Tag Archives: Dr. Katy Nelson

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Thank You: For Dr. Katy and Catherine Violet Hubbard

We’ve been incredibly lucky to have Dr. Katy Nelson as our resident veterinarian for Freshpet and have her medical expertise on topics of pet health behind the scenes. She’s also an amazing pet advocate, which is something we can always get behind.

Most recently she has gotten involved as a producer for “Tell Them I Am Kind,” a documentary telling the story of Catherine Violet Hubbard. On December 14, 2012, Catherine was sadly one of 20 children killed in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. From a young age, Catherine was drawn to all kinds of animals, and had always dreamed of working with them one day. By age six, she already printed out business cards for “Catherine’s Animal Shelter” naming herself as “Caretaker.”

Catherine’s family has decided to make her dream come true and open The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown later this year.  “It will be a place for kids to play with and learn about animals, just as Catherine had loved to do,” says Dr. Katy. It will also be a safe haven for local rescues to live.

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So as a Thank You to Dr. Katy as well as a little girl who unconditionally loved animals, we’re donating to this new sanctuary inspired by young Catherine Violet Hubbard. You can help in your own way by sharing or donating to “Tell Them I Am Kind” to help bring her story to life. To learn more visit TellThemIAmKind.org.

 

 

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Kitten & Puppy Nutrition by Dr. Katy Nelson

Bringing a new puppy or kitten home for the first time is so exciting, and there are many things you need to plan for ahead of time. One of the most important is how you will nourish your new little one. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions from new pet parents:

 

How long does it take for my puppy or kitten to grow into an adult?

This answer is very dependent upon the size your pet will be as an adult.  Kittens and puppies grow at an incredible rate from birth to about six months old. After six months, kittens and small breed dogs’ growth rate starts to slow down as muscles begin to fill out and bones begin to harden.  Large and giant breed dogs, however, can continue to grow for up to two years! The best way to ensure your pet’s growth stays on the right track is to provide them with regular veterinary care and proper nutrition.

 

I don’t like the food my puppy or kitten was eating before, how do I make a change?

For the first week or two after you bring your new pet home, it’s best to continue feeding them the same type and brand of food they were eating before. Changing their diet too quickly can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Once they’re settled and you’re ready for a change, gradually increase the new food and decrease the old food over a period of 7-10 days or until they are eating 100% of the new food.

 

Do I need to buy special kitten or puppy food?

Typically kitten and puppy food contains higher levels of protein and fat per serving than adult food to help support their rapid development, but buying it is not necessary. If a pet food is labeled “complete & balanced for all life stages” it is appropriate for young and old alike. However, you will need to adjust the amount you feed so be sure to talk with your veterinarian about the proper amount for your pet’s life stage and carefully read the recommended feeding guidelines on the packaging.

 

How much should I feed my puppy or kitten?

In general, kittens and puppies from two to fourteen months old should be fed up to twice the normal adult requirement. Every couple of months, as their growth rate slows down, you will need to reduce the amount they eat to keep them from becoming overweight. To sustain their energy levels even throughout the day, I recommend splitting their daily feeding amount into three or four smaller meals. Giving your new bundle of joy treats is okay in moderation, as long as they do not account for more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.

 

As always, be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.  Best of luck with your new addition!

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Dr. Katy: Prepping Your Pet for 2014!

With the holiday season having come and gone, we have so much to look forward to with a brand new year ahead!

 

You’re not alone if you may have indulged a little too much in tasty food and drinks over the holidays as you were enjoying the time with family and friends. While it can be easy for us to head to the gym or make slight changes in our diet to get back to our target weight, it can be more difficult for our pets to shed any unwanted pounds they may have added. According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, on average dogs gain 0.3 pounds and cats gain 0.4 during the holidays. That is equivalent to 5-7 pounds for a human; a lot of extra weight for a pup or kitty to lug around!

 

As I’ve often said before, keeping a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our pets is critical for long-term health and happiness. Unfortunately, because our pets cannot choose their diet on their own, it’s important for us to make sure they’re putting their “best paws forward” when it comes to nutrition and activity.

 

As we head into 2014, here are my tips on how you can help your pet battle the bulge that he/she may have picked up in the new year, and how to monitor their weight throughout the year:

 

A quick check to determine if your pet is a bit overweight is by feeling around the rib cage.

A quick check for excess weight can be done by feeling for your pet’s rib cage, which should be easy to spot if your pet is at a healthy weight. (Photo: elfin_peaz. Flickr)

 

  1. Check your pet’s weight regularly. You can check your pet’s weight at home by gently running your fingers along their rib cage. At a healthy weight, their ribs should be felt easily and have a thin, silky layer of skin moving over them. If you feel your pet is overweight, make an appointment with your vet to discuss an appropriate action plan. You can read more about how to conduct the “feel test” here.
  2. Portion control. Pet obesity is largely due to the overconsumption of commercial food and treats. Feeding guidelines are usually based on a “healthy adult pet” and one size does not fit all. There are many factors used to determine how many calories your pet needs, like life stage, reproductive status, physical activity, and disease conditions, so be sure to speak with your vet to determine what daily caloric intake is right for your pet. This is what we call “target weight,” or the ideal weight for your pup or cat. And while we love to feed our pets treats, these added calories can push your pet over their target weight – so treat with caution!
  3. Read labels. Cats and dogs are natural carnivores and thrive on fresh, meat-based diets. Many traditional shelf-stable pet foods are carbohydrate-based and contain fillers like corn, wheat and soy, which are harder for your pet to digest. Instead, look for all natural food that has meat as the first ingredient, like Vital Beef & Bison or Freshpet Select Chunky Chicken & Turkey slice & serve rolls. A protein-dense food will also help your pet stay fuller longer and provide longer-lasting energy.
  4. Avoid table scraps. Human food is not appropriate for household pets in most instances. A complete and balanced food made especially for pets is recommended, just like all of the recipes you’ll find with Freshpet.
  5. Regular exercise. Keeping your pet active will help them burn calories and gain muscle tone. For a list of fun ways you and your pet can exercise together this year, visit my blog post on 10 fun ways to exercise with your pet.
 
Taking your pet for a walk is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise, helping to burn calories and release endorphins. (Photo: Kenneth Allen - WikiCommons)

Taking your pet for a walk is an excellent way for both of you to get exercise, helping to burn calories and release endorphins. (Photo: Kenneth Allen – WikiCommons)

 

 
I hope that 2014 brings many amazing experiences and memories with you and your pet, but most importantly, I wish you a healthy (and happy) year ahead!

 

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Dr. Katy’s Advice for Beating End of Year Stress

This time of year, it can feel like we’re being pulled in a thousand different directions.

 

There’s holiday shopping, the end of year blitz at work, managing your busy schedule, managing those of your kids (furry ones included), and prepping for the New Year. It can be exhausting. Then, there are so many things that we feel like we should be doing as well: volunteering, giving to charity, going to visit family, etc. With all of that going on, we can forget to take care of ourselves.

 

There’s a known term for letting our hearts get too big and actually causing stress: “Compassion Fatigue.” Whether you’ve got a house full of pets, kids still at home, or are responsible for the well-being of others as part of your career, when you focus on others too much without practicing self-care, that’s when a healthy adjustment might be necessary. While there are many lessons we can learn from our pets, taking time for ourselves to relax is one of the most important and healthy.

 

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As an emergency veterinarian, I have certainly experienced “Compassion Fatigue” in my career. There are days in this job where it seems like everything I see is in critical condition, and every owner has a story that pulls on the heartstrings. Some days, all I can do is stay compassionate and supportive for them and their pets. But when I have my own things to worry about, taking on someone else’s can be draining.

 

While caring for the needs of others is extremely important, balancing their needs with your own is critical. If you’re not happy and healthy, it’s hard to care for someone else! Thus, prevention of emotional, physical and spiritual burnout is key. Here are my tips for surviving the busy (and sometimes overwhelming) holiday season and heading into the New Year with you on your mind:

 

    1. Carve Out Time for You: I know, easier said than done; but as a multi-career working mother, wife, entrepreneur, volunteer, daughter, friend, etc. let me assure you that it can be done. Be sure to make yourself as much a priority as you do everyone else.
    2. Get Some Rest and Manage Your Intake: Beware of yummy “feel good items.” It’s okay to have that delicious Gingerbread Latte occasionally, but having to have one can become a problem. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can make you feel better temporarily, but are not the answers when experiencing burnout. Instead, make sure to get into bed earlier to wake up feeling well rested and with a more positive outlook.
    3. Spend Time With Your Pets: Loads of research over the last 25 years has shown us that living with pets provides numerous health benefits, both physically and mentally. In an article I wrote recently, I mentioned that spending more time with our pets could lower our blood pressure, lessen anxiety, reduce allergies, encourage healthy socializing, and boost our immunity. So, there’s a great excuse to build in more time with your pets, even if it’s just a quick walk together or extra few minutes of giving them affection.
    4. Get Some Exercise: Just a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood with your furry friend can make a healthy impact. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural “feel good” hormones. This way, you’ll be doing your body and mind a favor, while helping your pet experience the same. Here are some great ways to get exercise in with your dog or cat, whether at home or on vacation this holiday.
    5. Ask for Support from Those Closest to You: It’s never a sign of weakness to tell those you love that you could use a hand. Perhaps you can delegate a few responsibilities, or ask for them to help you get something done. Or, sometimes just having someone to listen can make us feel so much better. It’s important to be sure to ‘escape’ from the busy lifestyle every once in a while and, sometimes, doing so with a close friend or loved one is the best way!

 

 

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Our pets are great at taking time for themselves, something to emulate! And don’t underestimate the positive effects spending time with our furballs can have on our health. (Photo: Phil Roeder, Flickr)

 

By taking a little time for yourself, you strengthen your own ability to give to others by making yourself a happier person. As we enter the thick of the holiday season and begin to think about the New Year, it’s important that we remember these important tips to take care of ourselves.

 

Happy Holidays to you and yours, and I can’t wait to connect with everyone again in the New Year!

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Dr. Katy’s Tips For Keeping Your Fur-Kids Safe This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, we hope that you get to spend lots of time with loved ones over delicious food!

 

But, as Freshpet friend and veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson reminds us, there are some very important things to keep in mind this Thanksgiving in order to keep your fur-kid safe. We asked Dr. Katy to give us the inside scoop on what pet parents can do to prepare for the holiday. So, what tips does she have for us?

 

From Dr. Katy Nelson:

 

The holidays are about celebrating family and feasting on fresh food.

 

But it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind during the holidays…especially if you’re hosting! With so many friends and family members wandering around the house this Thanksgiving, there are many things to remember in order to keep your dog or cat out of harm’s way.

 

So what should you consider?

 

This Thanksgiving, Keep Those Suitcases Closed for Your Pet’s Sake!

  • Try and Keep Your Suitcases Closed: As we know all too well, our pets can be bad decision makers when it comes to eating things – and your suitcase can be a hot zone for unhealthy temptations. If you have medications, vitamins or cosmetics, be sure to zip them away in your suitcase as they can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet(s). In fact, the number one call to animal poison control every year is for human medications. Even dirty laundry full of smells, especially socks and underwear, can be enticing for pets. If they decide to eat them, this can lead to intestinal blockage and even (expensive) surgery. So do your best to remember to keep those suitcases closed and zipped.
  • Handbags Should Be Out of Your Pet’s Reach: All female pet parents out there know that our handbags are full of wondrous items! While the sugar-free gum that we love so much is yummy to us, it contains a compound called Xylitol that can be deadly to pets. Snacks, especially those containing chocolate or nuts, can also be a major problem, especially for dogs. For those of us that like to keep hand sanitizer in our purses, keep in mind that the rubbing alcohol in those bottles can be extremely dangerous for our pets if they somehow manage to ingest some. So keep the handbags on your arm or up high so your pets don’t accidentally harm themselves.
  • Keep An Eye On Doors and Windows: Thanksgiving often means having a lot of family around. While it’s great to have everyone together, this can create much coming and going, and thus doors opening and closing. Whether you are heading outside to greet, or for the Thanksgiving family touch football game, be sure you and your guests keep an eye on the door so that your furry friend doesn’t run outside without proper supervision. When in doubt, you can always put your pets in an animal-friendly room with plenty of food and water, litter, and toys to make the foot traffic less of an issue.
  • Update Microchip Information: In the event that your pet does slip out of sight, it’s always a great idea to have your pet’s microchip information updated and the most current information on his/her collar tags. I’d recommend registering your pet’s microchip and information online with a service like HomeAgain. Checking that this information is up to date can help keep the entire family together (pets included) this Thanksgiving.
  • Feeding From Plates or Tables Should Never Be Allowed: What can start out as an innocent treat from the table can turn into something much more serious. While you may be aware of your pet’s allergies and sensitivities, visiting guests may have no idea how much harm some of the Thanksgiving feast items can pose to your furry friend. Be sure to let your guests know of any specific intolerances that your dog or cat may have so they, too, can be cautious with food around your pets. Try keeping your pup satisfied while everyone else is eating by having a bag of Freshpet Dog Joy Sweet Potato Chews handy. After all, they’re in the spirit of Thanksgiving, too!
I’ve worked in the veterinary emergency room on many Thanksgivings before and have seen just about everything – from dogs swallowing underwear to pets stealing the turkey. But if you follow these tips this Thanksgiving, you and your pet will likely have a stress-free Thanksgiving so you can focus on what this holiday is all about: family and food.

 

Have a Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving!

 

 

Dr Katy Nelson
Freshpet's Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

Freshpet Joins Pups in Central Park for Dog Fair

We had so much fun at last Saturday’s My Dog Loves Central Park Fair in New York City’s Central Park.
It was such a beautiful day outside and we loved getting to spend so much time with hundreds of pet parents. There were so many different breeds of pups there that we just couldn’t get enough!

 

 

Freshpet's Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

Freshpet’s Katie Helps Hand Out Freshpet in Central Park!

 

We brought the Freshpet Truck with us, which is always a big hit with human kids and fur-kids alike. With pet statues on top and huge pet stickers, it’s becoming a My Dog Loves Central Park Fair icon. Between 11am and 3pm, pet parents and their pups walked up and tried free samples of our delicious food and treat recipes. Each pooch that stopped by got to take home one of our one pound Freshpet Select Slice and Serve rolls to try at home – talk about lucky dogs! We also brought boxes and boxes of our Dog Joy Chicken Treats, Dog Joy Beef Treats and Dog Joy Turkey Bacon– the pups were gobbling them right up.

 

Freshpet friend and veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson joined us for her first My Dog Loves Central Park Fair experience too. She helped the Freshpet team greet the park patrons and hand out samples to all of the pups. It was so great to have her on hand, and we think that pet parents would agree. Dr. Katy not only answered many pup-related questions, but she also helped people sign up for our Freshpet Fridge Challenge to have a chance to win free Freshpet for a whole year!

 

Dr. Katy enjoying her first Central Park Paws Fair!

Dr. Katy enjoying her first Central Park Paws Fair!

We love going to local events like these because they remind us of the strong bond between people and their dogs. Every sample we handed out and pet parent we talked to reminded us of why we love what we do. When we see the way pups and their parents interact together, its clear why keeping their dogs healthy with nutritious, fresh food like Freshpet matters so much.

 

There were so many exotic breeds there too – including a Puli! He was so sweet and posed for many pictures because the kids absolutely loved him. But our favorite part of the day was when a stroller full of chihuahuas came by around 1pm. Their mom brought them over with these adorable collars and they were just the cutest. We gave them the Dog Joy Turkey Bacon treats and they couldn’t get enough – every Freshpet team member was spoiling them rotten!
A family of Chihuahuas paid us a special visit!

A family of Chihuahuas paid us a special visit!

We can’t wait for next year’s My Dog Loves Central Park Fair! To see where you can find the Freshpet truck next, be sure to click here.
FFC - Two Little Cavs Featured Photo

Keep the Tail Wagging Forgoes the Fridge

Featured: No Fridge Feels Like “Super Size Me”

I am blogging on behalf of Freshpet and I received compensation for my time for sharing my experience and views on the Freshpet Fridge Challenge; all my views are my own. 

 

Love this food - but not too often!

Love this food – but not too often!

 

Yummmm! Not the healthiest meal, but I’ll take a couple bites.  Just not 2x a day, every day.

 

Over on Keep the Tail Wagging, I’ve been writing about the Freshpet Fridge Challenge that I’m participating in.  Thankfully, today is the last day and I can go back to eating fresh food.  The one thing that I took from this challenge is that with kibble, our dogs are eating a fast food diet.

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FFC - Cat Tipper

Follow CatTipper’s Fridge Challenge

Featured: CatTipper Reflects on Seven Days Without the “Magical Fridge”

 

 

Today marks the end of our seven-day #FridgeChallenge, the challenge put forth by Freshpet to bloggers to live without the refrigerator for seven days. (Pets were exempt from the challenge but we weren’t allowed to use the refrigerator for our own items.)

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FFC - Dog Splendor

DogSplendor Takes the Fridge Challenge

Featured: After the Challenge, DogSplendor Believes in Fresh for All!

 

 

This past week I’ve been sharing insights from my participation in the Freshpet Fridge Challenge. The challenge was established to bring attention to the importance of fresh foods in your dog’s diet. And while my dogs didn’t go without fresh food for the length of this challenge, I did, and let me just say, it really drove home the importance of fresh for all!

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