Disney’s Story – How Keys Pet Care Products Began

Wendy Steele, Keys and KODA CEO & Founder

Great products solve problems and make you feel good.  Most products are born out of a need to solve a problem.  This is true of the original Keys line of pet care products.

Keys began as an all-natural therapeutic skin health product line about 8 years ago.  While on tour test marketing their products, an almost tragedy was the beginnings of the Keys Pet Care line of products.  Keys Pet Care has now morphed in to KODA Pet Care Products

On our way back from the Florida Keys, I took our Bichon Frise, Disney, to a groomer.  When Disney returned, he was white, fluffy and looked just great.  A few minutes after picking him up, I noticed him scratching.  It later escalated to him pulling out his fur to a point where he began bleeding.  Shocked, I got him in the tub and wet him down to see what was going on.  His skin was bright red and inflamed.  I thought that it had something to do with some product that the groomer used, so I used one of the Keys natural soaps on him.  This helped to calm him a bit.  That night was sleepless for me and Disney.

The next morning, I took him to a local Vet who also turned out to be a holistic practitioner.  Unfortunately the solution was a cortisone shot, but part of the vet’s prescription was to go back to the groomer and find out what they used on Disney. I did and found that they were using and experimental whitening shampoo.  It was one of those blue shampoos that was designed to make white dogs whiter.  No label and no ingredients prompted me to ask for a sample.  The groomer was shocked at what happened and gave me the sample.

Upon return home, I had the product analyzed and found that it contained a 35% solution of a surfactant known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (number 1 on the Dirty Dozen list).  According to a NIH (National Institutes of Health) document a concentration of 18% could “kill a small animal.”  This was the impetuous for the birth of the Keys pet care product family.

We began with a shampoo that Bob designed that was made from our Island Rx therapy soap adding Neem and Karanja oil.  It was called Muttineer and it became wildly successful.  Around the time of Hurricane Katrina, some search and rescue dogs based near our factory came home with scrapes, sores, infections and strange outbreaks from being in the flood waters.  Their handlers also came back with many skin disorders.   While at a dog event, one of the handlers asked Bob if they had anything for the dogs.  A you Weimaraner named Tye had red sores on his belly.  Bob rubbed some of our Tortuga lotion on the pup and withing 30 minutes the handler was back to show us that the redness was gone.  Now she said, “do you have something for the long-hair dogs.”  Bob thought and then developed our RediCare product that added Neem and Karanja oil for the therapy aspects and for the insect repelling properties.  He redesigned an industrial trigger sprayer so the the thicker lotion could be sprayed on the dogs.  RediCare became and remains one of our top five selling products.  It became the foundation of Koda’s flagship top two products.  OmniCare and OmniSheild were born from RediCare offering even more dog specific features and benefits.

Up until now, Keys Pet Care products were only topical.  Koda carries on the topical application products and adds internal natural medicines and remedies to fulfill the dream started for our beloved Disney

Today, Keys makes a full line of crossover products for people and pets that are all-natural, chemical-free and are designed to help  with skin disorders.  I have become an advocate lobbying the pet care industry and even Congress to require that pet care manufacturers be required to fully disclose their ingredients on their labels.  I have also been instrumental in getting industry associations and trade shows to create a natural product pavilions to help natural products manufacturers band together in their quest to clean up the act of a questionable industry.  On the heels of the pet food scare this a few years ago, I began educating people that it is just as important to care about what you put on your pet as much as it what you feed them.

Now with Koda, we have products that helps dogs from the inside out and the outside in.

Wendy

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About Bob Root "Beaker" 179 Articles
Keys Founder & Chief Technologist. Author: Chemical-Free Skin Health® , Defining Moments