Category Archives: Raw Cat Food

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Dog licking its lips looking up at its owner

It’s Rawgust!

By Carol Kendig

A Biologically Correct Diet

Ever since some clever marketing person came up with the idea of combining raw feeding with the month of August we have been subjected to the awkward —  Rawgust. While it is not exactly a lyrical word, it does serve as a timely reminder for all of us to continue including more raw foods into our dog’s and cat’s diets.  If you are feeding 90 – 100% raw food to your pets give yourself a big pat on the back. Your lucky pets are eating a biologically correct diet and their health benefits are numerous. If you are in the 50 – 90% raw category in pet feeding, congratulations on your efforts and your pets are receiving some notable health benefits, too. However, if your pet’s meals are under 50% raw you may want to raise that percentage for greater well-being.

“Living Food”

Adding appropriate raw food to a kibble or canned food diet is an intelligent idea. For example, using NWN’s complete and balanced nuggets as a topper to a commercial kibble will make your pet’s diet more palatable and nourishing. At last, your pet will be getting some “living food” in the form of raw enzymes. Plus, the nutrients will be whole and not denatured by heat. Obviously, the higher amount of raw food in your pet’s diet the better his or her body will respond to these live foods. Here are a few of the many benefits you may notice once you begin feeding your dog or cat a wholesome raw food diet.

  1. Less shedding, shinier coat
  2. Less likelihood of allergies and lessening of current symptoms
  3. Maintain proper weight
  4. Smaller less odorous stools
  5. Healthier teeth and gums, better breath
  6. More efficient digestive system
  7. Maintain proper hydration
  8. Healthy skin, indicating a healthy immune system
  9. Healthier joints

A Year-Round Goal

Feeding our dogs and cats a complete and balanced raw food diet is a year-round goal, not just for Rawgust. Consider adding more Northwest Naturals frozen raw or raw free-dried to your pet’s current diet. Consider feeding the nutritional apex of 100% raw because all our beloved pets deserve to eat a biologically correct diet. For thirty years NWN has been committed to providing our pets the best in raw nutrition, giving each and every one of them better health for a longer life and giving all of their parent’s peace of mind.


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raw cat food with cartoon fish going into the cat bowl

How to Transition Your Picky Cat to a Raw Diet

Will everyone with a picky cat, please raise your hand?  Okay, I can feel the breeze of millions of hands waving all over the world.  Most cats are very finicky about their food and trying to switch an adult cat to a new diet can be a frustrating experience for even the most loving owner.

Cats Are Imprint Eaters

Foods that have not been introduced to them within the first 3 to 6 months of their lives are often not recognized as edible by our felines. So, if you are trying to switch an older cat from a kibble diet to a raw food diet your cat may not be acting picky, he simply may not recognize the new food as something he can eat! Think of your reaction if an extra-terrestrial offered you a box of tissue or a car headlight for dinner. What the heck? Same feeling for your cat.

Transitioning Cats to Raw

Both young kittens and cats that have survived by hunting will be the easiest candidates for switching to a raw diet. These two groups can usually be transitioned within a single feeding, or a quick week or two of mixing the raw food with the old diet should do the trick. These are the lucky ones.

For Cats Over 6 Months Old

If your companion cat is over 6 months old and has been fed kibble all their life transitioning them to a raw diet may be a challenge. The key word in this endeavor is patience. Below are a few methods that may take some time but will eventually be successful.

Method One

This is the slowest but most reliable way to transition requires three distinct steps.

Step 1: Switch from free-feeding to two scheduled meals a day.

Grazing on a food bowl all day gives the cat too much control over his eating preferences and schedule. Put his current food down for half an hour then remove. Cats are smart and will quickly figure out that they need to eat at mealtimes or will be hungry. The purpose behind this is to encourage your cat to eat complete meals twice a day in a timely manner. And when you have successfully moved your cat to a raw food diet, you will not want to leave raw food unrefrigerated all day.

Step 2 Switch from kibble to canned food

This will probably be the hardest step and can take quite a bit of time. If you have been feeding an inexpensive grocery store kibble to your cat he literally may be addicted to the fillers and flavoring agents in his food. Even though those chemicals are, or will eventually cause problems for your cat, breaking that physical dependency can be stressful.

Cats fed a more holistic kibble may not have the addiction problem but may still be resistant to change because cats are imprinted on the smells, shapes, textures, and tastes of their current foods. The best advice is to simply add the canned food slowly in with the kibble at a ratio of around 10% canned to 90% kibble. You may need to do this for a month or more before you reduce the kibble to 80% and increase the canned to 20%. As your cat adjusts keep slowly reducing the kibble until your cat is accepting 100% canned. Make sure the canned cat food is natural meat with no chemical additives or fillers. Use your local holistic pet supply store as a resource, choosing the best canned food you can afford. This will make the next step easier.

Step 3 Switch from canned to raw food

Once your cat is comfortable eating canned food you may gradually begin adding raw food mixed in with the canned at about the same 90%/10% ratio. Often this step goes fairly quickly as the canned food texture is similar to raw texture. Again, go slowly, remembering your cat’s digestion is making a powerful adjustment during this time.

Method Two

Another method for switching cats to a raw diet is to simply begin adding freeze-dried raw to a cat’s kibble. The texture is dry, and often kibble fed cats respond well to freeze-dried raw instead of frozen raw. The downside to this is that cats have a critical need for moisture in their diets. Some owners add water or a salt-free meat broth to their kibble/freeze-dried mixture, but additional fluids must be available and consumed. Careful monitoring of water dishes is advised. Once your cat is eating a kibble/freeze-dried raw diet with ease, begin adding frozen raw at a slow ratio until all kibble can be eliminated.

Method Three

Some people try a quick transition and it can work for some cats. They put some raw food in a bowl and leave it in the cat’s food area for half an hour. It the cat doesn’t eat it they replace the raw meal with a small amount of the cat’s regular food. The cat will be hungry for their next meal and may eat the raw food which will be left down for a half hour and then removed if uneaten. Again, a small amount of regular food will be offered. By the third meal the cat will be hungrier and hopefully will try the raw food. This method of transition can work but owners must be careful trying it. Hepatic lipidosis can result if your cat decides to go on a hunger strike and you don’t want that to happen as it is a fatal liver condition. Quick transition or slow each cat is an individual and you will be the best judge of which style works best for you.

Obligate Carnivores – Tips & Tricks to Raw Feeding

Eventual switching to a frozen raw is the standard goal for most cat owners. However, there are limited health benefits by using raw or freeze-dried raw as a topper on a canned food diet. And some people simply like to give freeze-dried raw food as special treats which can provide some useful digestive enzymes for cats, too. As a general rule, the more raw food your cat consumes the more health benefits you will notice. Below are some tricks clever cat owners have used to help the process move more smoothly.

  • Smear some food on top of the cat’s front paws and he will eventually lick it off, discover it is food, and begin eating it out of their bowl.
  • Put some food in a bowl and hide it under your bed, behind a couch, under a bush. Cats are natural hunters and will hunt the food and may eat it.
  • Put water with the cat’s kibble and smash in gradually increasing amounts of raw food.
  • Find a flavor topper your cat likes on their kibble, i.e., canned tuna water, and add that to the raw diet.
  • Slightly warm the frozen raw food as temperature changes can be worrisome to cats. Be careful not to cook the food.
  • Some cats are very sensitive about having their whiskers touch their food bowl. You may need to switch to a broader, flatter more plate-style of bowl when feeding raw.

Don’t hover or act stressed when switching your cat’s diet. Feed him and walk away for the half hour. Most cats are cautious about their feeding habits and can react negatively to your heightened concern.

 

Always think in small increments when changing your cats’ diet. A few rare cats transition easily but most take time, so above all remember that patience is a virtue, and your cats’ health is worth it.


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Freeze Dried Chicken, Duck, and Turkey Necks

Your Dogs & Cats Will Love Raw Freeze-Dried Poultry Necks

By Carol Kendig

I am a lucky woman to have three lovely Australian Labradoodles sharing my life, causing chaos, and bringing me joy. Since I work for a pet food company, frequent local pet supply stores on a weekly basis, and attend pet trade shows, I see all the new and innovative pet products. Because I am given samples of the best of the best and newest of the new in dog treats, my dogs have become treat snobs. Seriously! My 4-footed kids have such highbrow tastes that finding them something they consistently enjoy and is healthy for them and doesn’t set my wallet on fire is a priority for me.

Benefits of Raw Freeze-Dried Poultry Necks

Easy, Clean, & Tasty

Northwest Natural’s freeze-dried chicken, duck, and turkey necks are one snack my dogs never turn down. The freeze-dried poultry neck bones are softer and cleaner to eat than raw frozen beef bones or frozen raw poultry necks. For that reason, the freeze-dried neck bones can easily be fed year-round as they can be totally consumed, creating less to no mess at all in your home car, etc. Since they are soft, they’re usually eaten more quickly so, no, they will not keep your dog busy for an hour. They will be chewed, gulped and swallowed and your dog will probably be begging for more within 5 to 10 minutes. But that’s okay, because these freeze-dried raw necks not only taste good, but they are remarkably good for our pets.

Nutrition & Bio-Availability

Nutritionally, freeze-dried poultry necks retain the nutrients and flavor of fresh or raw frozen necks.  If your pet relishes a raw chicken neck, it will enjoy its freeze-dried counterpart. These freeze-dried necks are completely digestible with a texture described as “soft crunchy” or “chewy.” Both raw and freeze-dried poultry necks are a great source of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and are high in glucosamine and chondroitin, enzymes and amino acids. Plus, all the nutrients in raw and freeze-dried bones are optimally bio-available to our pets. These naturally occurring nutrients are not synthetic substances that their bodies regard as foreign and have trouble digesting. Raw and freeze-dried bones are a fully utilized, healthy addition to your pet’s diet.

Dental Health

The active enzymes in raw bones also discourage dental problems, specifically tooth plaque. Feeding my dogs a raw food diet plus raw bones since 1974 none of them have ever had any dental problems, nor have they needed their teeth cleaned. In addition, I don’t need to brush their teeth. Raw bones do all the work for us! Interestingly, raw freeze-dried necks contain the same beneficial enzymes necessary for keeping our pet’s teeth plaque-free, and I have never heard of a pet cracking a tooth on a freeze-dried bone. If your pet is an aggressive chewer, freeze-dried poultry necks may be a safer option as they are easily pulverized by your pet’s strong jaws. As a dental aid, freeze-dried and raw poultry necks are truly a functional, yummy treat. Learn more about Pet Dental Health in our Blog Article.

Northwest Natural’s Freeze-Dried Poultry Necks Come in Three Sizes:

Chicken Necks:

As the smallest of the poultry necks, these are an appropriate size treat for cats and small dogs. These necks have proportionally more skin attached which gives them the advantage of natural Omega 3’s and 6’s.  Chicken is also slightly higher in protein than the other neck bones with a generous vitamin and mineral content.

Duck Necks:

This medium size poultry neck works well for most dogs in the 25 to 50 pound range. These necks are high in calories, fats, and vitamins (especially B6 and B12) with a rich taste most pets enjoy.

Turkey Necks:

The size of turkey necks will vary, but you can generally see the size or gently squeeze the package to feel how large the necks are. Tom necks are appropriate for giant breeds, but hen necks can be consumed by medium sized to large sized dogs. Turkey is a slightly leaner meat that is also high in vitamins and minerals, notably zinc, iron, and the hard to source natural selenium.

For All Sizes

You can adjust the size of the freeze-dried necks your pet can consume by holding onto a larger freeze-dried neck while you let your pet chew on it. This way you can control the amount your pet eats and avoid an over-eager pet from choking. Or, if your small dog loves turkey, simply cut the large necks into Pomeranian-sized pieces for your little buddy. If your Great Dane loves chicken, you can crush freeze-dried necks and sprinkle over his dinner. Supervision is always wise when feeding whole bones to your pets. My dogs range in size from 28 – 45 pounds and can eat all three sizes of freeze-dried bones under my watchful eyes.

Boredom Busters & Brain Work

Healthy pets need mental and physical stimulation; raw and freeze-dried bones provide both. Bones are like a puzzle to our pets as they try to figure out how to get all the good stuff, not miss a morsel, and do it quickly so they can try to grab their sister’s bone or beg for another. If you are feeding beef marrow bones, is their tongue long enough to reach every bit of that delicious marrow? Where can they hide it so they can eat more of it tomorrow? So many issues for those little canine and feline brains to consider! Bones of all types take the boredom out of our pets lives and gives them manageable challenges and great chewing fun.

Why not experiment with something new for your pet’s diet? If your dogs are anything like mine, I know they will love having a freeze-dried poultry neck as a treat or in their food bowl as an interesting diet addition. Let’s give our favorite carnivores something they naturally crave and will really enjoy – raw frozen or raw freeze-dried bones! Happy crunching to one and all!


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French Bulldog Pouting near a bowl of kibble food

Transitioning Your Dog or Cat to a Raw Diet

By Carol Kendig

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

By Carol Kendig

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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Bowl of shiitake mushrooms

Medicinal Mushrooms and Our Pets

By Carol Kendig

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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Sleepy older golden retriever

November is National Senior Pet Month

By Carol Kendig

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

By Carol Kendig

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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Light Brown Puppy being petted by woman with a hat

National Best Friends Day

When the Rest of the World Celebrates What We Pet Parents Already Know

June 8th is National Best Friends Day. Pet owners live “best friends day” every day. Our furry, feathered, fishy (scaly, etc.) friends hold a special place in our lives, and our hearts. In early June, the rest of the world joins us in celebrating best friends, though theirs might be of the two-legged variety. While we might not need another reason to love or spoil our pets, we’ll gladly take it!

What is National Best Friends Day?

While no one can really track down the origins of this holiday, we hazard to guess it was a pretty paw-some person who had some great pet to celebrate. In all fairness, it was this national holiday got its start right here in the USA. It was created by congress in 1935 to celebrate our best friends, but they never said these friends had to be human. June 8th was picked because most of the country experiences good weather at this time of year which makes it possible for almost all of us to get outside and have some fun with our friends.

How Will You Celebrate?

Will you go for a nice long walk? Maybe go for a romp in a creek or a pond? Will your best friend or friends get a few extra special treats?

There are so many fun ways you can spoil your pets on national best friends day. Whatever way you choose to celebrate, share some photos of your pet and your fun with the hashtag #bestfriendsday

Our Favorite Way to Spoil Your Pet

We care about our friends. They’re there for us every day, whenever we need them. Our pets get us through tough times. They make us laugh. We love them so much that we wish they could be with us forever. One of the easiest and healthiest ways to celebrate your pet is to feed them a fresh, tasty, and nutritious diet.

Have you ever dished out your dog or cat’s dry, smelly food and wished you could feed them something better? Have you thought that there has got to be something more exciting out there? With Northwest Naturals, there is!

We make feeding your pets fun. We make it delicious. And above all, we make it nutritious because that’s what you want for your best friend: a healthy happy dog and cat that lives a vibrant long life.

From flavorful treats to perfectly portioned dinner bars, from frozen raw food to freeze-dried diets and treats, you can be confident that you are giving your pets the very best when you give them Northwest Naturals. Check out what independent sources like Dog Food Advisor are saying about our foods and treats. And why not surprise your pet on Best Friends Day with a tasty treat from Northwest Naturals wide selection of nutrition rich foods?

 


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Dog Paws

Nutrition & Nails

Choosing the Right Pet Food Shouldn’t Be a Nail Biter

Making Healthy Foods Simple

You don’t eat food with thirteen syllable additives, supplements, and byproducts, so how do you do the same for your pet? Big store dry and wet pet foods often contain fillers which lack the nutrients your pets need for healthy skin, fur, nails, brain health, and more.  These bulk foods leave your pets at risk for broken nails, dry skin, and nutrient deficiencies. 

Pet nutrition experts suggest sticking to wholefoods, foods with actual ingredients that you can see and recognize.  When selecting your pet foods look for proteins, fruits, vegetables, and oils.  On top of fillers, the more highly processed a food is, the less nutrition it generally contains.  As food is processed it loses essential vitamins and minerals.  Other experts will add that your pet food should offer complete nutrition, meaning you shouldn’t have to add supplemented nutrients outside of their daily meals.

But what are you to do? Natural and raw pet foods are a big switch.  They’re expensive.  Making your own is an option but that can leave your pet at risk too.

At Northwest Naturals we know that you’re busy, and would rather be spending your money on toys, treats, and taking your fur baby out on the town, than spending loads of cash on their food.  We make it easy to get wholesome nutrition in easy to serve portions at a price that won’t break your catnip or squeaky toy budget.  Our ingredients are simple and nutritious.  We use bison, beef, and broccoli rather than byproducts.  Our foods are packed with the right amounts of zinc, iron, and vitamin E so that your dog or cat have absolutely the very best.

Nutrition and Nails

Whether you have a cat or a dog, both, or multiple pets, you know that health starts at their nails.  Your babies scratch, dig, grip, and protect.  Nails are important.  With poor nutrition however, they become brittle and break, leading to other potential health conditions. 

If your pet has a serious condition, please first consult your vet.  Diet is important but your vet can help determine if there are other factors involved and suggest an overall treatment which might include diet.  Pet nail health, like human nail health, is reliant on consuming the right nutrients such as omega fatty acids and biotin.

Grooming

Proper nutrition isn’t the only factor in the health of your dog or cat’s nails.  Grooming or trimming your pet’s nails regularly will help to strengthen them and prevent damage.  Inside the nail is a nerve and a blood vessel called the “quick.”  Cutting the nail too short can be painful and harmful to the overall health of the nail.  Most veterinarians and groomers offer nail trimming services, or you can ask to be shown the proper method for trimming the nails at home. Pets with dark or black nails can be more intimidating than those with lighter color nails because it’s not as easy to see where the blood vessel ends. Other pets dislike the process of having their nails trim and fight against it, making it harder, and more difficult to do safely at home. Vets and groomers who have experience can be helpful in those cases. 

For more information on how and why to feed raw, check out this page on our website: Why Feed Raw?