VegFest 2011: Top five lifestyle products

On Saturday, VegFest 2011 took over the exhibition hall at Jefferson County Fairgrounds; among the lifestyle products available were these chaotic yet controlled abstract paintings by vegan artist Ken Voss. And more -- including aromatherapy for dogs and paper products made from elephant dung. Keep reading to see what we found. Yes, you're seeing that right: vegetarian dog food. Some dog food can contain various body parts from slaughtered animals, supermarket rejects and even "rendered" dogs and cats from shelters (gross). If you're feeding your dog bottom-shelf food, you might want to rethink your brand; some vets believe that plant-based diets can contain all necessary nutrients for dogs, but if you're considering switching your dog to veggie food, schedule an appointment with your vet two to three weeks after the switchover so they can conduct a urinalysis and a checkup. (Personally, I purchase top-quality, meat-inclusive food for my own pooch; one plant-based diet in my house is enough. I wouldn't force my husband to go vegan, and I wouldn't force my animals to go veg, either.) These Daisy Paws Collar Companions were also for sale, offering aromatherapy for dogs and cats. Essential oils can be dropped onto the little discs -- which don't come into contact with your pet's skin -- and your animal can then receive the benefits of different blends. The insect repellent is the most practical; to achieve results with the other blends, owners must condition their pets to respond. (So, for example, when your pet is feeling happy or calm, you expose him to the different scents; then, when the animal feels anxious, he's predisposed to calm down when you put on the Collar Companion.) Sammie's Jewelry displayed different offerings that are tallow-free; tallow, a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, is sometimes used while finishing jewelry. A good tip for strict vegetarians to know. These beautiful paper products are all made with elephant dung -- note the clever title on the kids' coloring book. You'd never know, if not for the pamphlets explaining the process and noting that proceeds go to support anti-poaching and elephant protection programs.

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