  I was trying to get any direction on food from the rescue and they didn’t have any advice…not a surprise, they just got him and didn’t know his story.  I kid you not, I have tried almost every commercial pet food on the market for Tucker and if it didn’t run through him, it make him itchy as hell.  There hasn’t been a food that has balanced him since the day we rescued him.  We have tried kibble, raw, canned, Pet fresh…and then we started cooking his meals for lack on any alternatives.  For a 100lb lab, it was getting very pricey.  I have narrowed down my finding to him hating anything with fish, getting worse with Grain-free and then trying to find a food NOT on a recall list which wasn’t over $80 a bag was impossible.  THEN to do more research on the foods which used to be good, got sold to a big company and then they added crappy ingredients…I HAVE HAD IT!

I am not here to sell you something,  but I hope to educate what is going on with the pet food industry.   Our dogs grew up on Dog Chow and Alpo and there weren’t many alternatives, but there are now! The 100’s of brands on the market are making it so confusing to find a nutritional balance for your dogs.  We get recommendations from your friends, co workers and pet stores, but we aren’t getting the right education on what is actually in the food & the changes that have made on a brand without anyone knowing.  I fed Jack Natural Balance for years, then someone told me it had been sold to large corporation then the formula changed (Tucker wouldn’t eat a bite of it)..the same happened with Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild and so many others.  These changes are “cost effective” to the company making it in large quantities, they are hoping no one will notice…but are the dogs getting healthier? We think spending more money on dog food will insure us getting the best results for our dogs…it helps a little but even those foods are getting on a recall list.

Here is an updated list of dog food recalls: https://www.petful.com/recall-lists/dog-food-recalls/

The most recent story has been horrible with JM Smucker’s company responsible for:

  • Skippy Canned Food (on recall list)
  • Gravy Train (on recall list)
  • Ole Roy Dog food (Sold at Walmart)
  • Milk Bones treats
  • Natural Balance Dog Food and Treats
  • Kibbles and Bits
  • Milo’s Kitchen
  • Nature’s Recipe dog food
  • Pup-peroni treats
  • Meow Mix
  • 9 Lives

They actually found pentobarbitol in a few of these pet canned foods.  This is the drug they use to euthanize pets.  The ONLY way this could have gotten into the pet food is by using euthanized pets as food.  HORRIBLE and totally UNBELIEVABLE that someone made a decision like this and thought it was okay? I bet they don’t feed that to their dogs…if they have one!   I am just as guilty as the next pet owner purchasing food to save money, out of convenience or lack of education.  I have learned now, that I am the only person making my dog’s life better by picking out a good food that isn’t lacking the integrity that they DESERVE.  

Sooo, here is what I am finding…it’s not the ingredients that is stated on the side or back of the bags…it’s the GUARANTEED ANALYSIS which is stated on the bag but in small print which you cannot see or really who understands it??  I had never heard of this until this week!  What this means is this, after the ingredients are added to the pot and it’s cooked down for kibble etc…this is the actual food your pet is getting.  These links might help us understand it better…



I can keep going but don’t want to over load you today…PLEASE look at the pet food you are feeding your dog today…please read the recall list…AND pay attention to the GA on the food…

I am here if you need to discuss anymore and I will be adding more information to my FB page www.facebook.com/rufflifeusa

Remember enjoy your life and have happy tails!



End of the 2017-2018 Market Season!

I just wanted to thank all of my returning customers and my new customers for the support this market season has brought to me and Ruff Life!

Most of you know I have opened a new store location in Bradenton, FL.  I was running out of manufacturing space at my house and thought it was time to start a new venture.  Retail is hard and running a brick and mortar is even harder…I am learning a lot because what works at a outside Farmer’s Market isn’t what works in a store.   I am told it’s a process and enjoy it…LOL when do I do that?

So now that the market season is slowing ending, it’s time to PIVOT!  We have opened a store on Amazon and will start gradually adding products to that online store starting with our shampoo, creating some new original dog collar designs and adding products like harnesses to our mix!  Our amazon store is http://www.amazon.com/rufflife

What I really want to do this summer is blog about our journey, our goals, funny stories and having fun in the sun.  I hope you join me on a weekly basis (Monday Morning)  and share our adventures with you…

Remember enjoy your life…and have happy tails!




Welcome to my new Ruff Life tails….blog!

It all began on a small island in SC where I moved to start over,

what it became was a new beginning!

Most of you have been along for this incredible journey…some wonderful, some not so wonderful and some sad…but it brought me to this place in time and it’s a place I am proud to be in.  I have literally found myself with adopting Jack and now Bella & Tucker, it has made me appreciate motherhood and I am able to understand the power of unconditional motherly love.

I am creating this blog for the power of information, healing and sharing “tails” of many dog owners who are seeking help with their pups.  I hope you appreciate this journey I am on and where we go from here!

Dog Beach2 Jan 09 054

Bella and MomMe and Tucker3