This week on the podcast we're joined by two great guys, Simon and Tyler of will be joining us for a great conversation.

Watchdog Labs uses science to help you choose the best food for your pet. We analyze ingredients, recalls and company transparency. The result are simple ratings that help you choose the best food for your dog.

We review a wide variety of foods to help dogs of all breeds and sizes and owners with different budgets. We select products that include bestsellers as well as lesser known products, from both large and small brands.

Our selections are independent and we never accept any payments, sponsorships, free samples or ads from manufacturers.

We purchase our dog food samples the same way you would buy it - real products from real online stores. These products are then shipped to our lab partners, just like you would receive them when ordering online.

Stores and brands don’t know when and where we buy our samples. We always pay full retail prices and we never accept free samples from manufacturers.

We test some foods in ISO-accredited labs in the United States. The testing involves strict guidelines and quality standards. Our tests are performed with blind samples to prevent bias and use all AAFCO recommended best practices and AOAC methods.

In short, this means we have top scientists using the best equipment and testing methods to produce fair and reliable results. Also, very importantly, we pay for all testing ourselves and never accept manufacturer sponsorships. We are constantly expanding the list of foods we lab test to eventually cover all of our reviews. Please note that not all of our lab test results have been published yet.

We research and analyze hundreds of ingredients found in dog foods and show you which ones are controversial. These ingredients are not necessarily bad, they are just not universally agreed upon as good. Some may want to avoid controversial ingredients altogether.

We track reports of recalls from the company, FDA and other sources.

Recalls can be issued for many reasons, including contaminants and labelling issues. Keep in mind that recalls can be voluntary and that they can include non-dangerous product recalls.

To get fair and unbiased answers we anonymously contact dog food brands and ask them detailed questions about their manufacturing practices and quality standards.

We then evaluate how transparent manufacturers were in answering these important questions and how difficult it was to get in touch with them.

We are 100% independent - we never accept payments, free product or sponsorships from pet food manufacturers. All of our content is published for free. Our ongoing research to protect pets is funded by a small commission earned when you buy products from links on our site.

More Episodes

Episode 263 “COCO CHEWS”

March 23, 2019

This Week on the podcast we return with a great guest. He's the co-founder of a great company that takes the fear out of pet treats. This week Chris Lovell will join us on the podcast.


In 2014, our founder Chip Linton traveled to Hawaii to visit a friend who was living on the Island of Maui.  While there, both Gino and Chip noticed a significant number of dogs chewing on fallen coconuts. After speaking with veterinarians on the island, they learned that the coconut husk is extremely effective in scrubbing teeth and maintaining quality dental health.

    After four years of perfecting our design, we were finally ready to bring the CocoChew to you and your pup! The CocoChew team of four works diligently to provide the best toys in quality and durability. Our 100% all-natural coconut toys are made in the Philippines on farms with sustainable practices and quality working conditions. At CocoChew we believe that there should be no hard work involved in trying to find healthy products for your pets. We make it easy by providing an all-natural solution to a significant problem facing our pets and the quality of their teeth. Pick up a CocoChew today and see for yourself, just how effective they can be and always remember to brush naturally!

Very rarely does a team from a school project end up creating, and running with an industry changing idea together. Even more rarely does that project idea become the foundation to build a life-changing business around it. Well that is exactly how the CocoChew crew came to be. It began when Chip told Ryan, Chris and Ed about his trip to Hawaii, and his idea to make an all natural dog toy out of coconut husk. We were all immediately hooked on making this a reality.


To get a feel for what it would take, we took our canine concept and entered a startup competition at the University of New Hampshire. While competing in the Holloway Startup Competition, we continued our research and realized in depth, just how important dental health is to overall health in dogs. There is a major need for products made out of safe and natural materials, and there was hardly any animal health warriors to truly fulfill that need. It also didn’t hurt that we knew we’d get to work with dogs every paw print of the way.


March 9, 2019

This week on the podcast we're going to tackle a difficult subject but one that's very important to a lot of per parents who have lost their furry friend.

I am often asked, usually with a quizzical look of disbelief, “How did you get into this?”

While Second Life has an obvious reference to the animals preserved for their owners, for me it has another meaning. Like many people, I joined the workforce immediately after college—first as a teacher and several years later, in the oil and gas industry. After more than 20 years in oil and gas, I found myself wondering what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up.’ Always one to look for answers, I discovered freeze drying and was intrigued.

After lengthy research I entered into a training schedule with Mike (Mac) McCullough of Mac’s Taxidermy and Freeze Dry. Mac is one of the premier pet freeze-dry practitioners in the U.S. His work has been showcased on “20/20” and in the Wall Street Journal. Mac and I discovered a lot of common ground. Our quick camaraderie proved to be fortunate for both of us. I found myself ready to make the move into self-employment far sooner than originally planned, and Mac was ready to step away from the freeze-dry portion of his business and into other areas of interest. We agreed that his freeze-dry business would find its Second Life with me.

Since that time in apprenticeship, studying and training with Mac, I have built a reputation for Second Life Freeze Dry as one of the premier freeze-dry pet taxidermy services in the nation. To date, hundreds of pet owners have trusted me to provide a Second Life for their pet.

As a life-long pet owner and student of wildlife, I bring a special understanding and attention to detail when creating a Second Life for your pet. Should you decide on freeze-dry pet preservation for your companion, I will be there to walk you through the process. Together we will make sure that your pet’s Second Life is all that you had hoped for.

Episode 261 “COGER 10.0″

March 3, 2019

We've been experiencing a great deal of technical difficulties. Our method of recording has been altered, we've been using new tech, and unfortunately Coger 10.0 is far from great but the message was too valuable just to throw away.


February 16, 2019

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the owner of Scout & Zoe’s, manufacturers of all-natural alternative chews and snacks made from antler for pets with allergies, stomach problems and more. And check out her “cage” at SuperZoo!

Cindy Dunston Quirk shares the in’s-and-out’s to events like this and how to bark up the right trees.

Get your foot in the doggie door.

Completing an online application for the show is just the first step. Dunston Quirk says exhibitors need to apply early because SuperZoo regularly sells out and this year was no exception. “The show has grown so large, it is moving to an earlier date and a new venue to accommodate the increased demand for exhibit spaces, ” says Quirk.

Purrfect that pitch.

Dunston Quirk said that she arrives with a mission to introduce Scout & Zoe’s products to as many retailers as possible. Another way to peak retailers’ interest is to teach them something new. She like to talk about different and new protein sources aimed for customers who have pets with special needs (allergies, intestinal sensitivities and more).

And wowsa! That puppy is growing!

Dunston Quirk said that she experience major growth through “dogged grass roots determination (pun intended) on my part and grass roots support” for the products she offers. She uses her pets to guide her marketing and product decisions and when she saw holes in the pet market, she looked to fill them.

Her advice for women looking to start in the pet business?

“Find something you really care about and develop that passion. I didn’t start Scout & Zoe’s because I thought I could make a lot of money; I started the company to solve a problem my dog Zoe had — and the company growth has been exponential,” said Dunston Quirk. “And don’t forget to have fun with the store owners — being in the pet industry is such fun!”

With her eye on the prize, we know this sheBOOMer will keep climbing. Looking for more industry events, she suggests Global Pet Expo coming again to Orlando this March

Episode 259 “Marci KOSKI 2.0″

February 9, 2019

Looking for a compassionate cat behavior consultant who cares about you and your cat?

I know how hard it can be when a cat is having behavior problems. Can you relate to the following?

— You love your cat
— Your cat may beavoiding the litterbox, spraying, exhibiting aggression, or demonstrating other frustrating behaviors
— Your cat’s behavior problem is costing you time, money, or energy
— Your cat’s behavior problem is stressful for you and/or your family
— You have tried to fix the problem yourself butdidn’t get results
— You don’t know what to do next

If your cat is experiencingbehavior issues that need to be resolved, I can help. As a certified cat behavior consultant, I work with my clients to develop personalized behavior plans for cats and their people. I will teach you how to nurture healthy and appropriate feline behaviors while stopping the problematic ones, or provide you with guidance about how to prevent behavior problems from starting and giving your cat the best life possible. I offer a number of types of consultations and other services in both the Portland and Vancouver areas, as well as nation-wide, to benefit you and your feline companions.  Whether your cat is naughty or nice, I can help improve the quality of life for both you and your kitty!

The mission of Feline Behavior Solutions is to keep cats in homes and out of shelters.  By providing cat guardians with the necessary education and tools to prevent or resolve behavior issues, Feline Behavior Solutions helps guardians build trusting, healthy relationships with their companion cats for happy futures together.  With a combination of behavioral science knowledge and emotional awareness, you too can provide your furry friend with everything she needs to have a fulfilling life as part of your family!  Feline Behavior Solutions will teach you how.


Episode 258 “HEMPWORX”

February 2, 2019
What is Hemp-Derived CBD?

HempWorx products are made from industrial hemp plants grown on Kentucky farms. Cannabidiol (CBD), a constituent that naturally occurs in industrial Hemp, is just one of over 85 cannabinoids that is identified in the cannabis plant. Our oil is CO2 extracted resulting in a solvent free, pure extract.

500mg & 750mg Full Spectrum Hemp Oil
  • Two Concentrations
    Our oils are available in two concentrations - 500mg and 750mg of active Cannabidiol (CBD).
  • Three Flavors
    Our oils are available in three flavors - Cinnamon, Peppermint and Natural. We do not use any artificial sweeteners or flavoring.
  • Full Spectrum and THC Free
    We have both Full Spectrum Hemp Oils available that contain trace amounts of THC to help our customers achieve the “Entourage Effect”. Additionally, you can purchase a “THC FREE” version of the oils if you are subject to regular drug screening.
  • Affordable
    Our oils are affordable and below the average market retail price. You can purchase these products anywhere for as little as $69 per bottle.
  • Non GMO and Organic
    Our oil is produced on Kentucky farms using Organic methods and is free of GMOs, synthetics, fillers, and other harmful ingredients.
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
    We are so confident in our oils that we give you a 60 day empty bottle refund policy. If you change your mind within 60 days of ordering, send it back and we’ll refund your purchase.
Hemp-Infused Coffee
  • 150mg of Hemp-Derived CBD Per Box
    Each cup of our delicious coffee contains 5mg of Hemp-Derived CBD
  • Instant Arabica Coffee
    Our coffee uses Arabica Beans and other powerful ingredients
  • Healthy Coffee
    Our coffee uses all natural ingredients and is Gluten Free, Vegan, Cruelty Free, and Non-GMO.
  • Affordable
    Get our coffee today for as little as $2.30 per cup!
  • Zero THC
    This product contains ZERO THC
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
    We are so confident in our coffee that we give you a 60 day empty box refund policy. If you change your mind within 60 days of ordering, send it back and we’ll refund your purchase.
CBD Keto Coffee Creamers
  • Three Delicious Flavors
    Our creamers come in three flavors: Hazelnut, Vanilla, and Mocha.
  • Turn Your Coffee Into CBD Keto Coffee
    Each creamer stick pack contains 5mg of Hemp Oil Extract
  • Healthy Creamers
    Our creamers are Gluten Free, Vegan, Keto, Cruelty Free, and Sugar Free.
  • Zero THC
    This product contains ZERO THC
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
    We are so confident in our coffee that we give you a 60 day empty box refund policy. If you change your mind within 60 days of ordering, send it back and we’ll refund your purchase.
Renew Anti-Aging Cream
  • Great for the Skin
    Our Renew Anti-Aging cream may help the skin look younger, tighter, and brighter. Additionally, this product can help increase the longevity of skin cells.
  • Great for Anti-Aging
    Our Renew Anti-Aging cream may help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
  • One Concentration
    Our Renew Anti-Aging cream contains 50mg of Active Cannabidiol (CBD).
  • Zero THC
    This product contains ZERO THC.
  • Affordable
    Our Renew Anti-Aging Cream is affordable and below the average market retail price. You can purchase Renew for as little as $69 per bottle.
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
    We are so confident in Renew that we give you a 60 day empty bottle refund policy. If you change your mind within 60 days of ordering, send it back and we’ll refund your purchase.


January 26, 2019

This week on The Groomer Next Door podcast we're joined by a fabulous Doctor, Retired Air force, author, and advocate. It's a pleassure to announce Dr. Cathy Alinovi will be on this weeks episode.

Dr. Cathy Alinovi — a holistic veterinarian — served both Indiana and Illinois pets by providing traditional as well as alternative health care options like animal chiropractic and acupuncture.  Now retired from private practice, Alinovi is still a pet lover, frequent media guest, nationally-celebrated author, and certified in Canine Fitness Training.  Alinovi knew she wanted to be an animal doctor since she was nine years old. Her mission then was simple: to make the world safe for dogs; and her mission now — providing healthy options for pets to live longer and with a better quality of life — is just as powerful!

As a media guest, she’s a passionate and practical expert grabbing the attention and hearts of the more than 164 million households that have pets… quickly gaining national recognition for her integrative approach to animal health. As a multi-book author, she strives to deliver concise and clear information on everything from feeding to pampering to protecting your pet. And — when she was a practicing veterinarian —  she was relentlessly committed to her patients’ care.

She began her veterinary education at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and also holds a Master of Science in Epidemiology from Purdue, but quickly realized that conventional medicine met some, but not enough, of her patients’ needs.

So, rather than settle for what she knew was falling short of meeting the demands of her growing practice, she again went back to school and became certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipuation Therapy (animal chiropractic). And — of course — her passionate commitment to animal health wouldn’t let her stop there. Since then, she’s also become certified in

  • Veterinary Food Therapy,
  • Veterinary Acupuncture,
  • Chinese Herbal Therapy,
  • Reiki, and
  • Aromatherapy.

As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions — but with adequate nutrition. The heart of every exam within her office included “the food talk.”   Now retired from private practice, her commitment to pets hasn’t waned and she looks forward to impacting many more pet parents through her books, research, speaking and consulting work.

To help her clients on the path to good food, she coauthored Dinner PAWsible, a pet food cookbook that uses people food to make yummy balanced meals at half the cost of grocery store pet food. These easy to make recipes please both dog and cat palates, can work to stop shedding and help treat “leaky gut” issues which are common in most of her patients.


January 19, 2019

This week on The Groomer Next Door podcast Dr. Laurie Coger returns to discuss the activities from this past week from the FDA.


The FDA alerted pet owners yesterday to a Dec. 20, 2018, recall of dog food manufactured by Lystn LLC, dba Answers Pet Food. Salmonella, which can cause serious infections in dogs and people, was detected in a sample

Lystn, a Pennsylvania-based company, recalled a lot of “A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs” from distribution and retail locations in the state of Nebraska, after testing by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) found Salmonella in a sample.

The company has not recalled the product nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration is working with Lystn to determine comprehensive distribution information. The agency is warning consumers that the following product should not be fed to pets.

  • A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs. Lot 2018 20/08 20

The company specializes in “100 percent natural organic” raw pet food, according to its website, and recommends that pet owners supplement the A+ Answers Straight foods with unpasteurized goat milk or kefir made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Raw meat and unpasteurized, raw dairy products frequently carry bacteria and other pathogens.

In 2016, Lystn received a warning letter from FDA after the agency found Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Kentucky in samples of “Detailed Answers Chicken Formula” dog food. Lystn declined to recall the contaminated products, contesting FDA’s contention that the presence of Salmonella in those samples rendered the products adulterated.

Dogs infected with Salmonella may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Some dogs can shed Salmonella in their stool, even when not showing any symptoms, and may transmit the infection to their human handlers or to other animals.

Suggestions for consumers
Human and pet food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Contaminated pet food can cross-contaminate food bowls, utensils, countertops and anyone or anything that comes into contact it.

  • Discard the recalled product in a secure container to prevent animals from gaining access to it.
  • If your pet displays any symptoms of Salmonella infection, consult a veterinarian. Veterinarians who wish to have dogs tested for Salmonella may do so through the Vet-LIRN Network if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.
  • FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Anyone who has handled any of the recalled pet food or lives in a home where the pet food has been used, and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection, should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.



This press release by Lystn, LLC d.b.a./ANSWERS Pet Food is in response to the January 14, 2019 Food Drug and Administration Warning Notice: “FDA Cautions Pet Owners Not to Feed One Lot of A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs Due to Salmonella”.

Before addressing the history and investigation behind the events leading up to the FDA’s posting of this Notice, please allow Lystn to correct a number of errors in the FDA’s Notice:

(1) The Best Use By Date (BUBD) is incorrectly listed as 20/08 20. The correct BUBD is 02/08 20.

(2) The statement that Lystn has recalled the affected lot in Nebraska is not correct. Lystn stopped further distribution of the lot in question working with Lystn’s distributor, retail stores and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture who reported the follow-up that the product was removed from retail store shelves.

(3) Just one reason Lystn has not implemented a nationwide recall is because the product was only tested by the State of Nebraska and Lystn for which the test results were contradictory addressed below, and not tested by the FDA.

The FDA Notice comments that the reason why the FDA issued this warning is because it (the product in question) represents a serious threat to human and animal health and is adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). It is important to note that neither Lystn nor any government agency has received any report of animal or human illness. Neither the State of Nebraska nor the FDA quantified the alleged finding of Salmonella which is just one factor for consideration when defining adulterated food under the FD&C Act. The FDA uses a Compliance Policy Guide which contains Nonbinding Recommendations of a “zero tolerance” of Salmonella for enforcement. In contrast to human consumed products inspected by the USDA, a certain percentage of Salmonella is allowed (some of the same sourcing Lystn buys as ingredients for its pet food). For just some of the reasons stated below, Lystn disagrees with the FDA “zero tolerance” policy, based upon our understanding of science and the FD&C Act. For additional information on our response to the FDA and Lystn’s position on these and other raw pet food industry issues, please visit our website. Additional information is forthcoming through continued updates.

Because Salmonella is prevalent throughout much of the food chain and in our environment, Lystn formulates ANSWERS Pet Food products to protect the pets and their owners from potential harmful bacteria using what is referred to as “Hurdle Technology”. One step of Lystn’s Hurdle Technology uses natural competitive inhibition through fermentation by inoculating our products, which favors growth of desirable (good) bacteria but inhibits the growth of pathogens (bad bacteria). This avoids destroying the benefits of good bacteria needed in the gut of the pets ingesting ANSWERS Pet food and continues to protect the pets post ingestion and the household environment from potential pathogens.

One (1) random test by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture was sampled 12/10/18 and revealed the presence of Salmonella in the Straight Beef Formula 4lb. Pounder for Dogs. Lystn requested a split sample of the product in question and while a confirmation of Salmonella was detected on the initial sample supplied by Nebraska, there was insufficient quantity to run all the quantitative tests. Lystn requested and received a subsequent larger quantity and all 4 samples tested negative for the presence of Salmonella. It is Lystn’s belief (as well as our science advisors) that the initial sample sent from Nebraska may have been cross contaminated in the lab, transport or elsewhere and should not be considered a representative sample. Even if Salmonella was present in the initial sample, equally important was that the quantification of Lactic Acid Bacteria in the subsequent samples was significant in quantity (greater than Log 7) confirming that our fermentation process was working and therefore evaluated as a safe product by Lystn’s team of scientists and advisors.

Lystn’s Hurdle Technology and labeling addresses the concerns expressed by the FDA regarding product exposure and handling risks to children and immune compromised individuals, in that the good bacteria from the fermentation process continues to compete with bad bacteria, regardless of manner of exposure. Lystn’s labeling conspicuously identifies the products as being in the raw state and states – “For Pet Use Only: Not for human consumption. This product has not been pasteurized and may

contain harmful bacteria.” The labeling also contains – “Safe Handling Instructions: Keep raw meat separate from other foods. Wash working surfaces, utensils, hands and any other items that come in contact with raw meat with hot soapy water.

We advised the FDA of Lystn’s extensive third party test results and science based evaluation that the food is safe and not a public health risk, in accordance with the assessment of an independent Ph.D. science expert in concurrence with Lystn’s science team. Nevertheless, the FDA proceeded to issue this Warning Notice without further consultation with Lystn.

Many of our distributors, customers, and retailers alike understand Lystn’s use of competitive inhibition through the process of fermentation to protect our foods from pathogens. But, if after presenting our customers with our views, if a customer is uncomfortable with an ANSWERS’ product, they may return it (or any unused portion) to the place of purchase for a full refund. The Straight Beef Formula 4lb. Pounder for Dogs product comes in a cardboard milk carton box marked with lot code 2018 and a Best Use By Date (BUBD) of 02/08 20 sticker on the carton. The above referenced lot number and BUBD Lystn product was distributed at various times from 8/17/18 to 9/14/18 and sold through retail stores within the United States.

ANSWERS Pet Food continues to be at the forefront as a leader in transparency and is committed to keeping you informed. We are in the process of creating a page on our website for the web and social media for our customers to go see the latest information concerning state and federal regulatory matters applicable to ANSWERS Pet Food and the raw pet food industry. To learn more about ANSWERS, our unique process, and the raw pet food industry, please visit our website at

The above comments and observations by Lystn are the current view and understanding of Lystn and not intended to be a statement of law nor contain all details that may apply. Thank you for time and understanding.

Lystn, LLC, Manufacturer of Answers Pet Food

Roxanne Stone, VP of Quality Assurance/Quality ControL


The raw milk was seized and a stop sale was issued by the department of health that regulates human food. They act under title 24 of New Jersey law. The New Jersey Department of agriculture regulates commercial feed, pet food is regulated under commercial feed, title 4. The department of agriculture has accepted annual tonnage fees for pet food, to include raw milk pet food, for several years. While the New Jersey law clearly stipulates raw milk for human consumption is illegal, nowhere does the law state raw milk as animal feed is illegal


Episode 255 “FIRST VISIT FROM DR. COGER OF 2019″

January 13, 2019

This week our great friend Dr. Coger returns and we're going to discuss her recent articles on