Category Archives: Pet Care

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Pet Disaster Survival Kit

Build a Pet Disaster Survival Kit

May 8th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

Floods!  Fires!  Earthquakes!  Snowbound!  Hurricanes! Ice Storms! Any one of these can leave you with no electricity, no water, no communication, and roads that are impassable.  You are trapped, alone with your pet depending 100% on you, their fearless leader, to take care of their needs. Can you both survive or will you be a sad casualty of the latest disaster? Building a Pet Disaster Survival Kit is the best first step.

None of us want to think about natural or human-caused disasters, but they seem to be happening more frequently in our increasingly fragile eco-system.  Don’t lay awake nights worrying about “what ifs?” Get proactive!  Create emergency disaster kits for yourself and your pets.  As Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Pet Disaster Survival Kit Content Ideas

  1. Food and water for at least five days. One gallon of water per day for dogs.  Larger dogs may need more, and if your dog is small any extra water can be used for cleanliness.
  2. Bowls and some treats.
  3. First aid kit with extra pet meds stored in watertight container.
  4. Bags to collect and store pet waste.
  5. ID collar on pet and an extra collar and leash.
  6. Carrier to transport and/or contain pet.
  7. Blanket and toy for comfort.
  8. A whistle.

Pet Disaster Kit Documentation

Those are the basics, but some experts advise adding a current photo of you with your pet to help people identify your pet and your ownership, written instructions about your pet’s special needs plus veterinarian information, grooming essentials such as a dry shampoo and brush and paper towels and plastic trash bags always come in handy. If you have a cat you will want to add a litter box, litter and scoop.

Purchase or Make at Home?

You can purchase Pet Disaster Survival Kits, but it’s fairly simple to create your own using items with which your pets are familiar.  I keep an abbreviated kit in my car, just in case my dog and I are on the road when something unexpected happens.  Loose items are stored in a flexible sport bag and stashed under the seat and water jugs are in the trunk.  My main survival kits are in the basement at home, cached under the stairs with jugs of water put aside in three or four other places.

One friend recommends putting as much survival gear as you can in a human backpack and another in a dog’s backpack and leaving them near a door, easy to grab and dash out if necessary.  A third friend keeps his pet’s kit in a sport bag beside his bed.  Accessibility and portability are key for an effective kit.

Healthy Food, Long Shelf-Life

Northwest Naturals raw freeze-dried foods and treats are a useful addition to your pet disaster survival kits.  Freeze dried for a long shelf life and high palatability these familiar foods can give comfort to frightened upset pets. They are also lightweight and clean and easy to feed. If you feed canned food be sure and include a can opener.  Kibble will be heavy and needs to be monitored for freshness. Remember to check your kit yearly to make sure everything is up to date.

Disaster survival kits are like insurance; we hope we never have to use it but feel safer knowing we have the protection. I don’t know about you, but if the zombie apocalypse comes staggering through my neighborhood, my pets and I are going to grab our survival kits and head for the hills. Hope you can do the same!

Resources:

Written by:  Carol Kendig, Northwest Naturals


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French Bulldog Pouting near a bowl of kibble food

Transitioning Your Dog or Cat to a Raw Diet

What Do Cats and Dogs Naturally Eat?

Our dogs and cats are both carnivores, but while cats are true carnivores, dogs are often referred to as scavenging-carnivores. The main difference is simply that cats need no additional nutrition other than their prey animals provide, but dogs can tolerate eating limited amounts of produce and grain.
We all want healthy pets full of vitality, so as responsible pet owners one of our goals is to provide our pets with diets suited to their digestion. Commercial raw, complete, and balanced diets are formulated to meet your pet’s nutritional needs and be easily digestible.

Making the Transition: Dogs

Young, Healthy Dogs

First let’s talk about transitioning a young, healthy dog to a raw diet. Switching puppies and young dogs off a kibble/canned food diet to a raw diet will be relatively easy. Evaluate your dog’s health at each stage and slow down if vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite occurs, however that will be very rare. Here’s what a typical transition schedule for young, healthy dogs would look like:

Puppy or young dog eating a chicken kibble/canned food diet:

Days 1 – 4 replace ¼ of current food with raw
Days 5 – 8 replace ½ of current food with raw
Days 9 -12 replace ¾ of current food with raw
Approximately at 2 weeks your pet will be on a raw diet!

For the first few weeks transition you could use Chicken then move to chicken/salmon then continue rotating different proteins throughout the dog’s life.

Older or Unwell Dogs

Transitioning older or unwell dogs to a raw diet may be more complicated. Sometimes dogs who have eaten kibble for many years can be resistant to change, but normally they love it. After years of eating inappropriate foods their digestive systems would do well with a slower transition to raw diets. Perhaps a week or two at each increment, always checking for any negative symptoms.
Dogs with current health conditions are in a category by themselves. Different diseases need to be evaluated by a veterinarian before diet changes are adopted. The best person to advise you would be a holistic veterinarian as they have the diet and nutritional background that conventional vets do not have.

In general, dogs are reasonably easy to switch onto a raw diet. Since they have evolved as scavengers, most enjoy a variety of different meats in varied forms such as raw and freeze-dried. But now we come to cats and things dramatically change.

Making the Transition: Cats

Imprint Eaters

Cats are imprint eaters. This means that they imprint on foods, shapes, and textures they eat as kittens and, as adults, don’t recognize new foods, shapes or textures as edible; so, unless you have a very young cat a raw food transition can be difficult for this species. Older, kibble/canned fed cats are able to switch, but it will require patience.

How Long Does It Take?

Knowing that the best diet for her cat was raw food, one woman admitted it took her almost a year to “trick” her cat into eating raw food. She literally had to replace one tiny kibble at a time with a morsel of raw food in her cat’s bowl. It was an exasperating year for them both with the cat sometimes eating more raw food and sometimes eating less. But it was worth it to the owner, knowing her cat was gradually transitioning onto a species appropriate diet. In the end, she was successful, and her cat is a sleek, healthy feline eating a correct raw diet. Weigh that story against the gentleman who had a four-year-old kibble-fed Bengal. The owner decided to try a raw diet, his cat devoured it on the first feeding and now will only eat raw food. Moral of the stories: transitional feeding with cats can take from 1 feeding to 1 year.

Different Textures: Frozen Raw Versus Freeze-Dried

When attempting a transitional feeding with cats, please remember another factor may be frozen raw versus freeze-dried raw food. Some cats enjoy the wet raw and will not touch the freeze-dried version while others prefer the moisture less texture of freeze-dried (always have water available nearby if not adding to freeze-dried food). Only experimentation with your cat will give you an answer.

Is Transitioning My Pet to Raw Food Worth It?

At this point you may be wondering if transitioning to a raw diet is worth the effort. The answer to that is a resounding YES! Normally, transitions go smoothly, and pets thrive on their new healthy raw diet. Not only will the biologically correct diet benefit your pet’s health and add healthy years to their lives, but you will feel a surge of satisfaction knowing you are doing the right thing for the animals who love and rely on you to take care of them.


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Crushing plants with a mortar and pestle

How to Ensure your Pets are Absorbing their Minerals

Not all Pet Foods Contain the Minerals Needed for a Healthy Diet

Minerals are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, for people and pets alike. While people have the luxury of opting for fresh, organic meals, pets often do not. Or, they did not until recently. While pet nutrition has come a long way, not all pet foods are properly formulated so that the right nutrients are able to be absorbed from the food.

How Do You Know What to Look for in Your Pet’s Food?

Natural and organic minerals are the best form. These can easily be absorbed by our pets’ bodies during digestion. It might sound like common sense to look for natural sources of minerals but there are both natural and synthetic, inorganic and organic minerals.

Natural vs Synthetic

The difference between natural and synthetic is pretty obvious. The reason synthetic minerals aren’t ideal for your pet’s nutrition, is that they aren’t as easily absorbed. They also differ slightly from natural sources, and those that are absorbed, aren’t as beneficial in terms of nutrition.

Organic vs Inorganic

This is where the terminology starts to get a little tricky. Organic here means plant based rather than plants that were grown without pesticides. Organic in terms of minerals does not get into that distinction. It becomes a bit clearer when we look at the next definition. Inorganic minerals are those in their natural state whether in the soil, rocks, or water. Minerals in the inorganic state are harder for pets and humans to absorb and utilize.

Formulating Minerals to Make them Easier to Absorb

Now that we’ve talked about minerals and where we can find sources of these nutritional building blocks, let’s look at how they should be incorporated into pet food for optimal nutrition. Naturally sourced organic minerals can be formulated to have high absorption rates. One of these formulations is called chelation in which a broad range of organic molecules are bound to the mineral molecule.

Of the various forms of chelation, proteination is the most effective. Proteination is currently the most effective mineral formulation and the highest standard for mineral supplementation for people or pets. The efficacy ranges from 15-30% higher than non-formulated natural minerals.

Why Get This Technical?

This post got pretty technical, but we went there because both you and your pets should have a healthy and whole diet. When selecting mineral supplements for yourself and your pet, look for natural, organic, chelated, or proteinated minerals. If these terms are absent, you might be getting a synthetic variant which is essentially empty nutrition.

Northwest Naturals has made it easy to find the best source of nutritional minerals for your pet. We go the extra nutritional mile in all of our pet food products to ensure the very best quality and nutrition. We use whole food sources to get the best minerals into our pet foods. Our raw frozen and freeze-dried diets are packed with natural organic minerals, and then we add proteinated minerals to ensure your pet gets their Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). Stop wasting your money on empty pet foods. Give your cat or dog the very best. Give them Northwest Naturals.


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Dog and Cat wearing St. Patricks Day Hats, drinking green beer, and eating Green Lipped Mussels to celebrate

It’s Not Exactly Irish, But it’s a Green Treat!

March is memorable for festive St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, green beer and four-leaf-clovers. While I wouldn’t recommend feeding your pets beer or clover, there is a green food you might want to try instead: Green Mussels, also called Green-Lipped or Green-Shell Mussels (usually shortened to GLM). While humans can enjoy these tasty mollusks in our diets, so can our dogs and cats.

Functional and Tasty

Why feed your pet Green-Lipped Mussels, you ask? Usually given as a treat to our pets, this treat is called a functional treat. Functional treats have dual functions.  First, they are palatable, hence they are a treat.  But in addition to being a treat they have superior nutritional benefits, making them doubly valuable. The functional aspect of GLM is their high concentrate of omega-3 fatty acids and a unique fatty acid called eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). ETA appears to have superior anti-inflammatory effects and is an immune modulator as well. Both are very effective against arthritic-type conditions.

GLM are also rich in chondroitin sulfate, an important structural component of cartilage. This combination of fatty acids and chondroitin helps ease pain associated with degenerative joint diseases and assists in building healthy joints.  Yes, you read that right – GLM can reduce your pet’s pain and strengthen their joints at the same time. And without any of the harmful side-effects of NSAIDs which are commonly prescribed for arthritis in humans and pets.

We Prepare it for the Best Nutritional Value

The most effective way to consume GLM is in a freeze-dried form. This way the all-important fatty acids are not destroyed, and the other heat sensitive properties are not denatured. Northwest Naturals understands the crucial nature of keeping nutrients intact when freeze-drying. With years of experience in this technology, NWN has produced a healthy functional treat in our Raw Rewards freeze-dried Green Lipped Mussels. This slightly chewy treat is available in a 2 oz. portion bag that includes plenty of the lightweight mollusks. Freeze drying locks in the aroma, texture, and freshness that our pets crave and is the healthiest way to feed GLM. So, while we might sip a green beer this St. Paddy’s Day how about tossing your pet a Green Lipped Mussel treat! It’s a light-hearted way to keep them healthy and happy.


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Brown and White Shepherd dog with mouth open in a smile

Do Wolves Go to the Dentist?

Pet Dental Health Month

Since this is Pet Dental Health Month, we here at Northwest Naturals decided to tackle this subject. Interestingly, we didn’t have much to share since raw fed dogs who are occasionally given raw bones rarely have dental problems. Dr. Katie Kangas a Californian veterinarian writing in “Dogs Naturally Magazine” (May 2020) had some great points about dental health for our pets which I am going to summarize for the benefit of all of our dogs.

Diet and Nutrition for Dental Health

Dr. Kangas’ first point is that a pet’s diet and nutrition is of paramount importance. She suggests that a raw diet including finely ground bones and raw meaty bones are your animal’s first defense against tooth decay. This is because raw bones provide natural enzymes that help fight plaque. Here is her advice on choosing an appropriate bone:

“Veterinary dentists report that large types of raw bones, such as
Marrowbones, rarely cause broken teeth…in contrast to small
bones. This has to do with dog anatomy and how your dog chews
his bones. Larger, bulky objects aren’t chewed with the same
angle and force on the large teeth at the back of the cheek and
mouth compared to smaller and longer objects. In fact, common
items known to break dogs’ teeth are nylon bones, cooked bones,
antlers, hooves and bully sticks.”

Northwest Naturals Raw Marrowbones

Northwest Naturals provides packages of raw marrowbones in these sizes:
1” — 8 in pack
2” — 4 in pack
4” — 2 in pack

If in doubt about size, go larger to reduce any chance of choking, but always monitor your pets when eating bones.

Also our packages of freeze-dried chicken, duck, and turkey necks provide raw bone benefits, with the cleanliness advantage of being freeze-dried. Dogs love these necks which are totally consumable and are full of collagen and glucosamine as well as providing the teeth cleaning advantages of all raw bones.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Next Dr. Kangas mentions the benefits of antioxidants in guarding against chronic oxidative stress. Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of antioxidants and fresh vegetables and fruits make up 18.5% of our canine diet formulas. Coenzyme Q10 has been associated with reducing periodontal disease and folate is helpful in aiding gum tissue. Both nutrients are abundant in organ meats and fatty fish.

Probiotics and Fatty Acids

Other players in the dental health field are probiotics and fatty acids. According to Dr. Kangas fatty acids “help manage dental inflammation… of the gingival tissue.” Probiotics, according to her, “provide oral health benefits when you give them orally or apply them directly to the gums…use a gel or liquid or powdered probiotic and rub it on the gums.”

Toothbrushing Tips

Most dogs fed a raw diet will never have to have their teeth brushed, but Dr. Kangas reminds us that manual toothbrushing may still be necessary for some pets, particularly small dogs who are especially susceptible for dental problems. She recommends diluting a “pure therapeutic oil… (such as) clove, lemon, peppermint, orange, basil, myrrh and copaiba” and applying one of them to the toothbrush for added benefits. Let’s give Dr. Kangas a big “Thank you!” for some wonderful suggestions on how to keep our pet’s smiling during Pet Dental Health month and all year round!

Our dogs are simply familiar, domesticated wolves albeit many generations removed from their ancestors. Feed your dog a species-appropriate raw diet, take reasonable dental precautions and you, too, will rarely have to take him or her to the dentist.


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Bowl of shiitake mushrooms

Medicinal Mushrooms and Our Pets

Lately, there has been ample publicity about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms for human usage but not nearly as much information is available for our canines and felines. First, we must acknowledge the difference between wild fungus species growing in the forest or in your backyard and medicinal mushrooms.  Never let your pet consume mushrooms growing wild. Even if you can positively identify a fungus species as non-poisonous to humans, it may still be harmful to your pet. Please do not take a chance because the results could be fatal to your best friend.

Three Beneficial Mushrooms for Your Cat or Dog

However, medicinal mushrooms are a different story. These valuable fungi have been studied for centuries and their advantages are well documented. Three mushroom species that have been thoroughly researched and deemed extremely safe for canines and felines are: Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes).

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake, also called Hen of The Woods, is best known for its immune enhancing properties. That makes sense because these mushrooms are an outstanding source of vitamin D2, the sunshine vitamin. To increase the vitamin D2 content of any of the mushrooms you use, simply slice and place them gill-side-up under direct sunlight for a few hours. Maitake is a well-known anti-inflammatory that supports the immune system. This species has naturally occurring antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid; all of which help protect against diseases. Maitake is a flavorful mushroom, semi-firm, chewy, aging to toughness.

Maitake is used for:

  • Cancer prevention
  • Support during chemotherapy and radiation treatments
  • Help with managing diabetes
  • Support for the liver
  • Regulating blood pressure

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi is called The Mushroom of Immortality for its life-extending properties. This species contains Zinc, Vitamin C, and Selenium, which fight free radicals and support healthy cells. Numerous clinical studies have verified that Reishi mushrooms have impressive anti-inflammatory effects and other broad health benefits, including energy enhancement. This mushroom has a bitter taste so is better suited for powder or supplement form.

Reishi can help:

  • Boost immune system
  • Improve sleep
  • Cancer treatment
  • Increase cardiovascular function
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory infections (viral)
  • Anti-aging properties

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Shiitake mushrooms are well known for their anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-Candida effects. These powerhouse mushrooms stimulate white blood cell production and improve circulation. They are high in B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D2, pantothenic acid, and other helpful nutrients. Shiitake’s benefits include fighting infections and aiding bone health. This mushroom is tasty.

Shiitake is used for:

  • Reducing side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Help in treating Cushing’s Disease
  • Regulating incontinence
  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Skin problems

Make Sure You Are Getting Quality Mushrooms

If possible, always use organically raised mushrooms that have been grown on a species-appropriate growing matrix (straw, wood, compost, etc.). Many mushroom products today are grown on grain which produces copious amounts of mycelium. Unfortunately, according to most mycologists, mycelium does not have the nutritional benefits of actual fruiting-body mushrooms, so investigate thoroughly before purchasing mushroom powders or capsules. Everyone wants an effective product when purchasing supplements: caveat emptor (buyer beware)! Capsules can be given by hand and powders can be sprinkled over food.

If you are going to feed your dog or cat whole mushrooms, you will find cooked rather than raw mushrooms are easier on their digestive systems. One easy way to feed your pet whole mushrooms is to make Mushroom Broth.

Mushroom Broth:

  1. 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, if using dehydrated milk soak until soft and then slice
  2. Sauté in a pan with butter
  3. Add 2 cups of water
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Blend for a soupy consistency
  6. You may add herbs to this broth for even more healthful benefits.
  7. Give your pet 1 tablespoon per 25 pounds of body weight. Freeze leftover the amount in ice cube trays. One cube equals 2 tablespoons. 

Medicinal Benefits Take Time

Remember that medicinal mushrooms work slowly. Most benefits will not be noticed before 1 – 3 months have passed, and those effects are often subtle. For example, you may notice a general sense of increased well-being or lessening of negative symptoms but be assured good things are happening internally. These three varieties of mushrooms are also considered to be nutraceuticals or medicinal foods. They are true adaptogens, generally safe for everyone, good at lowering stress, reducing infections, and working to balance hormones. Adding any one of these fungi to your pet’s diet may make the difference between average health to vibrant health and standard life expectancy to increased longevity. Explore medicinal mushrooms for your own pet. They might prove to be the powerful, nutrient-packed ingredient that improves your best friend’s life. 


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Bone Broth in the making / boiling in a pot

Bone Broth for Dogs and Cats

The Perfect Cold-Weather Soup

As soon as fall’s crisp days arrive and all through cold winters into chilly springs there is a large kettle of bone broth simmering on the back burner of my stove. The pot radiates some cozy kitchen warmth, my home smells yummy and most importantly I am creating a delicious and nutritionally rich food for myself and my dog.

Ember, my Australian Labradoodle, and I both love bone broth and it is truly a satisfying food. With an abundance of vitamins and minerals, high in amino acids and natural essential fatty acids bone broth is a valuable diet addition. This gelatin rich food is also loaded with collagen with all its health benefits. Beef is my staple broth ingredient followed by chicken and pork. I have not tried making fish bone broth yet but have heard good reviews.

Authentically made bone broth has been a staple in the diets of humans and animals through the ages. It is simple to make and the ingredients are inexpensive. However, in the 1950’s when convenience foods became popular, bone broth disappeared from most urban households. Recently it has been “rediscovered” and become a popular healthy food trend, first for people and second for their carnivorous pets.

Here are some of the claims made for bone broth:

  • Helps protect joints
  • May fight osteoarthritis
  • Reduces inflammation, boosts healing
  • Helps heal the gut
  • May aid sleep
  • Supports the immune system
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Supports healthy skin

Sounds like a super food, right? Yes, its nutrient profile is impressive, and those nutrients are easily absorbed…both very good features. But bone broth is not a miracle cure. What it does is boost your general health, especially in the areas listed above. Consider bone broth a soothing restorative drink, and if you or your dog feel some of those benefits, they will be a welcome bonus.

Make it! Drink it! Enjoy it!

My Favorite Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. of bones from beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish
4 cups cool water (cover an inch over bones)
1 -2 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 raw chicken foot for extra gelatin (optional, makes broth very thick)
Directions:
1. Bake raw bones @ 385 oven for 1 hour to release flavor
2. If using cooked bones eliminate Step 1.
3. In large pot combine all ingredients, let stand for 30 minutes
4. Place pot on stove and bring to a boil
5. At boil, turn down heat and skim off froth floating on top
6. On very low heat simmer broth:
Beef, Pork, Lamb — 48 hours
Chicken – 24 hours
Fish – 8 hours
7. If adding vegetables, add to broth 1 hour before end of cooking
8. Remove pot from heat and take out bones
9. Strain remaining liquid for beautiful, clear bone broth

You can store broth in the refrigerator for up to five days and freeze for several months. Broth can be made in a crock pot or slow cooker with very good results in a shorter time. Vegetables and herbs make interesting flavor additions. Be aware that the vegetables of the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) usually are not used as they can turn bitter during the long, slow cooking process.

My dog and I savor the warm goodness of bone broth every day. She loves it added to her raw diet, and I love to drink a cup of it each morning as an energy boost and at night relaxing before bed. Try this simple-to-make super food for yourself and your dogs and cats. At the minimum it will improve your sense of well-being and it may do a whole lot more. Bon Appetit!


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Sleepy older golden retriever

November is National Senior Pet Month

When are Pets Considered Seniors?

Is your dog 7 years old or older? That’s the magic number for determining senior status in most dogs. Smaller breeds aren’t considered golden oldies until they are 10 years old while the giant breeds hit senior status at age 6. Cats are seniors from age 10 – 14 years and are called super seniors above age 15.

The Perks and Pitfalls of Being a Senior Pet

Our senior pets are special. We’ve shared more heart-warming experiences with them through the years and loved them longer so when those muzzles start turning grey and we see them slowing down it can be distressing for us. Some of the problems we may see in our older pets are painful joints resulting in general reduced mobility, and because of less activity weight gain is not uncommon. Slowed digestion can also be an issue. Higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, dental problems and kidney problems often materialize with advancing years.

Improving Quality of Life Through Diet

To help our beloved cats and dogs in their senior years we need to focus on feeding them the highest quality and least processed proteins available. If you are feeding a raw diet continue to do so. If you are feeding kibble, try adding some raw food as a topper. If it agrees with your pet, try increasing the raw up to 50% of her diet. Definitely lower the amount of carbohydrates you are feeding as carbs slow digestion and add weight. Adding some healthy fiber to your dog’s diet will also aid her digestion and provide her with needed phytonutrients.

Cats simply need higher quality protein without added fruits and veggies. Since cats are obligate carnivores, raw protein is the most biologically appropriate diet for them. However, it can be very difficult switching a kibble fed cat to a raw diet in her senior years. Some cats adjust to freeze-dried raw easier than frozen raw diets because of the dry texture. But it may take a while to convince your cat that her new frozen raw or freeze-dried raw high-quality protein food is what she really wants to eat. If you own a cat, you know they have opinions!

The raw diets formulated at Northwest Naturals are appropriate for senior dogs and cats. The proteins are of the highest quality, minimally processed and are the primary ingredient in our dog food. At 80% protein the diets are palatable and healthy. In NWN dog food veggies and fruit comprise 18.5 % of the diet. They provide needed fiber and are rich in antioxidants, both important elements in a senior’s diet to protect against cancer and diabetes. Natural supplements are the final 1.5% of the recipe to make sure all nutritional bases are covered.

Cats will thrive well into their senior years eating a 98% raw protein diet with the addition of 2% natural supplements to ensure each meal is complete and balanced for their unique nutritional needs.

Other Tips for Taking Care of Your Senior Pet

Providing our senior pets with optimal nutrition is one of the most important elements in making their declining years their golden years. But we cannot overlook such simple things as perhaps providing more comfy orthopedic beds, switching to raised bowls and making sure toys are appropriate for aging mouths. Puzzle toys and feeding games can also be helpful for slowing cognitive decline. Shorter walks give you both time to stop and smell the roses as your pet enters this slower more contemplative time of life. Spend time looking deeply into your pet’s eyes and savor the love and contentment you see there. Hopefully, we will all age as gracefully as our beloved pets.


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Raw Pet Food for Dogs & Cats from Northwest Naturals

The Northwest Naturals Difference

Feed Your Pets the Very Best, Because They Give Us Their Very Best Everyday

Pets aren’t just pets. Your dog or cat is a member of your family. You want the very best for each and every member of your family. And that extends right down to the food they eat every day. Mass produced dry food brands, even canned wet foods, are missing vital nutrients. In order to give your pets the very best, you need to feed them a complete and balanced diet such as Northwest Naturals. The Northwest Naturals difference is clear: Clearly better-quality ingredients, clearly better nutrition.

See the Northwest Naturals Difference for Yourself

While most of us aren’t picky eaters, we are picky about what we feed our pets. The Northwest Naturals difference means that we strive to find the very best ingredients for your dog or cat’s foods. The ingredients in our pet foods are sourced from only the finest farms, manufactured in our USDA inspected facility, approved manufacturing and cleaning procedures, here in the United States. Northwest Naturals products are made start to finish in Portland, Oregon.

Quality Ingredients:

Our suppliers are carefully chosen for their dedication to quality and safety practices, sustainable farming activities, and consistent and reliably available commodities. We’ve worked with these suppliers closely over many years, building trust in their integrity. As a consumer, you can rest assured that your pet’s food is the very best, because of the Northwest Naturals difference.

Proteins

All proteins used in Northwest Naturals products are inspected and graded safe for human consumption, the highest criterion for meat safety in the food industry. We source all of this protein from the USA with three exceptions: Lamb which we source either from the USA or New Zealand, Rabbit which comes from France (used in cat food only) and Green Lipped Mussels (treats only) which comes from New Zealand. Our salmon is Alaskan wild caught.

Produce

All of the produce used in our products comes with a letter of guarantee confirming that every step from the field to our door has been monitored for the safest and most wholesome human edible produce. Northwest Naturals vegetables are sourced from the USA. When we can, we source them locally, here in our own backyard, the Pacific Northwest.

Manufacturing

We combine our healthy ingredients, adding natural vitamins and minerals, to provide the very best in nutrition for your cat or dog. Our recipes follow recommendations from the American Federation of Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), so that each is complete and balanced. After sourcing the finest ingredients, Northwest Naturals takes great care in the production and processing of our foods. In fact, each product is manufactured from start to finish in our facilities.

In order to keep our products free from bad bacteria and pathogens like salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, we use High Pressure Processing (HPP). HPP is extremely safe and has been used extensively in the human food industry for many years. With decades of scientific evidence behind it, HPP has proven no degradation in nutrition. Northwest Naturals chooses HPP instead of heat pasteurization, chemicals, bio-preservative, and irradiation because they can change the flavor, texture, color, and damage the nutritional value of the food. After processing, our products are tested by our in-house lab and an independent lab to ensure that our foods are safe for consumption. Only after test results are confirmed negative do we release our products for shipment.

Northwest Naturals Facility:

Your pet’s optimal health is our everyday goal. For your pet to achieve this level of health and wellness, they need raw, bioavailable nutrition, and stringent food safety practices.

Our dedication and commitment to excellence starts at our facility. We follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP’s). We’ve welcomed the USDA and the FDA into our home to inspect our manufacturing plant and process.

Did you know that Northwest Naturals is a certified human food facility by the USDA, FDA, and APHIS organizations? It’s true! We also have a USDA inspector on site for all production. As part of our rigorous safety protocols, Northwest Naturals strictly follows the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Guidelines established in partnership by the FDA and USDA.

Quality ingredients, food safety, and the highest standards for manufacturing practices are what make Northwest Naturals “The best in complete and balanced raw food for your pet”.

Learn more about why a raw diet is so important for cats and the benefits of a raw pet food diet.


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Green-Lipped Mussels Freeze Dried Treats

Green-Lipped Mussels, Your Pet’s New Best Friend

The Merits of the Green-Lipped Mussel

Now, before you dismiss me as socially challenged, I’ll admit that the New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect pal. However, this amazing shellfish has so many sterling qualities that after you read this article you may be tempted to befriend him, too.

Born and Raised Sustainably

Found in only one place in the world, the beautiful Ninety Mile Beach area in New Zealand, green-lipped mussels are a powerhouse of nutritional goodness. These mussels which can grow up to 9” have distinctive green edges on their shells and are highly prized for their unique healthful qualities. They are carefully and sustainably raised and harvested under the strictest NZ aquaculture standards. GLMs are rated one of the top two ‘eco-friendly seafoods’ in the world by the International Conservation Organization Blue Ocean Institute.

Are you starting to see the attraction? This mussel lives in one of the world’s most gorgeous locations, is big and colorful, deeply appreciated by New Zealanders and good for pets and humans alike. And we’ve not even touched on the real appeal yet. Drum roll: green-lipped mussels are an amazing joint support with NO side effects (unless you are allergic to shellfish when they should not be used).

Our Mussels vs. Prescription Drugs

If your dog is getting older and feeling pain from stiff joints, conventional veterinarians will probably want to prescribe NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These drugs can appear to alleviate symptoms, but they all have side effects such as serious liver, kidney and digestive complications that, in my opinion, negatively outweigh the benefits. And with long-term usage NSAIDs can make joint problems worse. We don’t want to do that to our pets or to ourselves!

Here is where our friend the green-lipped mussel has a distinct advantage over the NSAIDs. Not only does the GLM contain COX inhibitors (anti-inflammatory benefits) like the NSAIDs, but they have none of the drug’s side-effects, and some studies have shown GLMs help to reduce gastrointestinal irritation brought on by previous NSAID drug usage. So, if you have been giving your pets NSAID drugs, GLMs may help alleviate some of those adverse side-effects.

Green-Lipped Mussels Go Above and Beyond

GLMs have very high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and also contain eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) which is unique to green-lipped mussels. ETA appears to be a superior COX inhibitor working on dual pathways in the body for added effectiveness. Plus, GLMs are loaded with sea-rich vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our pet’s health.

There is evidence that not only do GLMs aid in inflammatory conditions, they also help maintain young, healthy joints. Many people and their pets are taking GLMs as a preventative measure while their joints are still fully functional thus preventing eventual joint deterioration.

Your Friend is Our Friend

So, if you are interested in your joint health and your pet’s joints too, Green-Lipped Mussels are something you should consider trying. While you will probably ingest supplements your dogs and cats may enjoy Northwest Naturals Green Mussels treats. Correctly freeze-dried to retain all their beneficial components, these mussels can be given as individual treats or crumbled over food, whichever works best for your pet. They come in a 2 ounce package and are simply whole GLMs that have not been denatured by heating and whose nutrients are bioavailable to your dog or cat.

I have to admit that my true best friend will always be my dog, but if a Green-Lipped Mussel can help keep us both healthy and pain-free, well, that tasty little mussel has our gratitude and admiration, just before we eat them up. What a way to treat a friend!