- 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.
We all love a great comeback story, and that’s exactly what we’ve found in Harry, a Basset Hound.
Last week, Suzanne F. of the Mid-Atlantic Basset Hound Rescue shared a story with us about Harry, a stray whose days appeared to be numbered. The Mid-Atlantic Basset Hound Rescue works tirelessly to take in Hounds without homes, to provide veterinary care and to set up adoptions for these deserving fur-kids.
For years now, we’ve worked with the Mid-Atlantic Basset Hound Rescue to donate Freshpet foods and treats. We love hearing stories about the pups our donations have helped, and Harry’s story is truly one to remember.
Harry the Basset Hound arrived at the Dog Rescue in mid-June of this year, after he was found as a stray in Stroudsburg, PA. He had been neutered and was comfortable indoors, so it seemed to Suzanne that Harry had been abandoned. “His coat was a total wreck,” say Harry’s foster parents, Rich and Ginger, who quickly brought him on a visit to the veterinarian. With a laundry list of health issues, such as Lyme’s Disease, a skin infection, ingrown dew claws, stomach lumps and general emaciation, Harry’s prognosis was not positive.
After some initial tender, love and care, Harry put on enough weight to receive anesthesia needed to remove the benign tumors on his stomach and have nine decayed teeth removed. Still, the vet was concerned that vaccines, in Harry’s physical state, “could put him over the edge.” With limited mobility and lingering health issues, Harry was a long shot for a heart-warming recovery story.
But that’s just what happened.
Upon their third visit to the veterinarian in three months, Harry began to turn the corner. The veterinarian was astonished about the progress that Harry had made. “Key to his recovery was vastly improved nutrition, including Freshpet Select Slice and Serve rolls and frozen Meatball Mix-Ins,” says Rich. However, Harry’s absolute favorites are the Dog Joy treats. Harry now picks up his pace for his Dog Joy treats, mobility improvement previously unimaginable when he arrived at the rescue. According to Ginger, “It is obvious that with his improved health and yummy food, Harry thinks he is living large.”
In just three months, Harry, in desperate need of a warm family and proper nutrition, is now living the healthy, happy life he deserves. Thanks to his foster parents Rich and Ginger, Harry now has a loving foster home and plenty of donated Freshpet foods and treats to keep his tail wagging.
Thank you Suzanne, Rich and Ginger for taking Harry under your wing and for sharing this beautiful story!
We love to hear how the fresh, nutritious ingredients found in Freshpet recipes have helped pets get back to their healthy selves. Got a Freshpet story to share or a favorite recipe? We’d love to hear from you! Please submit your review and story here: http://bit.ly/18uONZP
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!
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.
Over the past month, the near hysteria over the impending bacon shortage has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. But fear not, Freshpet fans! We are here to set the record straight about whether or not this will affect your favorite furry friend.
Freshpet Dognation® and Dog Joy® Turkey Bacon Treats will not be affected
We know that dogs love bacon – maybe even more than we do! Our delectable Dognation and Dog Joy bacon treats are made with all natural ingredients like real turkey, not pork, so dogs everywhere can continue to enjoy that great bacon taste through the potential shortage and beyond. Bring on the bacon!
A bacon shortage would be a pretty good thing for dogs
While it’s okay to give a table scrap to your pet now and again, bacon itself can be tough on pups. The high fat content is difficult for pets to digest, and can cause stomach issues and lead to weight gain. Turkey bacon is a healthy, delicious alternative to other bacon-flavored dog treats, with less fat and calories. Don’t just take our word for it- check out our blogger reviews to see what their pups think of our turkey bacon treats.
Bonus: Our favorite reactions to the Bacon Shortage
One good thing to come out of the bacon shortage craziness: the jokes!
Here are a few of our favorites:
Aporkalypse became the popular term for the coming shortage:
Many twitter-users chided Mitt Romney and President Obama for not addressing the shortage in this week’s debate.
NBC’s hit tv show Parks and Recreation put together a hilarious mock Public Service Announcement about the shortage, featuring the ever-hilarious Ron Swanson. His suggestion? “Procure as much bacon as humanly possible and hide it in as many locations as you can.”
These days many pet owners understand the importance of the quality of food they give to their pets. With all of the recent pet food recalls, dog owners are even more cautious of the food they buy for their four-legged pals. Here are some red flags to look out for when buying treats for your pet.
Check the Ingredients
Many shelf stable dog treats include sugars and corn syrup. A dog’s digestive system works just like a human’s digestive system, and it is known that sugar is unhealthy for humans as well as dogs. Too much sugar can possibly lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and dental problems. Make sure you read the labels on dog treats to make sure they don’t contain excessive amounts of sugar before purchasing.
Many times dog treats contain chemical preservatives, fillers, and by-products. Preservatives and dyes are used to keep fats from turning rancid and to keep the food looking good. The safety of preservatives such as BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin has been questioned by consumers and scientists alike. By-products and fillers are inexpensive and found in many foods. Corn gluten and wheat gluten are used in treats and have no nutritional value to your pet, they are neither harmful nor useful, and they are used to bind food together.
Have peace of mind when you give your dog a fresh treat from our Dog Joy line. These 100% all-natural treats contain no corn, wheat, preservatives, fillers, or by-products. Whether it is beef treats or the peanut butter ready to bake cookies, you dog will have a reason to wag his tail!
This week’s blog post is written by Justin, Freshpet Sales:
I am lucky to have the easiest job at Freshpet…Sales.
Don’t tell my boss, but most of the hard-sell is done every day by thousands of dogs across the country.
My dog, Hudson, loves Freshpet. Every once and awhile when he doesn’t get it for dinner, he gives me a look that speaks a thousand words. He’s too sweet to pout for long, but he makes his point and next time he gets his favorite.
Hudson loves to chase, catch, and eat lizards in the back yard. He could hunt them from sun up to sun down if I would stand out there with him. Sometimes I need a break from all the hunting, and Hudson needs something to do. Freshpet’s Dog Joy Fresh Bones keep him busy and happy while cleaning his teeth. I have tried many bones, but I like Freshpet’s best because they are all natural and don’t have any of the usual fillers like corn, wheat, soy, or cellulose.
Working for a company that makes healthy products that my dog craves so much makes me feel great about my job!