The Freshpet Blog


Kol’s Notes Goes Fridge-Free

By: Freshpet

Featured: Mama Seems Like a Slug On Her New Diet




It’s Day 6 of Mama’s Freshpet Fridge Challenge and, let me tell you, we are ready for this little experiment to be OVER.


One of my favourite things about my Mama is that she’s so full of energy. She’s always up to go for a walk, to throw the ball around for K9 Kamp or to head off on an adventure. Not this week. As the week has worn on, Mama has been getting progressively less and less active and has started spending more time perfecting her slug impression.


Mama is one of those freak-shows that makes 90% of what she eats from scratch, using all sorts of fresh ingredients. She was determined not to reach for convenience foods this week, so she’s been whipping up all sorts of concoctions using shelf-stable healthy ingredients like beans, chickpeas and quinoa. Let’s face it though: it’s just not the same as fresh. She’s been eating a TON of carbohydrates and frankly, they’re weighing her down and making her sleepy, sluggish and (shhhhh!) is she looking a little chubby to anyone else? She eat a nice serving of dinner, but a few hours later? She’s fussy and snackish. If I tried that, she would tell me to go lay down, but when she does it? She just goes to get a snack. That’s why they call it a double standard. While she’s trying to still eat her veggies, sticking to only veggies that can be kept on the counter means she’s eating a lot of potato, sweet potato, squash, carrots and mushroom. She would love to have a nice salad with cool cucumber, a crisp bell pepper, cold grape tomatoes, and ohhhhhh, maybe a nice fresh piece of grilled chicken. This is what she fantasizes about.




Mama was totally surprised by all the tasty recipes she found that she could eat without using fresh foods.

She even made a Pinterest board dedicated to recipes she wanted to try. (You can check it out here.) While all the recipes she tried were pretty tasty, they weren’t exactly the basis for a healthy diet. Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Tons of sugar. So much that she would get totally sugar high, then crash. Last night, we were in bed by 9 pm. NINE! You guys, I am a hip & cool puggle. I do not like to be in bed just when the fun is getting started.


PS – can we just talk about my chewy budget for a minute?


Um, Mama has been spending my chewy budget this week like she is in charge of it or something? Who the woof does she think she is? Since she can’t keep cream or Silvie’s special homemade Pumpkin Lattes, Mama’s been haunting the Starbucks. The guy there knows her name and order. Seek help Mama. You are clearly an addict. To my count, so far, her little latte addiction has cost me:


3 bully sticks

a bag of buffalo jerky

2 yak’s milk chews

a medium deer antler

a bag of carrots

a pack of raw meaty bones

and a pack of venison tendon chews.


What the woof?! She had better find a way to make this up to me. I am not impressed.

Tonight will be her biggest test of the challenge: she’s having a few people over. Normally, she uses company as an excuse to show off her culinary chops, but with no access to fresh food, she’s had to improvise. This is going to be the weirdest meal ever.


*sigh* Is Sunday yet? Check back tomorrow to hear how the party went and get Mama’s thoughts on what she’s learned, why she thinks fresh foods are so important and how this experiment affected her thoughts on pet food.


To learn more about Kol’s Notes and their Fridge Challenge week, be sure to view their website here. 



Kol’s Notes On a Tough Week Ahead!


Kol’s Note: I am writing about the Freshpet #FridgeChallenge as a part of a promotional campaign and I am being compensated for my time and for sharing my experience. However, all opinions are 100% my own.


When Freshpet asked if I wanted to take part in their 7 Day Fridge Challenge, I was excited and all jazzed up…


Until I really got to thinking about it, then I was kind of terrified.

Fresh foods changed our lives at Casa de Kolchak.


Fresh foods are such an important part of our life here at Casa de Kolchak. Over the last week, I’ve been looking at what I eat every day and what I feed my dogs. I quickly realized that every single meal depended on having fresh, chilled food at my disposal. What the woof was I going to do?! Fresh foods are the cornerstone of our lives and going without them is super scary. Reading the posts from my fellow bloggers, Dr. KatyDogSplendor and Keep the Tail Wagging did little to relieve my fears. This was going to be harder than I thought.


The Casa de Kolchak we write about today is not the same Casa de Kolchak from 6 years ago. When we first adopted Felix, the humans ate a lot of convenience foods. Prepacked pasta dinners, macaroni in a box, freezer pizza, deep fried chicken strips, reheated in the oven and other crap. Felix ate kibble – cheap, bad kibble. Think of the worst crap on the market – that’s the stuff. When he got treats, they weren’t any better. Filled with cheap corn, animal digest and “meat meal”. Like grody to the max.


Felix had some pretty crazy allergies. Our vet switched him to one of those high qualityveterinary diets, which big surprise didn’t work. Limited ingredient hypo-allergenic kibble didn’t really work. We tried everything: grain free, novel protein, kibble rotations (which I highly recommend for all dogs) and supplements. Everything helped, but nothing made him healthy. He was always an itchy, yeasty, ear infection-y, backed up anal glandy hot mess.

He would do *anything* for a snack. ANYTHING.


By the time Kolchak came along, we were feeding high quality, grain free, novel protein kibbles on a rotation. This is a dog that’s never known bad food. Kolchak’s puppy years were…a trial. He’s very food motivated and it felt like he had a hollow tail. He was always hungry. He also gulped water like it was going out of style. That being said, he was generally healthy. His only heath issue had nothing to do with what he ate. (Well, I supposed an argument for could be made that diet affect the immune systems, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) Still, he too saw a big change when we switched to a fresh diet.


Feeding my dogs a home cooked diet and later changing to a raw food diet has made a huge impact on my dogs health, in ways I never imagined. It even impacted my own health – as I saw how much happier and healthier they were eating a better diet, I started altering the way I ate as well. I started cooking healthy meals where I wouldn’t feel bad sharing a bite. We started snacking on fresh fruit and veggies. It changed everything for us. Going back to the old ways, even for a week, gave me some serious anxiety.


Luckily, pets are exempted from this challenge. 

Spoiled rotten brats. So even though, *I* can’t eat from the fridge, they have the 100% all clear. Still, for my own curiosity sake, I am going to try it. For the next few days, my dogs will eat dehydrated raw and get only treats that have been preserved without the fridge. If I can see a visible change in health, particularly for Felix and his allergies, I’ll stop. My dog’s health is the most important thing to me and I won’t sacrifice that for a challenge, but raw feeding is expensive and I’m interested to know if a slightly more cost-effective diet would work for them just as well. I’m not ready to go back to kibble, since I know that didn’t work for us, but we occasionally use dehydrated raw. It’s not often, so I don’t know if it will have an impact or not. I guess we’ll see, since that’s what we plan on eating this week.


So here we go…nervous, scared and anxious that I’ll be the first blogger to totally blow it and go on a “fridge bender” mid week.

I’m going to try my best though, because I think the message is an important one though: pets benefit from eating fresh foods too. Even if a fully fresh diet isn’t realistic for your family, there are ways to add fresh, wholesome foods without breaking the bank. We hope to explore that a bit this week.


To learn more about Kol’s Notes and their Fridge Challenge week, be sure to view their website here. 



Kol’s Notes’ Energy Level Out of Whack by Day Three


It’s day three of the Freshpet Fridge Challenge and I’m not going to mince words: I miss my fridge. (Find out more about the challenge and why I’m participating by clicking here.) Unable to form coherent thoughts or string together basic sentences, I caved within an hour of waking on Sunday and headed to my nearest Starbucks for a latte. I’m greatful that Freshpet gave us a caffeine loophole, but a week worth of take out coffee is pricey and I’m dipping into Kol’s chewy budget to make it happen. According to Kolchak’s accounting, my caffeine habit has now cost him: a braided bully stick, a bag of venison jerky and a landjaeger stick. He is not amused.


It occurred to me yesterday that I’m not entirely sure Kolchak has ever even tasted tap water. He certainly wasn’t having any of it and I’ve already started filling the dog’s bowl from the water filter in the fridge. I’m more than a little jealous, as I confessed on the TwitterThe dogs have been eating a high quality dehydrated raw food, which they don’t mind, but last night, Koly was begging for a snack only a few hours after dinner. The added carbs in the dehydrated are filling at first but they leave him starving as the night goes on. He’s also C R A Z Y for a few hours after dinner, then he naps for the rest of the night. Is this normal?!?!


I can’t keep over feeding him like this and I’m going to go batty with the highs and lows in his energy. October is National Pet Obesity Month and K9 Kamp starts on Thursday, so tomorrow, the dogs will go back to their regular fresh diet and I’ll be going the rest of the Fridge Challenge alone. Whoever said “It’s a dog’s life” clearly never met my dogs.


My dogs are pretty darn spoiled lucky.


They have a Mama who is a total sucker willing to spend a pretty penny to feed them a fresh diet.  I genuinely beleive my dogs are healthier for eating this way and I think they’retotally worth it. It’s not always the most cost effective way to feed my pets though and like everyone, there are a lot of other expenses I have to budget for. I’m lucky to be able to spend that way. I know it isn’t realistic for everyone. It’s hard to give your dog a fresh diet when you’re already struggling to feed yourself and your family that way.n

So, what do you do if you want to add fresh food to your pet’s diet on a budget?

  • Add oomph with fresh food kibble toppers. Nothing jazzes up a boring kibble meal like a bit of fresh food on top. The best part is that it’s super easy to introduce your dog to a wide range of food this way – try steamed veggies or veggie purees, gently cooked meats, fruit, or even a bit of scrambled eggs. For a convenient option, you can even get fresh dog food rolls and serve diced up over kibble.

Dog friendly veggies, ribbon cut, then steamed.

  • Become a part time fresh feeder. Since the beginning of time pet food companies have told us we should feed our pets the same food their whole lives. To that I say PISH POSH! We’re a huge fan of rotation diets and there is no reason you can’t feed fresh food as your dog’s main meals few days a week. To minimize stomach upset, ease into the transition, first adding fresh foods to your dog’s usual diet and then gradually increasing the amount. Once your dog’s digestive system has adjusted to the change, they should be able to handle part time fresh, no problem.
  • Snack fresh. If you aren’t ready or able to commit to a fresh diet, consider committing to fresh snacking. My dogs absolutely LOVE fresh snacks like carrot stick, snap peas, broccoli pieces, sweet bell peppers, asparagus, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, squash and more. They love these as much, if not more than cookies. If your dog is initially reluctant, try making a dog friendly dip by mashing fresh dog food rolls with a bit of water to make a paste or make meat & veggie treats, like Spinach Snacks. (Kol’s Note: You can make the spinach snacks with almost any veggie. Use your imagination!)

Spinach Snacks homemade fresh dog treats


  • Boost motivation with fresh food incentives. Let me tell you, there is nothing that motivates the Casa de Kolchak pups like fresh training treats. We use fresh dog food rolls diced up, bite sized chunks of fresh cooked meat and occasionally, when I’m not fooling around, low fat cheese. (I know, not the healthiest option, but holy woof! They love it)

Fresh food is the cornerstone of any healthy human diet, why not share that with your pets?

It is so easy to share fresh, healthy foods with your pets and  hang on to the convenience of a kibble diet. Your dog will love it, you can feel good about it and you’ll be helping your dog to be happy & healthy. Is there anything better than that?


To learn more about Kol’s Notes and their Fridge Challenge week, be sure to view their website here. 

Kolchak Isn’t the Only One Barking for the Fridge Back


Kol’s Note: I am writing about the Freshpet #FridgeChallenge as a part of a promotional campaign and I am being compensated for my time and for sharing my experience. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

This week has been one of the most challenging weeks ever.


When Freshpet asked if I would try living without my fridge for a full week, I knew I could do it. What I didn’t know was just how hard it would be, how much it would affect me and how good that first taste of fresh food would be after a week of eating preserved goods.


It would have been easy to grab convenience foods, like packaged pasta, canned ravioli and pizza buns. The only problem is that I hate that stuff – or rather, I love it, but my body hates it. I have a lot of food allergies, including a few preservatives and most importantly, MSG, so reaching for pre-made food on a regular basis would have pretty much done me in. Instead, I committed to making healthy meals from scratch, using only ingredients from the pantry and veggies that I could store on the counter. I ate a lot of beans, lentils, and quinoa. I tried to eat as many plants as I usually do, but it was really hard. The kinds of plants that can be stored on the counter tend to be a little carb heavy: potato, sweet potato, beets, carrots, bananas, pears and apples. I think the lightest foods I ate all week were zucchini and mushrooms (both wilted a bit after a day on the counter.) After a while, all the starches started to taste the same: bland, boring and heavy. I missed the light and flavourful aspect that fresh food brings to my diet.


Reason #1 Fridge Free Living is Not for Me:


Fresh food just tastes better. I’m one of those people who believe that good food should just taste good.


This treat doesn't take great...but I'm eating it.

My high-carb, high sugar diet left me with low energy.

People, like dogs, can use carbohydrates to fulfill their energy needs. The trouble is that not all carbs are created equal. Starchy carbohydrates like the ones I ate all week: potato, sweet potato, and grains, like wheat and oatmeal work their magic really fast and are quickly broken down into sugars. They give you a spurt of energy, but that doesn’t last long. On the flip side, the fresh carbs I usually like to eat: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, digest slowly giving you a steady supply of energy for hours.


There were a lot of highs and lows in my energy this week and frankly, it’s left me pretty exhausted. Feeling how sluggish, head achey and tired I was while eating a diet rich in fast release carbohydrates made me seriously question the average canine diet. Kibble, even good kibble, tends to rely on quick release carbs to fulfill energy needs and to help the kibble bind together. No wonder our dogs nap so much! They’re burnt out.


Reason #2 Fridge Free Living is Not for Me:


Just because we can use carbs to fill our energy needs, doesn’t mean we should.


I'm exhausted.

Besides my energy issues, much to my chagrin, I’m starting this month’s K9 Kamp fitness challenge, almost 2 lbs heavier than I was a week ago. I’m really going to have to kick it into high gear. Aside from making me feel totally lazy, all these carbs have gone straight to my waist. *just awful*


Breaking the Bank: How I Spent Kol’s Chewy Money

While I was super grateful (as were my family, friends and coworkers) to be allowed to eat out fresh foods, man! Is that ever pricey? I can live without most foods, but the idea of living without fresh coffee served with cream makes me want to poke my own eyes out. Real life confession:  I spent more than $60 on coffee this week. I should be ashamed of myself.


On the flip side, eating a diet devoid of things like fresh meat, cheese, dairy, eggs and fresh vegetables was significantly cheaper and in some ways, a lot easier. I can see why people reach for the pantry when money is tight or time is short. I can see why poverty and weight issues can go hand in hand. My fresh food diet can be pricey and cooking everything from scratch takes a lot of time. In all honestly, eating more pre-made food is something I may not have ever changed, if it didn’t make me feel so darn crappy.


Reason #3 Fridge Free Living is Not for Me:


Eating foods like box pasta, canned soup and kibbles might be convenient, but it doesn’t make us feel our best.


*YAWN* Time for another nap, I guess.

While I’m super glad that our Freshpet #FridgeChallenge is over, I’m really glad I did it.

Life has been super busy the last few months and I’ve been backsliding a little on my nutrition and cutting some corners. Going fridge free, all at once like this, was a huge eye opener and it reminded me not only how I want to feed myself, but also, how I want to feed Kolchak and Felix. We all feel better when we eat fresh and I’m determined to keep our diet that way, even if the cost means sacrificing in other areas. I’ll just have to cut back on those pricey lattes.

To learn more about Kol’s Notes and their Fridge Challenge week, be sure to view their website here.