July 5, 2017

A Word on Pre and Probiotics

Scanning the bags in the dog and cat food aisle or reading any number of advertisements for nutrition products for your pet can be a flat-out dizzying experience. It seems that every brand wants to make sure to include the latest trendy ingredient, creating a pretty vision in pet owners minds stimulated by colorful graphics on their packaging. At RAWZ we like to call this marketing-driven type of product formulation, "Window Dressing"; all these extra ingredients in the finished product aren't hazardous to pets , but really just for aesthetics.

I've heard this type of marketing and product positioning to the consumer as the "Everything but the kitchen sink" theory of formulating pet products. The combination of more knowledgable consumers with much more research and awareness, truly a good thing for pets, has led to many trends or "hot" ingredients in the industry. Two such added ingredients are Pre and Probiotics. While certainly having a role in healthy digestion, let's do some exploration of both...

Although commonly used interchangeably or thought of as synonymous in conversation, Pre and Probiotics are actually quite different. While both terms have to do with the bacteria within an animals' intestines; Prebiotic refers to the food that feeds intestinal bacteria whereas Probiotics, specifically refers to the healthy or beneficial type of this bacteria. Although long thought to only feed good digestive bacteria (probiotics), research has shown this to be false; prebiotics act as fuel for digestive bacteria that is both beneficial and harmful indiscriminately. With this understanding, it's always a bad idea to give Probiotics to a pet with any sign unidentified GI distress.

Now to Probiotics; or as the prefix pro suggests Probiotics are the beneficial type of intestinal bacteria, that is, Probiotics contribute to an animal's healthy food digestion! So the obvious question is of course, why not include these beneficial bacteria in RAWZ's recipes? Probiotics are incredibly sensitive to both heat and moisture which means that when added to a formula during cooking, even when the gentlest of processes is used, Probiotics' digestive benefit is greatly reduced before the food reaches your pets GI tract.

In short, we believe feeding a high quality, minimally processed diet like RAWZ; comprised of ingredients that haven't been exposed to harsh processing results in highly digestible (87.9% digestibility for our original Meal Free recipes) nutritionally complete food for your pet! Why add something to aid in the digestion of an already highly digestible food? RAWZ believes any pet with specific dietary challenges or needs will do best with direct supplementation to his or her diets after consulting an animal nutritionist or the pet's vet not by throwing EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK in their food.

June 8, 2017

Mission Affirmed

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited by my great friend and fellow Krempels Center member, Dr. Ted King, to crew for him in an adaptive sailing regatta on the waters of Long Island Sound (LIS). While I could go on and on about the phenomenal volunteers, sponsors, and host club (Rye NY's American Yacht Club), the weekend really solidified my belief in The RAWZ Fund's causes. I certainly didn't have any reservations about the amazing organizations we've chosen to support, but it sure was powerful to witness the events at the 2017 Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta!

I only began sailing a few years after my TBI and was delighted to once again feel the rush of competition and camaraderie of a group of athletes after sustaining a life-altering injury. This year's Robie once again provided me with tremendous joy and satisfaction. After speaking with many of the competitors I was struck by the amount of work, and help, we'd all both put in and received in our journeys to being on the waters of LIS. Each of us has his or her own story of challenge and struggle(s), leading to the joy of competitive sailboat racing; truly a quality of life building activity!

Once again at this year's Regatta was Chris Slavin with her incredible NEADS trained service dog, Earle. I am writing this post not as an ego building exercise or to brag, but to recount how clear it is the different roles played by The RAWZ Fund's non-profits can improve lives. In short, it is the goal of The RAWZ Fund to improve the lives of those living with disability by supporting organizations dedicated to different aspects of helping people maximize their own enjoyment of life. Witnessing a disabled sporting event participated in by athletes who've completed countless hours of therapeutic exercises was certainly phenomenal.

That my particular team included a captain (Ted) and a crew member who both greatly benefit from being active members of the Krempels Center was pretty neat. Add in the fact that I got to see the super-handsome Earle (a RAWZ dog by the way), waiting on the dock to greet Chris after each days' sailing, really motivated me to do all I can to help people and pets with RAWZ!

May 2, 2017

"That's a lot of peas!"

As I've mentioned previously, one of the best parts of working for RAWZ is the interactions I have with customers, both RAWZ feeders and our retail partner store's teams. These interactions can be retailer trainings with store associates, demos, or dialogues on our Facebook page. I always learn a lot by answering questions and looking through all of our product information, and of course, swallowing my pride enough to ask "Dad". In the interest of full disclosure, I can usually find an answer on my own :)

One of the questions I've heard, more of an observation really, that I'd like to share was a comment about RAWZ's limited recipe dry food offerings. An associate wondered why we used 3 separate pea-based ingredients in each recipe? The quick answer is that to create a diet for dogs with food sensitivities you want to introduce as few ingredients as possible. Fortunately, for RAWZ in the pea we found 3 components that make valuable contributions to the diet:

(1) Pea Protein- A good source of vegetable protein included because animal proteins are known to be common allergens. Pea protein is easily converted to muscle tissue by the animal and is one of the most hypoallergenic of all vegetable proteins.

(2) Pea Starch- The starch of the pea has a relatively low glycemic index value and is a naturally gluten free carbohydrate.

(3) Peas- Whole peas add the nutritionally vital vitamins A and K while also contributing Magnesium and Phosphorus to the recipe.

While RAWZ's original recipes are more meat focused, our limited recipes use versatile high quality peas to make minimally processed, rendered-free nutrition available to more pets!

April 7, 2017

"Seriously though, 100% of your profits?"

At one of our valued retail partner's 2 year store anniversary last weekend, my parents and I got to speak with quite a few pet owners who were understandably shocked to find out that we donate 100% of our profits to a group of wonderful non-profit organizations. I guess it's not surprising that this business model confounds most people because, after all, by its' very nature a business exists to generate profits for the company's owner(s). Conceptually; and often in actuality too, these profits are enough of a motivator to keep entrepreneurs starting, operating, and evolving the goods and services offered by their businesses.

So what's the deal with RAWZ? Well, to be honest, it's not about the money. Our family has been incredibly fortunate in many ways. Both my brother and I have had amazing recoveries aided by the hard work of countless people helping every step of the way! While we put quite a bit of effort in along the journey, it isn't lost on anyone in this family that the therapeutic tools available to us were vital. Additionally; the Scott family's involvement in pet nutrition, started by "Grampy" with Old Mother Hubbard in 1961, has been very rewarding culminating with the sale of WellPet almost ten years ago. Like both Andy and my recoveries, the success of the family's business, represents hard work meeting opportunity with a lot of grace thrown in.

The point is this: With the profit motivator absent and at the risk of sounding egotistical, RAWZ is only in existence to improve the lives of people and pets while first providing your dog or cat with minimally processed nutrition. In fact, neither of my parents have, or will ever, receive(d) any compensation from RAWZ. By feeding RAWZ, your pet gets an incredible product from a company that dedicates any and all profits to improving lives through our support of 5 wonderful non-profits!