Category Archives: Supplemental Food & Treats

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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!

By Carol Kendig

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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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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Bone Broth in the making / boiling in a pot

Bone Broth for Dogs and Cats

By Carol Kendig

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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Green-Lipped Mussels Freeze Dried Treats

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

By Carol Kendig

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!


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Northwest Naturals Raw Beef Bones multipacks

Tips on How to Boost Your Pet’s Health with Raw Bones

By Carol Kendig

Throughout history, pet owners have been reaping the benefits of raw bones as a staple of their dog’s diet.

To Gnaw or Not to Gnaw: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis safer for the stomach to digest the bits of grit from a very big bone,
Perhaps, forsooth, to lose a tooth or tearfully eschew the chew.

Would Shakespeare Have Given His Dog Raw Bones?

Up until the last century, for as long as humans and dogs lived together, our canine’s main diet consisted of prey animals and unwanted human food scraps. In Shakespeare’s time that would have been standard fare for canines. So, if the Bard did have a pup, he most likely fed her a diet that included raw meaty bones. These bones boost your pet’s nutrition and offer many benefits.

I imagine Shakespeare’s dog would be a small, scruffy Terrier-type, bouncing along by her master’s side to the local ale house or sitting alertly at his side during rehearsals. Will probably wouldn’t have known the scientific benefits of feeding bones to his dog. Veterinary science was rather rudimentary in the 16th Century. But what was nutritionally appropriate for a dog’s digestive system in Shakespeare’s day is still appropriate for our dogs today. No matter the date, bones are a worthy addition to a canine diet.

How and Why to Give Your Dog Bones:

Raw is Safer

First in order of importance is to only feed your dog raw bones, not cooked or smoked, which can cause dangerous splinters. Not only do raw bones offer the best health benefits (raw enzymes), but they do not fragment into slivers as smoked or cooked ones may.

Size Matters

Second, chose the correct size of raw bone for your dog.  An easy rule about size is to match the size bone to your dog’s head. Chewing on a larger bone does not usually present a problem, but bones that are too small can create a choking hazard or be swallowed and cause problems. If Shakespeare had a twenty-pound Terrier, a femur would be an excellent choice. If he owned an English Mastiff, a large knuckle bone would be perfect. If the bard preferred a Pug, he might toss her a lamb breastbone or rib to chew.

Always Supervise Your Dog with a Bone

Third, always monitor your dog when she is eating a bone. Aggressive chewers can break off chunks of even a raw bone. Those pieces should be removed before they can be swallowed and cause esophageal trauma or a bowel obstruction. These determined pets can also fracture or chip teeth through the pressure they exert on these raw bones. If you are considering adding raw bones to your dog’s diet, careful supervision is the best policy when feeding bones whether yours is bone-driven or a nibbler.

The Added Benefits of Raw Bones

A fourth consideration when feeding raw bones, are the substances accompanying the actual bone: marrow and cartilage. Marrow is highly nutritious, and most dogs crave the taste.  However, it is quite rich and can cause digestive upsets and loose stools if consumed in excess. Obviously, a Saint Barnard can tolerate more marrow than a Pekingese. For smaller dogs scoop out and freeze some of the marrow and divide for later feedings or limit the amount of time she can spend with her bone, remove it, refrigerate or re-freeze it and feed again at a future time. Cartilage is a natural source of collagen which helps keep a pet’s joints and ligaments healthy. It is a nutritious bonus when feeding raw bones.

Raw Bones are Messy

The fifth point involves cleanliness.  Raw bones are messy.  Your dog’s face and paws might be too, after enjoying her bone. They are best fed outside, in a crate or on a cleanable surface. Personal note, I feed raw bones in the backyard when weather permits, but on inclement days my dogs get freeze-dried poultry necks which they totally consume, leaving no debris. Again, chose an appropriate size from chicken, duck or turkey necks.

Finally, remember that a raw bone is one of a dog’s greatest pleasures. Not only will it satisfy her innate desire for raw meat, marrow, cartilage and the small particles of bone itself, but it is a naturally interesting activity for her. Shakespeare’s dog may have jogged all over London with Will and been entranced by his plays, but too often modern dogs lead a rather boring life without much mental stimulation.

Bones provide both mental and physical challenges. Have you ever watched you dog eat a bone? There is a lot of physical exercise going on: mouth, jaws, forelegs, paws, head and neck all get a good workout as the mechanical process of ripping, grinding, holding, positioning, pulling and gnawing contribute to a dog’s well-being. Mood elevating endorphins are released through this pleasurable activity, creating a happy, relaxed dog.

In answer to the question, would Shakespeare have given his dog a bone? Yes, he most certainly would, and probably many bones over her lifetime. While some people will choose to forgo bones for a variety of personal reasons, as a healthful, mentally and physically stimulating addition to your dog’s life, a nutritious raw bone can’t be beaten.


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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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Dogs Whac-a-Mole

Boredom Setting In?

Are You So Bored Your Pets Are Too?

Life is a bit different these days. While we hope it will revert to normal soon, for now we can enjoy the extra time at home with our pets. You might feel “stuck at home” verses “safe at home”, or that you have “nothing to do” versus “time to do new things.” It turns out you’re not alone, your pet might be feeling the exact same way!

Many people and their pets are starting to feel the boredom setting in. By now, there’s a good chance that walks aren’t as exciting, you’ve run out of things to binge watch on your TV and the wet spring weather might be keeping you indoors. We’re here to help with creative ways to entertain your pets indoors.

Fun and Affordable Activities Keep the Boredom From Setting In

Whack a Mole:

This fun game is taking the internet by storm and it’s not hard to see why.  This Whack a Mole can be played with cats and dogs alike. Just like the addicting arcade game, you will have loads of fun playing this game with your fur babies. Grab a cardboard box and either a treat or toy for your pet. Cut a series of holes in the top of the box and a large hole in the side for your arm. Then you’re ready to play! Challenge your pet’s mental and physical reflexes for hours!

Link to article: https://www.rover.com/blog/dogs-whac-a-mole/

Hide and Go Seek

There are two different versions. Option 1 requires your pet’s favorite toy or treat. Hide this item in different locations around the house and watch them seek it out.  Or if your pet prefers to seek you out you have all you need to play! For option two, get your pet to sit and stay while you hide somewhere in the house. Watching them run around and try to find you is a great laugh and they’ll love the challenge!

Learn a New Trick

Why not use this extra time to learn a new trick. This will challenge both you and your pet as you try to learn from each other. Teaching your fur-baby a new trick will bring you closer together as you bond with positive reinforcement and rewards. There are loads of ideas for tricks from rolling over to fetching a new item, playing dead to giving hugs! Our treats have proven to be a very motivating reward for training.

Scavenger Hunt or Obstacle Course

Transform your living room into an exciting place that will both exercise your pet physically and mentally. Using household items, toys, and some healthy treats, you can create a series of courses to train and stimulate your pet.

Freeze Their Assets

If you have an outdoor space or garage that’s shielded from the rain, this one could be a great option for you. Take your pet’s favorite treat or toy and place it in a s sturdy bowl or Tupperware™ container.  Fill the bowl or container with water, or water and soup stock, and then place it in the freezer overnight. When the water has fully frozen, give it to your pet for hours of entertainment.

Do it Yourself!

Try making a new toy for your pet out of items you have in your house. Find a bit of rope (or upcycle some from a destroyed toy), use a t-shirt or towel, etc. Get creative and your pet will love having a new toy that smells like you!  Just be sure to supervise your pet whenever they play with this toy in case pieces break off.

We’d love to hear some of your ideas. Go to our Facebook page and send us a message. Maybe we’ll add your idea into another article in the future!

Stay safe and well!

~The Staff at Northwest Naturals


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dirt speckled white dog

Avoiding the Dander Without Skipping the Bath

How to Keep Your Dog’s Coat Healthy and Clean During the Chilly Months

Fall, Winter, and in some places, even Spring can be downright cold. But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean there isn’t mud, or that dogs don’t sweat. But many soaps can be dehydrating, especially in cold weather. What’s a dog owner to do? Wait for summer?

You can pamper your pooch, help condition their fur and skin, while bathing in the colder months. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to clean and pamper your pet.

Nutrition:

Making sure your dog is getting proper nutrition through their food and treats is the foundation for a healthy coat and skin. Without the right nutrition, your dog might develop dander or worse. Make sure to consult with your vet to make sure your dog is receiving all of the nutrients they need year-round. Treats are a great way to add a boost of the good stuff. Dehydrated fish skins and jerky are just one example of treats that can really pack a punch for healthy fur and skin.

All Northwest Naturals dog foods and treats are designed to provide optimal nutrition with a taste your pet will absolutely love.

Dry Baths:

In between your full-on baths, you can spot clean your dog’s problem areas with easy to use disposable towelettes. These are available both online and at many major retailers. Many are made with specific ingredients for specific uses. You’ll find oatmeal and honey for example to help soothe itchy skin, or mint based towelettes to combat odors. These cleansing cloths are great for everything from wiping away mud, to removing discoloration around the eyes and mouths of lighter colored dogs.

Using the Proper Dog Shampoo and Conditioner:

Based on your individual dog’s needs, select either a moisturizing shampoo, or a combination of shampoo and conditioner that will hydrate their coat while moisturizing and soothing their skin. If your dog has particularly dry or irritated skin, oatmeal-based products can be especially soothing.

Give Your Dog a Blowout:

Okay, you don’t have to actually use a hair dryer on your dog…that would drive some of them absolutely bonkers. But do make sure to towel dry their fur as much as you can post bath. If you can, wait until they are dry to go back outside. If you get your dog groomed or go to a do-it-yourself dog grooming place, they’ll often have one or both of these solutions on hand. This will help to prevent further damage.

Brush Your Dog Frequently:

Brushing your dog eliminates or reduces allergens, dust and dirt, and dander, which goes a long way to keeping them clean. It also stimulates the production of natural oils in their coat, and distributes them for healthier looking skin and fur.


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Blue eyed cat

What is Catnip?

And why do our feline friends fancy it?

Nepita cataria has gone by many names including the popular catnip, but also catsword and catmint.  It has become so common for cats and their humans that it’s just about everywhere.  And with good reason, cats love it, their antics provide us with amusement, plus it’s both natural and safe!  But have you stopped to wonder what it is or where it came from?  If you did, you might be surprised.

What is Catnip?

Catnip actually comes from the mint family of plants.  That’s right!  And it contains what’s called nepetalacatone, which is what makes cats love it so much.  Cats detect this volatile through a scent organ in the roof of their mouth rather than in their noses.  In fact, domestic and wild cats are both attracted certain plants within this genus, including leopards, cougars, servals, and lynxes.  The plant is native to southern and eastern parts of Europe, as well as the Middle East, Central Asia, China, New Zealand, and even North America.  Some believe however that it was the ancient Egyptians that were the first to cultivate the plant our felines love so much today.

When the leaves or stems of this plant are bruised, cats can sense the nepetalacatone.  What follows next is usually a cat like ballet of pawing, scratching, rolling, licking and a myriad of other moves.

Consuming the plant can cause cats to drool, become drowsy or sleepy, induce anxiety, cause bouts of frenetic activity such as leaping about, or purring.  If you or another human is holding the catnip, cats have been known to growl or meow, scratch and/or bite that hand.

If you’ve wondered why these ballets commonly last between five and 15 minutes, this is due to olfactory fatigue, also known as nose blindness.  After a certain length of time, cats lose their ability to detect the nepetalacatone and will generally lose interest until the next time.

Is your cat not affected by or interested in catnip? He or she isn’t alone.  It’s estimated that one out of three cats does not react to this popular family of plants.  Scientists have shown this to be due to genetics.

Catnip and Humans

Cats aren’t the only ones to have found a love for this family of plants.  Cat Nip has been used by humans throughout history.  Commonly it was used to make teas or tinctures to treat ailments.  Catnip is also great for getting rid of unwanted bugs, so much so that many use it today in the form of its essential oil.  And many find it a great ornamental plant to include in their gardens.  And why not? It’s drought tolerant, deer resistant, and can ward off destructive bugs like aphids.  Rumor has it that some have even smoked the plant.


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Person feeding a small dog a treat

What Amount of Dog Treats Do I Feed My Dog?

Too Much of a Good Thing

Dogs and humans aren’t much different in some respects.  Think of the last time you popped open a bag of potato chips. Did you eat just one? How can we expect our dogs to be content with just one treat?  Especially when they’re delicious, soft and chewy, grain and gluten free, freeze dried dog and cat single ingredient treats…like Northwest Naturals?

We can’t, and we shouldn’t.  Treats are just one more way that we can show our pets how much we love them.  So, the first part of our answer to this important question is to buy nutritionally healthy treats that taste as good as they sound.  When the treats are healthy, it’s easier to give them more frequently.

Nutrition

The second answer is a bit more situation dependent, as it’s based on the daily nutritional requirements of your pet.  The food you give to your pet, the amount of that food your pet receives at each meal, and how many times you feed your pet per day are the big factors.  If you are over-feeding or meeting the total nutritional requirements with your dog’s daily meals, it leaves less room for tasty treats and rewards throughout the day.

When feeding your pet, a raw based food diet, free from fillers like grains and gluten’s, your pet is getting optimal nutrition.  Imagine if every meal you ate was specifically designed to promote your health and well-being.  You’d have more room in your diet for a sweet treat now and again.  Just like you might work with a nutritionist or medical expert to develop that diet, we work with vets and pet health experts to develop our dog and cat foods and treats.

Pet food and treats should have recommended daily portions and serving sizes on the packaging.  But, you still need to know the specific nutritional needs of your pet.  And some companies are focused on selling more product vs. the health of your pet.  When shopping for your pet, read the ingredient labels.  Try to pick out the main ingredients.  In healthy pet food and treats, this is easy to do.  Aim for a single ingredient treat, or chicken, rather than chicken by product or chicken meal.  Avoid grains and gluten’s as these are fillers, which aren’t good for your pet, or your wallet.

Resources

Our dietary feeding suggestions are based on your pet’s weight and caloric needs, but we cannot know things like your pet’s activity levels, dietary restrictions, and/or allergies.  You can use the Feeding Calculator on our website or find another one online. You can also take the information on our packaging to your vet to develop a recommendation for daily meals and treats that will spoil your pet while maintaining good health.  Pair this nutritional information with healthy exercise levels and your fur baby will be set to live a happier, healthier, and longer life.