- 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.
Hope you and your patriotic pets had a great Fourth!
We are so excited about the overwhelming number of entries, photos and comments we received from all of our Freshpet parents. We are proud to see so many pups and kitties unite for fresh meats and veggies farmed in the U.S.A. like those in Freshpet food and treats.
Before we announce the winners, we’ve got some great news. At the beginning of our United for Fresh contest we promised to donate a package of fresh pet food or treats to shelters and rescues in need. With so many creative red, white and blue entries, you’ve inspired us to give a bit more. We’re thrilled to share that we’ll be donating 1,000 packages of fresh food and treats as a thank you for all of your participation. Thanks to you and your furries, dogs and cats in need will also enjoy fresh, real food with ingredients farmed right here at home!
Now, to the winners…
Each of the four United for Fresh contest winners will receive a one year supply of Freshpet. You, the Freshpet community, voted on your favorite Facebook and website entries while the Freshpet team picked their two favorites as well.
Here they are – paws up for our Four Fathers of Fresh:
We love this photo of Buster wearing his army outfit with pride as he salutes our troops abroad. We were blown away by all of the support that the pug community showed Michael and Buster, and we know he is too – way to go guys!
Watson is dressed to the nines, looking dapper in his blue bow tie and American flag cape – so photogenic. Watson, reporting for duty!
We loved Arlene’s creativity as she rallies the troops to salute our country on the Fourth of July. Looking good pups!
This Freshpet Firecracker is not only adorable, but has Freshpet dog tags! Freshpet Strong is the way to be!
We will contact the winners with additional information on how to claim their prizes this week. Thanks again everyone for the amazing entries! Check out all of our patriotic pups and kitties here and on Facebook!
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.
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 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!
This week’s blog is contributed by Dr. Katy Nelson, a practicing veterinarian for more than eleven years and host of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8. You can check out her blog and watch previous episodes at www.wjla.com/blogs/the-pet-show, or become her fan at www.facebook.com/ThePetShow.tv.
Hi, everyone! I’m a huge fan of Freshpet, but I don’t think anyone is a bigger fan than my dog Papi! He spins in circles every morning and every evening when I pull it out of the refrigerator to feed to him. This food is not only extremely high quality and well-balanced, as evidenced by Papi’s healthy body and coat, but given Papi’s twice daily reaction, it’s also absolutely delicious! So, when Freshpet approached me to answer some questions for their Facebook fans, of course I agreed. Here are the first 5 questions I received, I hope you’ll send yours in, too.
Question 1: Dr. Katy, I have a black cat that looks like she has dandruff – how do I get rid of it and is it something I should worry about? - Freshpet fan Diane D.
Dr. Katy: This is a great question, and unfortunately it’s quite a common occurrence in our kitties. Cats can have dandruff (flaking of dead skin cells), and it’s often due to either a nutritional problem or to improper self-grooming. If your kitty is eating a dry kibble diet alone, it may be she is not getting enough essential fatty acids in her diet to maintain proper skin health. A diet like Freshpet Roasted Meals for Cats, which is rich in protein and fatty acids, can help to keep her skin flake-free and her coat shiny and healthy. Some cats that have dandruff are overweight and unable to groom themselves properly, so the dead skin cells clump together in the areas they cannot reach during regular grooming (usually along the midline of their back). If this is the reason for your kitty having dandruff, consult with your veterinarian on an effective way to elicit weight loss in your cat. Obesity predisposes our pets to serious health issues, including diabetes, arthritis and even cancer, so starting a healthy weight loss program can not only decrease the dandruff problem, but possibly increase your kitty’s lifespan as well.
Question 2: I think my dog was not weaned correctly – she does not chew, just gulps and it’s gone. I’d like her to have a bone, but after the ‘knobs’ are gone, I get nervous and take it from her. Any suggestions? - Freshpet fan Margaret J.
Dr. Katy: I would theorize that this behavior is more dependent on the personality of each dog versus whether they were weaned properly. You can take multiple dogs from the same litter, all weaned the same way, and some of them will sit patiently and chew while others will swallow a bone whole and go on about their business. All that being said, I think you’re doing the right thing by taking away the bones after she chews the knobs down. That’s a much safer option than having her swallow a bone and that may get stuck in her GI tract. You can also explore other options than bones for her to chew on –knotted rope toys or Kongs are more durable than an actual bone and can provide longer term chewing fun.
Question 3: My little dog is on a flea pill and eats Freshpet food. Even though she does not have any fleas, she still chews herself. Why is she doing this, and is there anything I can do to solve the problem? -Freshpet fan Ron A.
Dr. Katy: Itching is not always associated with external parasites, but it certainly can be, so it’s good to hear you are diligently using your flea and tick preventative year-round. Dogs can scratch themselves for any number of reasons – dry skin, allergies (to fleas, to inhaled allergens, to a certain type of food, or even to something that she’s in contact with), boredom, or even metabolic problems (like thyroid or adrenal disease) can be the culprit. Whatever it is due to, though, this is a sign that your pup may be having a real issue. I recommend having her examined by your veterinarian to see if you can figure out why she’s so itchy, and if there is something you can do to help her feel better.
Question 4: My senior cat is diabetic and has what we believe to be senility. He’s thin and has brittle skin which is a struggle on its own. But his yowling at night is getting out of hand. We’ve left on night lights, keep him in his own bedroom to prevent him from getting lost/confused in the rest of the house, but we aren’t sure what else to do. Do you have any suggestions? -Freshpet fan Lisa F.
Dr. Katy: It is so difficult when our senior pets get to this point in their lives. Both dogs and cats do suffer from senility issues as they age, and it can manifest in many different ways – from crying and getting lost like your kitty, to urinating in various spots, or even becoming fearful or aggressive. Keeping her safe is the priority, and it sounds like you are already taking steps to do that. I would encourage you to discuss this with your veterinarian thoroughly. Consider taking notes as to when this happens, or even a video of it happening, so your doctor can have all the facts and know how to best address this. If there are heavy swings in your cat’s glucose regulation, if he has a thyroid or kidney issue in addition to his diabetes, or if he is in pain due to an arthritic condition, there may be a medical way to improve this. If this is “just” senility, then your best bet will be to continue what you’re doing by keeping him safe and trying to decrease his anxiety during these times. Good luck with him, I know how difficult this is as I went through this about a year ago with my own 15-year-old dog suffering from kidney disease. It can be very frustrating, and certainly heartbreaking to watch our pets in this state.
Question 5: I think my one-year-old shih Tzu suffers from acid reflux. What can I do to address this issue and which food is best for her? – Freshpet fan Ana D.
Dr. Katy: Many of the symptoms of acid reflux in our pups are also signs of other issues, so first and foremost, it is important that you get your pooch checked out by your vet. What is it she’s doing that makes you think this? Is she regurgitating food or vomiting after eating? Is she swallowing more frequently than normal? Does she seem to be in pain when she eats? All of these can be signs of acid reflux in dogs, but they can also be signs of other issues that are more serious. There is pharmaceutical help for reflux, if that is truly what is going on with your pup, and a highly digestible moist diet such as Freshpet Slice & Serve Rolls can help as well. However, I recommend you have her thoroughly examined and diagnostics run if she is experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs. As in people, reflux can be a painful disease and lead to further problems down the line if left untreated.
If you have a question for Dr. Katy about your furball’s health and wellbeing, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question could be featured in our next “Ask Dr. Katy” blog.
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, which means the holiday season is officially beginning. With the holidays comes a busy travel schedule as we celebrate with friends and family. We are often asked the best ways to travel with Freshpet food, so we’ve compiled a few options for those planning to bring their fur kiddos along for the ride.
Stock up on fresh food once you’ve arrived at your destination
Freshpet food is available in a wide variety of stores all across the country. If you’d rather wait until you arrive (perhaps you are flying, for example), you can use our store locator to find a retailer who carries Freshpet in your destination city. Or if you are staying with close friends or family, politely ask them to pick up the food for you ahead of time on their next shopping trip. .
Bring Freshpet foods with you from home
This method works best for car trips, where you can easily bring a cooler along. Pack a cooler with your Freshpet food and ice packs, we recommend about one ice pack for every roll or bag of food that you bring. If you’re packing slice & serve rolls that have already been opened, don’t forget to use a plastic bag or saran wrap to cover the open end. Our roasted meals, complete meals, and treats packages are already re-sealable, so skip this step if you’re bringing these foods along. Some fans even opt to cut up pieces of our slice and serve rolls, bag and freeze them for travel purposes. While ok for your pet to eat, freezing the food may change the color and texture slightly.
Finally, for easy clean-up we recommend bringing disposable plates or bowls to serve the food along the way, along with a water bowl.
We wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season, and we hope that wherever you go, you enjoy a worry-free trip with your family.
This week is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, a time to express our gratitude to those who care for homeless pets and help them to find forever homes. If you’re looking for ways to say thank you this week, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few suggestions that can really make a difference at your local shelter.
Volunteer your time
Often there is a myriad of volunteering options available at local pet shelters, with jobs from administration to dog walking and everything in between. Each shelter is different in their requirements and time commitments, but if you do have the time to give, volunteering is one of the best ways to give your local shelter a boost. Who doesn’t want to spend a day surrounded by pups and kitties?
Since shelters are non-profit organizations, they are often strapped for resources. This doesn’t mean you need to break out your checkbook (though if you have the means, that is definitely an option)! Shelters often need even basic items like plastic bags.
Here are a few other recommendations:
- Blankets – not only are blankets helpful in keeping pets warm and cozy, but shelters often use blankets to help transition adopted pets into their new homes. The familiar scent of the blanket calms many pups and kittens and helps to make their new home feel more familiar.
- Pet food – healthy food can sometimes be in short supply in shelters, but shelter pets are much more adoptable after they have been fed a nutritious diet. Just remember, if you’re bringing Freshpet, ensure the shelter has the means to keep the food refrigerated.
- Treats – shelter pets deserve a special treat, but often these are overlooked in food donations. Treats are also extremely useful in training pooches, which can help speed along the adoption process.
We work with quite a few pet shelters here at Freshpet, and we’re constantly amazed by the great ideas people come up with to gather donations! Consider hosting a bake sale or garage sale for your local shelter, and donating the proceeds.
Say it simply
A simple “thank you” goes a long way, and that applies to your local shelter as well. Whether it’s dropping by with a homemade card, or some Dog Joy Ready to Bake cookies (and maybe a few human cookies, too), your shelter will appreciate the gesture.
Support those affected by Sandy
Many pet shelters in the areas of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey are suffering in the aftermath of Sandy. Consider donating time, money, or goods to shelters in the area- many are currently using Facebook to put out requests. Or, donate directly to the Humane Society Disaster relief fund here.
Fortunately, all the recent health news about obesity, America’s latest health crisis, comes with a silver lining. People are becoming more aware of what they eat, and they’re choosing fresh, healthy food over things with empty calories, additives and preservatives.
Farmers’ markets have become community gatherings where chefs and home cooks shop side by side and the menus in restaurants and homes feature the ingredients that are fresh that day. Children are growing peas and carrots on farms in the suburbs and even in big cities. Television chefs are revamping school lunches to include more fresh vegetables and meat. It’s a trend that’s going in the right direction!
Now that we’re finally cluing in about the importance of eating fresh foods, it’s time to extend the healthy benefits to our pets and offer them fresh dog food and fresh cat food. Instead of feeding them dry or canned food that’s full of wheat, corn, fillers, artificial colors and preservatives, it’s time to give them a fresh alternative.
Keeping food fresh without artificial preservatives protects the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. That’s why all fresh dog food and fresh cat food must be refrigerated, just like the fresh groceries we buy for ourselves and our kids.
People who have been feeding their animals fresh pet food tell us that their animals are healthy and vibrant with shiny coats and bright eyes. We hear stories almost daily about how sick and old pets have renewed appetites and energy after they switched to feeding fresh pet food.
Buying fresh pet food in the grocery store is convenient, too. (Face it, most of us are there more frequently than we’d like to admit!) Fresh pet food has come a long way since the days when concerned pet owners had to cook it themselves.
Feeding pets a healthy diet of fresh meats, veggies and brown rice is simply the next step in improving the whole family’s eating habits!