Blog

  • 0

Pet Dental Health Matters

If a dog’s diet is nutritionally adequate, how can dental disease be so prevalent?  Maybe we need to take a look at diet. Did you know that healthy teeth and gums not only help prevent periodontal disease, mouth pain and bad breath, but also more serious conditions of the kidney, liver, heart, and joints? Pet dental health can significantly impact life quality and longevity and diet does matter.

Clean Eating is not just for Humans

Clean eating has become a focus of healthy living for humans.  People are reading labels, eliminating chemicals and processed foods, and eating “clean” as a means to health, so it’s common sense to consider that option for your pets as well.

Commercial dry or canned foods are often times made with poor quality ingredients, synthetic vitamins, harmful aflatoxins, are highly processed, and are typically high in starch, which sticks to teeth.  On top of that, dogs don’t generally chew it – they just gulp it down, which means they don’t get any benefit from abrasive action during the chewing process. On the contrary, the benefits of a raw diet go far beyond just pet dental health, giving your pet a higher quality of life.

 Toothbrush w/bubbles - Pet Dental Health Month

Raw Diet Benefits

Lean meats are the foundation of a good raw diet and contain natural enzymes.  Organs provide necessary vitamins and nutrients, and bones are needed for calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. All of these are components that foster pet dental health.

Raw bones are a staple in diets for dogs to ensure a good source of minerals, especially calcium and phosphorous. Meat is lower in calcium and high in phosphorous so meat alone will not provide what your pet needs. Giving raw meaty bones like our chicken or turkey necks allows the chewing action to help clean teeth naturally. Beef bones can also be given as a recreational chew and can offer great exercise. (Please remember to supervise dogs when chewing these and pick an appropriate size for your pet.)

Try an Experiment

Try an experiment by feeding a balanced raw diet, such as Northwest Naturals, for 3-4 weeks.  We’d love to hear your results and see before and after pictures.

For More Information

Read more about Raw Bone Benefits here.  Raw Bone Benefits for Your Pet.

Watch this documentary on the commercial pet food industry.  Pet Fooled Documentary


  • 0

Dogs and Baths, Oh My!

Start them out Right

Dog breeds that require a haircut should be seen by a professional groomer for the first time, somewhere between 2-6 months of age. They need to get used to being handled by other people, the clippers, and the noises of a grooming shop. This also helps to gain the puppies confidence going forward. Ask your friends for a recommendation on where they take their dog. (Just because you take a puppy in, doesn’t mean it has to get a haircut, just a bath or to meet the groomer.)

Bathing at Home

Some dogs naturally take to water and like any opportunity to frolic and play. Others, not so much. Here are a few tips to help make bath time more enjoyable.

black lab with hair net dog baths

 Get the Wiggles Out

Taking a long walk is good for both you and your dog and also reduces their energy level.  Some dogs even enjoy going for a “swim” after exercise.

Baby Steppin’

For the first few baths, do one small step at a time, giving your puppy a chance to get used to each new experience. Start with an empty bathtub (with a mat) and a little playtime in the tub.  Then, when the dog is outside the tub, run the water to help him or her get used to the sound. Next time, add a small amount of water to the tub and maybe just dip the paws in.  It’s important not to rush the process. Keep working your way up to a full bath – watching for that state of calm at each new step before you move on.

The Right Tools

  • Bathtubs are slippery, so be sure to use a non-slip mat or large towel that will stay in place.
  • Did you know they make special pet shower spray attachments? Lowering the pressure and water flow and holding it close to the fur can be less surprising.
  • Use a wash cloth around the face and be careful that water doesn’t go up the nose or in the ears.

Attitude

  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice.
  • Make it fun!  Incorporate toys and make time for play.
  • Make it tasty!  Bring some treats into the bath area – or feed your dog there a few times to get him to associate good things with tub time on days when you aren’t planning a bath.

It’s never too late to employ a little planning and consistent effort to make bath time less of a struggle. And, you can always hire a trainer if you need some extra help!


  • 0

Benefits of a Bison/Beef Formula

Even though the popularity of Bison has increased significantly in the past couple of decades, the national population is still small. There are currently about 500,000 Bison in the United States and Canada while, comparatively, there are about 29.3 million beef cattle in the United States alone. Of those 500,000 Bison, only about 40,000 are slaughtered each year. This accounts for the competitive market and limited availability of Bison for both human and pet food such as Bison Beef dog food.

We at Northwest Naturals are very pleased to offer our Bison & Beef Dinner for Dogs, which includes the great benefits of bison in a convenient and affordable way to feed your pet.

bison beef dog food by Northwest Naturals | Raw diet for dogs

Some of the exciting benefits of Bison beef dog food include:

Lean Meat: Bison has less fat than skinless chicken breast and salmon

Iron: Bison contains more iron than beef, chicken, pork, or fish

Protein: Bison contains about 40% more protein per ounce than beef

Nutritionally Dense: Due to the proportion of protein, fat, minerals, and fatty acids to the caloric value

Fatty Acids: Bison meat has a well-proportioned ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Fat Blocker: Bison contains the highest known levels of CLA, a fat-blocker and anti-carcinogen that can reduce the risk of immune disorders, cancer, and obesity

Selenium: Bison has a high concentration of the “mood elevator” element, Selenium

These wonderful benefits of Bison are all included in the Bison & Beef Dinner for Dogs, available in our Original Nugget Diet and our Dinner Bars, both of which are designed for quality, convenience, and value.

 

Check out our other great Bison products too! (marrow and knuckle bones)

 

SOURCES:

http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/display.asp?CAT=3&ID=100

http://www.bisoncentral.com/cooking-bison/nutrition-information


  • 0

Northwest Naturals the Shape of Things

Over the past few months, we have adjusted the shape of our Raw Frozen & Freeze Dried Nuggets and Freeze Dried treats to a shape that is better suited for our equipment and manufacturing processes.

There have been a few questions from our customers about this change. We want to assure you that we are still the same great food your pets love.

With this change there are a few things to remember:

  • The weight has not changed. There is still the same amount in every package as before.
  • The ingredients have not changed. NWN contains the same wholesome ingredients as before.
  • The shape of nuggets are CLOSE to the same and we recommend that you weigh the food to be certain your pet gets the right amount. Please follow the Feeding Guidelines on the package or on our website.

 

With these changes in shape we have saved on our ever growing cost of energy, labor and ingredient costs.

This allows us to keep the finished product cost in check and provide you, as always, a great value.

Northwest Naturals has always kept the environment in mind when making any decision about changes to equipment and how we produce The Original Raw Nugget Diet. We have updated our equipment to be more efficient and energy conscious.

We have changed our treats from a ground and formed shape to a sliced and diced shape to be more ergonomically friendly to our production team.

We are always looking at ways to improve and reduce our carbon footprint.

We love to hear from our customers! Reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

And keep sending us great stories and photos of your pets.


  • 0

“Pet Fooled” Documentary

An investigative exposé of the inner workings of the commercial pet food industry, Pet Fooled is an eye-opening documentary that all pet owners should watch.

pet fooled documentary

Available on:

  • 0

Why A Raw Diet Is So Important For Cats

True Carnivores

To truly understand why a raw food diet is so important for cats, we must first understand a few basic facts about cats:

  • Cats evolved in an arid, desert climate
  • Cats are obligate carnivores
  • Cats are very successful hunters
  • Cats have different nutritional needs than dogs

There are approximately 600 million housecats in the world and all of them evolved from five lineages, traced through analysis of mitochondrial DNA to the Near East region of the world. The climate in the Near East is dry and hot, with little to no vegetation and with very low annual rainfall. Water is scarce, and animals in the region have had to adapt to these climate extremes with very specialized systems. For cats, this means a protein-only diet, obtaining nearly all of their moisture requirements from the foods they eat. Many of the health issues we see in domestic cats are a direct result of dehydration. Most of these can be avoided, and sometimes repaired simply by switching the cat to high moisture, highly digestible raw meat diet.

Cats are Obligate Carnivores, or “true” carnivores, which means that they depend only on the nutrients found in prey animals for survival. They have a need for an Essential Fatty Acid, or EFA, called arachidonic acid which plays a vital role in fat utilization and energy production. This particular EFA is found primarily in raw meat. Cats do not actually require any plant material at all in their diet to thrive. In fact, a diet high in vegetable matter can lead to an overabundance of glutamic acid which will cause sporadic vomiting and a thiamine deficiency.

SquareCatGrass1

Obligate carnivores will, in very few cases, eat plant material (especially that found in the stomach contents of smaller prey that are eaten whole) even though they lack the digestive enzymes to break down and metabolize such foods. Additionally, cats cannot synthesize certain essential nutrients from plant matter, such as taurine and retinol (Vitamin A), and must obtain them from the proteins they consume. Another characteristic of true carnivores that cats exhibit is a very short, straight digestive tract. This is because cats do not need to break down tough plant cellulose. In fact, the higher the amount of fiber in the diet (plant or grain), the higher the level of taurine is required in the diet.

In the wild, and even in their own backyards, cats are very good hunters and can easily catch the prey they wish to. Cats differ from other carnivores, such as dogs, in that they do not have to scavenge for other food if they do not catch the prey they were hunting. Dogs are somewhat sloppy hunters and do not always get to eat their preferred meal and so have had to adapt to eating less-than-optimal foods that they can scavenge, like berries or roots. Cats would rather forgo eating altogether if they cannot have the food they wish to eat. One result of cats being such successful hunters is that they are “imprint eaters”, and as such tend to imprint of the foods fed to them as kittens. Though this can make switching their diet more of a challenge, the health benefits far outweigh the temporary frustration of making the diet switch.

The differences in hunting methods/success and anatomy between dogs and cats mean that they have very different nutritional needs. Cats must obtain most, if not all, of their nutrition from protein to thrive, whereas dogs can obtain nutrition from a few other sources in addition to proteins. It is for this reason that we promote the philosophy of feeding cats and dogs a species appropriate diet, specific to their unique needs. Northwest Naturals Cat Formulas do not contain any produce. The Dog Formulas contain approximately 18.5% produce. It would be difficult for a cat to thrive on a diet with such a high percentage of produce. When a cat consumes large amounts of materials that they are unable to digest, their digestive systems are overworked, their metabolism is exhausted, and extra fat and toxins are stored.

The most important thing to remember when feeding cats is that we must try to cater to their needs as much as possible and provide a diet that is as close to what they would eat in the wild as possible. Northwest Naturals Raw Frozen Cat Formulas were specifically formulated with this in mind and provide the highest nutritional value possible for your feline pet.


  • 0

Raw Bone Benefits

Proper dental maintenance is essential to prevent periodontal disease and promote healthy teeth and gums in pets. Though a daily brushing is an excellent way to keep up on dental health, the most effective way to get rid of plaque build-up is offering your pet a raw meaty bone. The reason why plaque is so hard to remove from teeth is that the dental bacteria create a protective barrier, or biofilm, which cannot be permeated by water, toothpaste, or chemicals. Traditional brushing moves the plaque around the teeth, and while some is removed, much of the plaque and bacteria remain behind. Raw bones have naturally occurring enzymes which break down the biofilm. Then, when pets chew on the bone, the plaque is gently scraped off the teeth.

In addition to great dental health benefits, raw meaty bones provide recreational activity for adult dogs and an appropriate chewing outlet for puppies. Young and teething dogs have a psychological and physical need to chew. Besides providing a fun and engaging (and tasty!) activity, young dogs can properly develop jaw, skull, neck, and shoulder muscling. (It also keeps them away from your favorite shoes!)

The last important aspect of feeding raw bones is a nutritional benefit. Raw bones, and the marrow within, are both natural nutritional sources of protein, fat, minerals, calcium, and phosphorous. However, since raw marrow bones are meant to be chewed only–not eaten—there are only small amounts of these nutrients and the bones should be fed more as a “treat” than as a replacement for your dog’s usual food.

How to introduce a raw marrow bone into your dog’s diet:

For a dog that has never had a raw bone before, introduce it slowly. Let the dog have the bone in a confined space (maybe the kitchen, a towel on the floor, or even the bathtub) or outside of the house, for about 10-15 minutes for the first couple of feedings. Since the marrow inside of a raw bone is very rich and is somewhat fatty, it can cause loose stools in dogs with sensitive stomachs if consumed in large amounts. The amount of marrow the dog consumes can be reduced by scooping the marrow out of the center of a femur bone and stored in the freezer to add to the bone again later. Once the dog is used to having raw bones in their allowed space, raw marrow bones can be fed around three times a week.

Tips for Feeding Raw Bones:

Choose an appropriate size bone for your dog. Be sure to remove bones that start to crack or chip due to aggressive chewing. Small bones are not appropriate for aggressive chewers.

Always supervise a dog when it is chewing on a raw bone. Dogs should be kept in a confined and monitored space and the bone should be removed if large chunks are bitten off or the dog appears in distress in any way.

Feed raw bones in an area that can be easily cleaned. Remember that these are raw meat products and they should be handled with the same procedures as meat for human consumption. Always wash hands and surfaces with hot soapy water.

Dogs should never be fed a cooked marrow bone. Cooking a bone completely changes the chemical structure of the bone and it becomes very hard and can splinter easily into very sharp, dangerous pieces.

Separate dogs when you feed raw bones. Many dogs can get very territorial about their delicious bones!


  • 0

Fruit and Veggie Nuggets

Ingredients and Their Benefits

Broccoli – A plant in the cabbage family. It is high in vitamin C, calcium, soluble fiber, and also contains multiple nutrients, making broccoli a “super food” to support health and wellness.

Sweet Potato –

  • Superior fiber content — Sweet potatoes contain almost twice as much fiber as other types of potatoes. Contributing close to 7 grams of fiber per serving, they make an excellent starchy addition to any meal. The high fiber content gives them a “slow burning” quality, meaning their caloric energy is used more slowly and efficiently than a low-fiber carbohydrate.
  • Vitamin B 6 – Sweet Potatoes contain a large amount of Vitamin B6. This vitamin is crucial in breaking down a substance called homocysteine, which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels. Vitamin B6 helps keep the walls of these important blood passageways flexible and healthy which allows blood to flow freely. Vitamin B6 promotes a happy, healthy heart!
    Potassium -Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium plays an important role by ridding the body of excess sodium and regulating fluid balance. It is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate the natural rhythm of the heart, and maintains normal function of the brain and central nervous system
  • Beta-carotene or Vitamin A – is an important antioxidant. One medium sweet potato provides your body with the complete recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and then some. Vitamin A is useful in the prevention of several different types of cancer as it is one of the most potent antioxidants out there.
    It also is an excellent nutrient for eye health and has been linked to prevention of vision loss and macular degeneration.
  • Manganese – is a little-discussed trace mineral that has some great health benefits. It is a pivotal component in the metabolism of carbohydrates which helps support healthy blood sugar levels. This can help stabilize the appetite for hours as opposed to the temporary satisfaction that comes with most other carbohydrates.

Carrots – A source of important vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids to help support the immune system and digestive system. They may also help support proper skin and eye health.

Romaine Lettuce –

  • Vitamin C and beta-carotene content provides many heart health benefits of romaine lettuce, including preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.
  • Folic Acid found in romaine lettuce helps keep blood vessels healthy and clear.
  • Potassium helps lower high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart disease. Improves muscle strength .
  • Fiber also contributes to the heart health benefits of romaine lettuce, by removing bile salts, which requires cholesterol, thereby lowering high cholesterol as well. Stimulates fat burning since the body has to work harder to digest fiber. Romaine is a low-calorie, zero-fat food that can stimulate weight loss by burning more calories than it contains.

Apple – Rich in Vitamin C as well as a host of other unique antioxidant and botanical compounds such as flavenoids. Apples provide soluble and insoluble fiber, some Vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium and boron.

Blueberries – A source of powerful antioxidants that may help support health and vitality. High in Fiber.

Cranberries – High in vitamin C, and have antioxidant and antibacterial effects in the body. High in Fiber.

fruitveg-dogphoto


  • 0

Chicken and Turkey Necks

Chicken and Turkey Necks

Before we delve into the many benefits of raw poultry bones, it is important to first make the distinction between feeding raw poultry bones and cooked poultry bones. Many of us are familiar with the fact that we should never, ever feed cooked poultry bones to dogs, but do you know the reason behind this warning? First off, let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of raw poultry bones:

  • They are soft and flexible
  • They can be easily crushed, without splintering
  • They do not splinter when broken
  • They contain naturally occurring moisture and cartilage

When a poultry bone has been exposed to heat through the cooking process, many things change. First of all, the chemical structure of the bone is altered. Water, cartilage, and blood vessel structures are removed and the bone becomes dry and brittle. It is no longer flexible, and without the connective tissues and moisture intact, it will easy snap into small, sharp pieces. It is the dangerously sharp pieces that pose the highest threat to our pets. Not only can the sharp edges puncture the trachea, intestines, and bowels, but they are no longer digestible and will stay intact through the digestion process, increasing the risk of damage to the pet. It is very important to monitor our pets (especially those scavenging dogs!) to make sure they do not have access to cooked poultry bones.

three packs of Chicken and Turkey Necks

three packs of Chicken and Turkey Necks

Raw poultry bones are not only safe for our pets to eat, but they offer many additional nutritional benefits to a pet’s diet, such as:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • Enzymes and amino acids
  • Calcium, phosphorous, and other trace minerals
  • Low-fat meat source

The Glucosamine and chondroitin found in raw poultry bones are in a “bio-available” form, which means that they are already in the most digestible and ready-to-use, natural form. For example, this differs from a dry glucosamine supplement because a pet would have to first re-hydrate the dry supplement and then try to pull something useful from what is available, which is often not the complete amount of what is fed. A natural bio-available form is absorbed by the intestines in the regular digestion process and nearly every bit of the glucosamine is usable. In fact, it is encouraged to replace the use of glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements with three weekly feedings of raw poultry bones in a size appropriate for your pet.

Enzymes and amino acids not only aid in digestion and the formation of proteins in the pet’s body, they are also an excellent way to clean the pet’s teeth. Through the chewing process, the enzymes are actually more effective in breaking down tough layers of plaque than daily brushings!

Maintaining proper calcium and phosphorous levels in your pet’s diet is essential. Again, the calcium and phosphorous found in raw poultry bones are in a bio-available form and can easy be used by your pet.

Poultry bones offer a low-fat source of meat and nutrients that can be used to replace up to three of your pet’s regular meals per week. Choose poultry bones that are appropriate for the size of your pet and simply feed only the poultry bone for that meal. Always supervise your pet when feeding raw meaty bones.

In addition to all of the nutritional benefits, raw poultry bones are fun for your pet! Adding variety into your pet’s diet allows you both a break from the monotony of feeding the same meal every day and allows for varied sources for nutrition. It is very natural for dogs in the wild to seek out and chew on the bones of their prey and they enjoy the process.

Chicken and turkey necks are similar in makeup in that they have a nearly identical amino acid chain, but they do have a couple of nutritional differences. Turkey is higher is selenium, iron, and zinc, and is a slightly leaner meat. The Chicken Necks include more flesh on the bone and have the skin attached, which is a great source of those natural omega 3’s and 6’s.

Some things to keep in mind when feeding raw poultry bones:

Some dogs can “gulp” the whole bone. This means that they will swallow the whole bone without chewing it. This is actually a very natural way for a dog to eat in the wild, since they do not have the ability to move their jaw from side to side to grind and chew their food. A raw bone is considerably easy for a dog to digest and so it shouldn’t cause any digestive issues, as long as your dog is in good health and the bone passes down their esophagus without problem. However, we always suggest that when you feed a raw poultry bone to a “gulper”, you hold half of the bone in your hand and let them chew off a small piece first.

Always feed raw poultry bones in a supervised environment. The backyard is a great place to offer one to your pet, but you can also try the bathtub (for smaller pets) or on a sheet in the kitchen. Just remember that this is a raw poultry product and any surfaces or materials that have come in contact with the poultry should be cleaned and disinfected.

Poultry bones can be given to dogs of all ages, but when feeding to a senior pet, or one who has compromised tooth health, be especially diligent in making sure they can handle the raw bone well.

Poultry bones can be used as meal replacements for your pet for up to three meals a week. There is no exact formula for how much raw bone your dog should have instead of their regular meal, but you can estimate based on the size of your dog and the amount of food they usually receive.


  • 4

The Facts about Raw Salmon

The salmon used in the Northwest Naturals Chicken & Salmon Raw Dog Recipe and Freeze Dried Salmon Treats is wild caught from Alaska. For human consumption, Wild Pacific caught salmon is preferred. However, salmon from the Northwest can carry the parasite Nanophyetus salmincola that in turn may be infected with Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Since consuming fish infected with Neorickettsiais is usually fatal to dogs, all salmon used in our facility is manufactured in accordance to the FDA guidelines for freezing fish to kill parasites.

 

Salmon

Northwest Naturals diets are flash frozen -30º at the time of production and then are maintained at -20º until shipped. NW Naturals Chicken & Salmon diet – Salmon used is Alaska Wild Caught Salmon Below you will find the FDA Guidelines. 4.2. Freezing – Unlike bacteria, molds, and viruses, most parasites are relatively easy to destroy by holding the raw material or finished product at freezing temperatures for a specified period of time; of course, this is dependent upon the internal temperature of the material. The Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide recommends a temperature below -4 oF (-20 oC) for 7 d or -31 oF (-35 oC) (internal) for 15 h to kill the parasites of concern (FDA 1998). Although, based on the data currently available, these recommendations may appear stringent, it is because they were developed for the parasites that are considered most resistant to freezing (G. Hoskin 2001; personal communication; unreferenced). Already in 1975 (Food Chemical News, October 1975) Dr. G. J. Jackson cautioned that the anisakid nematodes vary in their ability to survive at low temperatures. For instance, certain species of anisakids have been reported to survive up to 52 h at -4 oF. A number of other time and temperature regimes have been prescribed to accomplish the inactivation of parasites. Another such option prescribes holding the fish at -10 oF (-23 oC) for 60 h (Ching 1984). Alternatively, E.U. regulations require freezing at a temperature of no more than -4 oF (-20 oC) in all parts of the product for not less than 24 h in order to control parasites in fish. While the parasites can be killed by freezing the finished product, it is generally considered more appropriate to freeze the raw material prior to processing. Nematodes in particular will attempt to depart the gut during processing and will then establish themselves in the muscle during salting or smoking (Hauck 1977). The result may be the presence of nematodes on the surface of the finished product, often perpendicular to the surface. Their presence becomes a quality issue resulting in an aesthetically unwholesome (although safe) product. For this reason, it is a good practice to freeze susceptible raw material, even for hot-smoked fish.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/SafePracticesforFoodProcesses/ucm094578.htm