All posts by Katie Tyson

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Teaching a Senior Pet Some Fresh Tricks

Forget the idea that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. As parents, it’s up to us to do the best for our pets by taking care of them and providing them with everything they need. That especially includes feeding them fresh, nutritious food that will keep them healthy. No matter how old your dog or cat is, it’s never too late to get him on a diet that will help them live longer and happier. Our good friend Dr. Katy has given us a few guidelines to remember when giving your pup or kitty the Fresh Start he deserves.

 

The first thing to always remember is that there is no “one size fits all” diet. Pets, like humans, have different dietary requirements as they age. An older dog, for example, doesn’t have as many energy requirements a young, active dog. That means they shouldn’t consume the same amount of food as one. Every pet’s needs are different, depending on his breed, weight, age, and other factors. But every pet’s diet should contain the appropriate nutrients and amino acids that dogs and cats require to maintain healthy coats, immune systems and muscles. This means feeding a well-balanced, fresh diet like Freshpet Select Slice & Serve Chicken Recipe for dogs, for meals that contain protein-rich chicken, vitamin-rich vegetables and high fiber brown rice. For Cats, I recommend Freshpet Select Roasted Meals for Cats Chicken Recipe, made with bits of fresh chicken, real ocean whitefish, accented with carrots and spinach for a meal that your cat will love.

 

If you’re planning on changing your pet’s diet, slow and steady is the key. Aim for a 7-10 day transition in which you slowly add more and more of the new diet and less and less of the old diet until your pet is completely switched over. By doing this, you should be able to avoid any gastrointestinal upset that would be expected with an abrupt change. As always, consult with your vet about the type of food and how much you should be feeding your pet.

 

After you start feeding your pet fresh, expect to see a great change in him. Increased energy, improved weight and a soft, shiny coat are just a few ways that you’ll see your pet improve. You may even notice that he’s generally happier! Use our own Fresh Start score card to start keeping track of all these wonderful changes that you’ll see in your pet.

 

Don’t forget that your pet also needs exercise, even in his older years. Inactivity can lead to weight gain and added stress on his joints. It’s also important that you consider how much activity he can actually take. Short, easy walks are always recommended for dogs. If you have stairs, try having your pet climb up and down them with toys and treats. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog that likes to swim and access to a body of water, swimming is great for your dog’s muscles while easy on his joints. Every little bit of exercise helps, and your pet will be happy to have the playtime with you!

 

Older pets are an absolute joy to have as a part of your family. If you are lucky enough to be the parent of one, always remember that no matter how senior he is, there’s always something you can do to give him a Fresh Start.

Senior Dog

Bringing a Senior Dog Home

So you decided to adopt an older dog. Let us be one of the first to congratulate you! Bringing a senior dog or cat home is a truly rewarding experience and we know you will feel the same after even just a few days. But, like bringing home any other new pet, senior pets will need a bit of prepping before they are completely acclimated to their new surrounding. We want to make this as easy as possible for you both, so here are a few ideas that will help your new pet fit right into his new home.

 

Give Older Dogs a Spot

 

Giving your dog his own safe area will go a long way to making him feel very comfortable in his new surroundings. Make sure it’s quiet, but try not to isolate him from the rest of the family. He’ll want to observe his new pack from a safe space until he’s relaxed enough to join in on the family activities.

 

Make the Introductions

 

It’s important to give your dog or cat the time he needs to adapt to your family. Introduce him to your family members individually and make sure he feels as safe as possible. He may have been in shelters his whole life, so it’s your responsibility to make this transition as easy as possible.

 

A walk in neutral territory away from your home is a good way to ease any stress and a wonderful way to kick off the bonding process. You’ll all be one big happy family in no time, so there’s no need to rush this part.

 

Ease Into a New Diet

 

While we always recommend the highest quality diet for all our pets, it’s important to note that transitioning a pet to a new diet should be gradual. A disrupted digestive system is no fun for anyone! If you can, get a little bit of his old food and mix it with his new food. We have many food options for older dogs, and recommend starting out with something easy like Freshpet Select Chicken or Freshpet Select Roasted Meals for Cats . Both recipes are packed with fiber that will make digestion very easy for your new pet.

 

Take Your Time!

 

While you may be excited and want to show off your new pet to everyone, remember that she is getting used to a brand new home with strangers. Like we said earlier, take every precaution to make the home comfortable for her and but don’t expect to rush her into every family function right off the bat. Give her the time she needs, and she’ll thank you for it in the long run.

 

The last thing to remember is that adopting a senior dog is a wonderful thing to do. You’ve given him a great home and he’ll spend the rest of his time with you loving you for it. Enjoy the new family member!

Obie Dog

Obie’s Big Change

A little while back, we heard the story of Obie, a very cute dachshund that happened to be a bit bigger than average. Obie tipped the scales at 71 pounds, over 40 pounds above the average dachshund’s weight. While his abnormal figure led to a career on the talk show scene and Internet fame, many worried (ourselves included!) about Obie’s health.

Big Obie

Thankfully, Obie was put into the care of a family that put him on a strict weight-loss regiment that included diet and exercise. In a year and a half, Obie lost a total of 54 pounds. If this were the Biggest Loser, he would have won by a landslide.

 

These days, Obie is a fit 30 pounds and is one active dog. According to an update from our friends at Dogster, Obie loves to go on walks and hikes with his family. And have we mentioned he looks absolutely great?

 

Helping Your Dog Fight Obesity

 

One of the first things to consider when helping your pet avoid weight gain is his or her diet. Foods high in carbohydrates, like many dry kibbles or treats, can be difficult for pets to digest and cause excess weight gain. Freshpet recipes are great for weight loss or prevention because they are low in carbs, high in meat content and do not contain simple carbohydrates like corn or white rice. Many of the Vital rolls are grain-free, and Freshpet Select rolls are made with complex carbs like brown rice, which is high in fiber and helps our loved ones feel fuller, longer.

 

Obesity in our pets is not always due to food content, but rather food quantity. As pet parents, it is our responsibility to effectively exercise portion control when feeding our pups and kitties. Freshpet Slice and Serve rolls have portion measurements that are easy to use, making it easy to manage portion sizes.

 

We’re so happy and inspired that Obie is doing and feeling great. Make sure to like his fan page on Facebook to get more updates from this fit pup.

sleepy cat

Giving your Dogs and Cats a Good Night’s Sleep

It seems like we can’t go a week without reading (yet) another new study about how a good night’s sleep is important to our health. It’s no secret that sleep is extremely beneficial to us. So, what about our pets? They need a good night’s rest as well. But what does that mean exactly?

 

Sleep For the Dogs

 

Dog parents know that sometimes it feels like their dog is always sleeping or taking a nap. Unlike us humans, dogs don’t get their sleep in one session, instead they take a series of short naps throughout the day. In total, dogs can sleep anywhere from 12 to 14 hours each day to get the amount of rest they need. Sleeping habits can also depend on age, breed, and activity levels.

 

To help your dog get the good rest he needs, tend to his evolutionary needs. Remember that his ancestors lived in the wild, in dens and caves. Make sure your pup has a comfortable and safe place to rest by creating a bed and a sleeping area just for him.

 

Exercise and diet also play a large part in your dog’s sleep. A low-quality diet can slow a dog down because he lacks the appropriate nutrients he needs for energy. So make sure to feed your pet with nutrient-rich foods like our Freshpet meals and rolls. Lack of activity and exercise may cause a dog to become lethargic and sleep more than necessary. If your dog is sleeping more than 14 hours a day, give him some more exercise!

 

Sleep for the Cats

 

There’s a reason why it’s called a cat nap. it’s no secret that cats sleep a lot; in fact, they spend most of their day (an average of 18 hours) sleeping! Due to their evolutionary traits, cats are most active during dawn and dusk (sometimes pestering their parents), when their wild ancestors went out to hunt. The rest of the day is spent to conserve their energy.

 

So because cats sleep all the time, it’s important for you to learn what kind of sleep cycle is normal for your cat. Note whether they’re a cat napper, a deep sleeper during the day, or a night sleeper. Changes in sleep patterns can be a sign of a health issue, which is something you should consult your veterinarian with. Try and keep up with your cat’s sleep to give her an easy and comfortable routine. And, as is the case with training any pet, patience is a virtue!

 

The ultimate sleep: Enter to win The Madison Bed

 

Since comfort is always important when it comes to your pets getting great sleep, we wanted to help you, our dedicated fans, give your pets a more comfortable place to sleep. Our friends at Lazy Bonezz will be giving away one of their Madison beds to one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is post a funny photo of your pet sleeping on our Facebook page and “like” Lazy Bonezz on Facebook or Twitter!

 

Be sure to enter by Thursday 4/24!

 

Good luck and sweet dreams!

 

Noa and Lucy

The Team Cuddle Freshpet Faves

We’re pretty sure it’s not possible to overdose on cute photos, but we have to be getting close. There have been thousands of entries in the #FreshpetTeamCuddle contest, and every single one of them has been fantastic. We’ve got some good looking fans out there! If you haven’t yet checked out the finalists, check them out at Momma’s Gone City.

 

So because we have had such a great time looking through all these pics of kiddos, kitties and pups we’ve decided to add one last category: the Freshpet Faves! These are our 10 absolute favorite photos. We think you’d agree. Tell us which photo you think should be the Freshpet favorite! The winner will get a very special Freshpet gift basket. Now without further ado, here are the Freshpet Faves!

Freshpet Fave 4 Freshpet Fave 5 Freshpet Faves 6 Freshpet Faves 7 Freshpet Faves 8 Freshpet Faves 9 Freshpet Faves 10

Team Cuddle Fave 1 Team Cuddle Fave 2 Team Cuddle Fave 3

Tell us which of these are your favorites. While the most popular photos aren’t guaranteed to win, we’ll definitely consider the fan vote! Enjoy the cuddles, everyone.

photo 4

The Freshpet Truck Hits NYC!

Phew!

 

Yesterday was a big day for us here at Freshpet. Our friend Dr. Katy was a guest on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda (where she got to feed some Olympic champions our Freshpet Dog Joy treats), and the Freshpet truck hit the streets of New York!

 

In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, we asked pet parents all day long to take the #FeedFresh pledge, promising to feed their pups and kitties fresh, nutritious food. Find out more about the pledge here: freshpet.com/feedfresh. The truck was a big part of it, with pet parents all over the city pledging to #FeedFresh in return for a coupon or 1lb slice & serve roll.

 

Zack, one of the newest members of the Freshpet team, shares his experiences on the only food truck for dogs and cats:

 

photo 2

We got our day started in the morning by hanging out in the downtown neighborhood of TriBeca where we met our pal Bumper who LOVED our Dog Joy Turkey Bacon strips. It was a real pleasure to tell pet parents about Freshpet. They were all super excited to give our recipes a try! Afterwards, we made our way to the East Village where we met some of the hippest pups and pet parents in town! Sandy the pit bull, in particular, was feeling very social and hung out with our truck team for quite some time!

 

From there, the truck made its way to Union Square and Madison Square Park. It was a very busy time of day, but there were plenty of pets and pet parents out on the town that were eager to taste Freshpet for the very first time. Z the Chow, whose dad told us is usually very finicky with his food, couldn’t get enough of our Dog Joy treats!

photo 1

 

As the day wound to a close, the truck had one more stop to make: the Meatpacking District on the west side of Manhattan. The neighborhood hosted Social Media Week, a yearly gathering of the best minds and personalities on social media. And as we all know, the Internet LOVES pets, so we had a lot of fun talking with the pet-loving social media-ites. It was a great day to take the Freshpet truck out into the city. Despite the chilly weather, the pets and their parents were out in full force. And we were happy to give some Freshpet recipes away to our new friends! If you missed out on the fun, don’t worry! You can still take the #FeedFresh pledge AND get a coupon for free Freshpet here: freshpet.com/feedfresh

Dr. Katy Answers More of YOUR Fur-Kid Questions!

 

 

With so many great fur-kid questions, Dr. Katy has come back to help with what you’d like to know regarding your fur-kids. In response to your questions from Monday, please see her answers below!

If your question was chosen by Dr. Katy, please send us a private message on Facebook to receive your Freshpet goodie!

 

Freshpet parent Jodi H. asks…  I have a seven-year-old boxer that has recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Just wondering if the Freshet diet she is on and the Freshpet treats are high in fat?

High cholesterol in dogs is not necessarily a diagnosis of a problem, but more of a part of a work up of disease. Cholesterol levels are used to supplement the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, liver disease, Cushing’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder) and diabetes. Triglycerides are much more of a problem in pets than cholesterol, and should be assessed in your pet if you have concerns. Diet is not directly linked to cholesterol levels in dogs, as it is in people, but in situations where triglycerides are elevated, dietary therapy can be used to help lower them.

 

Freshpet parent Tiffany asks… Dr. Nelson, I have a neutered male cat and understand that urinary tract infections are common. I feed him only Freshpet.  Do you have any recommendations as to how I can prevent a future infection?

Actually, urinary tract infections are not as common in male cats as they are in female cats. If your cat has appeared to have a UTI in the past, what you are more than likely seeing are occasional flare-ups of Feline Idiopathic Cystitis, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

At times of flare-ups, treatment should be instituted by a veterinarian to control symptoms and prevent them from progressing. A variety of therapeutics have been found to be effective, so work with your veterinarian to determine the therapy that is right for your kitty.

But as you pointed out in your question, an important part of treatment of FLUTD is prevention of further episodes.  Diet plays a huge role in this.  Cats typically do not drink a sufficient amount of water to keep their urine diluted.  Therefore, a fresh moist food is considered ideal as these foods are higher in water content than kibble alternatives and tend to lead to more diluted urine.

 

Freshpet parent Aejin asks… What can I do to improve the condition of dog’s teeth?

Just like in people, there is no substitute to brushing your dog’s teeth for prevention of periodontal disease. Studies have shown that a minimum of three times a week is needed to prevent tartar build-up, but daily is required to reverse gingivitis. There are numerous products out there to make the process easier for you and your pet:  finger brushes, regular soft-bristled brushes, flavored toothpastes (do NOT use human toothpaste with fluoride), etc. Chew toys vary in efficacy, and with severe dental disease are not advised, as teeth can be weakened and could potentially break.  Bones and other hard toys are discouraged in these situations, as well.

Regular, anesthetized prophylactic cleanings done in your veterinarian’s office are the very best way to get a thorough cleaning of the teeth, and are the only way to clean below the gum line, where the most dangerous bacteria tend to gather. Talk with your veterinarian to learn more about this process, and to have a dental exam done on your pet.

 

Freshpet parent Rob asks… My cat can only eat food without wheat in it. I feed him Freshpet, but he’s having trouble with hairballs. Is there a supplement I can give him to help with this issue? Something natural, perhaps?

Without having additional information, I can advise only up to a point. Hairballs are often blamed for a variety of actual diseases, and the reason so many hairball remedies are considered “ineffective” is because frequently they’re being used to treat something that is a symptom, rather than addressing the real problem.

We really need to clarify the difference between coughing and vomiting when we begin a work up for ‘hairballs’ in cats. In my opinion, it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to start by giving your kitty a lion cut.  If the vomiting decreases, or ceases, with elimination of the hair, then you’ve got your answer and your solution all at once.  However, if the vomiting persists with the absence of hair, then it’s time to talk with your veterinarian about instituting a work up to find what is troubling your kitty.

Jude Facebook Picture

How A Stray Named Jude Found His Appetite, and Spirit, With Freshpet

The following is a story that is sure to warm your heart.

 

We are proud to introduce Lateefa, who has been involved in the veterinary community for over 20 years. With a heart as big as gold, Lateefa couldn’t help but beam as she described her story to us…

 

Last August, Lateefa was at the Redbank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey for a client visit when she bumped into the head doctor of the facility. It had been a few years since her last pup, a German Shepherd / Collie mix, and she was finally coming around to inviting another into her home. “I’m thinking about fostering a German Shepherd!” she told the doctor. “Oh geez, don’t do it. You know better than anyone else how exhausting it can be. Are you sure you’re ready?” he replied.

 

But there had been an absence of love in her house without a pup, and besides, “If I was going to foster a dog, it’d have to be a dog that really needs me and my expertise, right?” thought Lateefa. And so, she decided to give the gift of her love and care to a pup in need.

 

Lateefa knew that whatever dog she ended up fostering, it was likely that food was going to be an important factor on the road to recovery. So, the doctor at Redbank connected her with Dr. Lisa Weeth, a leading veterinary nutritionist at the hospital who could help advise on the proper food to get her future foster dog eating again.

 

As it turns out, Dr. Lisa Weeth was one of the nutritionists who helped create the original Freshpet formula. To this day, we still work closely with Dr. Weeth on ingredients, nutritional consultation and recipe ideas to ensure your dogs and cats are getting everything that they need.

 

See where this story is headed?

 

Enter Jude. Jude was picked up as a stray on the streets of Helmetta, New Jersey. Jude was believed to be an eight-year-old German Shepherd, weighing in at a dangerously frail 50 pounds – half the healthy body weight for his breed and age. Jude found his way to the Garden State German Shepherd Rescue (GSGSR) in Millburn, New Jersey. A few days later, Lateefa got the call.

 

Jude Beginning

 

Having been told about Jude’s condition, Lateefa was nervous and hopeful that she was up to the task. Jude was pretty much barren of any fur from his rib cage to his tail, with a bulging spine from malnutrition. Lateefa had been told by GSGSR that Jude was struggling to eat, but with Dr. Lisa Weeth’s advice about feeding Freshpet in mind, Lateefa was optimistic.

 

At 2pm on August 8th, 2013, Lateefa met GSGSR to pick up Jude, and braced herself as they opened the car door.

 

Right away, she thought to herself, “Oh my God…he’s got Mange, too.” Aside from a lack of fur, decrepit body and wounded morale, Jude couldn’t receive physical affection because of his lesions.

 

While he may have looked at Lateefa with the gentlest eyes you can imagine, “In 31 years, I have never seen a dog as emotionally broken as Jude,” uttered Lateefa. He seemed eager to get into her car, and from there the two drove home together.

 

Lateefa simply tried to make Jude comfortable for the first few days. With Dr. Weeth’s nutritional advice in mind, a low-fat, high-protein, high-fiber diet was just what Jude would need to find his appetite and put on body weight to aid in his physical and emotional recovery. So, Lateefa pulled out a roll of Freshpet Vital Beef and Bison from the fridge and waited with anticipation to see if Jude would take to it.

 

Within minutes, the dog that struggled to eat while at GSGSR took right to his new fresh, all natural food. “I love the fact that Freshpet is a natural diet,” says Lateefa, “and for the first few weeks I would feed him ¼ pound of Freshpet with a boiled egg and rice six times a day, just to get his weight up.” Finally, Jude was getting into a healthy eating routine.

 

It didn’t take long for Lateefa to begin to notice a change in her Jude.

 

Jude - Eating FP

 

“I genuinely believe that it was his love for food, his Freshpet, that brought him out of his broken state,” says Lateefa. Jude’s favorite Beef and Bison, along with Lateefa’s amazing communication and one-on-one interaction, is what boosted Jude’s weight and lifted his spirit.

 

With Jude eating again, Lateefa got another stroke of luck early in her fostering of Jude. Lateefa had kept in touch with the GSGSR to let them know how Jude had been doing, and was so pleasantly surprised to hear that Freshpet had recently donated over 800 pounds of Vital dog food to their shelter. “We haven’t had to buy a roll yet, all of Jude’s food has been donated from Freshpet,” remarks Lateefa. “He’s absolutely in love with beef and bison – he freakin’ loves it!” In fact, Jude loves his Freshpet rolls so much that he won’t touch kibble if Lateefa tries to mix it in, “He just picks out the Freshpet.”

 

Today, Jude is now over 90 pounds, with a full coat and is finally showing his true personality. “He barks at the deer now – that’s a sound I wasn’t sure he would even make,” says Lateefa.

 

Jude Montage

 

The former stray who suffered from physical and emotional heartbreak, with signs of obvious physical abuse from previous owners, now runs and wines and jumps and nudges you for attention…and his food.

 

“He’s now such a foodie,” says Lateefa, “so much of his happiness came from his food. I really think his Freshpet made all the difference.”

 

Today, Jude is available for adoption and looking for a forever home that can provide him with the same love and care that Lateefa has so generously given. Thank you Lateefa and GSGSR for the amazing work you’ve done to get Jude back to his normal self, and we can’t wait to hear more about how Jude is doing in the near future!

 

Do you have a Freshpet Story you’d like to share? Or do you want to learn more about how we work with shelters across the country? Write a review of your favorite Freshpet recipe or visit our Charitable Donations page at Freshpet.org.

 

Puppies in Super Bowl Commercials

Our Favorite Super Bowl Commercials Featuring Puppies!

The Big Game may have been a bit boring, but many of the commercials during the Super Bowl were anything but!

 

And if there’s any one thing we took away from last night’s TV ads, it was that we were reminded of the Power of the Pup. Several of last night’s most popular commercials involved puppies – and we loved it!

 

Which one was your favorite, Freshpet fans?

 

“Gracie” - This little girl knows how to bargain.

 

 

“What Can You Do With #nocontract?” So…whatever happened to those puppies that Tim Tebow saved? Can we have them please?

 

 

“Slow Bark” – Many of us saw CarMax’s Slow Clap commercial last night. But, did you know that they re-enacted it with only puppies? We can’t stop watching it!

 

 

“Time Machine” - We wouldn’t necessarily recommend feeding Doritos to your pup, but it was cute nonetheless ;)

 

 

5. Doritos’ “Cowboy Kid” – Is there something about dogs and Doritos that we’re unaware of?

 

 

“Doberhuahua” - We’ve heard of some adorably awesome mixed breeds, but this was a first!

 

 

“Puppy Love” - This one’s got everyone talking this morning. Pass the Kleenex!

 

 

Did we miss a Super Bowl commercial featuring either a pup or kitty? Let us know in the comments below!

Puppy Twitter 7

6 Puppies Who Wore Pharrell’s Hat Better than Pharrell

Last night was Grammy night, and one of the biggest winners wasn’t just Pharrell: it was his hat. To celebrate such awesome head wear, we’re taking a fresh look at the hat of the evening, and sharing six puppies who rocked his look. Because, puppies!

 

Check out our fashion-forward pups below.

 

1. Buster’s look is all about style. From the hat’s hue perfectly matching his fur-tone, to the brightly colored Bandana, Buster knows how to make his look stand out. “I chose a yellow-toned bandana because it makes my eyes pop. Or so Mom says!”

 

Puppy Twitter 7

 

2. Candice proves that female pups can wear hats too, and wear it she does. “The Grammys were all about breaking down gender roles this year,” she says. “Why can’t a lady wear a hat… or a suit like Madonna?” We certainly agree!

 

Puppy Twitter 1

 

3. “Pharrell’s hat seamlessly transitions from the warm weather in LA to the cool east coast winter with ease,” says Scout. “Plus, I can store extra treats in here for when I’m hungry later.”Puppy Twitter 2

 

4. Peaches is less than enthused by Pharrell’s hat’s new fame. “I don’t know what all the big deal is,” he says. “I’ve been wearing this hat since Dad found it in a thrift shop, which was at least 10 meals ago.”Puppy Twitter 4

 

5. Boss finds  Pharrell’s hat is more of a utility than a fashion statement. “I need to protect my eyes from the sun, and I find it keeps my drool from overheating. If you know anything about drool, you know what I mean.” We sure do, Boss.

 

Puppy Twitter 5

 

6. Finally, Beau thinks his hat makes him look just as cool as Pharrell. “I’ve always loved Pharrell, I love his song Happy, and now I love his hat. Plus, the ladies really go crazy for it. That and my puppy dog eyes.”

 

Puppy Twitter 3

 

We hope that you enjoyed our Pups – who do YOU think wore it best? Tell us in the comments!