All posts by Katie


How To: Start running with your dog

We all know that getting outdoors and putting some miles in makes us happier, healthier and helps us live longer. But what about our dogs? There is nothing dogs enjoy more than going out for a walk with their human. So, how do you take it one step further to turn your dog into your running partner?


Here to help is veterinarian and friend of Freshpet, Dr. Katy Nelson.  She is a practicing veterinarian with over 14 years of experience, she is passionate about reducing pet obesity and is a champion of human/pet fitness and nutrition. She’s also the host of the The Pet Show with Dr. Katy on DC’s NewsChannel 8.


Dr. Katy writes:

There are so many benefits to running, not just for us but for our pets as well.

Before we go into how to get your dog into running condition, I’d like to start by sharing the three biggest benefits of having your dog as your trail partner.



Whether your pet is overweight (as almost 60% of the pet population is), or the perfect weight, exercise is the key to getting and staying healthy.  Building lean muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance will not only help your pet to feel better (and last longer on the trails with you), but lean muscle also consistently burns more calories even when your pet is at rest.



“Idle paws lead to the devil’s handiwork.”  A bored or stressed dog is a dog that is going to get himself into trouble.  We all know the endorphin release that we enjoy after a good workout, and well, our pets are no different.  Exercise leads to stress release, and a much happier pooch at the end of the leash (not to mention a happier human on the other end).  After all, a tired dog is a good dog. 


Perfect Match

We all know that having a workout partner keeps us more consistent, and what better partner than one with big brown eyes that you could never say no to?  One that’s thrilled at the end of every day when you walk through the door and loves you unconditionally.  As you build to a comfortable level together, you both will enjoy your time together so much that it may just become your favorite part of your day.   


Now that we know all of the benefits of running with your four-legged friend, how do we take those first few steps?


First and foremost, have your pet examined by your veterinarian prior to starting any exercise program to ensure that their heart and joints are healthy enough to start running.  And while you’re there, ensure that they’re up to date on their flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives as well as their vaccines, as running outside is better done with good protection in place.


As humans, we know that we should start any new program slowly. You can’t run 10 miles without running all the miles in between, right? It’s the same for dogs. Start with a short run, maybe a half mile or a mile and then build up endurance. We also know that stretching after a run is important to make sure we reduce muscle soreness. This is  important for dogs as well, so have Rover move from a sitting to standing position and then back down several times to flex his/her hip and knee joints. How about positive reinforcement? Well, turns out just like us, dogs LOVE positive reinforcement so go ahead, give Rover that pat on the head and tell him what a good job he did. Or, bring some treats along for your run. My dogs love to be rewarded with Dognation Turkey Bacon Treats.


There are additional considerations for your dog as well. Here is a list of things to make sure your dog stays happy, healthy and injury free during your run. 


1) Make sure toenails are clipped so their paws strike the ground flat


2) Give water an hour before running and immediately after a run give a small amount from an elevated bowl. Gulping can cause potentially fatal GI distress so a little bit at a time is key. I love these portable water bottles for dogs, made in the USA.


3) On hot days, start earlier or stay under the cover of trees. Remember, pavement can be hot so keep those paws cool by letting Rover run on the grass if possible.


4) Small snacks are ok, but just like us, a big meal can weigh Rover down. Feed Rover an hour or 2 before the run to give him time to digest his food. And just like us, a diet high in protein will give him the energy he needs to go the distance! I recommend feeding Freshpet Vital Beef and Bison or Multi-protein slice and serve rolls. Each recipes has over 80% animal protein to keep your pet going.


5. Attach the doggie leash to a body harness to prevent pulling or yanking on the neck which can cause disc issues.


Remember, take it slow and have fun! We hope you enjoy this extra healthy time with your dogs.


Crowd Funding Keeps Dog and Mom Together

Our team stumbled upon such a happy photo of a dog named Sophie on Facebook that we couldn’t believe the pain and struggle she was actually going through.




A month ago Sophie was hit by a car and ultimately suffered from extensive nerve damage in her leg. When her mom learned they would need to amputate the leg, she became worried about how she would pay for the surgery.


Sophie’s mom is on disability and doesn’t have a car, but managed to make it from shelter to shelter to seek out a solution. Sadly, since she could not afford Sophie’s medical care she was turned away each time and told she would have to surrender her dog in order get the surgery and care that was needed.


When a volunteer at the Chicago Animal Care & Control saw them struggling to find care, she put them through to Six Legs, a foundation helping families in financial difficulty to care for their pets. The foundation was able to raise money through crowd funding to pay for Sophie’s surgery and keep her home with her mother, where she belonged.




It was a post on Six Legs’ Facebook page that introduced us to Sophie. In this post, the foundation asked supporters to donate items on her post-surgery wish list, including new food. Sophie was a picky eater who only enjoyed cat food and wasn’t getting the nutrition she needed. We quickly got in touch to send Sophie some Freshpet foods to try.


We checked in with Six Legs soon after, and we’re happy to share that Sophie is now doing incredibly well, and thriving as a three-legged dog. She was also able to find some Freshpet meals she loves! But most importantly, we’re proud to spread this story of generosity, by both Six Legs and their Facebook community. To date, the foundation has helped numerous dogs to date with their medical care. No family should feel they have to surrender their pet to a rescue or shelter, and with Six Legs, many won’t have to.


To learn more about Six Legs Foundation on Facebook at



All Because of a Little Love and Freshpet

When Trinity found Samson about a month ago he was wounded, hungry and alone. He was hiding under a neighbors van with bite wounds and scars all over his body. Naturally, Trinity was compelled to help this homeless boy.


For three days Trinity slowly began to gain his trust by giving him company and feeding him food. When animal control finally showed up, they felt that it would be best to put him down, as he was badly wounded without any identification. Trinity decided right then and there that she would take him in.


“Animal control told me if I could get him to come to me, they would let me keep him,” explains Trinity. She ran home and grabbed a bag of Freshpet to comfort him as she had those days before. She managed to slowly get him out from under the car and to her house, which he now calls home. “All because of a little love and some Freshpet,” she says.


Samson is now thriving in South Florida and beginning to heal. He is stronger, and looks happier and healthier. Trinity attributes Samson’s rescue in part to having Freshpet in her kitchen, a meal he began to love when they met. “Honestly, having Freshpet in my fridge saved his life,” she writes. But we’re convinced that Samson is alive today because of a woman’s selfless heart and love for dogs.



Tails of Good: Secaucus Animal Shelter

This week marks Animal Shelter Appreciation Week and without hesitation we wanted to show some love to our local shelter. The Secaucus Animal Shelter is a no kill shelter that has been rescuing cats and dogs for years in our New Jersey area. They work endlessly to rehab animals back to feeling loved and healthy, and search for the best possible homes for them. All of which they do for close to nothing. They do it all for the love of the animals.


Susan Pirro, Secaucus Councilwoman and Town Liason to the Animal Shelter, says what she loves most about being connected to the shelter is that the animals have time. Meaning they are never pushed out if they can’t find a home. They are kept, cared for and always prepped for a possible new home. She works closely with Chris Conte, who volunteers frequently at the shelter.


Chris is optimistic and devoted when it comes to her cats and dogs. Health is extremely important. No pet is given up for adoption without being given the okay by their partnering vets. She also does her absolute best to be honest with potential pet parents. Pet parents need to be fully aware of the dog or cat’s needs, so finding a perfect match helps to prevent a pet from returning to the shelter.


When an animal finally finds a home, “there are no words for the feeling. It’s beyond bliss,” Chris says.



There are various ways you can support your local shelter. For one, you can adopt (or encourage a friend to adopt), but you can also donate or volunteer. For us,  we realized that one way we’re able to help the Secaucus Animal Shelter (beyond our usual fresh food donations) is by sharing some of the dogs and cats that are currently up for adoption.




Male –  2 years old

Cooper was surrendered after his owner passed away. The shelter described him as a “big mush.” He’s a sweet boy who’s guaranteed to cuddle, and his amazing face marking and green eyes are striking.




Female –  Around 5 years old – Pit Bull

Brooklyn is a gorgeous black and white Pit Bull that will just tug at your heartstrings. Since Brooklyn was abused in the past, she would be best in a home with a pet parent that can be patient with her and give her one on one attention.



Male –  7 years old

Cody is a loving boy. He was surrendered when his owner was too busy to continue to care for him. He’s in great shape for is age and would be a great partner for cuddles.





Female –  6 months old – Pit Bull Terrier Mix

Bella stole our hearts the second we met her at the shelter. She was so eager to meet us and you could tell she has a big heart. She’s a happy puppy with great energy. She was recently spayed and ready to go home to a good family.




Male –  Around 4 years old – Lab Mix

Hyatt is a stoic and loyal gentleman. He sadly was named Hyatt after he was found tied to a bush in front of the Hyatt hotel in Secaucus. Despite being abandoned, he is great with people and loves to play.




Female –  Around 3 years old  – Shar Pei Mix

Wrinkles was the perfect name for this adorable Shar Pei mix. She is a sweet young girl with lots of energy. Wrinkles loves to be around people and begs for attention.



Female –  6 months old

This black cat is a dream. Asia is a gorgeous kitten with deep black fur that actually feels like mink.


Tails of Good: Tessa’s Journey

Earlier this year tiny Tessa was surrendered as a stray at only 6 weeks old to the Humane Society for Hamilton County in Noblesville, Indiana. When she was taken in, they realized Tessa would require more attention and patience than your average puppy.




After running a few tests, the shelter discovered that Tessa was born with a cyst on her spinal cord leaving her with no use of her back legs. With signs that she had some feeling in her legs and toes, Tessa’s foster mom, Charlene, decided to make it her mission to help her gain as much mobility as possible and find a home.


1505044_698968840195353_7094033319843970042_nCharlene worked with Tessa on daily exercises, and explored different ways to increase her flexibility like acupuncture to stimulate her legs into gear. She also made sure Tessa maintained a healthy diet with Freshpet to keep her energy up. And despite her disability Tessa has been known as “The Hulk” when it comes to her two front legs. “She has super human strength, which helps her pull herself around and pull her back end muscles up as well,” Charlene shares.


Tessa has gotten to a place where she manages to trot around independently to enjoy playtime like a puppy should. Charlene says, “I have discovered in this journey that even if lil Miss Tessa never walks in the traditional sense, that she is still a mover and a shaker!”


Charlene was happy to share with us that her mission is almost complete. Tessa has just moved into a new home that is excited to learn everything they need to care for her with all intention to adopt her soon.


We’ve found that Charlene’s determination to help Tessa find her strength, and Tessa’s tenacity for life to be truly inspiring. Follow Tessa’s progress as she learns to be more mobile on her Facebook Page, “Tessa’s Journey.”



Real Pet Parents Share Their Stories With Us

Since we started Freshpet, we’ve received so many letters from pet parents about their pet’s experience with fresh food. Many of these stories bring so much meaning to why we do what we do each day. Whether they are transformational stories about changes in health and energy, or stories of pets excited to try new food, each brings a smile, laugh or sometimes a tear to our eyes. But most importantly, they inspire us to continue to bring the power of Fresh food to pets.


So when we were brainstorming our next commercial, inviting the families behind some of our favorite letters was a no-brainer.


We surprised fifteen Freshpet families and their pets to join us in Brooklyn, NY to film a series of commercials called Letters. This was the first time in New York, and on-set, for many of these families. We asked each duo or trio to read the same letter they had sent into us, and to introduce us to their amazing pets.


See their amazing stories below:



We captured so many magical moments with these families that we wanted to share with you as well. Check out our behind the scenes video for all of the fun.



And of course, visit to see more stories, and even share your own. We’d love to hear from you!


What to Pack for a Day in the #FreshOutdoors

The crisp fall weather is one of our favorite times of the year.  It’s cool enough for us and our pets to endure outside activities for longer periods of time, and the sun is still shining to keep us warm. So there’s no better time to grab your gear and go for a hike with the family and the dog.


If you’re planning to go on a hike with your dog, here’s a few things to think about when packing. Many of these tips apply to other outdoor activities too!


The Pack

To get started you’ll need a pack that will fit all of your personal items for the trip ahead, as well as items to keep your dog happy, hydrated and safe. So make sure you bring one along that is big enough to carry everything but compact enough to not weigh down your stride.

Another option is having your dog wear a pack to help divide the load. A healthy dog can carry about 25% of their weight. Some breeds can carry much more while others might not be equipped to carry anything at all. Ask your vet to see what they suggest for your dog. A good starter bag is the Kurgo Wander Pack. It’s lightweight but strong and accommodates dogs 30 to 85 pounds.




Clothing and Boots

Some people may think dog clothes can be silly, but in this case they can be completely functional if you’re trying to keep your pet warm. You’ll want something durable, that will retain heat and be appropriate for the weather. If it’s raining, get something water-resistant or waterproof. As the weather turns to snowy, you’ll want a more heavy duty jacket. But for cool fall days, we love the  Ruffwear’s Climate Changer™Fleece Jacket.




Also rough terrain can make your dog’s footing uneasy on the trail. If you know your trail will be rocky, consider boots if you think your dog can benefit from them and wear them throughout your hike. We recommend Ruffwear’s Summit Trek Boots for their sturdiness.




Leash and Harness

We absolutely love the idea of a hands-free experience when hiking with your pet. This leash from Olly Dog wraps around your waist and features an elastic on the length of the leash for a tangle and tug-less adventure. If you have an easily excitable dog, find a good harness to keep them on track with you.




Food Essentials

Enjoy the trails!  Just keep in mind that even though the scorching sun isn’t beating down  you can’t trek for hours on end. Allow your dog to ease into hiking especially if they’re older. And remember to pack plenty of water and treats to keep them comfortable. We recommend our Dog Joy Sausage Slices for a day trip. They’re thick and meaty slices to satisfy your dog with a savory taste.  Also a collapsible bowl will be handy when serving up water. Try Popware’s Collapsible Travel Cup which includes a handy carabiner.



If your hiking adventure will be more than a day trip, remember to pack enough of dog food for your stay in a cooler that will keep everything fresh. Our Freshpet Select Roasted Meals are easy to serve and resealable, making them great for camping.


FPS_RoastedMeal 1-75oz TendrChkn


Thank You to Dorothy and All The Hardworking K9s

When Dorothy Holmes reached out to tell us about donations for her local K9 unit we were absolutely touched. But after finding out that she was the mom of five dogs, one cat and a parrot, we weren’t surprised by her love of animals.


Moving into a second month now, police forces and their K9 units have been on a manhunt for Eric Frein, the man believed to have killed a Pennsylvania State Trooper while wounding another in an ambush. The Barrett Township community, including Dorothy, have been worried about their safety and what else Frein might be capable of doing.  Authorities and volunteers have been tirelessly looking for the suspect while we still wait for his capture.




Dorothy decided to show her gratitude to the hardworking K9s assisting the search by delivering Freshpet treats to the Pleasant Valley Veterinary Hospital, who were collecting donations of treats to gift to the dogs. She then contacted our team to encourage us to donate what we could.




We love that Dorothy got involved when her town was actively paying it forward. No one should forget about the many dogs on duty helping to keep our cities safe. We decided to send Dorothy and her family a bunch of Freshpet meals and treats to say thank you helping out her community.

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We encourage you to seek out ways to give back to your local K9 units, which could mean delivering treats too! It’s a great way to let them know that they’re appreciated and doing an important job. If you reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter about supporting your K9s, we’ll send coupons to use toward getting treats to donate. Expect to put mouth-watering smiles on their faces.



We Love Central Park… and Marnie The Dog

We had such a fun time at the 12th Annual My Dog Loves Central Park Fair hosted by Central Park Paws.  Not even a little rain could keep back a crowd of dog lovers and their pets for an event at their favorite spot for walks!


It was great to see hundreds of dogs decked out in their best Halloween costumes. The Freshpet Truck was parked at the Naumburg Bandshell for all the dogs to stroll over for a bite to eat and try out our new Vital Raw patties. We’re happy to say that they ate (and licked) our truck clean of rolls and treats.


We were also happy to invite one of our favorite Instagram pups and pal, Marnie the Dog, out to enjoy the afternoon with us and meet some of her fans. SO many of you come out to have a moment with Marnie and get your pictures taken. Along the way all of you who visited helped to raise $170 for Social Tees Animal Rescue on behalf of Marnie the Dog. Proceeds will go to vet procedures for senior dogs.


Some of our favorite snaps from the event are collected below, but we want to see your photos too! Share them with us on Twitter or Instagram.



Calvin, Hobbes and Abby

A week ago we asked our Facebook community to share words of comfort to three Freshpet dogs going through end stages of cancer. In response, we were overflowing with messages of strength, heartfelt quotes and stories of those going through the same thing.



Andrea’s photo of the card sent for Calvin & Hobbes 

Dog mom Lisa reached out to tell us about Abby. Her beautiful girl stopped eating after being diagnosed, but Freshpet rolls got her excited about dinner time again. Her favorite treat was Wag-gurt. Then Andrea sent us a note sharing with us that both her pups Calvin and Hobbes were battling cancer but found that Freshpet meals and treats helped to brighten their appetite.



Lisa’s photos of Abby


We were so moved by not only Lisa and Andrea’s letters, but all of your condolences, that we decided to surprise Abby, Calvin and Hobbs with a Thank You. A special card with some of your Facebook messages and care packages filled with their favorite Freshpet meals. Sadly, since we sent our packages, Abby and Calvin lost their battle to cancer. We’re happy to hear that Hobbes is still fighting through. Both parents were touched by your heartwarming words. Lisa shared, “Abby received her surprise from Freshpet. Thank you so much for all the goodies and the kind card. It meant a lot to us… She was truly a special dog, a once in a lifetime dog.” Andrea was also surprised and thankful for the gesture saying, “You know your dogs are extra special when their ‘chefs’ send them something special.”



We’re so happy all of you chimed in to complete this gift to their dogs. It’s always wonderful to see our community care about one another especially during difficult times of loss.