- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For more information on how we work with shelters around the country, please visit our Freshpet Charitable Donations page here.
It took a long time, but our fur-kids are finally being fed like we would the rest of our family members: with fresh, all natural ingredients from the fridge.
However, it wasn’t always this way. For nearly 70 years, food options for dogs and cats remained largely unchanged: dry, extruded kibble or canned wet food. But in 2006, with a simple idea that all pups and kitties deserve fresh, all natural and nutritious food, that all changed.
Years before “pet food” was sold, pets ate what we ate. Back in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s, without much knowledge of proper pet nutrition, our dogs and cats ate either what was readily available, like table scraps, or what was cheap. When Purina and many others introduced dry dog food in the 1950′s, the cooking process may have changed, but pets still lacked the proper nutrition and fresh ingredients the needed to thrive. The extrusion process used to make this kibble involved such high cooking temperatures that essential nutrients, like amino acids, were often lost in the process.
Fast forward 70 years and kibble is made much the same way. While the introduction of premium and natural kibble has been a step in the right direction, the production process still involves overcooking ingredients to make our pet’s food shelf-stable for years. So, in 2006, we decided to take a whole new look at pet food.
Knowing that we felt better eating fresher, healthier foods, we asked ourselves: “Wouldn’t our pets, too?” Because we see our pets as family, we believed they deserved to eat like family too. That’s why we began cooking Freshpet recipes using fresh ingredients, while gently-cooking our batches instead of rendering them. This helped us to lock in the essential nutrients our pets need. Finally, because our recipes were made from fresh, all natural ingredients, they needed to be refrigerated, just like the food we eat every day.
It’s pretty hard to believe how little change there was in our pet’s food for so long. But since the introduction of Freshpet, more and more pet parents are heading to their local Freshpet fridge for the fur-kid’s food, like your pup’s favorite Freshpet Select Slice and Serve roll, or your kitty’s favorite Vital Complete Meals. No longer is shelf-stable kibble or canned wet food the only option for your furbaby. Today, your loved ones can eat fresh, all natural and refrigerated food, just like the rest of the family does.
Now that’s what we call pet food evolution.
Last month, we introduced Freshpet TV celebrity Beacon, the Boston Terrier. He was a rambunctious pup with a huge heart and was a blast to have on set.
But lovable fur-kids come in all different shapes and sizes. That being said, we couldn’t wait to introduce the beautiful Muneca, an elegant Weimaraner with gorgeous blue eyes. Let’s just say she turned heads when filming!
Trainer’s Name: Kevin and Alexandra
Where She Lives: Linden, NJ
How did you end up in Alexandra’s family? Well, I’m actually from Bogota, Colombia originally – muy bueno! My name, Muneca, is Spanish for “doll.” My Mom said she named me that because she thinks I’m pretty! Alexandra and Kevin adopted me when I was a puppy and brought me back to the States. It’s been amazing being part of such a loving family.
What Kind of Pup Were You? I think we all realized early on that I had Weimaraner hunting instincts. When Mom brought me to the lake for the first time, I was terrified to go in the water. I’d never swam before and it looked so scary. I wouldn’t even go fetch my favorite ball in that lake. But then I spotted some geese and when they fled to the water, I dove right in after them. I’ve been chasing balls into the water ever since!
Where Do You Sleep At Home? Lucky for me, I have two beds. Things are pretty comfortable at home. One bed is upstairs and the other downstairs. On chilly nights, Mom even gives me a blanket to snuggle under. Girl’s got to have her beauty sleep, right?
You Were Pretty Comfortable In Front of the Camera. Have You Done This Before? Don’t make me blush! I have done this a few times actually. Mom helped me get a part in a Mercedes-Benz commercial. I’ve also been featured on Gilt.com and worked with Nordstrom. But this Freshpet commercial was my favorite because I love their food, it’s the best! Plus I can’t drive a car so Mercedes was different
What’s A Typical Day Like? I wake up early and fly down the stairs to chow down on my Freshpet. After I’ve stuffed myself, a quick nap ties me over until the rest of the family is awake. Mom takes me for a morning walk and then we play Frisbee – I love the Frisbee! It helps me stay in shape. While everyone is working, I wait by the door for them to get back and play with me. When they come home I wag my tail like you wouldn’t believe!
Want to see more commercials? Check out all of the Freshpet TV spots here!
Eye health is a popular topic among pet parents these days because eye diseases and issues can be prevalent in dogs, especially in certain breeds. Fortunately, nature has provided us with quite a few fresh super foods, rich in eye-worthy nutrients that can help keep eyes healthy and strong, and even ward off diseases. Is your pup or kitty’s diet nourishing their eyes? Check out this list of foods for great vision to find out!
Blueberries are some of the best ingredients out there to support eye health for pets. They contain everything from eye-healthy carotenoids, phytonutrients, and flavonoids, as well as zinc and selenium. All of these healthy nutrients help with everything from general eye health, to night vision support, to reduction of eye fatigue. Consider these the eye-solution of foods, and be sure to incorporate them into your pup’s diet. Our Vital Slice & Serve rolls are packed with delicious blueberries!
Broccoli is one of the best veggies for eye health, packed with beta-carotene. Broccoli has even been found to protect the retina from free radical damage. Simply boil up a few florets and add to your pup or kitty’s bowl – and don’t forget the leaves, as they contain even more beta-carotene!
Carrots are loaded with vitamins like vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, D, E, and K, riboflavin, niacin, calcium… the list goes on and on. Carrots also protect the eye from UVB radiation and damage from free radicals. Many Freshpet foods contain this nutrient-rich veggie, from our Slice & Serve rolls to our Roasted Meals.
Cold Water Fish like Salmon and Tuna
These fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, important for cellular health. Fish is especially high in DHA, which makes up 30% of the fatty acids that make up the retina. We’d recommend our Vital Chicken, Beef, Salmon and Egg roll or our Vital Complete Meals for dogs to get the benefits of these cold-water fish.
Rich in cycteine, sulphur, and lutein, eggs have been found to protect eyes from cataract formation and reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. And more than that, eggs are one of the best sources of protein out there. Get some for your furball in our Roasted Meals, Vital Complete Meals, and select Slice & Serve rolls.
Kale is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two special antioxidants that act like “internal sunglasses.” So protect your fur-kid from the sun with this high quality veggie. This is another great veggie to add to your pet’s bowl, especially if you have some around the house for yourself.
Often deemed one of the world’s healthiest foods, sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, making them the perfect choice to protect eye health. They also are packed with anthocyanins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Grab some Dog Joy Sweet Potato treats to give your pup a delicious and extremely healthy snack!
April is a wonderful month all around: winter’s chill begins to fade, the sunshine brings out happy faces, and everyone begins to prepare for the fun of summertime. But for pet parents, April is one of the best months of all. Here are ten reasons why April is even more awesome when you have a fur-kid or two in tow:
10. Warmer Weather!
The warm weather can cheer the chilliest of spirits, but it makes caring for your fur-kid even more enjoyable. If you’re like us, you love taking a walk in the park with your pup. And meow’s the time to even let your kitty bask in the outdoors (if they like that sort of thing).
9. April Showers
There’s something so enjoyable about snuggling up to your kitty on a rainy day, or stomping through puddles with your pooch. Pets just make rainy days brighter. Even those of us who dislike the rain can appreciate our fur-kids’ greeting us on our way in the door after battling the weather.
8. Baseball is back
Bark if you love baseball! Baseball season is one of our favorite time’s of year, and it’s made even better by the fact that many parks are allowing fans to bring their pups to games. Plus, 162 games watched from the comfort of your home are only made better by the constant, loving presence of your furry family.
7. Earth Day
Though we shouldn’t need a reminder, Earth Day is a great day to put new habits into practice towards sustainability and green living! Saving electricity / gas / cleaning up the neighborhood – all activities that are made much more fun with a pup or kitty around.
6. The Freshpet Truck is back!
In the New York metro area, start to see more of our Freshpet Food Truck for dogs and cats in action!
5. More patches of sunshine near the window
Sometimes it’s the little things, like lounging under a patch of light streaming in through the window. April is sure to deliver the first of many springtime warm patches, something that only pet parents truly can appreciate.
4. Plant life in bloom
The flora and the fauna start to peek out, which inspires us to dress up in fresh bright colors.
3. Farmers Markets
We love fresh produce, we love healthy eats, and we definitely love places that we can flock to with our furballs. Farmers Markets are back, and we’re definitely into it. Pet parent bonus: you may find an adoptable pup or kitty while you’re there. There is always room for one more!
2. Ice Cream season begins
For some of us, ice cream season never really ends; but for those of us who save cold treats for warmer weather, time to grab a cone (or a cup) for the first time in months. A tasty treat for your pooch as well? Well, that’s quite the bonus. Check out our ice creams and yogurts here.
1. April is National Pet Month!
An entire month to celebrate our fur babies? Why yes, that is a great reason to love April indeed.
The Easter Bunny isn’t just for kids anymore – many pet parents are getting creative, with gifts for pups and kitties alike. We love any excuse to shower our fur-kids with love and affection, and Easter is no exception! So we’ve rounded up our favorite gift ideas for Spring.
Easter Basket Finds
For dogs, start with our fresh Dog Joy treats, like Dog Joy Turkey Bacon, Dog Joy Sweet Potatoes, or Dog Joy Ready to Bake Cookies. The bright packaging ties in well with the colors of the season, and the delicious taste and wholesome ingredients are sure to be a hit with your fur-kids! Just remember to hide them only about 10-15 minutes before the basket search begins- and keep the treats in the fridge prior. Add in a holiday-themed doggy toy for extra fun, like these bunny and peep-shaped toys.
For kitties, fill the basket with a selection of our Freshpet Select Roasted Meals for cats or Vital Complete Meals for cats, plus our Freshpet Select cat food in cups. And don’t forget brightly colored toys like these felt catnip balls and Easter Bunny catnip toys.
Avoid the Easter grass in these baskets, however; this plastic decorative is non-digestible for pets and can cause blocking in the stomach or intestines.
Easter Egg Hunt
Who says egg hunts are only for kids? Set one up for your pooches outdoors, or bring the fun indoors for your kitties. Simply scatter and hide treats, then enjoy helping your fur-kids find them all. Be sure to adjust their calorie intake accordingly for that day (though a little extra love for one day never hurts). Our Dog Joy Chicken or Beef Treats are the perfect size for a hunt. For cats, conceal Freshpet Select Roasted Meals around the house!
Keep your pups and kitties safe by keeping a close eye on them. Avoid placing treats into plastic eggs as these can be choking hazards.
You can also hide a few egg-shaped toys for your furballs to locate, like these crocheted squeaky toys, perfect for pups!
If you’ve dyed eggs at home, treat your pets to an extra punch of protein by sharing a few pieces of a peeled hard-boiled egg with them. Many dogs and cats love the taste of fresh cooked eggs, and these snacks are a safe treat for all.
Other Springtime Gift Ideas
We’ve rounded up a few adorable gift ideas to celebrate the warm weather, the re-introduction of bright colors into our lives, and of course, our love of our pets.
- What kitty could resist this adorable bow tie collar? Available in many festive colors.
- Freshen-up your pet’s look with a new leash and collar combo made just for the season.
- Grab a harness for your pup for those long walks ahead, with bright spring prints to keep him or her looking stylish.
From all of us at Freshpet, we hope you enjoy the onset of beautiful weather and the Easter holiday!
During our last Freshpet team meeting, we received a visit from Petco with a very special surprise: they had awarded us with the 2012 Business Development Partner of the Year award! Petco gives out this honor each year to recognize fellow leaders in pet care for going above and beyond the usual needs of consumers. When we created Freshpet just a handful of years ago, we recognized that people had started choosing fresh, natural foods for their families, and decided to make something just as wholesome and fresh for pet parents to feed their fur-kids. As our company grows, we’re proud to be recognized by Petco, a pet store that shares in our goal to better the lives of pets and pet parents.
Throughout the years, Petco has been an outstanding supporter of our fresh food. Early on, Petco recognized the importance and significant benefits of feeding dogs and cats fresh/refrigerated food. In fact, Petco was the first retailer to begin selling Freshpet nation-wide, making fresh food more readily available to more dogs and kitties across the country. Our partnership continues to grow as we both work towards a common mission and continue to push the pet care industry forward. We are very excited for what the future will bring to Freshpet and to our friends at Petco… but mostly to all pups and kitties across the country!
Happy New Year! We hope you’re feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new year. Resolutions are a great way to start the year off, whether they are a list of things to accomplish, or just fun ideas to make 2013 your best year yet. We often think of resolutions not only for ourselves, but for our families as well. Here are our top resolutions for your healthy pets.
Make exercise with your pet a daily part of your routine
Not only is exercise beneficial to keeping your pets happy, active, and at their optimal body condition, exercising your pets can also provide the same benefits to you! Take a walk each day with your pooch, or spend some time playing with your kitty around the house. It will increase your bond while integrating physical activity into both of your lives. Play also keeps your pets’ mind sharp; even just five minutes per day spent tossing a ball or dangling a mouse can mentally stimulate them!
Schedule a check-up
Just like humans, furkids need to visit the vet once per year; for older pets, the visits should be more frequent (about twice per year). So while you’re scheduling your yearly tune-ups, don’t forget to make an appointment to take your pets to the vet as well. Dr. Katy Nelson, a veterinarian and Freshpet blog contributor, explains the importance of taking your pet for a check-up:
“By going for wellness appointments, you can hopefully catch changes in your pet’s health early on and prevent conditions from worsening or even reverse them completely. Your veterinarian will do a full physical examination (including oral and ocular evaluations, listen to the heart and lungs and assess weight, joints, changes in skin or coat, and much more) and make recommendations for improved or continued health based on his or her findings. Slight changes in weight, inflammation in the oral cavity or small lumps or bumps can all indicate more serious disease conditions and early intervention could be lifesaving.”
Many people resolve to give back to the community in various ways, and volunteering with shelter animals can be a very rewarding way to do so. Visit your local shelter to find volunteer opportunities. Walking the dogs, playing with the cats, and donating money or much needed items like blankets and bowls are all great ways to help a shelter. Even consider fostering a rescue or an expectant mother. This can be a fun way for you to introduce your children to volunteering while enjoying another furball at home. Keep up with how we’ll be giving back this year on our donations blog.
Set up play dates
Hosting play dates for your pooch will help socialize her and get her used to new faces and other animals and people. Plus, they’re a lot of fun for owners and pets alike! Visit the dog park, take a walk together, or invite your friends and their pets over for a great day indoors or outside.
Re-examine eating habits
The New Year is a great time to look at your pets’ eating routine and make healthy adjustments as needed. Resolve to feed fewer table scraps? Consider swapping in a fresh treat instead. Or try our fresh treats in place of shelf-stable treats, often containing many ingredients that are less than ideal for our pups and kitties. Look for ways to integrate fresher foods into your diet and that of your family members. Our fresh foods and treats are made with wholesome ingredients, gently cooked to maintain more nutrients and keep your pups and kitties happy and healthy.
Take more car rides
Getting your pets accustomed to car rides can have lasting benefits beyond just feeling the wind on their furry faces. Car rides are a great way to introduce your pets to new scenery, especially in the cold. And next time you have to take them to the vet, the car ride may not be as frightening.
Babble.com put together these adorable slide shows to celebrate the new year. What would your dog or cat’s resolution be? Visit us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us.
Happy Holidays from Freshpet! As you’re preparing your home for upcoming celebrations, don’t forget these tips from veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson to keep your furry ‘kids’ safe, healthy and happy this holiday season.
Decorating the house is one of the most delightful traditions this time of year, but Christmas trees can present hazards to pets that are drawn to the lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Ensure your tree is secured in a sturdy stand to prevent pets from knocking it over, or consider anchoring it to the wall to prevent tipping. Hang any breakable ornaments high enough to be out of your pets’ reach. Sometimes it is best to keep the tree in a room that your pup or kitty cannot enter on their own, or at least have a baby gate to keep the furry ones away. My theory is if it doesn’t look safe for a toddler, it’s probably not safe for your pets! Keep electrical cords and wires out of your pets reach as chewing on these can lead to harmful electric shock. Avoid long strands of ribbon hanging off of your wrapped presents, and if you have cats at home, avoid the tinsel. Cats are very attracted to this string, but swallowing it can cause serious harm to their digestive tract.
Many popular holiday plants are actually poisonous to pets if ingested. Mistletoe, poinsettias and holly can cause our pets to have upset stomachs, while lilies can potentially damage your cat’s kidneys. Opt to avoid these plants if you have animals in the house, and instead choose a pet-safe bouquet, such as faux flowers and holiday foliage, or a fragrant and beautiful arrangement of oranges with cloves.
Many families give their pets gifts around the holidays, which is a tradition I am a big fan of! There is nothing cuter than helping your dogs or cats open up their presents with the whole family around. When choosing toys, be sure they are large enough for your pet to play with without swallowing. Know your pets chewing tendancies when choosing toys- if you’ve got an aggressive chewer, avoid toys that may break into smaller pieces that can become choking hazards. If your pet is not one that destroys their playthings, then a stuffed squeaker toy may become a favorite. And tasty treats are always a hit this time of year. Just remember, if you pick up Freshpet treats, be sure to keep them in the fridge until it is time to open gifts. Or, consider making a healthy homemade treat like Freshpet’s Ready to Bake Cookies!
Though it can be tempting to feed your pets leftovers from a great holiday meal, try to avoid it. Many of the foods we eat during the holidays are definitely not intended for our cats and dogs, especially sweets and fatty or spicy foods (these can cause anything from mild GI upset all the way to a life-threatening case of pancreatitis). Instead, have a few Dog Joy treats handy to involve your pup in the celebration. Dog Joy Turkey Bacon treats are a tasty and safe alternative to human leftovers, and in proper portions, won’t cause your pet to have to ‘loosen up their waistband’ like we may have to.
Just like children, pets can become overly excited when there is a lot of commotion in the home. So, when you’re having a holiday party, be sure there is a quiet place that your pet can retreat to, like an interior bathroom with the vent fan on (for white noise), or a bedroom that’s insulated from the celebration. Stock the spot with fresh water, a few toys, and comfy bedding to snuggle up in. And just in case the worst happens and your pet manages to slip out the front door, make sure you have your pet’s microchip or collar information up to date so that you can be easily reached when your pet is found.
I hope that you and your pets have a wonderful, and safe, holiday season!