- 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.
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 pet 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 pets’ 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 pets. 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 pets? Why yes, that is a great reason to love April indeed.
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!
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.
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, meat meals and other cheap ingredients. 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. Meat meals 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 meat meals. Whether it is beef treats or the peanut butter ready to bake cookies, you dog will have a reason to wag his tail!
My dog loves Freshpet Ready to Bake Cookies just as they are: freshly baked mounds of doggie goodness! (Dog Joy Peanut Butter & Oatmeal are his favorite).
But sometimes, I like to jazz them up a bit, either before or after baking.
Check out these fun ways to add a personal touch to your dog’s cookies, along with some fun ways to serve them!
Fun Ways to Make Freshpet Dog Cookies
Prior to baking a batch of Freshpet cookies, you could add a little variety to each cookie in the following ways:
- Press a few small pieces of your dog’s favorite treat into the center of the dough.
- Drop a tiny mound of canned pumpkin on top of the cookie
- Press unsalted sunflower seeds into the top and bottom of the cookie
- Sprinkle or press fresh parsley on top of the cookie. Parsley helps with bad dog breath!
- Press a doggie breath mint into the center of the cookie. The mint itself will melt into the cookie — which is great if your dog doesn’t particularly like the taste of mint. (My dog doesn’t, but he’ll eat the mints when they’re mixed in things like cookies).
- Drop some bits of chunky peanut butter on top — either before or after baking.
- Shred or dice some fresh vegetables or berries and press a few pieces into the cookie
The possibilities are endless. There are so many human foods that are safe for dogs. You could add just about any of them to Freshpet Ready to Bake Cookies. That way, it’s as if your dog is getting a brand new treat every time you make them!
Fun Ways to Serve Dog Cookies
In addition to all the fun ways that you can make dog cookies, I also like to think of fun ways to serve them. Some ideas to try:
- Instead of doling them out one-by-one as regular dog cookies all the time, I sometimes break them into smaller pieces and use them to stuff my dog’s Kong toy. Mixed in with a little bit of peanut butter or plain yogurt, this makes an extra nice treat for your dog!
- Of course, it’s a no-brainer to reward your dog with a treat after he does something that you’ve requested on command. While everyday commands like “come” and “sit” typically earn my dog regular treats, more challenging commands like “tell me a secret” and “bring me the remote” definitely deserve a homemade dog cookie!
- This next idea is similar to making a frosted cookie for your dog. Just smear a lot of peanut butter across the top of a fresh-baked cookie – just like icing! Or, turn it into a double-decker cookie (or mini-cupcake) by sandwiching two cookies together with peanut butter in the middle and on top.
- And finally, my favorite way to serve dog cookies is to play a game of hide-and-seek with my dog where the cookies are the prize. He sits and waits while I hide several cookies (or pieces of cookies) in various places of one room. When I say, “Okay!” he runs to find as many hidden cookies as he can.
Dog treats, like Freshpet Ready to Bake Cookies, are a fun way to reward your dog with an extra special treat, and also a fun way to play and communicate with your dog in a way that’s different from your day-to-day routine.
What fun things do you like to do when making or serving your dog cookies?
Lynnette Walczak is a lifelong dog owner who writes about fun dog stuff at The Fun Times Guide to Dogs. As publisher of TheFunTimesGuide.com, she enjoys sharing outside-the-box ideas and helping people find unique ways to do things.