All posts by Karina Delaine

What Simple Memory Tests Tells Us About Feline Intelligence

They’re certainly cunning, but are cats smart? Most people agree that cats are crafty and sly, but recent research shows that feline intelligence goes much deeper than mere cunning.


Does Your Cat Remember Her Dinner?

The cats versus dogs debate is likely to rage on for all eternity, but when it comes to memory, we tend to ask more of dogs. Cat parents don’t always expect their felines to perform tricks on command or remember complex tasks like providing navigation assistance for visually-impaired handlers. However, just because cats’ memory skills aren’t put to the test, it doesn’t mean those skills don’t exist!


Researchers at Japan’s Kyoto University determined that cats do indeed have the cognitive ability to form complex, event-based memories just like humans. The study, which centered on a group of 49 feline participants in 2014, set out to determine whether domestic cats “retrieve and utilize incidentally encoded ‘where’ and ‘what + where’ information.” In other words, the scientists wanted to know whether cats form specific memories related to specific events.


Study participants were either sourced from the ever-popular Japanese cat cafes or were pet house cats. And, the studies were actually conducted in the cats’ own living spaces. This helped the cats feel more at ease throughout the entirety of the study. The researchers then used an item to test their memory with something all pets love – food! They used dishes of food to determine whether the cats would remember which dishes they had been fed from 15 minutes earlier.



Now on to the results! By using a simple arrangement of empty or full food dishes, the researchers concluded that cats do indeed store and recall “what + where” memories. According to the research team behind the experiment, the results indicate that cats have a degree of consciousness around their actions that is similar to our own human consciousness.


Understanding Episodic Memory

Cat parents probably aren’t surprised to learn that a group of 49 kitties was quick to remember anything related to food. If a cat recognizes her feeding bowl, she is likely to perk up when she sees it and maybe even come running when she hears the sound it makes when placed on the counter.


Now let’s dive into the details! From a scientific perspective, however, there’s a difference between responding to a stimulus (such as the sight of her dinner bowl) and remembering that a specific incident occurred. Most animals can be trained to respond to a sensory stimulus related to food, but this study focused on a different idea. The memories explored in this study related to episodic memory, a class of memories dealing with an animal’s personal experiences. A person remembering where he was the last time he had his car keys is an example of retrieving a stored episodic memory. This study broke new ground in establishing the idea that domestic cats can act on episodic memories like humans do.


Researcher Saho Takagi said this kind of memory retrieval is commonly associated with the “introspective function of the mind.” Takagi admits she finds it amusing to consider that cats “may enjoy actively recalling memories of their experiences like humans,” implying that her research could be extrapolated into the idea that cats think wistfully of the good old days. The research doesn’t prove that, but when it comes to knowing what cats are thinking, these results may be the closest to a reliable clue. Now we know that cats may be a bit nostalgic, too!



Cat parents may not be scientists, but they certainly enjoy speculating about their kitty companions’ thoughts. Now that it’s been proven they can remember specific events from their pasts, it will be even more fun to imagine what all those cat daydreams are about.

6 of Our Favorite Dog Training Tips

It’s National Train Your Dog month, and we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the new year with some new training techniques, more tricks, and fun bonding time with your pet! We collected some of our favorite training articles to inspire your month and beyond.


Hide and Seek: It’s Not Just for Human Kids Anymore

Get creative with exciting hide and seek games with your dog!


Tips for Teaching Your Cat or Dog To Enjoy Car Rides

Visiting new places with your pet is always exciting, but we know sometimes getting there is the tough part, and often times the reason why your furry one stays home. These tips may help make the ride easier for your pet.


Training Your Furry Family Members to Pose for Photos

…because we know you’re dying to capture that perfect moment of your pup.



5 Ways Simple Ways to Stimulate Your Pet

Step out of your routine and give your pet something new to tackle with these brain stimulating tasks!


Teaching a Senior Pet Some Fresh Tricks

A dog is never to old to learn something new and challenging. See what Dr. Katy Nelson has to say.


How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Dog

Want to feel closer to your dog? We’ve got to ways to improve your relationship. He’s “Man’s Best Friend” after all.


How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Dog

You love your furry family member, and you refuse to settle for anything less than a fabulous friendship. So what do you do when you just can’t seem to create the ideal relationship you always envisioned? Consider these steps to getting closer to your dog.


Set Boundaries and Provide Leadership

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, an animal behaviorist and Professor Emeritus at Tufts University School for Veterinary Medicine, leadership plays an important role in the human-dog bond. Obedience is a good indicator of a strong bond, and dog parents often feel slighted when their pups don’t listen. It’s your responsibility to provide clear leadership and a strong routine that discourages disobedience.


Establishing clear leadership doesn’t mean forcing your dog into submission. If your goal is to improve your relationship, use leadership as a way of showing love. Contrary to some false assumptions, dogs “don’t care about being at the top of the hierarchy,” Dodman says. Instead, they want to “clearly know” where they fit in. If you show your pup that you’re the top dog, they’ll feel more secure, and that will improve your relationship.


However, as Dodman notes, “It’s important to provide clear leadership in a non-confrontational way.” You’re not going to strengthen your bond by making your dog afraid of you. Instead, you want to set boundaries and enforce them in an emotionally neutral way. That may require some patience on your part at first. Simple acts like requiring your dog to sit before receiving meals sets a clear hierarchical structure. If your dog doesn’t want to listen, don’t yell or lose your patience. Wait until they sit, and then praise him or her exuberantly while handing over their food. Loving rewards for good behavior make your dog even happier to be in your company.


Treat-based positive reward training is a challenge for dogs who aren’t food motivated, but sometimes the quality of the reward is the issue. All-natural and fresh dog food options from Freshpet can be a very effective motivator, especially if your pup has previously only eaten a bland diet. Being high in protein with fresh fruits and veggies, Freshpet might be just the thing for your pup. When it comes to food, understanding dogs isn’t hard. If they like it, they want more of it. Once you show your dog that good behavior is rewarded with something delicious and praise, your relationship will improve.


(Source: All We Are Blog)


Spend Quality Time Together

Spending quality time with your dog is an important step in improving your bond. As with your human friends and family, sharing fun experiences with your dog enhances your relationship. The idea that your presence is enough to make your dog happy is a common misconception, but just as some people aren’t happy without a lot of interaction, some dogs need you to put more work into making life together interesting.


There are many ways to treat your dog as an active companion in your life. Take him on hiking and camping adventures or simply have fun by playing fetch, tug of war or hide-and-seek every day. Sharing hobbies is also a good idea. Activities that enhance agility and herding skills are increasingly popular ways to reinforce leadership and strengthen bonds through teamwork. These types of activities are equally fun for you and can also make communicating with your dog easier.


Invest in Cutting-Edge Training

Modern dog parenting that forges strong bonds is all about treating dogs like individuals with hearts and souls. A strong bond leads to a dog that listens and obeys, keeps an eye on family members and wants to be part of the pack. If your pup seems indifferent, the latest dog training approaches could help turn your relationship around. Check with local vets and pet stores to find the best training sources in your area.


Every dog is different, and it may take some trial and error to find the best ways to really create the ideal leadership bond with your pup. The process of discovery will help you get to know your dog better and understand her unique likes and dislikes. Strong relationships are always a two-way street, and when you put in the effort, you can expect to be rewarded with an outpouring of canine love in return.

Puppy Party! How to Throw a Birthday Bash for Your Dog

Human birthdays are always fun, but why should we keep the good times to ourselves? Turn your dog’s birthday into a memorable event by throwing a puppy party focused on healthy fun for four-legged friends.


Fun-Filled Guest List and Venue

If your dog is social and always up for a romp with other pups, make their birthday special by including some of her furry friends in the celebration. Make sure the dog friends you invite are also good sports who play well with others. If you have doubts about one of the pups in your social circle, ask their owner or leave them off the guest list for this special occasion. It will ultimately be the right choice for the safety of all the dogs and people at the party.


Provide a safe play area for the dogs to run around and enjoy themselves freely. If you don’t have a fenced backyard, a local dog park or a friend’s house are good alternatives. If you pick a home, plan on clearing out certain fragile items from the area just to be safe. If you opt for a dog park, make sure you choose a park you visit frequently to minimize the risk of inadvertently picking a venue that has ongoing problems, such as poorly behaved dogs or sanitary issues.

Tasty Treats

No birthday party is complete without something tasty. Keep your dog’s pals healthy and ready to play by offering small quantities of dog-friendly foods.


Frozen Pupsicles: Drop a treat, such as a small dollop of peanut butter or pet-safe fruits and veggies like apple and sweet potato slices, into the compartments in an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze. The little pupsicles should be light enough for each dog to have one or two without getting an upset tummy.


Birthday Pupcakes: Use Freshpet’s all-natural fresh food to create little cupcake bases. Use any Freshpet roll to slice out perfect circular for then. Then stack two slices on top of each other, filling the centers with an “icing” of your choice such as canned pumpkin or peanut butter. Then top the pupcakes with crushed treats like Dog Joy Turkey Bacon, a bit of grated cheese or slices of fruits and veggies. These are super easy to make and easily customizable. Make them your own!


Party Favors

Make the party even more fun by sending each dog home with a little memento. Personalized bandanas, special squeaky toys and homemade healthy treats are all great ideas. Even better, bundle some of these items into a goody bag for your doggy friends to take home. Don’t forget that the birthday dog will want favors too!

How Pet Therapy Helps Elderly and Autistic People

Calm, sweet therapy dogs can inspire a warm, positive response in just about anyone. That’s why there’s certainly no surprise that these specially trained pups — and sometimes other animals — are helpful resources in the care of elderly individuals and autistic children.


The Benefits of Pet Therapy

In many cases, companion animals enhance our health and quality of life simply by being cute and lovable. We get it – the science isn’t that hard to comprehend. Their positive energy is contagious and the smiles and laughter you’re left with are simply good for you. Therapy dogs often do even more good by bringing joy to elderly patients in nursing homes and hospice care facilities and by providing a non-judgmental source of social interaction to children with autism. With their ability to stay calm and accept all people, these dogs are a great resource for taking life better for these special patients.


Pet Therapy for the Elderly

Pet therapy for elderly individuals often consists of visits with patients in hospital beds, wheelchairs or sofas. The purpose of these visits is for the dog to cuddle up to the patient and have a relaxing session of snuggles and petting. This may seem like a simple, normal experience for pet-owning families who snuggle with their pooches every day, but for hospice and nursing home patients who haven’t enjoyed a normal home environment for quite some time, the loving act of petting a dog can be a major source of happiness.



Hudson, an Italian greyhound who serves as a therapy dog in San Diego-area nursing homes, has gotten non-responsive hospice patients to react to his presence by cuddling up and letting them pet him. For these gravely ill patients, the warm, soft presence of a dog helps to relieve stress and provides emotional comfort that even human family members can’t always provide.


Pet Therapy for Children with Autism

The right setting for therapy dogs that work with children depends on the individual patient’s needs. Some pet therapy for autistic children takes place in formal classroom and clinic settings, but some therapy dogs are constant companions for their young charges.



In Mark Fontana’s case, his black lab, Echo, is with him nearly every moment. Like his dog Echo, Mark can’t communicate with speech, and this social barrier left him frustrated and frantic. His family struggled to find a way to help him feel comfortable, in spite of his challenges. They eventually learned that some service dogs are trained to help those suffering from disorders on the autism spectrum.


These days, Echo provides emotional comfort and security for Mark, helping him feel more at ease in social situations. With a cuddly, non-verbal companion at his side, Mark has more confidence at school and at other social gatherings. Echo’s training makes it easier to navigate different situations and takes the pressure off Mark.


The Right Dog for the Job

Not just any dog can become a healthcare therapy dog. It takes a special canine, and the human professionals who work with them hold them in high regard. “[Dogs are] co-therapists with me. They’re well trained and highly respected,” says Dr. Aubrey H. Fine, a professor and practicing therapist who uses animals as part of his child psychology practice. Dr. Fine treats the animals he works with as professionals, giving them time off and keeping them carefully groomed for work.


This approach to therapy dogs is relatively new, and it’s part of a growing movement to recognize the legitimate contributions of these animals. Although petting any dog might reduce stress and spark positive feelings, a therapy dog must be extremely well behaved and patient. In a nursing home or hospice facility, they must stay calm in the face of beeping medical equipment and noisy rolling gurneys. Dogs who work with autistic children can’t react aggressively if a child accidentally pets too hard or tugs a tail or ear.


This means therapy dogs need the right combination of disposition and training to do their jobs, just as human medical professionals must have the right combination of personality and education to excel in their chosen fields. The special dogs who meet the stringent criteria are incredible examples of what dogs can do for us when we show them the proper care and respect.


If you or a family member is curious about pet therapy, consider a service dog program or adoption. Organizations like 4 Paws for Ability provide service dogs for different scenarios or disabilities. Those with autism, hearing loss or other health concerns can benefit from the assistance or love of a dog!


Do you know of a friend or family member who has benefited from pet therapy, or have a therapy dog at home you’d like to shout out? Share with us below in the comments or on our Facebook page!



See Why These Wolves Eat Fresh Dog Food

We’ve heard of some interesting stories about how our pet food has been used before. From enticing lost and weary pets during a rescue mission, to people tasting it for themselves! But one of our favorites is from a wolf preserve in New Jersey.


While we now understand domestic pets and wild animals eat a bit differently, sometimes it’s hard to source an all natural diet for animals like wolves and foxes. That’s when a couple years ago our friends The Lakota Wolf Preserve told us they use Freshpet to balance their pack’s diet, but that they needed our help.


Recently we received  this note from their Director, letting us know how Freshpet’s donations of fridge-fresh dog food made with real 100% farm raised meats, has been helping their wolves to feel happy, healthy and free:


“The Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, NJ is a wildlife preserve for wolves, fox and bobcats born in captivity. For 20 years now we have taken in animals from all over the country to let them live out their lives in natural, acres-large enclosures. We are open to the public, offering guided educational tours to teach people about the importance of wildlife and offer them a chance to see these majestic animals.



We feed an all natural diet of local deer and it is often a challenge to get enough food for 20+ animals, but thanks to the wonderful donations from Freshpet, we are able to supplement their regular feedings.  Using these Freshpet products we can continue our natural diet regiment plus provide them added vitamins and minerals — and best of all they love it!!



Our latest additions Sassa and Cyrus are 2 pups brought in from Montana. Sassa is a special needs little girl who was born with brain and front leg deformities. Many places would not be willing to put the work and funding into giving her a normal life, but we took her in and are working hard with her.



With the help from many doctors and a good diet including Freshpet puppy food, her legs have straightened considerably. She is working through her developmental challenges and has recently been introduced to her new family, a pack of Arctic Wolves at the Preserve. Thank you, Freshpet, for helping us keep these wonderful animals healthy and happy!!”


See the recipes the Lakota Wolves love to eat here. Also be sure to check out the preserve at


National Pet Month Giveaway – 2017

This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! Scroll down to see the winners.


For some people, it’s hard to imagine that others can get so close to animals that they could consider them members of the family. But for pet parents, it’s hard to imagine our dogs or cats as anything but. They’re our adventure companions, they’re with us during the happiest and toughest moments of our lives, and they often have no idea how much they truly mean to us. That’s why National Pet Month is such an important holiday for us to celebrate!


This National Pet Month we want to see your most memorable family moments with your dog or cat, for a chance to win big! See below for how to enter and prizes.



How to Enter

  1. Share your most memorable moment with your pet via photo or video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. It can be a heroic, hilarious or heartwarming memory.
  2. Use the hashtags #FreshpetFamily and #Freshpet in your post.
  3. Winners will be chosen by Friday, May 26, 2017 via the social media platform of their submission.




(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • 3 months’ worth of Freshpet all-natural refrigerated food
  • $50 Target Gift Card to spoil your pet with goodies
  • Freshpet to-go cooler bag and bandana

(2) Runner Ups

  • 1 month’s worth of Freshpet all-natural refrigerated food
  • Freshpet to-go cooler bag and bandana

Contest ends Friday, May 26, 2017.

Thanks for sharing all your #FreshpetFamily moments. Here are the winners!:

Grand Prize: @felixthedog529

Runner Ups:

Kate V.


Pam J.

10 Pets in Hats to Celebrate Kentucky Derby Day

It’s Derby Day! Which means we sport our favorite fancy hats, all while sipping equally fancy drinks (and don’t forget the horse races!). We’re also celebrating by sharing our favorite photos of dogs and cats wearing the most fashionable hats they could find. Enjoy the cuteness and some giggles.


1. He’s sensitive one in the band.


2. “A little sparkle goes a long way.”

3. Because floppy hats flatter every face.

4. “Wait… there’s something on my head?”

5. “Don’t flatter me. I know the bow’s cute.”

6. “Just me, some snacks and my sophisticated wicker hat = best day ever”


7. “I don’t have time to Derby. I must tend to the gardens.”

8. #HighFashion

9. Just sleeping through every alarm ever set.


10. “But you said it was Cinco de Mayo…”

Earth Day Every Day at Freshpet

Every year we like to make sure that we’re not only doing right by the pets we deliver fresh foods to each day, but also by our planet. And this year is no different!


From only using wind-powered energy to make our foods to going landfill-free, we try to make every day Earth Day at Freshpet. Here are some of the sustainability projects we’re committed to this year:


earthZero Landfill

Last year we kicked off our Zero Landfill initiative at our Freshpet Kitchens.  By partnering with Sustainable Waste Solutions, we’re able to recycle waste that we couldn’t before, and convert the remaining into usable energy.  This landfill-free solution is recommended as a “clean, reliable, and renewable source of energy” that “produces electricity with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity” by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


canines_for_clean_waterDonating Excess Food

As we mentioned, we like to leave no waste behind! Our Kitchens separate any untouched excess ingredients after making our Freshpet recipes and sell these perishable ingredients to other companies that can use them. We also donate our food throughout the year to charitable organizations, shelters, and rescues.



windpower100% Wind-Powered

At the Freshpet Kitchens, where we’re hard at work making our foods fresh every day, we are 100% wind-powered. This renewable energy source doesn’t involve the burning of fossil fuels, or cause green house emissions which can be damaging to our air. Take a tour of the Freshpet Kitchens here.



Mealtime Madness Video Contest

Gear up everyone. It’s Mealtime Madness and we’re asking you to go head-to-head with your best videos showcasing your dog or cat going nuts at mealtime!

Contest extended! Share your #MealtimeMadness videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube by 11:59pm ET – Thursday, April 6th 2017.





How to Enter

1. Capture your pet going wild at mealtime on video

Does your dog or cat spin, beg or make noises while you’re prepping their dish? It’s probably the best or cutest thing you’ve ever seen. Get it on video!


2. Share it on social

Share your video on our Facebook Wall, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube and use the hashtags #Freshpet and #MealtimeMadness in your description to enter officially.


Enter before April 5, 2017.



What you win!

Two big days to win prizes.

Round One – (4) Fluffy Four Winners will be announced on Friday, March 31, 2017.

Fluffy Four Winners will receive Freshpet Gift Pack with Freshpet’s all natural and fresh, refrigerated pet food and more ($100 Value).





Final Round – (1) One Championship Winner will be announced on Friday, April 7, 2017.

The Championship Grand Prize Winner will receive a customized Freshpet mini fridge like the one below, stocked up with 3 months worth of Freshpet meals!




Enter now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.