Tag Archives: vit

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.

 

Vine Tutorial Post

How To Guide: Feeding & Storing Freshpet

One of the great things about Freshpet recipes is that they’re easy to prepare and serve, taking the hassle out of cooking for your pup or kitty.

 

Just reach into the fridge, grab your Freshpet roll, bag or tub and serve to your furball within seconds. But while it’s easy to do this, there are a many different styles and techniques on serving these delicious meals!

 

With Freshpet being such a different kind of food for your pups and kitties, we get loads of questions on the best ways to feed and store our recipes. Over the years, we’ve found a few methods to be the cleanest and easiest to serve and store, all of which we’ve shared with you below. For those Freshpet pro’s out there, this may not be any new news. But for new Freshpet parents, hopefully this helps make feeding Freshpet to your pup or kitty even easier. We’ve also included a fun little surprise at the bottom…

 

What’s your preferred way to serve and/or store your fur-kid’s favorite Freshpet recipe?

 

Serving Freshpet’s Slice and Serve Rolls:

 

Pups everywhere love their Freshpet Slice and Serve rolls! Made with fresh proteins and healthy veggies, it’s a pooch favorite. There’s a really easy way to cut the rolls that we like to think we’ve perfected over the years.

 

Start by poking a hole in the top of the Slice and Serve roll, which in this case is our Freshpet Select Chicken, Vegeatable and Rice recipe. This helps to make it easier to begin slicing. Using the hashmarks on the Freshpet roll packaging, slice off the appropriate amount for your pup based on the recipe’s Feeding Guidelines. Once you’ve got the correct number of slices for your pup’s meal, cut into small chunks, drop into the bowl and voila – ready to serve!

 

Storing Freshpet’s Slice and Serve Rolls:

 

There are a few different ways to store our Slice and Serve rolls that we typically recommend to pet parents. Each is easy to do and safe to store, so it’s really more a matter of preference. Our preferred method for serving pup’s their favorite Freshpet roll is to pre-cut all of the slices and store in a Ziploc bag.

 

   

 

Another great way to store our Slice and Serve rolls is to cap or seal the open end of the roll after a meal. In this case, we used some plastic wrap to keep the air out and to preserve freshness. After serving a meal to your pup, simply cut off a piece of plastic wrap, stretch over the open end and tie with a rubber band. There’s no need to then place it in a ziploc bag (although you definitely can!) as it should be safe in the fridge as long as you’ve sealed it tightly.

 

 

Serving and Storing Freshpet’s Meals for Pups or Kitties:

Whether it’s your kitty’s favorite Freshpet Select Roasted Meals, your pup’s Vital Complete Meals, or a new bag of our Nature’s Fresh Whole Meals, serving this to your fur-kid at mealtime is a synch!   Using a dry measuring cup, pour the appropriate amount of our meals for your pup or kitty. This may take a few different cups full of morsels, but pour in accordance with the Feeding Guidelines that you can find on the packaging. After you’ve said “bon appetit” to your fur-kid, simply re-seal the bag, place back in the fridge and you’re all set until the next mealtime!

 

 

And, for the Grand Finale…

 

Wait a minute, how did this video get in here!? :)

 

 

Here’s Freshpet’s very own Lacey enjoying one of her many days at the office – and staying warm in her adorable sweater!

 

 

Do you have a way of serving or storing your fur-kid’s favorite Freshpet recipe that we didn’t list above? Tell us in the comments below and we’ll share with the rest of our fans!

Walking Dog in Snow

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!

 

Fresh Fans - Shelby and Raina

Blind Pups Shelby and Raina Are the Fresh Fans of the Week!

When we started Freshpet back in 2006, we set out with the following mission in mind: “ALL pups and kitties deserve fresh pet food, too.”

 

Since Day One, giving back has always been a core principle of what we do here at Freshpet. And rarely is the spirit of giving more prevalent than during the holiday season.

 

When Kristen with the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance posted on our Facebook page about her pups Raina and Shelby, we knew they were special. We asked Kristen if she’d share some more details about her pups with special needs, and got an incredibly heartwarming tale just in time for the holidays. We’re so happy to feature these two pooches as our Fresh Fans of the Week!

 

Fresh Fans of the Week: Shelby and Raina of the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance!

 Fresh Fans - Shelby and Raina

Here’s what we learned about Kristen and her amazing dogs, Raina (above right) and Shelby:

 

How Did Raina and Shelby Become a Part of Your Family?

 

One day, I was browsing on PetFinder.com. I came across this gorgeous white puppy with the cutest pink nose you’d ever seen. Her name was Raina, and was born blind and deaf, the result of bad breeding. While I’d never had a special needs pup before, I applied to adopt Raina. A round-trip car ride from New Jersey to North Carolina later and Raina became part of the Murdoch family. Having her in our family has truly changed my life.

 

Did Raina Inspire You to Become More Active With Blind Dogs?
You have no idea! After adopting Raina, I became an active volunteer with the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. That’s when I came across other blind pups in need that I couldn’t help but want to bring in under my roof. Shelby, pictured above, is my sixth foster dog for the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. Shelby was found as a stray on the side of the road in North Carolina, who had developed diabetes and has cataracts, not to mention she is blind, but can hear. Despite this laundry list of ‘issues,’ Shelby is one of the happiest and healthiest girls you’ll ever meet. With lots of love and a nutritious diet, thanks to her favorite Freshpet Vital rolls, she is learning to give and receive affection and how to interact playfully with others!

 

What Are Some of the Challenges in Fostering Blind Pups?
The communication can be an issue with dogs that are blind, deaf or both. So for Raina, who is both, it certainly takes some more time for her to learn instructions and how to live in her environment comfortably. We’ve taught our baby Raina touch commands, like on moving directionally, and it’s amazing how quickly she’s picked them up – she’s so smart! But what’s the most incredible thing is that Raina, being born blind and deaf, doesn’t know that she’s different from the other pups – so we try and treat her that way, too. With Shelby, she can often be more scared of her environment because she can hear noises, but not see where they are coming from, and can be startled easily. It is very important to know the needs of individual pets with specific conditions in order to communicate effectively.

 

 

Blind Dog Rescue Alliance  video 2013 Ryot challenge from linda@ssmpr.org on Vimeo.

 

You Mentioned Raina Inspired You – How Else Have You Gotten Involved With Blind Animals?

 

Where do I start!? I coordinate and volunteer for monthly rescue events with Raina and Shelby. I also maintain the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance’s Facebook page, where these two have accumulated quite the digital following. In 2007, I started Lending a Paw!, a community outreach program which has raised over $18,000 in donations to date! In 2011, I received an Honorable Mention for the Humane Society of the United States’ National Kind Teach Award program. When you find something you love, it becomes so easy to get inspired to get involved and give back – and I’ve got my pups to thank for that!

 

What Has the Freshpet Donation Meant to You and Your Pups?
All of my furry girls LOVE Freshpet! The Blind Dog Rescue Alliance volunteers and our blind dogs truly appreciate the generous donation of Freshpet food. I want my pups to eat healthy, but a raw diet just won’t work in this house. So when I first tried Freshpet, my dogs went crazy for it, and to have some donated now is so amazing. To my dogs, Freshpet is not dog food – they think they are getting a special treat. Raina uses her incredible sense of smell around mealtime, which leads her to the fridge, and Shelby and the other girls will “circle dance” when I open the fridge at mealtime. They all lick their bowls completely clean!!

 

Do you have any experience with dogs or cats with special needs? Share their story in the comments below!
Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet's weight.

Dr. Katy Weighs In On Your Fur-Kid’s Weight

We want to keep our fur-kids in the family for as long as possible.

 

Maintaining their health is critical in helping them live long, happy lives. Yet, today over 60% of pets in the United States are clinically obese. Extra weight can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even cancer for our dogs and cats. This is a scary reality that many pet parents face, but it’s an issue that we can work together to solve.

 

Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet's weight.

Your next visit is the perfect chance to ask about your pet’s weight.

 

We checked in with Dr. Katy Nelson, Freshpet friend and veterinarian, to help put together some advice on managing your loved one’s weight and how Freshpet recipes can help! Here’s what she had to say:

 

Why Maintaining a Healthy Weight is Important for Our Little Ones

 

Sometimes, we think of pudgy pups and kitties as cute, fluffy, or even big boned. But the reality of the situation is that that extra weight can really do damage to their general health. When our fur-kids are overweight, they’re lugging around extra pounds that create a sedentary lifestyle, or put extra strain on their heart and joints. To avoid dangerous conditions like diabetes, it is important to keep their weight in check.

 

How To Determine if Your Fur-Kid is Overweight

 

If you suspect your pet is overweight, I highly recommend scheduling an initial appointment with a veterinarian to analyze your pet’s body weight. However, there are a few simple tests that you can use at home to see if a check-up is necessary.

 

One quick test is to put your hands around your dog or cat’s rib cage. When pressing down gently, you should be able to feel his or her ribs. If you have to put a significant amount of effort and really dig in to feel the rib cage, he or she may be carrying excess weight. Another commonly used test is to look at your pet’s chest –  if his chest is not deeper than his belly, he may be overweight.

 

Feeling for your pet's ribs is a great weigh to determine if there's excess weight.

Feeling for your pet’s ribs is a great weigh to determine if there’s excess weight.

 

How Freshpet Can Help Your Loved One Avoid 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 Vital Slice and Serve Rolls or Complete Meals are grain-free, and Freshpet Select Slice and Serve 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, thus helping follow Feeding Guidelines and manage portion sizes.

 

How You Can Help Your Pet Lose Weight

 

The first step to help your fur-kid lose weight is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Typically, the vet will do a general examination and possibly blood work to rule out any underlying health issue leading to excess weight.. Each pup or kitty is different, and your veterinarian can help identify the specific causes, or resulting conditions, that may be resulting in his or her obesity.

 

When meeting with your veterinarian, be sure to discuss suggested changes to your pup or kitty’s diet, as well as calorie counting. The goal should be to establish your little one’s ideal weight, then work backwards from there to chose a target daily caloric intake. It is important to note that simply because the Feeding Guidelines may suggest a certain portion size, doesn’t necessarily mean that is the appropriate amount to feed your loved one. I recommend feeding your pet in accordance with their target weight, as established with your veterinarian, not their current weight. From there, pledge to track the amount of food and calories you give your pets each day. Calories are fairly easy to keep an eye on, as pet foods are required to list calories on the package. On the Freshpet website and all Freshpet packaging, under Guaranteed Analysis, you’ll find the calorie count for their recipes.

 

With proper feeding and regular exercise, you can help keep your fur-kid healthy and happy for years to come!

For more information, listen to Dr. Katy’s Radio Interview on Pet Obesity Here

Ingredients

Optimal Diet for Weight Loss in Dogs, Part 2 of 2

Freshpet Vital High Protein IngredientsThis week’s blog post was written by Lisa P. Weeth, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

 

Not all calories are created equally. More recent veterinary research has challenged the more traditional low fat, high fiber approach to weight loss for dogs and cats. While absolute calorie reduction is essential, studies have shown that dogs and cats fed higher protein diets during weight loss maintain lean body mass (muscle mass) more than when fed higher fiber, more moderate protein diets.

 

During energy restriction for weight loss it is important to ensure all of the essential nutrients requirements are being met each day, and as such, Veterinary Nutritionists (veterinarians who have undergone specialized training in dog and cat nutrition and are certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition) recommend feeding a diet that has a minimum protein content of 30% of the calories. Freshpet diets that meet this criterion include:

 

 

More recent evidence in people and cats has also shown that individuals fed higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets will actual consume 5-10% more calories per day and still lose weight. This is known as the thermic effect of food, or the difference in the amount of energy required to burn different types of food. Put another way, it takes more energy (calories) to burn 100 calories worth of protein than it does to burn 100 calories worth of starch (simple carbohydrate).

 

Protein and fat also help promote satiety, or the feeling of fullness, after each meal. Research has shown that higher moisture foods (like all Freshpet recipes) may also help the animal feel full while actually consuming fewer calories.

 

Cat Agility Winner Eats Freshpet

Freshpet Cat Agility WinnerThis week’s blog post is written by pet agility trainer Linda of Bohm-Marrazzo Photography. Her prizewinner, Pippi, gets her energy by eating Freshpet cat food!

Cat agility has been around since 2005 and is offered as a competition at the larger cat shows, which has the 32 x 32 foot room needed to run the 10 part obstacle course. This consists of weave poles, tunnels, jumps, hoops, and a step frame. If you want to read more – google CFA cat agility – and read lots about it.

I started training Pippi a few weeks ago, even took a cat lesson and went to the last show of the season in Easton, Pennsylvania to merely have some laughs and introduce my five-month-old Somali kitten to the ring. Significantly, this show is the last chance all the heavy hitters in breed and agility have to capture points for national standings – that meant that the top cats in agility flew in from Oregon, California, Virginia and the like. I also showed her in the breed ring – she showed under 12 judges and won 11 blue ribbons for best color and best of breed in the Somali kitten category. So when I went in to the agility “cage” I never thought about anything but handling her like I handle Whoopee, my prizewinning Pyrenean Shepherd, in the dog ring.

Imagine my complete disbelief when I found out that we had beat all the “veterans” and won the class in 22 seconds. It was such a hoot! The next day we competed again – she was quite tired, so we only placed 6th – however the points and speed from both days put us in First Place in the CFA’s North American Region as the Best Agility Cat and we placed 10th in the nation – so imagine when we get serious!!!

She comes from the Kimbelot cattery in Pennsylvania where her grandfather Eric lives – his picture is on the Freshpet Vital Complete Meals for Cats bag. So that’s the story at the moment – I’m going to the banquet in June to get my trophy.

Dog Allergies

Grain-Free Pet Food: An Alternative For Dogs With Food Allergies

Grain-free Pet FoodGrain-free dog and cat foods are slowly becoming a favorite for those who wish to feed their pets a more ancestral diet and for those who want to minimize the risk of food allergies. Grains can cause some canine allergies, and this can make it very difficult for a dog to digest. Here are some common symptoms of dog allergies to grains:

Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

  • Itchy, red, flaky skin
  • Excessive chewing and licking of the abdomen, groin, and paws
  • Reddened, pink, or oozing ears
  • Areas of balding
  • Dark pigmentation of the skin
  • Bacterial infections

We recommend that you see a veterinarian immediately should your dog display any of these symptoms. Food allergies can be treated once your dog has been tested and you have found what is the root of the problem. Wheat and corn often do cause allergies in animals, so it is best to avoid these ingredients in your dog’s food.

Since some of the more common food allergies are due to grains, we created our grain-free line Freshpet Vital for dogs and cats, which has recipes that contain 80% or more animal protein and 10% fruits and vegetables. Vital recipes provide a grain-free alternative that can benefit pets with coat and skin problems.

Is a Grain-Free Diet Right For Your Pet?

Although feeding a grain-free pet food to your cat or dog is a healthy option, it is not necessarily better. Feeding your pet an all-natural, fresh diet from the start should have them healthy throughout the course of their life.