The Freshpet Blog

Ways to Volunteer at Your Local Shelter or Rescue

With a staggering number of animals passing through shelters each year, shelter staff rely on the help of volunteers to provide the best possible experience for the animals in their care. What many people don’t realize is that there many ways to volunteer at your local animal shelter, both directly and indirectly with the animals. If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of homeless animals in your community, consider volunteering your time in one of these ways.

Dog Walker

Like all dogs, shelter dogs need free time out of their pens to stretch their legs. Volunteering as a dog walker is a great way to give these pooches, and yourself, time outdoors to exercise and enjoy some fresh air. It’s also a great opportunity to teach a dog leash and walking manners that their future owners will thank you for. Just don’t forget to bring a pocket full of Freshpet treats to reward their progress!

Cat Cuddler

If you’re more of a cat person, we’ll bet you love the idea of volunteering your time as a cat cuddler. Just like dogs, cats need time outside of their cages to stretch and socialize with the other cats and humans. As a cat cuddler, you will volunteer your time playing with, grooming, socializing and providing enrichment activities to your shelter’s adoptable cats.

Small Animal Socializer

Dogs and cats aren’t the only animals that end up in shelters; small animals such as bunnies, guinea pigs, turtles and birds do as well. Many shelters look for volunteers to help provide basic care for these little critters, such as cleaning cages and feeding. They’re also always on the lookout for people who can comfortably handle them and help the animals get used to be held and played with by humans.

Animal Care Helper

Apart from directly working with the animals, shelters are always in need of volunteers who are willing to take on the messier tasks. Chores such as emptying litter boxes, cleaning cages, preparing food, and doing laundry may not be the most glamorous activities, but they are necessary tasks for the shelter to run smoothly.

Training Support

One reason why some animals end up in a shelter is due to behavior that their previous owners didn’t want to work through. If this behavior continues, it makes future adoptions more difficult and increases the chance that the animal will end up back in the shelter system. Many shelters are looking for regular volunteers who can help support the training of their animals. Training can include anything from basic commands and good walking behavior to more serious issues like possessiveness and food aggression.

Pet Photographer

Studies have shown that pictures presented of an adoptable pet can make a huge difference in how fast they are adopted. If you are a professional or even an amateur photographer, consider volunteering your skills to take pet portraits. Your photo could be the one that makes a pet’s future family fall in love with them!

Profile Writer

In addition to great pictures, it’s important that all adoptable animals have a written description that tells potential adopters more about their unique personalities. Shelters are always on the lookout for talented writers to help write up pet profiles that will attract the attention of potential owners.

Office Helper

Another great way to help your local shelter is by volunteering your time in their office. With so many animals coming through their doors, it’s no surprise that administrative work can pile up. Shelters are often thrilled to have volunteers who are able to help with filing, photocopying, entering data into spreadsheets, answering phone calls, and other miscellaneous office tasks.

Transportation Helper

Believe it or not, the amount of transportation needed in shelters is quite high. Between taking animals to appointments, transferring animals between shelters and any other trips that arise, shelters are often in need of volunteer drivers. Whether you can commit to short drives around the city or longer, potentially out of town, drives your local shelter would love the help.

Foster

If you’re looking for a more long-term way to help out your local shelter, consider volunteering as a foster parent. Animals that do not cope well in shelters, need intensive rehabilitation, or around the clock care need the help of fosters to get them ready for their forever home. This is a great opportunity for both current pet owners and animal lovers without pets. With the help of foster parents, shelters are able to take in more animals and help those in their care get ready for their forever home.

Volunteer opportunities vary from shelter to shelter, but we hope this list gives you a pretty good idea of the variety of opportunities out there for volunteers. Whether you volunteer weekly, monthly or even yearly, the time you give makes a world of difference to shelter animals. For more information about how you can get involved, contact your local shelter.

What to Pack for a Spring Hike with Your Dog

If you and your dog enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, we’ll bet that spring is your favorite season. The snow is finally gone, but the scorching summer heat hasn’t yet made an appearance. In other words, it’s the perfect time of year to spend your free time exploring your local hiking trails. If you and your pooch plan on hitting the trails this spring, make sure you pack these essential items.

Water, Food, & Treats

Your dog will need plenty of fresh water to cool down during your hike, so bring at least one large water bottle full of cool water. If you know that your hike is going to be intense or long, bring more than one or check to see if there are refill stations along the trail.

If you need to take a snack break or if your hike spans across a mealtime, you’ll also need to bring some food for your pup. If your dog eats Freshpet dry Fresh Baked recipes, you can pre-measure their food and put it in a container for easy feeding on the trail. Alternatively, if your dog prefers our refrigerated food, bringing a small cooler will make sure that it stays cool until it’s ready to be eaten.

It’s also a good idea to bring some treats along to reward your dog for good hiking behavior or to celebrate another trail successful completed!

Collapsible Food & Water Bowl

The food and water are packed, now you need something to serve them in. Collapsible food and water and water bowls are great, as they fold up to save space when not in use, but if you have room to spare normal food and water bowls work as well.

Leash

Even if the trail you hike allows dogs to be off-leash, you should always bring a leash with you. Having one easily accessible is critical if you come in contact with a wild animal or even another dog. Being able to quickly leash your dog is the best way to avoid a potentially negative situation.

Doggie Bags

You don’t want to spend your hiking dodging dog poop, and we bet others on the trail feel the same. This is why you always want to bring a good supply of doggie bags to pick up after your pooch. If you’re worried about not having anywhere to dispose of them on the trail, bring a second plastic bag you can carry them in until you find a garbage bin.

Pet First Aid Kit

You never know what will happen on your hike, which is why a pet first aid kit should be on your packing list. From cleaning and dressing cuts to removing ticks, you’ll be happy to have a well-stocked first aid kit with you. Before you hit the trails, don’t forget to take a look through the kit and re-stock it with any necessary items.

Collar & ID Tags

The chance that your dog will get lost on your hike is slim, but it’s doesn’t hurt to prepare for that situation. Before you leave your house, make sure that your dog is wearing a properly fitting collar with an up-to-date ID tag. This will give your dog the best chance of returning home quickly in the event that they do become lost.

Dog Sunscreen

Believe it or not, but some dogs need the same protection from UV rays that humans do. For hairless dogs, dogs that are losing their fur, or those with light colored fur, sunscreen is a necessity. To ensure that your pup does not leave your hike with a nasty burn, talk to your veterinarian about dog sunscreen options.

Spring is the perfect time for you and your pup to take advantage of your community’s local trails, but even a short hike requires some pre-trip planning. Taking the time to prep these items before your spring hike will ensure that your day is filled with nothing but beautiful sights and fresh air.

How We’re Celebrating the Earth This Year

Every year we like to go out of our way to make sure that we’re not only doing right by the pets we deliver fresh foods to each day, but also our planet. And this year is no different!

From planting trees in Texas, to using only wind-powered energy to make our foods, we like to think that every day is Earth Day at Freshpet. Here are some of the sustainability projects we’re committed to this year:

 

tree3,000 New Trees Planted

This year, we plan to plant 3,000 more with The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero Program at the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Texas. Planting these trees helps to restore the home of the two remaining ocelot populations in the U.S. Along with the the 4,000 seedlings we planted last year, these trees will not only help to restore the habitat for these endangered cats, but also help to clean the air , filter water, and provide recreational and economic benefits for the community.

Freshpet-Ocelots_LagunaNWF

windpower100% Wind-Powered

At the Freshpet Kitchens, where we’re hard at work making our foods fresh everyday, we are 100% wind-powered. This alternative is wind renewable energy that doesn’t involve the burning of fossil fuels or green house emissions which can be damaging to our air. Take a tour of the Freshpet Kitchens here.

Freshpet-wind-powered

 

canines_for_clean_waterCanine’s for Clean Water

This year, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, we are sponsoring Canine’s for Clean Water, a program that cleans up the Lake Michigan watershed that has been negatively affected by public sewer systems and nearby homes that have failing or no septic systems.  The team of dogs, trained by Environmental Canine Services, LLC, are able to sniff out E.coli more accurately and faster than any other means, so that the community can sooner improve the water quality. We are so happy to be donating funds, as well as fresh food, to help fuel their canine team.

Rain gardens & sewer dog 015-1

earthZero Landfill

This April, we kicked off our Zero Landfill initiative at our Freshpet Kitchens.  By partnering with Sustainable Waste Solutions, we will be able to recycle some of our waste that we couldn’t before and convert the remaining waste into electricity to power our Kitchens.  This landfill free solution is recommended as a “clean, reliable, and renewable source of energy” that “produces electricity with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity” by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

freshpet-kitchens

 

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10 Ways to Prep Your Pup to be an Office Dog

For any pup-parent, nothing is more exciting than the idea of bringing your pet to work with you every day. What many dog owners love best about bringing their pups to work is that they no longer have to spend long stretches of time separated from their four legged family members. While this is true, it also means that the office dog to-be will have to learn a new set of rules and behaviors for life in the office. It’s no surprise the Freshpet team has experience with dog-friendly offices, so we’ve put together a list of our top 10 ways to prep your pup to be an office dog.

1. Give your dog a well-deserved spa day

Before your dog’s first day at the office, treat them to a day at the doggy spa. Having them bathed, groomed, and checked for any parasites such as fleas or ticks to ensure that they arrive looking, feeling and smelling fresh.

2. Book a pre-office checkup

If your office has a bring your dog to work policy, it’s likely that more than one owner will be taking advantage of it. With multiple dogs in close quarters, it’s important that they are all up to date on their vaccinations. Knowing this, it’s a good to idea to book a vet visit for your dog to make sure that their vaccinations are up to date and they’re in tip-top shape for their office debut.

3. Brush up on basic commands

Office life can be full of excitement and distractions, which makes it critical that all dogs have excellent on and off leash manners. Before bringing your dog to the office, take some time to brush up on their basic commands, using their favorite Freshpet treat as a reward. Some of the important commands to focus on are: “come”, “stay”, “leave it”, and “go to bed”.

4. Prepare your desk space in advance

Your dog’s first day at the office will likely be a busy one, so it can be beneficial for you to prep your desk space beforehand. Consider setting up a small crate, bed or blanketed area under your desk for your dog. Not only will this give them a quiet space to relax if the office becomes too overwhelming, but it will also give you a place to secure your dog if you are in meetings or out of the office for a period of time.

5. Stock up on your dog’s favorite Freshpet food and treats

If you work a fulltime schedule, there’s a good chance that your dog will be eating at least one meal at the office. You may find it helpful to keep a supply of your dog’s Freshpet food in the office; this way you won’t have to worry about bringing it back and forth from home to work each day. Even if your pup won’t be have a full meal at the office, keep a supply of Freshpet treats on hand for snacks and rewards.

6. Train your dog to hang around your desk

Bringing your pup to work shouldn’t distract you from the job you’re there to do. What many owners find most distracting is trying to keep constant tabs on their dog’s whereabouts. To eliminate this worry, train your dog to stick around your desk. You may need to keep them leashed to begin with, but with consistent training and the temptation of their favorite Freshpet treats your dog will quickly learn the best place to be is around you.

7. Set a daily schedule and stick to it

Dogs are creatures of habit, and having a consistent schedule can make your dog more comfortable in a hectic office environment. By scheduling specific feeding times, walk times, and play times your dog will quickly fall into their new office routine and find comfort in it.

8. Teach your dog to express their needs in a non-disruptive way

Schedules are great ways to provide your dog with daily structure, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be able to stick to it 100% of the time. This is why it’s important that your dog is able to express their needs in a non-disruptive way. For instance, if your dog needs to go outside, try training them to use a small bell to let you know. This will be much more welcomed in an office than barking, especially if there are meetings or phone calls going on.

9. Make sure your dog knows that there is a time and place for play

For new office dogs especially, the fact that you’re together all day may give them the impression that their days are now non-stop playtimes. To avoid distracting you and others in the office, keep a few of your dog’s favorite toys at your desk to keep them amused. If you’re worried about your dog getting bored with their office toys, try rotating them so that there’s always something “new” to keep them entertained.

10. Reward calm behavior

When it comes to offices, a calm dog is best. An overly vocal or hyperactive dog may not be suited to life as an office pet, as it can be stressful for their owner and distracting for those around. To help your dog develop a suitable office demeanor, reward calm behavior with a treat, like our favorite Freshpet Turkey Bacon. When dogs are rewarded for calm behavior they are more likely to display it again in the future. Over time, this will become their default office behavior.

Nothing is more exciting than the prospect of bringing your dog to the office, but without proper preparation, this dream situation can turn into a nightmare. Taking the time to review these 10 tips for prepping your pup for office life will make the transition much easier for both you and your dog.

What Makes Freshpet Different From Other Pet Foods?

With so many different pet foods available today, it can be hard to know which is right for your pet. This search can become even more difficult if your pet has allergies or dietary restrictions. At Freshpet, we want to make sure that all pet parents have the resources they need to make an informed decision about which food to feed their pets. To help you navigate the pet food aisle, we’ve put together a checklist of things we believe all pet food should and should not include. We put all of our fresh pet food products to the same test and we can proudly say that they checked off each item. Here are just some of the things that make our Freshpet food different from other pet foods.

All Natural Ingredients
You wouldn’t want to eat foods filled with artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, so why would your pet? By choosing fresh pet foods, you know that they’re getting the nutrients they need, naturally.

Real Fresh Fruits & Veggies
A healthy pet diet should contain fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a good idea to mix in fresh fruits and vegetables with whatever food you feed your pet but it’s even better if their food already contains it. To ensure your pet is getting the benefits of fruits and vegetables in each meal, look for products that include them in their mixture.

Only Chelated Minerals
Minerals are naturally inorganic, which can make them difficult for the body to consume. A process known as chelation can help to combine minerals with organic molecules, to make minerals easier to digest. When your pet eats food that contain chelated minerals, they are better able to absorb the necessary minerals so you know that they’re getting the most from their food.

Less Processed & Cooked at Lower Temperatures
When foods are highly processed, they lose a significant amount of their nutritional value. Freshpet foods that are made using fresh ingredients, cooked at lower temperatures to preserve their natural nutrients are always the best choice.

No Corn or Wheat
Corn and wheat are often used a filler in pet foods and have little nutritional value. For many pets, corn and wheat are hard to digest and can trigger food sensitivity issues such as gastrointestinal problems and dry, itchy skin. The best way to avoid these irritants is by feeding your pet food that is free of corn and wheat.

No Rendered Meals
Rendered products are common in many types of pet food, but few owners know exactly what they are. Rendered products are made from animal remains that have been converted into stable materials that can be used in food. While rendered materials can sometimes be high in protein, their quality cannot be compared to fresh ingredients. Avoid foods that contain ingredients such as meat meal or bone meal, as these are other names for rendered products.

No By-Products
By-products are ingredients made from non-rendered animal parts, such as organs and fatty tissue. Similar to rendered products, these ingredients are added to keep the protein level of the food high without the cost of adding wholesome ingredients. Selecting foods that are free of by-products ensures that your pet is only eating natural ingredients.

At Freshpet, we believe that your pet’s food should be made from the same quality ingredients that you feed your family. This is why we’re so proud to provide fresh pet foods that check off each item on this list. It is this commitment to natural, wholesome ingredients that makes us different from other pet foods brands on the market today.

To find out how your current pet food compares to our fresh pet food, take a look at our comparison chart. If you’re thinking of making the switch to Freshpet dog food or cat food, take a look at what our happy customers have to say on our website, on our Freshpet Facebook page, and Twitter.

Lyra, Freshpet’s Show Dog

Meet Drew! He’s our Quality Analyst here at Freshpet. Which means you can almost always find him in the QA Lab in Bethlehem, PA testing all of our foods before they leave our Kitchens. One could even call him the gatekeeper. None of our foods leave until he’s had a chance to check them out under our quality and safety standards. Drew is passion about his QA work, but he’s also a big dog lover with a passion for competing in dog shows. Here’s his story!

I have three Doberman pinschers. Tucker, Ava and Lyra – and they’re my life. Tucker is 8, Ava is 6 and Lyra is 2. And while all of their parents were Champion Show Dogs, Lyra is actually the only one who is competes in the AKC show ring with me.

Lyra and I have shown all over the region from Maryland to New York State and even once out in Chicago. She’s got a few impressive wins under her belt and a lot full of runner-up spots in other competitions. We had the pleasure of showing at the Doberman Pinscher Club National Show this last October in Lancaster, PA, which is the national specialty show that’s put on by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America every year. People travel from all over the world to attend this show. We didn’t make any placements but we had a rush being out there in front of the huge crowd!

Lyra what you call a natural show dog. She’s very outgoing, full of attitude and loves being in the ring. She has high drive and will happily work for food. And luckily for her I’m able to bring the freshest treats for her to get her focused and in the game. I often bring Freshpet Dog Joy Chicken or Beef treats in the ring, which she goes crazy for.

In this venue we’ve done well considering I’m a very amateur “owner-handler.” She’s my first real “show dog,” so I’ve learned as I went along. I think keeping her active, and on a fresh and all natural diet has helped us significantly thus far!
In the coming months she will be going out with a professional handler to make a run at finishing her AKC Championship. When she’s not showing her favorite activity is chasing her “Chuck-It” toy. Once she’s finished with the AKC show ring I’m looking forward to training her in agility and “dock-diving” in the summer time.

All three of my dobes are 100% Freshpet dogs.

Is your pup a Show Dog fueled on Freshpet? We’d love to see your photos and videos! Be sure to share them on the Freshpet Facebook Page, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to be our next Fur Crush.

A Note From the Freshpet Donations Manager

If you are one of our very special shelter and rescue partners, you know Carole, our amazing Donations Manager. She is so passionate about working with our partners and delivering fresh pet food to dogs and cats that are dependent on donations from helping hands. Read more to hear about her experiences over the years.

One of the nicest things about working for a small company like Freshpet is the corporate culture of giving back to those less fortunate, and since we are a pet food manufacturer, it’s only natural that we would donate any surplus Freshpet dog or cat recipes to the many dogs and cats in animal shelters and rescues who are waiting for their forever homes.

Arranging these donations with the many 501(c)3 charities we partner with across the country is a true joy and privilege for me, as I have been an animal lover since I was a toddler and have myself volunteered with local animal rescue groups, so it’s easy for me to develop a dialogue with each and every charity we work with. I learn the needs and goals for their particular organizations and review the best ways to both transport and store our products.

Another part I love is that these wonderful, dedicated people also stay in touch with us and let us know how our Freshpet dog and cat foods are helping the pets they care for get healthy and strong, bringing them back to excellent health so they are more adoptable to potential forever families. I’m always so touched by the tales these rescue folks tell me about the pets who come into their groups so thin and sickly, with scraggly coats and matted fur and eyes full of fear or heads hung low in dejection — often our donated Freshpet is the very first thing these homeless pets will allow themselves to eat, and after a period of medical attention, a Freshpet diet and lots of TLC from their rescuers, these pups and kitties turn into superstars and find themselves with a permanent family to care for them for the rest of their lives — how wonderful that through our donation efforts, our delicious recipes can be a part of changing so many little lives like that!!

Little Foot Finds Happiness and a New Home After Removing Over Four Pounds of Matted Fur

Written by Becky Risler of Prairie Paws Animal Shelter in Ottawa Kansas

Little Foot, a senior Shih Tzu, came to us with 4 pounds of matted hair on her tiny 12-pound frame. While her before pictures are hard to look at, we see it as a blessing that Little Foot made her way to us and we were able to find her a hero that will provide her with the unconditional love she so deserves. We try very hard to focus on the future and not the past and we knew this cutie’s future was bright.

It took Kelsie Williams (our awesome groomer) 2 1/2 hours to shave off her mats. We couldn’t believe that they weighed a total of 4 1/2 pounds! This little senior sweetheart started to dance after the weight was lifted off. She was so full of kisses and tushie wiggles, and made people’s hearts happy just by watching how excited she was to be able to move around.

We did discover that the majority of her teeth were in very poor shape. She basically had two good ones to use. The soft Freshpet food definitely became a staple of her diet while at the shelter not only because she loved it but because she didn’t need a lot of teeth to chew it. Her awesome new hero pet parent was definitely going to need to have a dental done on her and to our dismay we discovered she had some small tumor like growths on her chest… she was going to need a true hero indeed.

Her hero turned out to be Kelsie, the Groomer! She adopted the cutie! Little Foot stole her heart at her first mat-free wiggle and is doing great at her new home and never has to worry about becoming matted again.

Freshpet’s Traveling Food Truck

At Freshpet, we take our motto of “Bringing Fresh Food to Pets” seriously. Our motto has inspired every aspect of how we run our company, and has even birthed the idea of our Freshpet food truck.

The Freshpet food truck can be seen wagging it’s tail throughout the New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania – bringing your pet fresh food and treats. The truck roams around visiting adoption centers, local shelters, dog parks, rescue groups, and pet friendly events.

We’re proud to support shelters and rescue organizations across the country and are thrilled to be able to take our support on the road with the Freshpet Food Truck. A fresh diet, with nutritious ingredients, makes all the difference to pets in need. Delivering our food to pet’s in need is the least we can do! In fact, in December alone we were able to raise our donations to 100,000 meals thanks to our Freshpet Santa’s Elves Holiday campaign and are in the process of delivering them to our network of shelters and organization now!

The truck itself comes equipped with all the bells and whistles: a fire hydrant for the pups to play around on, a feeding walk-up or “paw up” staircase, a flashy stop sign which ensures that poochies can enjoy their food without having to worry about nearby motorists, a pack of dogs on top that makes passerbys look twice, a barking honk, and a fun and friendly brand ambassador to answer all your questions. The truck’s counter encourages big dogs to “paw up to the bar,” while a doggie door allows smaller dogs to help themselves to our fresh refrigerated dog food. As for the flashy stop sign, it was designed to be similar to schoolbus-style signs that pop out. The only difference? Our sign invites dogs and pet parents to “paws” for a minute and get their fill of nutritious snacks, and a refreshing bowl of water!

We make our meals and snacks with fresh meats, fruits, and veggies farmed locally and delivered daily to our Freshpet Kitchens, so you know that your pet is getting the freshiest meal possible. “It’s a real pleasure to tell pet parents about Freshpet… they [are] excited to give our recipes a try!” exclaims driver and brand ambassador Tony Quinones. Similar to a normal food truck, the Freshpet truck even boasts a Specials menu, full to please!

Our truck attracts everyone, from new pet parents to loyal Freshpet Facebook fans and consumer’s who have given Freshpet reviews online. We are proud to be a part of a community of pet parents who are passionate about the health and well being of pets.

Make sure to follow @FreshpetTruck on Twitter to stay up to date on its next stops.

Do you want the Freshpet truck to come by your event? Drop us an email at online@freshpet.com

Freshpet Food Donation | Santa’s Elves

At Freshpet, we are so grateful to all of the pet parents who have participated in our Santa’s Elves video! For every share of the video, we pledged to donate one meal to a rescue or shelter in need. We had high expectations, but so far they have been far exceeded. We are blown away by the participation of fresh pet parents far and wide. Your generosity and enthusiasm for helping rescues and shelters get the food they need has been so inspiring.

 

We made a video to say Thank You, and to show how excited we are to put together and deliver the first of many Santa’s Elves donations:

 

Our first stop was Secaucus Animal Shelter- a local favorite that rescues and cares for both dogs and cats of all ages. We had a great day at Secaucus Animal Shelter and donated some of our favorite recipes, including Vital Complete Meals, Freshpet Select Slice and Serve Beef Roll, and Vital Balanced Nutrition Slice and Serve Chicken Recipe. The dogs gobbled up their share of our donations, which is just another reason to give a pet fresh food. One volunteer even asked for the Dog Joy Turkey Bacon treats by name, a favorite at the shelter. Check out our Freshpet Reviews to see more about the recipes we donated.

 

If you haven’t already, you can view and share the Freshpet Elves video below and on the Freshpet Facebook page to donate one meal to a rescue or shelter dog or cat in need:

 

We’re dedicated to bringing the power of fresh pet food to dogs and cats, and doing so in ways that are good for pets, people and the planet we live on. You can learn more about our charitable donations on Freshpet.org.