Written by Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
My mission for my family to eat non-GMO and organic includes my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels., so they are not fed any GMOs knowingly. I know where my food and my dogs’ food and treats come from, and prefer it be locally made or made in my own kitchen. I trust and buy Idie Hastings’ new line of dog treats, Miss Coco’s One Lucky Dog, and I buy organic foods, such as organic, local pasture raised chicken, eggs, and organic vegetables, which I supplement with organic dog foods.
Miss Coco’s One Lucky Dog Treats combine founder Idie Hastings’ passion for dogs and her charitable work. The treats are named for her rescue dog, Coco Chanel, and as a board member and vice president of Hand in Paw, Hastings has designated a portion of the proceeds benefits the local nonprofit organization with a mission of improving human health and well-being through animal-assisted therapy. Hastings’ dog Nigel, a rescue from Cavalier Rescue of Alabama, will be training to be a therapy dog, too.
“I decided to make my own dog treats about 10 years ago because of the health scare to dogs from eating store bought treats,” Hastings explains. “The industry doesn’t seem to be very well regulated, and too many dogs were getting sick and even dying from store bought dog food and treats.” Making and producing the line of biscuits is both a hobby and passion of Hastings, whose ultimate goal is to start a dog food company. Hastings sources all natural, whole ingredients. The treats are non-GMO, and most consist of five or less ingredients and are even safe for human consumption. In addition to biscuits and granola, Hastings is working on Coco’s kisses, a dog friendly carob and safe chocolate option for special occasions. My two lucky dogs, Rudy and Wyckie, love and highly recommend both the biscuits and granola! The treats are available at OvenBird and OneLuckyDogTreats.com, and they will soon be found in boutique hotels and specialty stores. Hastings shares her love of food with her husband, chef Chris Hastings. The couple owns two local restaurants, Hot and Hot Fish Club and OvenBird.
When buying commercial dog foods and treats, don’t necessarily buy what your veterinarian sells. You must read the labels, including USDA organic and non-GMO dog foods. Carrageenan is found in 70 percent of canned pet foods and is linked to intestinal inflammation. Synthetic preservatives such as BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, propylene glycol, or ethoxyquin are common preservatives in pet food and are linked to organ damage and cancer. Look for non-BPA cans as the lining inside cans of food contain this endocrine disruptor that can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Avoid artificial food dyes, such as red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 2, and CSPI. Dyes can cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, organ damage, and cancer. Also avoid rendered meat by-products; pet food regulations allow the use of meat from animals that died “otherwise than by slaughter.” The FDA has also found residues from a drug used to euthanize animals in 30 different samples of pet food (evidence of euthanized animal parts in pet foods, including dogs and cats). In some states, rendering facilities that process dead animals are also authorized to process roadkill and rotten meat, along with the remains of animals that died of disease. According to Cornucopia Institute, this can possibly lead to degenerative neurological diseases in pets.
Just as in people food, the ingredients listed first make up the largest percentage of ingredients. I want to see organic poultry and meats as main ingredients. I do not buy products with GMO grains of corn and soybeans and avoid fillers such as wheat, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and brewer’s rice, because moldy grains containing carcinogenic mycotoxins are still allowed in pet food.