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According to the American Kennel Club, approximately 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. To raise awareness about this important topic, July 15th has been named been National Pet Fire Safety Day. To help ensure your pet does not become affected by fire, we’ve put together a list of five fire safety steps that will help keep your dog or cat safe.

Check your smoke detectors

It goes without saying that installing smoke detectors in your home is the best thing you can do to protect your family in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors should be installed inside each bedroom, in the general area outside of the bedrooms, and across every level of your home. Once installed, they should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. A good way to remember this is to change the batteries each time you change the clocks as daylight savings begins and ends. To avoid startling your pet with noisy tests each month, try and do it at a time when they are not around – such as when they’re out for a walk or in your yard.

Have an emergency plan

In the event of a fire, having an emergency plan in place that you know will help you stay calm. Instead of trying to figure out what to do in the moment, you can rely on a plan that you have reviewed and practiced. This plan should include a disaster supply kit, knowing the best exits out of our your home, a designated meeting place, and a list of places you can stay if you’re not able to return home. When you practice, make sure that your pet is involved so you’re able to see how they fit into the plan and make changes if necessary.

Get a pet rescue window decal

You can order a Pet Safety Pack through the ASPCA that includes a pet rescue window decal. These can be placed in your window or door to help alert firefighters that your pet is inside in the event of an emergency. Just make sure to keep the details on the plan up-to-date, including the type and number of pets, plus your contact details.

Collars on, leashes at the ready

In the event that firefighters, or anyone else, needs to come into your home to rescue your pet, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to secure your pet. One way to do this is to ensure your dog or cat is wearing their collar, and that leashes are easily accessible by the exit to your home. Instead of keeping leashes away in a drawer or closet, install a hook on the wall that will keep them out of the way but still clearly visible.

Pet-proof your home

Take a walk through your house and see if there are any items that may be a potential fire risk if left unattended. Things like candles and lights are obvious, but what about cords or kitchen appliances? Cats walking across a stovetop may be able to press the buttons that turn on a burner, or a dog could chew through a plugged-in cord. If you’re not able to completely pet-proof these things, consider keeping your pet out of these areas while you’re not home.

This National Pet Fire Safety Day, take the time to see how you can make your home safer for yourself and your pets.

The post Pet Fire Safety 101: How to Prepare for the Unexpected appeared first on Freshpet.

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You’ve decided that your pet would benefit from a trainer, but how do you go about finding the right one? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as doing an internet search and choosing the one that’s closest to your home. To help you find the right person to help you and your pet reach your training goals, we’ve put together a list of five key questions you should ask any potential trainer.

1. Determine what type of training you are interested in

What are your training goals? Do you want your pet to learn their basic commands, a new set of skills, or perhaps overcome negative behavior? The answer to this question is a good starting point in your hunt to find the right trainer for your pet. Trainers often specialize in different areas of obedience so for the most effective results you’ll want to find one that matches your training goals. This is also a good time to learn more about their training methods. The positive reinforcement approach is a popular training method, where pets are rewarded for positive behaviors (such as with their favorite Freshpet treat) and negative behaviors are redirected – but this isn’t the only approach to training out there.

2. Ask about their qualifications

Pet training is an unregulated industry, which means anyone can enter the market – this makes it even more important to do your research before you choose a trainer for your pet. Before you pick a trainer, ask them about their training background and any credentials they have. Were they formally trained, did they learn through an apprenticeship, or were they self-taught? One is not necessarily better than the other, but you may be more comfortable with a trainer with formal training versus a self-taught trainer or vice versa. Most importantly, take a look at recommendations or reviews from past clients.

3. Ask if they take part in any ongoing continuing education

Like any other profession, the world of pet training sees changes and advances each year. To stay up-to-date on the newest trends and techniques, trainers can attend industry events or partake in courses. This enthusiasm for continued education and the application of new approaches to training shows that they are committed to providing the best services to their clients.

4. Ask about the training environment

Depending on your training goals, your pet may be more suited to one type of environment than another. Trainers usually offer the option of both group and private lessons, but this is always something you should inquire about before you make a decision. The teaching of basic commands is easily done in a group lesson, but dealing with more problematic behavior often requires one-on-one attention and a more strategic training plan.

5. Ask if you can observe a class

If you want to see a trainer in action before you make a decision, ask if you can observe a class. Even after doing your research and speaking with the trainer, there’s nothing like seeing them do their thing for real. After this, you should be able to more easily determine whether or not they’re the right trainer for your pet.

The more research you do and questions you ask before you choose a trainer, the better the chance that you’ll find the perfect one for your pet. Even if you ask all the right questions, but still don’t feel it’s the right fit, that’s okay – this experience can help you ask more specific questions as you continue your search. Finally, if you’re struggling to find a trainer, your veterinarian is a great resource; they should be able to provide recommendations for trainers in your area.

The post How to Find the Right Pet Trainer appeared first on Freshpet.

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You’ve heard of the expression “the dog days of summer” – but this year, we challenge you to give it a whole new meaning and fill your days with things you and your pup can enjoy together. To help get you started, here are five tried and true activities you can try.

Chill out at a dog-friendly beach

Whether you go in a group or just you and your pup, a day spent at your local dog-friendly beach is sure to be a blast. Pack plenty of snacks, fresh water, and toys and you have everything you need to create an amazing summer memory. If there are no beaches nearby, look for a local dog-friendly splash pad or create your own water park in your yard using a sprinkler or hose.

Plan picnics and visits to the dog park

If the beach doesn’t spark your interest, dog parks are another great place to spend a beautiful summer day. Your dog can meet up with friends, or make new ones, and burn off some energy – just make sure you pack plenty of water! Dog parks are often located within larger parks, so after they’ve tired themselves out you could have a quiet picnic nearby. All you need to bring is something to sit on and a cooler bag filled with tasty treats for yourself and your pup’s favorite Freshpet recipe.

Take a camping trip

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than to escape the city and enjoy some time in nature. The majority of campsites are dog-friendly, the only thing you’ll want to double check is whether or not they have pet guidelines that will need the followed, such as keeping pets on-leash. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also try backcountry camping. This involves a little bit more planning, as you won’t have access to any amenities that normal campsites come with, but it’s a great opportunity to disconnect and enjoy some quality time with your pup.

Checking out your local hiking trails

Instead of your usual walking route, make a point of checking out new hiking or walking trails in your area. Not only will this let you discover new parts of your city, but you may also find your new go-to walking route! If you’re looking for inspiration, check out one of these top pet-friendly hiking trails in the US.

Enjoy some chilly homemade treats

Nothing beats the heat like a frozen treat, especially when you’re wearing a fur coat you can’t take off. There are countless recipes online for frozen homemade dog treats using ice cube trays and ingredients you have around the house, so you’ll have plenty to try throughout the summer. If you’re looking for something that will entertain your pup for a bit longer, try making a frozen toy. These usually follow similar recipes to the treats, but require larger freezable molds.

Whether you’re hitting the trails, meeting friends at the beach, or anything else, planning activities you and your pup can enjoy together will make this a summer to remember.

The post Top Summer Activities Your Dog Will Enjoy appeared first on Freshpet.

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Our food is getting healthier, so why isn’t our pet’s? This was the question that inspired Freshpet in creating a new standard of what pet food is and should be.

Roughly 60% of pets in the U.S. are obese, and high carbohydrate kibble plays a major role in this trend. Just like the dogs in our new commercial, many pet parents are shocked to discover the truth behind the food they feed their pets – think “sprayed on” flavor and impossibly long shelf lives.

Knowing this, it makes sense that many pet owners are looking for healthier options. The best diets are those that include higher amounts of protein, are low in carbs, and packed with healthy lean meats, vegetables and fruits – all of which you can find in our Freshpet recipes.

Our Freshpet veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, agrees: “I feed fresh organic food to my human children, so there’s no way I’d feed my canine kids anything less. Freshpet uses fresh meats, fruits and vegetables steamed to perfection, not overly processed into burnt brown balls. When meats are cooked at extremely high heat, it breaks down the integrity of the proteins – just think of the difference in a fresh steak as compared to beef jerky.”

It’s no surprise that fresh cooked food is always a healthier option than processed foods packed with preservatives. This is why we make fresh meals for your pets where the only “preservative” is your refrigerator. And each of our recipes includes nutritious and bioavailable proteins that can be easily utilized by the body. If that wasn’t enough, fresh food doesn’t need to have flavor “sprayed on” to taste great – they already have everything needed to make your pet beg for more!

To see what happens when you awaken pets to the truth behind the food they’ve been eating for decades, check out our new commercial below.

Awakening | Freshpet commercial :30 - YouTube

The post The Awakening: See What Happens When Pets Uncover The Truth Behind Their Food appeared first on Freshpet.

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Weather-related disasters are something you hope to avoid, but whether you live in a northern or southern climate the possibility of extreme weather is a reality. Our pets rely on us to provide them with everything they need to be safe and happy, and planning for an emergency is no exception. Here are five ways you can prepare your pet for a weather-related disaster.

Get a rescue alert sticker

In the event that you’re not able to return home during a weather-related emergency, these stickers can be placed in your window and will let emergency services know that there is a pet inside your house. The ASPCA provides free rescue alert sticker as part of their free Pet Safety Pack – you can order yours here. If time allows, write “EVACUATED” on the sticker.

Have a list of pet-friendly places you can stay

If you know where you’d head in the event of a weather-related emergency, do some research in advance. Start by putting together a list of hotels, motels, or other places to stay that are pet-friendly. Next, contact local shelters, rescues, and boarding facilities to see if they offer emergency shelter in times of emergency. If neither of these options is available, find a friend or family who would be willing to take in your pet for a short amount of time.

Arrange an emergency contact

You never know when an emergency will happen, which is why it’s important to have an emergency contact in place. When choosing an emergency contact, keep a few things in mind:

  • Your contact’s proximity to your home
  • Choosing a person who is generally home during times that you are not
  • Someone you would feel comfortable giving a set of your keys

In the event of an emergency, your contact will become the temporary caregiver of your pets or the person who transports them to safety. You can even swap responsibilities with the person so that both of your pets have a safety plan in place.

Have an emergency bag ready to go

When disaster strikes, every second counts so it’s important to have the essentials packed and ready to go. In this bag you should have the following items:

  • Copies of your pet’s up-to-date vaccination and medical records
  • Recent photos of your pet – in case you need to make a missing pet poster
  • Contact information for you, your relatives, or another emergency contact
  • A leash, collar with extra ID tag, and harness – if your pet uses one
  • Enough food and water for two weeks – per pet, if you have more than one
  • A well-stocked first aid kit with a book on basic pet first aid
  • Necessary bathroom items – dog waste bags and a litter box with spare litter

Know what to do if you and your pet become separated

In the event that you and your pet become separated, it’s important to have a plan in place – this will help you stay calm and take action. There are three key things you can do:

  • Pre-make some missing pet flyers: There are a number of free templates online or you can get creative and make your own from scratch.
  • Put together a list: On it include the contact information for all of the local shelters and rescues in the potential evacuated area.
  • Contact the company of your pet’s microchip: Ensure that all of your pet’s details are up to date. Many companies also allow you to report your pet missing so it will be flagged if someone searches the microchip.

By following these five tips, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to make sure your pet stays safe in the event of a weather-related emergency.

The post How to Prepare Your Pet for a Weather-Related Emergency appeared first on Freshpet.

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Whether you’ve got two legs or four, the prospect of making new friends can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a list of five things you can try with your pup to help them make some new friends – and who knows, maybe you’ll make some new friends as well!

Puppy classes

When your puppy has had their first set of vaccinations, you have the option to enroll them in puppy classes. While there are some training elements, the main focus on these classes is socialization. That means it’s essentially an organized playground where your dog is free to interact with other pups their age – the perfect opportunity to begin lasting friendships.

Dog park or dog beach

If you live near a dog beach or dog park, these are two locations that are sure to be teeming with potential doggy friends. Dog parks and beaches give your pup the chance to run around off-leash and enjoy the great outdoors, and due to the fact there are often behavioral requirements set, the other dogs yours interacts with will be happy to have new friends to play with. Many parks also have separate areas for small and large dogs, making it even easier to find the right playmates.

Hang out at a dog-friendly cafe

Dog-friendly cafes are another great place to scope out some canine companions. While you enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat, your dog can mingle with the other dogs there – this is especially easy at cafes that have a secured patio and allow dogs to be off leash. It’s also not a bad idea to bring your pup’s favorite Freshpet recipe or treat to share with their new friends. If your dog really hits it off with another furry patron, you can set a standing cafe date or schedule a future meetup at your local dog park where they will have more space to play.

Organized clubs

Is there a sport or activity you and your dog are interested in trying? This is the perfect opportunity to learn something new and make a whole new group of friends. Many cities have dedicated clubs for sports like kickball, ultimate frisbee, and flag football where owners and their dogs can come together to practice and socialize. Even if you don’t want to participate in competitions, you can both have a blast just spending time with other club members.

Join a meetup

Joining a local meetup with other dog owners gives both you and your pup a chance to make some new friends – a win-win! Search websites like Meetup.com or local pet-friendly Facebook to find doggy meetups for walks, playgroups, hiking, and more. If there’s an activity you and your pup enjoy, there’s a good chance that others in your community enjoy it as well, which is the great starting point to building a lasting friendship.

Whether you choose to hit the beach, try a paw at kickball, or simply chill at a pet-friendly cafe, your pup will enjoy making new friends. The most important thing is to find something that both of you can enjoy because the more fun you have the more people and pups will be drawn to joining in.

The post How To Help Your Pup Make Friends appeared first on Freshpet.

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We know that when it comes to being a pet parent, there are a lot of unexpected questions that arise – and are often best answered by a professional. We reached out to our resident vet, Dr. Katy Nelson, and asked her to her share answers to the top questions she gets from her pet parents.

Grooming and general care Q: My pet’s toenails seem really long but they won’t let me cut them – what should I do?

A: If you’re not able to cut your pet’s nails yourself, take them to the vet’s office or to a groomer. A professional knows how to properly restrain your animal, how short to cut the nails, and most importantly, they have all the equipment needed for a fast and pain-free pedicure.

Q: My pet sheds SO much – is anything I can do to help with the shedding?

A: Shedding is normal for cats and dogs, but certain breeds definitely shed more – especially at certain times of the year. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to keep shedding to a minimum. Start by ensuring your pet is on a fresh, healthy diet, like Freshpet, that supplies needed protein and fatty acids to keep the skin and coat healthy. Flea and tick preventives can also be applied regularly and don’t be afraid to bathe your pet when needed. Finally, regular brushing can help to decrease the mess associated with shedding.

Q: I feel like my pet gets stinky really often – why is that?

A: The answer to this question depends on what your pet smells like:

  • Is it a metallic or fishy smell? Have their anal glands checked.
  • Is it a bready or sweet smell? It could be a yeast infection in their ears or on their skin.
  • Is it their breath? Have your veterinarian assess your pet’s dental health.
  • Is it a urine or poop smell? Maybe they just stepped in something and need a bath.

Regular bathing, ear cleaning, teeth brushing and, in some pets, anal gland expression can help to keep your pet smelling fresh.

Q: How often should I bathe my pet?

A: The frequency at which you bathe your pet will vary based on breed, lifestyle, and skin conditions. In general, most pets do not need to be bathed more than once a month as bathing more frequently can strip the skin of necessary oils, leading to dry skin and a poor quality coat. If you need to apply a topical flea, tick, or heartworm preventative, plan your pet’s baths accordingly. These medications require a healthy lipid layer to spread and work effectively, so it’s best to wait 24-48 hours after bathing to apply them.

My pet’s breath stinks! What can I do to make it better?

A: The first thing you should do is have your pet seen by your veterinarian. During this appointment, they will do a full dental exam and determine whether professional cleaning is needed. If this is the recommendation, your pet will be put under general anesthesia and a thorough oral exam performed, as well as x-rays and an ultrasonic scaling and polishing. Once this is done your pet will have a clean palate, so you can move forward with preventive care like brushing and dental chews to maintain a mouth that is healthy and smelling fresh.

Bathroom habits Q: Why does my dog eat its own poop?

A: There is usually no medical reason for coprophagia (eating poop). While there are numerous options on the market for food additives that may discourage the behavior, there is truly only one solution: Deny their access to it. Whether you’re at home or on a walk, pick up poop immediately and discard it to keep it away from your dog.

Q: My cat keeps missing the litter-box – help!

A: Inappropriate urination is one of the most common reasons that cats are brought to a veterinarian. During your visit, your vet will start by ruling out any medical issue, such as urinary crystals and stone, a urinary tract infection, or arthritis making it difficult for cats to get into the litter-box. This will likely involve running some tests on your cat’s urine and may include a recommendation for blood-work, x-rays or an ultrasound of their bladder.

If no medical reason is found, your vet will then move on to possible environmental factors, such as the type of litter boxes you have, the number of boxes in the house, the box locations, the type of litter you’re using, and whether or not your other cats are “bullying” near the box. Once they have a better idea of your cat’s litter-box environment, they will be able to recommend changes you can make.

Your veterinarian can also recommend an enzymatic cleaner that can get deep down into carpets and soft materials to break down the urine proteins that we can’t smell, but your cats can – this is important in stopping your cat from continuing to urinate in the same spots.

Food and Eating Habits Q: What type of pet food is best for my pet?

A: Given the huge market for pet food, it’s not hard to find one that’s perfect for your pet’s unique needs. Dogs are omnivores and should be fed a diet made of fresh lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits & grains, so I prefer diets that keep the proteins and carb sources intact with minimal processing and preservatives, like Freshpet. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and should be fed a low-carb diet composed primarily of meat – similar to the Atkins diet for people. Cats do not effectively process carbs and tend to get very overweight with higher carb options.

Q: I notice that my dog tries to eat grass a lot – is this bad?

A: Believe it or not, eating grass is normal behavior for dogs. Many dogs simply like the taste of it, but it’s not highly digestible so they may end up regurgitating it later. However, there are two instances where grass consumption can be dangerous for your pet. Firstly, if they eat too much of it they rick it becoming impacted inside their digestive system. Secondly, if you use pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn, consuming this grass means your pet is ingesting these toxic chemicals, which can be deadly.

Allergies Q: My pet has bad allergies – can I give them Benadryl?

A: Before you run to your medicine cabinet in search of your own allergy medicine, talk to your veterinarian. There are numerous anti-histamines available for pets and they will be able to determine if they’re necessary for their specific allergy and symptoms, as well as to recommend dosage and frequency.

Q: My pet is always scratching no matter what I seem to do to help them stop – any advice on how to manage this?

A: If your pet is continuously scratching, have them seen by your veterinarian. They will evaluate the skin and determine if there is an underlying issue causing the itching. There are numerous reasons for itchy pets including endocrine issues, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, as well as ectoparasites, allergies, nerve disorders, or skin infections. Once your veterinarian determines the cause of the itching, they’ll be able to give your pet the relief they deserve.

From grooming and general care to allergies and bathroom habits, we hope Dr. Katy was able to answer some of your questions. If there’s still something you’re wondering about, schedule an appointment with your vet. Their team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your pet and how to best care for them.

The post Dr. Katy Answers Your Most-Asked Vet Questions appeared first on Freshpet.

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Animal-centric yoga has become popular in the last few years, but did you know that there’s a practice designed specifically for dogs and their owners? Introducing doga, the yoga practice that’s sure to become your new favorite pastime.

What is doga?

Dog yoga, or doga, is yoga practice with your dog. Yes, you read that right – yoga with dogs! There are two ways that this is done: having the dog as a participant in the flow or having the dog as a “prop” of sorts. Both are great options and can be mixed during a single practice depending on your dog’s mood.

Why should I do it?

Those that practice doga cite three main reasons they love it: it allows them to bond with their dog, it offers health benefits for everyone involved, and, most importantly, it’s a lot of fun.

  1. Bonding with your dog: Practicing doga is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with your pup. This could involve doing assisted poses together as partners or using it as an opportunity to learn some new tricks or commands that could be used in future sessions (tip: their favorite Freshpet treat makes a great motivator to keep their attention), it’s guaranteed to bring you two closer together.
  2. It’s good for you and your dog: Doga is an easy and fun way to incorporate a little bit more exercise into your daily routines. The great thing about it is that it appeals to your dog’s natural instinct to stretch, which if done regularly can increase flexibility and muscle tone. It can also help prevent issues like arthritis and muscle strain from occurring as they age. Doga can also be used strategically to help your pet recover from an injury by focusing on moves that gently stretch the impacted area as they rebuild strength.
  3. It’s fun: As a dog lover, any activity that your pup can be present with is guaranteed to be a blast, but doga brings this to a whole new level. During doga, your dog is not simply there while you have fun, but is involved in the activity itself.

How can I do it?

There’s no right or wrong way to do doga, and your practice may look different each time. The important thing is to make sure that both you and your dog are safely enjoying the time together. However, there are a few tips you can follow when doing it:

  1. Let your dog’s curiosity lead the flow: Most dogs aren’t going to follow a strict flow and that’s okay! Instead, let your dog take the lead and choose poses that complement their actions, whether that means doing poses with your dog or simply allowing them to do their thing nearby.
  2. Smaller dogs can make great props: If your dog is comfortable with it, you can easily incorporate them into your regular flow. For example, lifting them during poses like Warrior I.
  3. Any pose can be done alongside larger dogs: If your dog doesn’t like to be lifted (or is too big to be lifted) you can simply do poses with them by your side.
  4. Everyone can participate in Shavasana: Just like in normal yoga, spend the last few moments of your practice in Shavasana. Don’t worry about holding the traditional pose, just rest with your dog in any way that feels natural – whether it be cuddling together or laying side by side.

Where can I do it?

As doga increases in popularity, there are studios popping up in many major cities. For example, Austin Doga offers private classes as well as small group classes for 3 or 4 people and Dogamahny in London, England offers regular doga classes at the Courtyard Theatre. There are also a number of cities that don’t have dedicated doga studios but organize special events throughout the year, so keep a lookout.

If there are no doga classes available where you live, you can always do your own at home. Books such as Doga: Yoga for you and your Dog can help safely guide you through the different poses. Alternatively, you could reach out to a dog-loving studio in your city to see if they would be open to hosting a doga class, whether regularly or as a special event.

Whether you practice doga at a studio or in the comfort of your own home, it’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on the relationship you have with your pup and improve your fitness at the same time.

The post You’ve Heard of Yoga – But What About Doga? appeared first on Freshpet.

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Humans aren’t the only creatures who suffer from allergies – your pets can suffer from them as well. Our resident veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, shares everything you should know about environmental, food, and contact allergies in pets.

How do I know if my pet has allergies?

Allergies can manifest themselves in many different ways, often times depending on the type of allergy causing the symptoms.

  • Environmental allergies: can lead to nasal and eye irritation, as well as skin and ear infections
  • Food allergies: can cause similar symptoms, with the addition of gastrointestinal upset
  • Contact allergies: typically occur on the area of the body in contact with the allergen and display as anything from hives to hot spots to blackhead formation.

How do dogs and cats develop allergies?

Allergies in pets, much like people, can either be inherited or can form later in life. Sometimes, allergies experienced in puppy or kitten-hood may be outgrown whereas other animals have lifelong issues due to allergies.

Are certain breeds more allergy-prone than others?

While dogs of any breed or mixture of breeds can develop allergies, there are a number that are more allergy-prone than others. Some of the more allergy-prone breeds include:

  • Chinese Shar-Peis
  • Wirehaired Fox Terriers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Dalmatians
  • Boxers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Shih Tzus
  • West Highland White Terriers

Regardless of breed, if your pet is going to develop allergies the age of onset is generally between 6 months and 3 years.

Is it true that pets get seasonal allergies?

Pets can certainly suffer from seasonal allergies and, unsurprisingly, are hit hardest during the spring and fall. With pollen flying, flowers blooming, and rain leading to mold formation, allergens are everywhere during these times of year.

Some owners have mentioned that after a move, their pet seemed to suddenly start to show allergy symptoms. This is because different areas have different pollens, molds, fungi, flowers and trees, so it’s possible that they are more sensitive to something in their new environment.

Could my pet’s excessive itching be related to allergies?

If your pet is scratching more than normal and seem uncomfortable, bring them to see their veterinarian. During the visit, your vet will complete a physical exam and discuss your pet’s flea and tick prevention, the food they’re eating, and their medical history.

If it’s determined that your pet has allergies, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics if the skin is infected in addition to things such as antihistamines, a new bathing regimen, and proper flea and tick prevention. They may also recommend allergy testing to determine the exact cause of your pet’s allergies, which will allow them to create an individual treatment regimen to follow moving forward.

Does my pet’s food impact potential allergies?

Even if your pet’s allergic issues are not specifically due to food, it can still have an impact on the severity of your pet’s symptoms. Having your pet on a fresh, healthy diet with high quality protein sources, low carb and packed with Omega fatty acids can decrease inflammation throughout the body, therefore lowering the overall “itch threshold.”

A great option for dogs with allergies is our line of Freshpet Vital recipes. These recipes are 100% Non-GMO, all-natural, and are made right here in the USA – plus they come in a range of grain free and chicken free choices for those pups with special diets.

What is allergy testing and why does my pet need it?

In order to determine the cause of complicated cases of allergic dermatitis, allergy testing is often necessary. During testing, your pet will undergo a series of skin tests where tiny amounts of allergens are applied intradermally to test the body’s reaction or blood tests which test for antibodies against certain types of trees, grasses, molds or foods.

Allergy testing is completely safe and the results allow your doctor to create a treatment plan for your pet’s allergies. Depending on your pet’s allergies, their specialized plan may include a prescription diet, anti-histamines, or even hyposensitization therapy which involves a series of injections, which aim to decrease the severity of the body’s response to a group of allergens over time.

Are there any supplements that my pets can take to help with seasonal allergies?

There are certain supplements that your veterinarian may recommend, depending on the type and severity of your pet’s allergy symptoms. Probiotics, omega fatty acids, Vitamin E, biotin, and other products, may help to decrease inflammation throughout your pet’s body, normalize the skin and gut flora, and decrease histamine response, decreasing the itching and other outward signs of discomfort.

Don’t ignore the signs and just say “Oh, they’re just a foot licker,” or “They always gets ear infections at this time of year” – allergies are one of the most common causes of skin and GI issues in pets. We all want to do what’s best for our pets, so work with your vet to determine the best treatment plan to decrease the irritation and discomfort associated with seasonal allergies.

The post Allergies and Your Pets: What You Need To Know appeared first on Freshpet.

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Can’t imagine enjoying spring break without your four-legged companion by your side? Fear not! We’ve put together a list of the top dog-friendly beaches across the country that you can visit this spring break.

Fort De Soto Dog Beach in Tierra Verde, Florida

Located just 15 miles south of St. Petersburg, Fort De Soto Beach offers crystal blue waters and pearl white sands that both you and your pup can enjoy. The beach has a Paw Playground featuring two fenced-in areas – one for large dogs, the other for small dogs – and a quarter-mile section of the beach just for dogs. In these dedicated areas dogs are free to explore off-leash, but otherwise, they must be kept leashed. If you’re looking for an activity to do together, you’re able to rent a canoe, kayak, or paddle boards – all of which are pet-friendly!

Morris Island Beach in Charleston, South Carolina

Located on an underdeveloped island near Charleston Harbor, Morris Island Beach is a favorite among dogs and owners alike. It’s 100% dog-friendly, allowing for off-leash strolls and swims any time of day, year round. If you get tired of lounging in the sun, you can take part in a dog-friendly boat tour that will show you around the picturesque Charleston Harbor.

Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, California

Rosie’s Dog Beach is a slice of paradise named after the English Bulldog who inspired its creation. As LA County’s only off-leash dog park it can get quite busy, but this just means more friends for your pup to play with. Just keep in mind that dogs are expected to be closely supervised at all times and be able to respond to both voice and visual commands. Don’t worry if you forget a poop bag as there are plenty available at the beach, but there is no fresh water so make sure you bring plenty for both of you.

Jupiter Beach in Jupiter, Florida

Jupiter beach is home to the county’s only completely unfenced, off-leash park. Established in 1994, the dog-friendly area stretches 2.5 miles and each entry point has a freshwater shower and water, as well as complimentary poop bags. Dogs are free to roam off leash any time of day throughout the year, making it a popular spot with groups and families who don’t want their pets to miss out on a day at the beach. However, during the off-season don’t be surprised if you find the beach almost entirely to yourself.

Kailua Beach in Kailua, Hawaii

There’s no shortage of breathtaking beaches in Hawaii, but not all of them are dog-friendly. Kailua Beach, however, is both beautiful and open for four-legged friends to enjoy. The beach is a popular spot for water sports due to its consistent waves, but there are more sheltered areas for pups (and humans) who are looking for calmer waters. Dogs are allowed anywhere on Kailua beach as long as they are leashed and wearing their county-issued ID tag, which may make it more difficult for out of state dogs to visit. However, you could contact the county for more information.

No matter which beach you choose to spend your spring break at, having your pup there will make it a trip to remember. And don’t forget to take a quick look at our guide for getting your dog beach-ready!

The post Top Dog-Friendly Beaches That You Can Visit During Spring Break appeared first on Freshpet.

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