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Tis’ the season of giving back! We all get caught up in the commotion of the holidays, but let us not forget the animals that need a little extra love this season.

According to the ASPCA, nearly 6.5 million pets find themselves in animal shelters in the U.S each year! What better way to share the spirit than by helping those waiting for their fur-ever homes? Here are just a handful of ways you and the family can get involved in bringing joy to some fur babies that need some extra kindness.

DONATE

There are multiple ways to make a donation at a shelter. Making a monetary donation is always helpful—no matter the amount you are able to give! Additionally, you can ask your shelter what is on their “Wish List” so you can provide them with the items they need most! Common items include towels, leashes, food bowls, blankets, food and more—these can be new or gently-used! Many shelters need to cover the costs for food, housing, vet visits and more all on their own. Donations of any kind make a world of difference, and it can be a great holiday tradition when the family gets together.

VOLUNTEER

Similar to how shelters rely on donations, they also rely on their wonderful volunteers to keep the shelters up and running! You can help facilitate adoption events, take the dogs for walks, clean kennels, read to the animals and more! If you’re unsure how you can help—give them a call and ask what you can do. Keeping a shelter in good condition puts less stress on the dogs and cats (and humans!) that call the shelter their temporary home.

FOSTER

Of course, one of the best things you can do for your shelter is adopting an animal in need! If your family is not quite ready for another pet, you can try fostering! This is a great way to bring an animal into your home, especially during the holidays which can be a very busy time for everyone, shelters included! The animals can benefit from getting out of the shelter environment, even if it is just temporary. You can learn how fostering works, and you might just become a “foster failure.”

SHOP

You heard us right! Shopping at companies that support local shelters is a great way to help animals from all over! There are businesses—big and small—that give back all year round, and it all starts with customers. For example, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to a charity of your choice! Many shelters are on the list, and if you don’t see yours you can help sign them up! The Petco Foundation helps find homes for thousands of pets when you donate in-store or online every day. Research stores near you that give back to animals and opt to shop there instead, while supporting local business at the same time! Making a conscious decision to shop smart is just one of the small things you can do to make a difference.

SPREAD THE WORD

Raising awareness via social media is another form of spreading the holiday cheer that is just one mouse click away! It is a powerful tool that can bring attention to shelters that would otherwise not get attention on a daily basis. If your local shelter or rescue is holding an event, click that share button and let your friends know. Follow your favorite animal organizations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to keep up-to-date with adoptable animals to share with your followers; you might just help a dog or cat find their forever home just because you shared a post.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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There is no doubt about it: Our pets are our family, and we want them in our lives for as long as possible. To keep them in good health, we turn to our wonderfully skilled veterinarians to help us along the way, but we must also help them—by asking the right questions.

Just like with our own health, our fur babies need annual checkups to prevent or detect any major health concerns. Though, since our pets can’t tell us how they feel it is up to us as owners to watch out for any unusual signs and ask the appropriate questions to hopefully catch health issues before they begin.

Just as you would for your own doctor, try jotting down your main concerns in regards to your pet’s health to talk about with your vet. Bringing up some of these important topics at their next exam that could make a world of difference:

 

How much exercise/play does your dog or cat need?

Just like humans, no two animals are alike. Depending on their age, size, breed and overall health their exercise needs will vary. That is why it is important to talk to your vet about how much exercise your specific pet will need. Insufficient exercise can cause to joint pain and obesity, while too much can be taxing on the body. For example, dogs bred to work such as retrievers or collies will require more exercise than smaller, more sedentary breeds such as a pug or Shih Tzu. Additionally, larger breed dogs tend to have more joint problems and may need extra joint support, especially if they are very active.

 

What can you do for dental health?

Periodontal disease is very common in pets, some breeds can even be more susceptible to bad teeth. Poor dental health can cause an myriad of health concerns including gingivitis, tooth loss, and organ issues- so it’s best to catch it early. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, your dog’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your vet to determine if professional cleaning is needed. The AVMA suggests seeing your vet if you encounter symptoms such as swelling of the gums, bad breath, reduced appetite, mouth bleeding and more.

These symptoms can be preventable. The best way to avoid major dental issues in the future is by daily brushing. Items that claim to clean teeth such as bones and rawhides can actually causes blockages and do more harm than good. If daily brushing is not possible with your cat or dog, your vet may have alternative methods you can use to keep your pet’s teeth healthy as can be!

 

Is your pet at a healthy weight?

We know those puppy dog eyes and tiny meows can be very persuasive, especially when it comes to feeding time, but maintaining your pet’s weight is crucial to keeping them in good health. You can reduce your pet’s risk of diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and more just by keeping them at a healthy weight. Many pet parents are not sure what exactly their pet’s “ideal” weight is, and that is OK! Your vet can look at not only your pet’s weight on the scale but how their body looks and feels to establish whether or not they require a special diet and/or exercise regimen. Excessive weight gain can also be signs of other concerns such as Cushing’s Disease and Hypothyroidism, so it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment if you cannot get to the root cause of your pet’s weight issues.

What kind of food should they be eating?

Feeding your pet a completely balanced diet is the first step to a healthy, long life for your cat or dog. When choosing a diet, especially, consulting with your vet is vital—if your pet has health concerns such as kidney disease, pancreatitis, IBD, etc., you will want their diet to reflect and help manage the disease. Be wary of foods that claim to be natural or have fillers or preservatives, as these will not help your dog or cat nutritionally and can make any health problems worse.

JustFoodForDogs believes a human edible, USDA certified and nutritionally balanced diet- especially one that has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system- will give your pets everything they need to live long and happy lives. When health concerns are present, deferring to your vet about diet changes is always suggested. If you have any questions about switching to whole foods, feel free to reach out to us seven days a week at 949-722-3647 or orders@justfoodfordogs.com!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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While we do everything we can to protect our fur babies, nothing can prepare us for natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and more. It’s always a good idea to prepare an evacuation plan for your family—and that includes your pets.

According to the American Humane Association, approximately 10 million pets are lost each year—and those numbers rise astronomically during unplanned disasters. More recently, Hurricane Florence reports describe overflowing animal shelters in North Carolina and the surrounding states. Though, caring people are always willing to help in times of need. According to CBS News, one good Samaritan drove a school bus to shelters to rescue as many animals as he could that were at risk from the storms.

We can’t control these unforeseen events, but we can be ready for them. In the event of an emergency, there are many things you can do to formulate a top-notch preparedness plan for your four-legged family:

1.     Calm Before (and after) the Storm

If you know when the event may take place, remember to bring your pets inside well in advance and assure them that you are there for them. When you are stressed, your pets are stressed. Take familiar items with you such as your pet’s toys, bed or bowls to help ease their worry and remind them of smells that make them feel safe, even if you’re not at home. The key is to create a secure environment.

 

2.     Identification

Microchipping your pet is the best and more permanent way to provide them with proper identification if you are ever separated. If any information changes, such as your address or phone number, be sure to keep everything up-to-date throughout their life. In addition, remember to update any collar tags with your dog’s name, your information and any health concerns they might have. Keeping a photo of your pet, their microchip information and/or license number on hand may also be helpful if they ever get lost.

 

3.     Find a Safe Place

If you ever need to evacuate your family, make sure you find a friend or family member you can lodge with. You can also research hotels or pet-friendly facilities outside of your immediate area that might be available. Don’t forget to leave your pet’s information and an extra copy of house keys with a trusted person in your community so that they can evacuate your pet if you are not around and vice versa. Confirm evacuation plans with this person so that everyone is on the same page.

 

4.     Emergency Kit and Supplies

In addition to your human family, your pet will also require supplies if evacuation is needed. ASPCA suggests storing an emergency kit ready at all times; one that is in reach and near an exit. You will want items such as extra leashes, a supply of food (Our Fresh on the Go is great option to store for emergencies and travel!), clean water and bowls, waste bags and any medication your pet needs, and a first aid kit—we suggest speaking with your veterinarian as to what would be best to include for your specific animal.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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For years, humans have been captivated by animal behavior, trying to explore how and why animals do the things they do.

Particularly, in domesticated animals, we’re interested in why cats seem to enjoy solitude so much. It seems as though no matter how much love and affection we shower our cats with, they tend to not reciprocate the emotions back quite like dogs do. But, does that mean they don’t care? Not necessarily, according to Swiss-American biologist Dennis Turner.

Turner mentions that cats who grow up with people as kittens, do develop genuine feelings for their humans— in their own way. “They miss their owner…even if they may only give them the cold shoulder on their return,” the biologist says.

If they become attached to their owners, it’s more than likely a voluntary decision. In a way, this means that they are making the decision to love us! How sweet is that!?

The “domestication” of cats is also a funny story. Claudio Ottoni of the University of Leuven says cats essentially chose to hang around us and we just ran with it. In true cat fashion, cats decided when they wanted to be domesticated.

People setup civilizations thousands of years ago, rodents followed the crops, cats followed the rodents…and the rest is history. This sets them apart from dogs who, historically, were domesticated and meticulously bred to perform particular tasks for humans.

Turner also stresses that cats’ solemn nature stems from their ancestors, such as the African Wildcat, who are generally loners and do not travel in packs. The exception to this would be lions, who live together in groups.

As a result, cats lack the group communication skills that pack animals possess. For example, if your feline friend is stressed or not feeling well, they may urinate inside. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t always mean they’re upset at you, sometimes, they just don’t feel happy and don’t know how else to show it.

These habitual animals prefer to be alone and don’t need social order—it’s in their DNA. While many domestic cats now rely on their humans for food, they can thank their predecessors for their self-sufficiency in other areas. For example, when we see cats play with the live “presents” they bring us, we think of it as harsh. Rather, this trait evolved from necessity.

Turner says that “cats are opportunistic hunters and must be ready to stalk and catch any prey they discover by chance — even if they’re not hungry.” By playing with their prey, cats are settling whether or not they need the food. We see a cruel act, they see convenience.

Cats can sometimes be a giant mystery, and that’s why we love them with all of our hearts. Even though they sometimes turn their tails up at us, we know that deep down it’s just cats being cats.

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.” -Doug Larson

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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What you feed your dog—more than any one thing—will determine his or her future health, happiness, energy level and longevity. And while we all want what’s best for our best friend, understanding what to feed your pup is now more complicated than ever. With so many different brands and varieties of pet food out there that call themselves “healthy” or “premium” or “veterinarian approved,” it’s hard to know exactly what’s what.

Here is a checklist of the seven things to look for to ensure that you are feeding your four-legged family members the nutrition they need for a longer and healthier life.

  1. Kibble is never a good idea.

Serving highly processed dried kibble is no way to treat a friend. In fact, even premium brand kibble products contain a staggering amount of indigestible ingredients, preservatives and even toxic chemicals. The most nutritious food to feed your dog, based on veterinary science, is whole food just like we eat.

  1. Be sure all ingredients are certified for human consumption.

How can you be sure that the food you feed your dog is made from the highest quality ingredients?  Don’t accept terms such as “human grade” or “human quality.”  Those are marketing labels and have no legal meaning. Instead, be sure the food you select is made from the highest quality meats and fresh produce and has been certified, inspected and approved by the USDA for human consumption.

  1. No preservatives or fillers…ever

Dog food labels can be very misleading. For example, peanut shells can show up on labels as vegetable fiber but they add little nutritional value. In truth, that is a pretty mild example—other feed ingredients and preservatives can be downright harmful. So always insist that your dog’s food is 100% free from fillers and preservatives.

  1. Minimal cooking means maximum nutrition.

Lightly cooking fresh, whole-food ingredients is a superior way to maximize nutrition, digestibility and taste. Studies have shown that dogs digest gently cooked whole food better than kibble. The minimal cooking process is also superior to feeding a raw diet because gentle cooking protects the healthy nutrients while eliminating potential contamination hazards that can exist from feeding raw food.

  1. Long-term feeding requires nutritional balance.

There is no question that a whole-food diet is the best way to feed your pooch. But ideally you can go a step further. Veterinarians who specialize in veterinary nutrition should ensure that each recipe also includes all the vitamins and nutrients needed to support long-term feeding. And, of course, any added nutrients must consist of 100% human-edible ingredients.

  1. Insist on transparency.

Unfortunately, the commercial pet food industry is largely unregulated. It’s virtually impossible to deduce from dog food labels exactly what is in the food you feed your beloved pet. Instead of buying dog food made secretly in a factory or plant, insist on food freshly prepared in human-grade kitchens that are open to the public.

  1. Get exactly the right recipe for YOUR dog.

Every dog’s nutritional needs are different and daily meals should to be tailored based on life stage, weight, appetite, activity level, and health. Puppies have different recipe requirements than adult dogs; small-breeds are different from large breeds; active dogs need more calories than sedentary ones. Understanding your dog’s individual nutritional requirements is a vital component to his or her health.

The Bottom Line

The right food can change your dog’s life. It can improve health, increase life expectancy and, in the long run, help you save on vet bills. The question is where can you find a food that delivers on all these promises?

A great option is JustFoodForDogs. A pioneer in the development of fresh, whole-food meals for pets, all our nutritious recipes have been proven in independent studies to make dogs healthier. Prepared in small batches in kitchens that are open to the public, each recipe is made from ingredients that are 100% USDA-certified for human consumption and contain no fillers or preservatives.

Healthy and happy starts here: Enter your dog’s profile and our algorithm will determine the best meal and portion for your dog.

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If you’ve ever felt like your dog is talking to you, you’re not alone. Turns out, dogs really do communicate with humans…in their own ways, of course.

That’s right! According to a scientific study done by the University of Salford, dogs not only follow our commands but they also use their own set of instructions to tell us what they want and need. For example, a “paw hover” or turn of the head may suggest they are asking for food or water.

Dogs tell us what to do every day. You may notice it when they wake you up in the morning with a bark to go outside or stare at their toys and back at you to suggest it’s time to play. Some of you may have already noticed these signs before, but have never had a way to explain it!

It’s not just one form of communication either. Funnily enough and maybe not-so-surprising, the study found that they use at least 14 different gestures just to obtain belly rubs.

What makes this discovery so significant is that we always wonder if dogs can understand humans, but never really question our ability to understand our dogs. It was previously thought that dogs were only repeating a learned behavior taught by us and could not comprehend the reasoning behind it.

We now know they use movements and sounds to tell us things, but what’s so interesting is that that they are actually concerned if we understand the gesture or if they need to clarify their message to achieve their goal, as if to say, “Hey, human! Do you understand what I want, or shall I say it in a different way?”

Additional research from the Learning & Behavior journal in June found that dogs can read our faces and know when we are feeling happy, sad, angry and everything in between.

A group of 26 dogs were shown photos of human faces displaying six different emotions: fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust and surprise- as well as a “neutral” face.

When shown anger, happiness and fear, their heart rates rose and they tilted their heads to the left. This indicated that the dogs were being exposed to a more stressful situation.

A surprised face resulted in a right head tilt, suggesting they view a surprised face as a non-threatening expression.

The study also included a voice recording being played while they viewed the photos. The dogs were able to match the photo with the appropriate tone of voice!

After living together for so long, the communication between humans and dogs continues to evolve into a beautiful symbiotic relationship. There is evidence to suggest that they are now born with the ability to understand humans.

It’s what we’ve known all along– with the science to back it up! How cool is that?

Is your dog trying to tell you they need a nutritionally balanced diet? Call one our Nutrition Consultants to learn more about our USDA certified, human edible recipes at 949-722-3647 or email us at orders@justfoodfordogs.com

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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Just Food For Dogs by Nicholehill - 5M ago

Our company name may be JustFoodForDogs, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love cats just as much! This post will break down everything you’ll need to know about feeding your feline a whole food diet all in one place!

The Meal*

Our Fish and Chicken recipe contains:

  • Wild Caught Pacific Cod
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Chicken Hearts
  • Sardines
  • Chicken Liver
  • Dried Yuca Root

*Please find more detailed information about each ingredient here.

How are cats different?

The biggest difference between dogs and cats is that cats are obligate carnivores. This means they must obtain nutrition from meats and organs and don’t have the same ability to process vegetables and carbohydrates like dogs do!

We would love to have more of a variety for cats but after a year of formulating recipes, this was the only recipe that 9 out of 10 cats loved. It is likely that more recipes will be introduced over time as soon as the cats will allow us!

What type of cats can eat the Fish and Chicken daily diet?

The diet should only be fed to adult cats; kittens cannot eat it long-term as it is not formulated for growth. If you have a kitten or cat with allergies or health concerns that need a different diet, we would suggest a custom diet. This is also a grain-free recipe!

What is Yuca Root?

Dried Yuca Root is a South American root vegetable that is included in limited quantity to absorb water and retain moisture in the recipe. Since cats are notoriously bad at staying hydrated, we believe a diet with added dried yuca root is the best way to keep your cat hydrated and healthy!

Transitioning

Since cats do not need to be transitioned like dogs, we recommend offering our diet immediately in place of their old food or transitioning “cold turkey.” If they do not eat the food after three meals, we suggest offering their previous food and repeating the process the next day or until they are transitioned. The key is to be more stubborn than the cats!

Commercial kibble is often sprayed with artificial chemicals used to “addict” cats to the food, which is why so many cats lean towards kibble. If your cat is fed kibble alongside a whole food diet, the cat may still prefer the kibble.

While transitioning, cats may exhibit the same symptoms as dogs (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting), however, the most common problem is the unwillingness to accept the new recipe since cats are habitual creatures and do not always adapt to change easily. This is why we discourage against using the food as a “topper.” Plus, they would not be receiving a nutritionally balanced diet.

Since our food is fresh and we don’t use preservatives, fish will stay fresh for about three days once it is thawed in the refrigerator. It would be best to not leave it out of the refrigerator for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time since we use fresh food.

Feeding Guide

Here is our recommended feeding guide for cats. As with dogs, these amounts are starting points and do not take into account your cat’s activity level or metabolism.

If your cat is losing or gaining any unwanted weight, please adjust as needed. If there is a health concern present, please consult with your veterinarian for more accurate feeding recommendations.

Treats

Cats LOVE our Salmon Bark! They can also enjoy any of our treats–since they are carnivores they tend to go for the all-meat treats such as:

  • Chicken Breast Treats
  • Venison Treats
  • Beef Flank Steak
  • Beef Liver Bark

Supplements

Cats can have any of our supplements except our Calm (which actually has the opposite effect, much like catnip).

Probiotic Live:
Cats under 10lbs- half capsule daily, sprinkled on food
Cats over 10lbs- 1 capsule daily, sprinkled on food

Skin and Allergy Care:
Cats (any size)- 1 capsule daily; avoid sprinkling on food as it has a strong odor/taste that may deter cat from eating food

Omega Plus:
Cats (any size)- ½ ml drizzled onto food daily. A dropper may be the easiest way to measure!

Joint Care:
Cats under 10lbs- ¼ capsule daily, sprinkled onto food
Cats over 10lbs- half capsule daily, sprinkled onto food

If you have any additional questions regarding your cat or dog, please feel free to reach out to our Nutrition Consultants seven days a week at 949-722-3647, orders@justfoodfordogs.com or visit a location near you!

Blog Post Written By:
Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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