Give Your Pets a Feast this Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, a lot of us have turkey, and sweet potatoes, and broccoli, and (you name it!) on the mind. And while we’re getting ready to enjoy a delicious meal with our loved ones, we should make sure to include our pets in the festivities as well!

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the state of your plate towards the end of your first serving: the mashed potatoes have tucked in the turkey, the broccoli has snuggled up with the stuffing, and the yams have cuddled up with cranberries. Every bite, in a word, is kaleidoscopic! Only Natural Pet Easy Raw brings the same hearty, nutritious mix to your pets. Both the dog formula and cat formula feature quality and down right delicious freeze-dried meats and nutrient dense, “superfood” produce like low glycemic sweet potatoes, antioxidant rich cranberries, broccoli, apples and pumpkin.

Plus, EasyRaw is one of the best options for your pet’s diet, offering them improved digestion, healthy weight control, and essential nutrients that can help their body stay strong and thrive.

Just check out our video and see for yourself!

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The Importance of Fish Oil!

You’ve probably been hearing a lot recently about the importance of essential fatty acids in your diet. But it’s important to remember that these are just as important for your pet! Essential fatty acids (also called EFAs) are fats that are required to be in the diet, but they cannot be produced by the body, hence the “essential” in the name. EFAs have a whole slew of benefits, including proper cell membrane formation, proper hormonal processes, cardiovascular support, and digestive support, not to mention a beautiful skin & coat. Unfortunately, like most of our diets, our pet’s diets are lacking many of these essential fatty acids, especially Omega-3′s including EPA and DEA.

Along with a high quality diet that has little processing (like raw pet food or freeze-dried pet food), adding a fish oil supplement is one of the best things you can do to increase your pet’s essential fatty acid intake.

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Immune Support 101

With how complex your pet’s immune system can be, caring for it naturally and effectively can seem to be a pretty daunting task. But with a little planning, supporting your pet’s immune system doesn’t have to be that hard.

Supplements

Along with Immune Strengthener, herbs, mushrooms and nutraceuticals like Cat’s Claw, Chinese Herbs, Medicinal Mushrooms and Colostrum can be a huge help.

Diet

Diet is always the first line of defense; it is the foundation of health. If your companion is consuming highly processed food that provides only minimal nutrition and includes toxins such as chemical preservatives, food dyes, texturizers, and other additives, his immune system is being depleted daily just to cope with that diet. Fresh, wholesome food, like frozen raw or non-frozen raw, is the first step in building a strong immune system.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage to cells, boost immune function, and possibly decrease the risk of infections, degenerative diseases, and cancer. Antioxidants exist as vitamins, minerals, and other compounds in foods. They act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage by destroying free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that the body normally produces to defend against bacteria and other pathogens; but if left unchecked, they can damage the body at the cellular level.

Stress and Exercise

Stress suppresses the immune system. Our pets can experience emotional stress from any number of sources, such as territorial disputes among pets (especially cats), social stress, and noise and light pollution. Exercise helps reduce stress and helps build and maintain a strong body and immune system. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve immune function in humans and animals.Weight control is also key – overweight animals are much more susceptible to chronic and acute diseases and infections. Proper diet AND exercise are needed to help with weight control.

These simple and healthy steps and ingredients can keep your pet’s immune system operating efficiently and properly for many years to come!

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Tessa Did It!

It has been a long couple of months, but with a lot of hard work, Tessa finally reached her weight loss goal! (I should clarify, a lot of hard work by her… but those walks in the park were no walk in the park for me either.) Tessa joined our family as a plump, 3 year old English bulldog about 3 months ago. We adopted her with the hope of bringing another animal into our lives (to join the 2 dogs and 2 cats), but also to offer her a better quality of life.

She weighed just over 57 pounds when we brought her home and her chest measured 31 inches around… definitely not her ideal shape (geometrically and figuratively). She struggled to get on the couch when we watched a movie, she labored to get upstairs when it was time for bed, and she couldn’t even keep up with her new sisters Annie and Ashley. We knew something had to change.

We started by taking her to the vet and also consulting the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. We found out that not only was she the equivalent of a 5’4″ woman who was 60 lbs overweight, but the vet felt she could lose in excess of 10 lbs! We discussed with the vet what our best path for a slimmer and happy Tessa would be. Her checklist include a lot of the pointers you would imagine, including exercise and smaller servings, but she also mentioned a number of holistic solutions, including vitamins and supplements like fish oil and digestive enzymes, and even some things I would never imagine, like healthy table scraps.

The exercise routine was difficult to get started (to say the least). The front steps were about the extent of what she could handle. To supplement her outings, we got her started on several joint support supplements, including Get Up & Go and Lubri Ease. Now she’s pulling us around the block on her evening walks and with a running start, she can gracefully get up on the bed and couch!

Her diet was probably the simplest, and one of the most effective, steps we took to get Tessa on the right track. She was eating Iams at the shelter, and all of the extra fillers and carbohydrates were packing on the pounds. We got her off of that and on to “I and love and you” Nude Food kibble, which was a similar consistency, but much healthier, including higher protein amounts, unique carbohydrates (like lentils and chick peas) and even added natural sources of nutrients like glucosamine. Once she was completely transitioned, we started mixing in EasyRaw with her “I and love and you.” She is crazy about the taste (like the huge, whole chunks of raw, freeze dried turkey) and the vet said the quality raw was just what she needed for healthier stool and high protein.

The healthy table scraps took me for a loop. The best part about the vet recommending those is that it made me think about my diet as well. When Tessa would start circling my legs in the kitchen, it made me consider whether I should grab the carrots or the chips… I definitely went for the carrots.

To keep Tessa’s body functioning on all cylinders, the vet recommended an all inclusive daily vitamins, plus some extras like fish oil and digestive enzymes. She was one of our guinea pigs for our newest Ultimate Super Daily Plus vitamins, and I’ll say it worked perfectly. She gobbled the powder with every meal and I knew that on top of a healthy diet, she was also receiving all the nutrients necessary for keeping her happy and healthy.

Surprisingly enough, one of the most beneficial things for Tessa’s weight loss was a positive attitude and a lot of encouragement! Not a day goes by that I don’t compliment Tessa on what a great job she’s done and the amazing work she continues to do. And for those of you who might think this is a little silly, think about how helpful support is for a difficult task in your life and then remember, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

Now, Tessa is a slim 45 pounds and doing fantastic! And just because she reached her goal, that doesn’t mean her weight loss habits are ending. Just like everything in pet care, weight loss is a journey, not a destination.

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Tessa’s Weight Loss Tips

Tessa’s been with us for about a month and her weight loss has really hit a stride (literally and figuratively)! We’ve put her on a regiment that has shown obvious results (she’s already lost 5 pounds!) and that is really easy for us to follow as well. I want to highlight the 5 simple steps my family has been using to keep our newest member looking great and, most importantly, loving life!

1. Feeding Routine:

Before we got Tessa, she was allowed to graze freely from her bowl of kibble. It’s a common misconception that pets will self-regulate when it comes to their feeding. This is not true! Often times, several factors can be responsible for a pet overeating from their bowl, including competition with other household pets and even boredom.

Since we’ve had her, she’s been on a strict, twice a day feeding routine. We divide her daily portion into two equal amounts and give her one serving at 8 in the morning, and another serving at 6 at night. She usually takes a few bites, wanders around, and then comes back to finish up 20 minutes later, but she always finishes her meal.

2. High Quality Food:

Tessa was eating a diet exclusively of Iams kibble before we adopted her. This low quality food not only contains a lot of fillers, but it also contains a lot of artificial preservatives and flavors. She received zero diversity in her diet and no supplements or vitamins. It was like she was eating the same boring bowl of corn flakes for every meal. This changed right away!

The first step we took was changing her diet. We (unfortunately) had to buy a small bag of the Iams food that we began mixing with the much higher quality “I and love and you” Nude Food. “I and love and you” Nude Food is grain-free, has no artificial flavors or preservatives, is high in protein, and features low glycemic carbs like lentils and garbanzo beans… clearly a much better choice than the Iams. She took to the “I and love and you” pretty quickly and she didn’t even finish the other stuff.

Now we have her on a great mix of Only Natural Pet EasyRaw and “I and love and you”. The kibble gives her the texture she’s used to and the EasyRaw gives her quality, raw meat. It’s a perfect mix that she loves eating.

We’re also certain to include wild salmon fish oil, probiotics and a canine daily multi-vitamin.

3. Feed by the Numbers:

We feed Tessa to her desired weight, not the weight she is. When we first brought her home, we scheduled an appointment with our vet and had a serious conversation about what she should weigh given her breed, build and age. From there we determined she should weigh a full 11 lbs less… and began feeding her for that weight.

4. Too Many Treats:

This one has been difficult because she is so cute, but we had to put our foot down. Tessa has a bad habit of expecting treats just for being. Plus, all of the little bites throughout the day (licking the cereal bowl, the chip that fell on the floor, the peanut butter in her Kong) really add up to some serious extra calories.

To combat this, we started on our own personal plan of awareness and moderation. This includes breaking her treats into smaller portions, giving her single ingredient, freeze dried meat treats, and communicating with each other to get a real understanding of what she’s eaten that day.

5. Get Moving:

One of the most important parts of any pet’s weight loss program is exercise. When Tessa first came home, she wasn’t even able to make it up the stairs to the front door. But with a lot of encouragement and continued practiced, Tessa has been making it around the block on a nightly basis… she’s even made it out to Boulder’s Open Space on a couple of trips! This has been one of her biggest adjustments from the sedentary, kenneled life she was living before. But now we can tell how much her activity level is up and she’s even started going to the door when she hears the word, “Walk.”

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Only Natural Pet’s Green Team Top 5 Tips

We know that for our customers, caring for the environment comes just as easily as caring for their pets. But with so much “green washing” going on out there, it’s hard to differentiate what’s environmentally responsible and what’s just clever marketing. To get the facts, we asked our Green Team to do a little research and they came up with their “Green Team Top 5 Tips” for raising a green, and most importantly, happy, pet.

  1. Healthy Food Means a Healthy Planet – Feeding your pet a quality diet means a whole lot more than just keeping them healthy… it means you’re keeping the planet healthy as well. Natural pet foods are made without artificial flavors, preservatives and ingredients, and many (like EasyRaw) are made with minimal processing. Not to mention a lot of them are made in the USA or Canada with locally sourced ingredients that use limited amounts of fuel to get them from farm to bowl.
  2. Make Natural Products the Natural Choice – If you’re like most of us here, your pet has an entire cabinet dedicated to them (not to mention their own basket of toys). And when you take a look in there, you can see just how much your pet uses; from supplements and vitamins, to food and treats, everything can add up. That’s why it’s important to check the labels: conventional flea treatments are made from dangerous pesticides, natural flea care is just as effective and gentler on your pet and the environment; for food and treats, skip the box store and go for the natural option made from USA sourced ingredients; natural cleaners work just as well and are less harsh, biodegrade and safe for your pet; and make sure those pet toys are recyclable or made from renewable sources. By buying natural products, you’re doing your part to ensure that not only your pets, but all the future generations of pets, will have happy, fulfilling lives.
  3. Keep it Local – Buying products made in the USA and Canada can do a lot for your pet’s safety and the health of the environment. These foods meet tighter restrictions (especially ones produced in small factories, like “I and love and you”) than other products made overseas, so they’re much safer. Plus, the impact of shipping things on the same continent is much less than freighting them across the ocean. Not to mention you’re helping keep jobs in the USA, which supports your neighbors, and your neighbor’s pets.
  4. The Scoop on Poop – Pet waste is one of the biggest (and most obvious) effects our pets have on the environment. Uncollected dog waste can contaminate local environments and cat litter can collect in landfills. But you can take a few simple steps that will limit the effect your pet’s waste has. Just bag it! Simply by picking up after your dog (preferably in a biodegradable bag), you can keep local water sources clean and prevent the spread of disease. All Litters Are Not Created Equal! Traditional clay litters are strip mined and once they reach the landfill, they’ll never biodegrade. By using a plant based litter (like a plant based litter or walnut based litter) and a biodegradable pan liner, you can guarantee your cat’s waste won’t be here forever.
  5. Be a Fantastic Forever Home – This is the easiest one on the list, but this tip cannot be understated. By keeping your companions safe and healthy, you’re doing more than just enriching their (and your) lives; you’re keeping them off the street. Abandoned pets aren’t only a sad fact of life, they’re also a strain on our local environment. Feral cats can be detrimental to local birds, and if your animal isn’t spayed or neutered, they’ll quickly start adding to the pet overpopulation crisis. Many of these pets enter into the overcrowded shelter system where it’s hard for them to get the care and attention they need. Every time you hear their pitter patter through the house or see their wagging tail at the food bowl, give yourself a pat on the back for giving them a great life, and leaving the world a better place.

The Green Team out on another “Poop Pick-Up” mission!

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Tessa’s Tail

Tubby Tessa

When my wife and I brought Tessa, a purebred English bulldog, home from a shelter in Nebraska, we were most excited to have a new bundle of joy in the house. But admittedly, I had the ulterior motive of wanting to help Tessa shed some weight and regain her quality of life. At 3 and a half years old, she spent most of her life in a small kennel eating a free fed diet consisting exclusively of Iams kibble. I knew that not only could we give Tessa a loving home, but also a new lease on life.

To start, Tessa weighed just over 57 pounds and her chest measured 31 inches. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an English bulldog of her size is the equivalent of a 5’ 4” woman being 60 pounds overweight. We knew something had to change, and fast. Once we got Tessa home, the biggest change for her was the end of free feeding, or grazing, as we like to call it. Along with this was a drastic diet change. We knew we wanted to feed her Only Natural Pet EasyRaw, which offers all the health benefits of a frozen raw with the convenience of a dry food. The texture is quite different from her kibble diet, so to help with the transition we mixed a small amount of EasyRaw with a high protein, high quality dry food, like “I and love and you” Nude Food. Every couple days we added a little more raw and a little less kibble, until now she’s eating almost all EasyRaw.

We also have her on a variety of supplements, including digestive enzymes to make sure she’s getting all of the nutrients she can from the food, a daily multi-vitamin to make sure she’s maintaining overall wellness, and a joint support supplement, because all the extra weight has been tough on her joints and because of one of the most important parts of her weight loss plan: EXERCISE!

One of the biggest factors that led to Tessa’s obesity was her sedentary lifestyle. Well that changed right away. From her walk out of the shelter, to her nightly walk down the street, we’ve been keeping Tessa moving as much as we can. She loves getting out exploring and being able to keep up with Annie, Seuss, Gia and Goose at the office. It’s definitely a long way to her ideal weight, but every journey begins with a single step.

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