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Lansdale, PA

Pet care in Lansdale, PA. Certified in Pet First Aid and CPR through the American Red Cross. Bonded and insured. Supporter of local pet rescue!

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Ecofriendly Little Home & Pets Blog

Eco-friendly and earth-conscious features and reviews, pet care tips, and feeding education. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free autoimmune diet musings.  Interested in having your product reviewed here?  Please email: ecofriendlypetreviews@gmail.com.

Filtering by Tag: cat food

Whole Foods Nutrition with the convenience of Grandma Lucy's

Christina Ottaviano

If you've read my articles before, you know how I feel about kibble-based diets for dogs, and especially for cats.  Of course, not every animal is the same and they don't all tolerate alternative diets equally.  You can choose to make your own raw or cooked pet food, but if you are pressed for time and want to provide whole-foods nutrition to your pets in a more convenient manner, Grandma Lucy's has a line of foods which are a great place to start.

The food comes in freeze dried mixes already balanced with the vitamins and nutrients your dog or cat needs, however it can also be fed as a topper to boost your kibble diet until you're ready to fully make the switch, or fed as the full time diet, or you can add cooked or raw meat to it if you want to cook or prepare your pet food but don't always reliably have the time.  The company generously sent me tons of samples to try with my dachshunds and cat, and we had fun going through all of the varieties and flavors.  Since I already make our dog and cat food, I used the rehydrated food samples in place of the homemade fruit and veggie mix I would normally add to their meals.  Grandma Lucy's is non-GMO, grain free, contains no preservatives, all natural and made in California.

Healthier than canned and much cheaper! Infographic used with permission by Grandma Lucy's.

Healthier than canned and much cheaper! Infographic used with permission by Grandma Lucy's.

The Artisan formulas are the most traditional as far as ingredients are concerned, with just meat, potato, vegetable and fruit mixes in several different protein varieties.  Our dachshunds are not at all picky eaters and loved every option they tried in this option.  I see it as being a good one for multiple source protein allergy issue dogs as it is fairly limited in protein-related ingredients as compared to some other mixes.  Besides chicken and lamb, it also comes in pork, bison and venison - with an additional pre-mix option which allows you to add in your own meat of choice, or even rotate varieties of meat if you desire.  This is definitely something I will order to keep on hand in the event of an emergency when we need to either evacuate or can't open the fridge or freezer due to electricity outage.  There have been instances where I can't get to the store to buy the fresh ingredients that I need, recovering from surgery, too sick with the flu, or now - going to be in the hospital having a baby very soon.  Even though I make our pet food myself, I always have a backup plan so others can feed my dogs in the event that I cannot. 
 
Their Pureformance line is formulated for a low glycemic index diet with the inclusion of chickpeas instead of potatoes, blended with some even unique proteins that help with food sensitives or extra protein for active dogs, remaining single-sourced.  In this line, they carry chicken, rabbit, goat, lamb, fish and the popular pre-mix which gives you the opportunity to add in your own protein.
 
Valor is made with quinoa and lentils instead of potato or chickpeas, and is blended with high-quality meat, fruit and vegetables and comes in chicken, turkey and fish.
 
Macanna is the newest addition to their pet food line. They have blended some of the most innovative ingredients of hemp hearts, kale, coconut, and turmeric to provide the best in pet nutrition.  It comes in beef, salmon and the ever popular pre-mix which you can add your own meat to.

Grandma Lucy's is a fantastic alternative to a kibble-based diet.  They also sell a line of cat food and dog treats that our cat and dogs loved as well.  Do you feed your dog chicken and rice when he's not feeling well?  They also have a shelf stable version of that remedy available to purchase!  If you are already feeding a grain-free kibble with less fillers, you are probably already paying more than $50 for a 30-lb bag of food.  What if I told you that Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken freeze dried mix is $68 and makes 50-lbs of food when rehydrated?  AND that you can subscribe to it as often as once a month on Amazon's Subscribe and Save program, and get another 15% off, while having it auto-delivered to your door?  And remember, higher quality food is fed in less volume so that 50-lbs rehydrated amount actually converts to even more food for your pet, less processed and healthier in general.

Learn more, check out current promotions and stay up-to-date with new products on their Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/11/3/whole-foods-nutrition-with-the-convenience-of-grandma-lucys

Nutrition with Honesty: New Treats by The Honest Kitchen

Christina Ottaviano

I've talked about diets lower in processed food before.  You've heard about how eating whole foods is better for you, healthier for weight management, and more nutritionally sound.  the same goes for your pets.  They're carnivorous in nature, dogs being descendant from wolves and cats from their obligate carnivore big cat relatives.  While some folks jump right into raw feeding, others take a more step-by-step approach and opt to ease into a less kibble-based diet through the feeding of whole foods treats and toppers.

The Honest Kitchen is a company whose name truly indicates their mission.  They actually even have permission from the FDA to label their foods as human-grade.  If you know anything about the pet food industry and their collective non-apparent transparency over ingredients and sourcing, this is a very big deal.  From cleanliness to production, the manufacturing facility used by The Honest Kitchen is held to the same strict standards as any human food production facility, because that's exactly what it is.

The difference between feed grade and human grade food. Source: The Honest Kitchen

The difference between feed grade and human grade food. Source: The Honest Kitchen

I agree with their feeding philosophy, wholeheartedly.  Every living thing is a machine and real, minimally processed whole food is fuel.  What goes in should optimally provide the most bioavailable nutrition possible per calorie and be diverse as to access as many vitamins and minerals as possible.  The company has recently introduced a new treat to their already stellar line of balanced diets: Nice Mussels.  

New treats by The Honest Kitchen

New treats by The Honest Kitchen

Photo credit: The Honest Kitchen

Photo credit: The Honest Kitchen

They sent a bag for us to try and the results were as expected...four dachshunds and two cats agreed that they were delicious!  They're simply freeze-dried mussels from New Zealand.  You don't get more whole foods than that - with no fillers or other added ingredients they were the perfect treat for everyone in the house, which is tough to do considering that they all have different food allergy issues.  While we have fed fresh mussels in their homemade diets, having a shelf stable version was extremely convenient.

Miss Molly

Miss Molly

I used some of them to pose the dogs for this photo shoot in my handmade collars for our Etsy shop and full credit goes to The Honest Kitchen for the great shots I got bribing the dogs with these delicious treats.  Adding a healthy source of Omega-3's like mussels can give your pet a shiny coat just like sweet Molly's.  We are giving away a bag of these healthy treats to one lucky person on Facebook and Instagram.  Go to either (or both!) to enter and win Nice Mussels, worth $12.99!  Giveaway ends Saturday, 11/5/16 at 11:59pm.

This is a great company who cares about pets, and you can stay in the loop by following their social media: Google+PinterestYouTubeInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/11/3/thehonestkitchenmussels

Cats are obligate carnivores

Christina Ottaviano

Our furry little felines, descendant from wild ancestors, are equipped with the necessary teeth and claws to capture small prey.  Why?  Even though they appear to lazily nap away most of the day, they're obligate carnivores - meaning it is an obligation to their health to eat the flesh and organs of other animals.  This diet provides them with specific essential nutrients that they need to survive, which their own bodies do not synthesize themselves and cannot be absorbed in any other way.

Kibble is the single most detrimental way to feed a cat.  As with all living species, a whole foods, fresh diet is best - due to the very minimal processing and the bioavailability of amino acids and vitamins in raw meat.  Has your cat experienced urinary tract issues?  Vomiting?  Gastrointestinal illness?  Cancer?  Kidney disease?  These health problems can be traced back to a severely deficient diet.  Forced digestion for an animal that is meant to process whole meats and organs - not dried, highly heated and processed bits.  I'm not just a crazy, raw-feeding fanatic.  These claims are based in scientific fact, and I firmly believe that nutrition is an important preventative measure to not only see an animal merely survive...that animal should, theoretically thrive.  Dry food needs a carbohydrate base in order to hold together in dry kibble form; cats have no need whatsoever for carbohydrates in their diet and food that dry does not provide the 70% or higher level of moisture that a cat needs in order to retain the appropriate amount of water.  I make my own cat food.  It's not difficult and one of my cats loves it.  The other gets a mixture of grain-free kibble and freeze dried raw commercial cat food.  I have tried over 6 of his 13 years to get him onto a fully raw diet, but he refuses to eat enough of the different meats and organs to provide a balanced nutritional long-term intake.  I supplement as much fresh food as possible, but he just does not tolerate a fully raw diet.  You have to compromise at some point with what your cat can tolerate, and what works for you as well, however I will continue trying to get him to eat fresh foods until he's no longer living on this earthly planet...though it pains me to buy kibble at all, in any form.

Our cat sitting client, Maynard waits for his freeze dried rabbit treat. He LOVES his raw diet!

Our cat sitting client, Maynard waits for his freeze dried rabbit treat. He LOVES his raw diet!

The real solution to the major health issues in cats is raw feeding, and I am thankful our other cat has no issue with it.  He's stunning, handsome and absolutely gorgeous with very soft, blindingly white fur and no real health issues.  Sound gross?  Remember, it's not about you, the owner and what you need.  It's about your pet, the commitment you have taken on by agreeing to care for the animal, and their species specific nutritional needs.  Ready to start a diet to give your cat the energy and vitality he needs, but can't deal with the idea of raw food, either homemade or commercially purchased?  A canned diet with no kibble, grain or carbohydrates is a great place to begin, and many cat owners move on to raw diets after seeing the change in the health of their cats on a canned food only diet.  Canned food with a raw topper is also a great option when transitioning.

Our handsome white devil, Archer loves Wild Alaskan Salmon freeze dried treats.

Our handsome white devil, Archer loves Wild Alaskan Salmon freeze dried treats.

Do you like to give your cat treats?  Who doesn't want to spoil our handsome, furry tigers?  One way you can work fresh foods into a diet is to use them as treats.  In freeze dried or dehydrated form, treats marketed to pet owners can be difficult to navigate.  So, here's a great way to differentiate the bad from the good.  Most commercial raw food companies also sell a line of treats and theirs are the best place to begin.  One of my favorite businesses for a huge variety of treats is Vital Essentials.  From rabbit to whole fish, their selection of fresh-food treats is a great way to add in vital nutrients and give your cat the prey-driven enrichment he needs as well.  What's the difference between 15 different types of treats, all labeled "salmon", for example?  The ingredients list and the country of origin.  For example, compare these two treats, both marketed for cats:

1. "Single source protein, USDA certified facility, gluten and grain free, sourced, made, and packaged in USA. Ingredients: Salmon."

2. "Made with the finest ingredients available, [these treats] do not contain any chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat or soy. Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Maple Syrup, Vegetable Glycerin, Potatoes, Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Salt, Fish Oil, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Taurine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols,Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid, Oil of Rosemary."

...Which one sounds more appropriate for a whole food, healthy diet - now that you know what it means to be an obligate carnivore?  It's not enough to just look at the advertising on the front of the package.  Read the ingredients and you'll know exactly what's in food and treats you're feeding your cat.  Questions?  I can be reached for help with improving pet nutrition at any time via any of my social media or email. The websites linked in this article are extremely valuable and full of important information as well.

More on sourcing treats and food toppers in my next article...raw food for dogs!

https://www.woofsandwhiskerspets.com/ecofriendly-little-home-and-pets-blog/2016/8/29/cats-are-obligate-carnivores