When you’re a pet lover, there are few situations more nerve-racking than a pet-food recall. For John Gigliotti, a 15-year veteran of the retail pet business, 2007 was an especially scary year. This was when the widest pet-foods recall in history took place, after nearly 500 companion animals developed kidney failure from ingesting imported food products contaminated with the chemical compound melamine (not to be confused with melamine plastic, which is used for a variety of indoor/outdoor home products). John, who had been mulling over the idea of starting his own pet-products brand, understood the outrage over the recalls, and wanted to be part of the solution. “I saw a niche,” he remembers. “I wanted to provide products that are held to stringent safety and purity standards, that taste great but are safe and healthy.”
So John founded Whole Life Pet Products, a manufacturer of all-natural, 100% pure dog and cat treats. He created a manufacturing facility right in our backyard in the Berkshires, and started sourcing meats and fish domestically from USDA-certified, human-grade farmers. He took this “farm to friend” mission a couple steps further by listing all of his suppliers, by food product, on his website—a first for pet foods—and testing every batch of products for common bacterial contaminants, like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Once the lab tests come back clear, the products are packaged, and each is labeled with a code you can type in on the Whole Life website to view the complete results of testing.
For his signature dog and cat treats, John opted for a single-ingredient approach, because he knew it would benefit pets with allergies (the most common are to wheat, corn, and soy, which make up a disproportionate amount of commercial pet foods) and provide the ultimate transparency—in an industry not exactly known for its truthfulness. “The consumer needs to know that when they buy commercial pet foods, there are virtually no standards, no inspections, no safety testing,” John explains. They’re made with a lot of cheap filler with no nutritional value, a lot of chemicals, additives, preservatives.”
By contrast, Whole Life’s treats are crafted through a unique freeze-drying process—currently, only a handful of companies in the United States have this capability—that makes it possible to create shelf-stable treats without a single additive, chemical, or preservative. And unlike cooked treats, freeze-dried treats retain all of their nutritional value, so your pet is even getting some health benefit from snacking.
As for the taste? We can barely crack open a package without every pet in the house or office making a beeline for us. Sure, dogs are easy, but we’ve found that even the fussiest felines become purring puddles in the presence of Whole Life treats. (Most of the photos you see here are from just a few satisfied customers who posted to the Whole Life Facebook page.)
Whole Life currently makes several types of dog and cat products: Whole Life Originals, their signature single-ingredient treats; Tail Mix treats and food toppers, made to encourage eating in finicky pets; Unbaked treats, a freeze-dried version of a biscuit packed with healthy ingredients like extra-virgin olive oil and flaxseed); and their all-new Living Treats, which are made with fresh ingredients and Greek yogurt containing live, active cultures to support healthy digestion. Whole Life products are available through the company’s website, as well as through Unleased by Petco stores and online at Wag.com, Pet Food Direct, and Chewy.com, among others.
When he’s not crafting healthy treats for pets, John spends his time taking advantage of all the outdoor activities available here in the Berkshires, and hanging out with Dexter, a mixed-breed rescue dog from the Berkshire Humane Society. “He’s the official taste tester of Whole Life,” John notes with a laugh. “But he’s not very good at it, because he’ll never turn down food.”
Want to win your own set of delicious dog treats and one of our signature WOUF pet beds? Annie has teamed with Whole Life to give one lucky reader the ultimate doggy delight prize package: 3 packages of Whole Life pet treats (1 Living Treats Anti-Oxidant Blend, 1 Pure Chicken Originals, and 1 Unbaked Artisan Treats With Peanut Butter & Molasses) and a Trimaran Stripe Tangerine/White Indoor/Outdoor WOUF from Fresh American in the size of the winner’s choice—that’s a combined value of over $280! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.
Congratulations to our winner, Mary from Texas!