PRODUCT FORMULA CHANGE: All Meals Now Include Probiotics

by Inna Shekhtman in Product Updates & News
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Over the past year, we have invested in our brand and amplified our focus on education and research, particularly in the area of gut health. We have learned from a number of industry experts, like Dr. Becker and Julie Ann Lee, that feeding a high-quality diet may not achieve the intended nutritional benefits if gut health issues are not addressed. We are learning that the microbiome in our pets’ gut plays a huge role in digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as in the immune system and many other areas of health. 

In nature, the bacteria that make up microbiomes typically come from food. Unfortunately, until the recent emergence of “probiotics”, bacteria in food was villainized and eliminated. We now are aware of the health benefits that result from a balanced gut flora and we always recommend the use of high quality probiotics for pets throughout their lives to ensure that balance is maintained. That’s why we distribute OLIE Naturals’ New Beginnings - one of the best quality probiotics on the market for pets. Today we are taking it a step further.

We are excited to announce that Red Dog Blue Kat products will now include a species-specific probiotic blend in our food offerings. We are the only company in Canada to offer this!

In addition to the probiotic strains, we are also including a prebiotic blend to feed the probiotics. This blend includes beet root, chamomile power and fennel powder, and was developed by Julie-Ann Lee - one of the leading Canadian experts in gut health and animal nutrition.
As with everything we do, we made our choice of probiotics carefully with the intent to keep our meals as natural as possible and deliver maximum benefits. A year ago, we started working with CanBiocin - a well-respected microbiome management company. They have been conducting ground-breaking research into species-specific lactobacillus (lactic acid producing) strains. They found that all probiotics available for pets today are derived from human strains and many are not suited to cats and dogs. After conducting rigorous testing of thousands of strains, they selected two strains of probiotic strains from healthy dogs that exhibit the following benefits:

  • Bolster the immune system
  • Keep the gastrointestinal tract calm during times of stress
  • Improve availability of nutrients in the diet
  • Improve production of neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Survive the acid in the stomach and bile produced in the small intestine and get to where they need to go to do their job
  • Unaffected by antibiotics that are often prescribed to treat intestinal upset
  • Inhibit the growth of a number of pathogenic strains of Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria
  • Maintain viability through freezing and other low-heat processing steps

We want to honour the balance created by nature as well as our mission of improving the health and longevity of our pets. Our team, including our staff microbiologist and our nutritional expert, collaborated with CanBiocin to implement this addition to our product line. We tested at every step of this product change, including palatability testing with multiple dogs and cats. 
As many of you know we are currently working to implement HACCP, a globally recognized food safety program, at our manufacturing facility so you and your customers can feel even more confident in recommending Red Dog Blue Kat. The goal of a food safety program is to address biological, chemical, and physical hazards in processes that have the potential for injury or illness to pets and humans. Many companies have adopted HPP and irradiation as a kill step to address pathogens. We choose not to take this route because we believe this processing step negatively impacts the beneficial aspects of the food.
We are committed to finding solutions that are natural and will not impede the health benefits of our food. In nature, pathogenic bacteria in the gut are kept from dangerously high levels by a healthy gut flora - ‘friendly’ bacteria that reside in our digestive tract. Using probiotics in our products as a food safety measure is the optimal solution[1]
You will soon see a new: “NOW INCLUDES PROBIOTICS!” stamp on Red Dog Blue Kat box.
In addition to inhibiting the growth and activity of harmful bacteria, the inclusion of probiotics in Red Dog

Blue Kat food will aid in digestion and the overall improvement in the immune systems of pets. This will facilitate a smooth process for pets transitioning to a raw diet.

In order to inform your customers of this change we will be providing the following over the next week:

  • Notices and posters to put on or near your product freezers
  • A blog post on our website
  • Notification on each of our product pages
  • Ongoing information on our Facebook page

We’d love to hear what you and your customers think about this addition to Red Dog Blue Kat products – and, as always, if you have any questions about this or anything regarding raw pet food or our company – please ask!

Additional Information - FAQ

Want to learn more about probiotics?

Check out the blogs we have written on the subject this year:

What products will be affected by this change?
All ground raw meals including Complete Meals for dogs and cats, Eco Meals for dogs and cats, and Base Meals will now include this probiotic blend.
What if my pet is picky?
We do not expect this to have any significant impact on picky pets. However, just to be on the safe side, we recommend that for cats and picky dogs, you do a very short transition where you introduce the new formula by mixing it 50/50 with their current food for 1-2 days.
What is the inclusion of probiotics in the meals?
The probiotic strains are included at 500,000,000 CFU (colony forming units) per ½ lb portion. Because these bacteria survive in acid, this count is more than adequate to ensure effective colonization and viability in the intestine.

If I am currently giving my pet probiotics, should I stop?
No, please continue giving your pets probiotics. Like food, when it comes to gut flora, diversity of bacteria strains is essential to optimal health. For this reason, we recommend giving your pet a variety of probiotic products in rotation to ensure that diversity is constantly maintained. 
Why are you including beet root, chamomile, and fennel with the probiotics?
These herbs are excellent sources of prebiotics – foods that nourish the probiotic bacteria and keep them active.  

More coming soon ...

[1] For the past few years we have used bacteriophages - another naturally occurring solution to control pathogens but found this inconsistently effective in a frozen food environment and have temporarily suspended their use in our products in the past six months.