Should You Be Worried? Your Cat Hairball Concerns Answered

Cat parents can relate to and recognise the coughing and retching sounds their cats sometimes make. What usually comes next (or out) is usually a wad of wet hair—a hairball—that immediately needs to be cleaned off the floor.

Hairballs are common in a cat household, but what are they really? And should you be worried?

What are hairballs?

Trichobezoars or hairballs are compacted wads of fur that accumulate in your cat’s stomach when grooming. When cats lick their fur, their rough tongues (which are covered with tiny curved spines also called papillae) pick up loose hair, debris, dirt, and dander, which get swallowed. Eventually, they build up in their stomachs, and while some make their way into the litter box, some clump up and irritate your cat’s stomach lining. Hence, the retching and vomiting.

Despite being called ‘ball,’ hairballs aren’t necessarily ball-shaped. They are often thin, long, and cylindrical like your cat’s esophagus. Due to their source, they are also often wet, slimy, or frothy. They range in size from an inch to up to five inches long, with a hue that’s slightly darker than your cat’s fur as it is moistened by bile and other digestive fluids.

What causes hairballs

Cats are fastidious groomers, but this habit has an unpleasant consequence: hairballs. Their rough tongue does an impeccable job keeping them clean, but it’s also what drives ingestible hair down their stomachs.

Due to the volume of hair they inadvertently swallow during grooming, long-haired cat breeds like the Persian or Maine Coon are more prone to hairballs than their short-haired cousins. Kittens are less likely to develop hairballs as they haven’t quite learned how to clean their coats thoroughly.

An unbalanced diet can also cause an increase in hairballs. Cats can handle a moderate amount of hair in their gut, but if they are not getting the proper nutrients they need, it can threaten their overall health.

Signs of serious hairball issues

It’s not uncommon for cats to vomit hairballs occasionally. Expelling hairballs is a natural, albeit unpleasant, way for cats to get rid of hair stuck in their stomach. Typically, hairballs are not dangerous, but in some cases, they can get stuck in your cat’s stomach or intestine and cause blockage.

Decreased appetite, lethargy, constipation, and frequent vomiting or attempts to vomit without output are some of the signs that your cat requires medical assistance. When there is a hairball obstruction, your vet needs to be involved.

Excessive production of hairballs can also be a sign of a skin condition, parasite, or a digestive tract disease. If it grows too large, a wad of matted hair poses a serious health issue. Meanwhile, if it remains trapped in the stomach or intestine for too long, it may mineralise and harden.

Your vet will likely recommend X-rays and bloodwork to check blockage and make sure your cat has no underlying illnesses, respectively.

How to minimise cat hairballs

While you can’t completely stop hairballs from happening, there are ways to minimise them and their potential complications. Here are a few.

  • Try food that helps with hairball issues. Add more fibre or fatty acids to your cat’s diet. Fatty acids and balanced nutrients keep your cat’s coat healthy while fibre helps stop ingested hair from forming in the stomach. earthmade Grain-Free Cat Food is high in antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins A and E, and kiwi for vitamin C. Kiwi also contains a good amount of fibre that helps move not just food but hairballs naturally through your cat’s digestive system.

Our cat kibbles come in three variants: Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef, New Zealand Mackerel, and Cage-Free Chicken. All are hypoallergenic and rich in animal protein.

As always, consult your vet when introducing a new diet to your cat. And even then, do so gradually.

  • Keep your cat hydrated. If your cat is not drinking enough water, her digestive tract will work harder than it should, which may make the hairball problem worse. Make sure your cat has access to clean water all the time. Water helps flush out the hair before it has time to clump in your cat’s stomach. Plus, water is essential to your cat’s overall health, not just her digestive system. It helps hydrate the skin and keep your cat’s fur in better condition so it does not break and shed as easily.

 

  • Brushing their hair. Reduce hairball formation with regular brushing of their fur. Brushing helps get rid of loose fur before your cat has a chance to ingest it. The more dead hair you remove, the less they can swallow when they self-groom. Note that not all cats enjoy the experience of brushing, so start slow and use positive reinforcement. Haircuts are also a huge help, especially if your cat has long hair.

 

  • Monitor your cat’s grooming habits. Cats are meticulous groomers, but there is such a thing as excessive grooming. When our feline friends lick their fur too much, it can cause skin inflammation, sores, or hair loss. And if your cat grooms every chance they get, they are also likely to swallow more hair, which can cause more hairballs.

Interrupt your cat’s lengthy grooming sessions with a cuddle, game, or a new toy they can play with. Cats sometimes groom when they are bored, so it’s better that they are active and busy. This helps keep parasite and skin allergic issues at bay which can trigger an overgrooming session.

  • Fruits with natural digestive enzymes as occasional treats. While cats have a completely different set of taste receptors (they can’t taste or enjoy sweet flavors), fruits still provide a few benefits to their health. Fruits like papaya and pineapple have enzymes that can break down ingested hair in your cat’s GI system. Make sure you’re only serving the fruit, and not the skin or seeds.

Give your cats fruit in small amounts as it has high sugar content and can be an issue for overweight cats. Always feed in moderation to avoid upsetting your cat’s stomach. Keep in mind that fruits should not be used as a replacement for cat food. 

These strategies can help reduce the severity of your cat’s hairball issue. If your cat is showing symptoms, consult your vet immediately.

You cannot completely prevent hairballs from happening—it’s a natural process to get rid of what irritates a cat’s stomach. But you can help reduce the negative impact hairballs pose on your cat’s health.

Stop the Scratch: Switch Up Your Dog’s Diet For Itchy Skin

So you spot your fur baby scratching incessantly at his tail area or suddenly having a bout of diarrhea with no apparent or urgent issues? It may be a sign that he is suffering from pruritus or itchy skin.

Just like us, our furry pals can be at risk of itchiness due to dry skin. Because of the many different sources of itchy skin, it’s an owner’s duty to investigate and get to the root cause of what makes our pooch feel discomfort.

The Usual Suspects: What Causes The Itch?

There are a number of reasons why your dog may be incessantly scratching. The easiest way to know the cause of itching is to go to the vet. But you can also try to get a sense of the problem, especially if it’s in your home. According to experts, the most common causes for itchy dog skin are food intolerance, flea allergies, artificial food colouring, and environmental and bacterial factors.

Food intolerance

Food sensitivities may be among the most known causes of allergies in dogs. When changes to his diet seem to trigger a reaction in our dogs, the common assumption is that he is allergic to an ingredient. While this may be the case, it’s important to first differentiate between food allergies and food sensitivities.

Just like in humans, food allergies trigger reactions from the immune system. Common reactions to this range from breaking into hives or experiencing gastrointestinal issues. Vets agree that actual allergies are not as common and that dogs typically experience food intolerance.

When it comes to food sensitivities, the reactions do not involve the immune system. Rather, it presents gradual symptoms that manifest through dermatologic or gastrointestinal issues. These reactions will likely not go away as long as the intolerance-inducing ingredient is still in his diet.

Flea allergies

Many skin diseases and issues that dogs experience may be related to fleas. You may notice that this issue can be more seasonal for some dogs. Warmer weather as in the summer can make the flea infestation worse. The warmer weather, the higher humidity, and the tendency to engage in and have more outdoor activities may all contribute to fleas having more access to your dog.

Flea allergy dermatitis occurs when the flea’s saliva gets onto your dog’s skin. This causes an allergic reaction, causing extreme itchiness, discomfort, inflammation, and redness on the infected area. 

Look out for any signs of fleas on your dogs. Typically, allergic reactions can be seen in the region from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs. Sometimes, dog owners may find flea dirt or the actual fleas on their dogs. Make sure to bring him immediately to the vet to get the proper medication for the allergies, as well as other preventive measures to rid him of the fleas.

Artificial food colouring

Many food items have food colouring, even for those that we consume. Some may argue that trace amounts of food colouring may not be all that bad, but research has continually shown that the risk is still substantial enough for caution.

And as it turns out, artificial food colouring can be just as dangerous for your pup. There are at least four common food colouring types found in dog treats, and each carries a specific risk. Yellow 5 and 6 have been linked to hyperactivity and allergies for pets. Blue 2 is notorious for tumours in the brain, as well as allergic reactions. Red 40 may be among the most dangerous due to its cancer-related effects when ingested steadily for a long period of time.

The best way to go about treats for your dog is to stick with natural treats. Nowadays, brands like earthmade offer grain-free and air-dried dog treats from varying meat products. A classic selection is Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef Clean Tripe Slice, which comes in 100-gram bags. These air-dried treats are low in fat and high in the necessary vitamins, dried raw to steer clear of any artificial food colouring or fillers.

Environmental allergens and bacterial infections

Sometimes, our pooch may pick up certain infections from his surroundings. Various elements in the environment can pose a serious health risk if not properly dealt with. Some dogs may be allergic to dust and mould, which can trigger a reaction that results in a lot of itchiness on their skin. For this type of reaction, you can at least observe your pup when seasons change, to check in and see if the change in environmental conditions influences him in any way.

Being observant in this way is actually very important. Sometimes, when left untreated, environment-induced allergic reactions can trigger a second line of concerns. 

Itchiness brings a lot of bouts of scratching. When your dog does not stop scratching and licking the itchy area, this can cause not only redness but also possible wounds. Left untreated, this leaves him vulnerable to possible yeast and bacterial infections. This can become more serious the more it poses a challenge to his immune system.

What Symptoms to Watch Out For

Section is on understanding pruritus (itchy skin)

Top Food Products to Avoid Itchy Skin

If food intolerance seems to be the reason for your pet’s itchy woes, then finding the offending ingredient should be your main priority. The common trend is to do trial and error where you can check different pet food packs with different ingredients to see which one causes the least reaction.

Instead of buying so many pet food brands that may just inconvenience your pet–and you as well in the long run–why not have a more streamlined way of choosing the best food for your dog?

Shifting to a single-source protein food brand allows you the easy option of identifying which protein affects your dog. Some brands tend to put more than one meat product in the recipe, and sometimes, one of those can have an adverse effect on your dog’s tummy. 

Single-source protein pet food takes out those other confounding factors. You can even start with the meat ingredients that are least likely to cause an allergic reaction. The following meat ingredients tend to be very friendly to most dogs’ tummies.

Fish

When it comes to meat products, the more commonly used the meat type is, the more likely they can have a more diverse effect on dogs’ gastrointestinal health. Many hypoallergenic dog food brands tend to carry novel meat types that are known to cause fewer allergic reactions. 

Fish appears to be one of these meat ingredients, as vets state that dogs rarely experience true allergies when on a fish-based diet. Granted, there will be some exceptions. However, because of the diverse selections of fish ingredients, including mackerel and salmon, experts are more at ease in introducing fish-based products for dogs.

Start your dog with earthmade’s New Zealand Mackerel. It’s grain-free kibble that packs in a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to better take care of your pet’s joints.

Fish oil

While fish oil is not the main ingredient per se, having it as an add-on to the ingredients list will definitely work in favour of improving your dog’s tummy. In case your pup already has allergic reactions, fish oil can help reduce the itchiness and discomfort.

Want hypoallergenic food that also incorporates fish oil? Try out earthmade’s Free-Range Grass-Fed Lamb. This grain-free dog food features fish oil and a lot of nutrients. Its main ingredient is lamb and lamb meal, one of the current favourites of pet owners when it comes to novel hypoallergenic proteins.

Natural treats

Treats will always be part of your dog’s natural diet. Some off-the-shelf treats tend to have artificial colouring which can increase the risk of allergens in your dog’s system. 

Nowadays, air-dried treats have become a common staple for every dog diet. Some brands, however, take the extra step of ensuring that the treats are even more beneficial. For instance, earthmade’s Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef Clean Tripe Slice skips any chemical processes, making it a naturally air-dried dog treat that is low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals. Using all-natural beef with no fillers or artificial flavours, pet owners can rest easy when giving their fur friends a slice as a reward.

Quercetin

What do you do if your dog already suffers from inflammation or allergic reactions? Quercetin may be a handy supplement to give him. This plant pigment is found in different fruits, berries, and nuts. Some ingredients, like kale and broccoli can be given to dogs in moderate amounts. You can also opt to give him supplemental doses of Quercetin to suppress any inflammation that may plague your dog.

Natural food high in antioxidants

Just as antioxidants have benefits for people, it also features just as many benefits for our pets. That’s because antioxidants help the body target free radicals that may cause different issues in their bodies. With an antioxidant-rich diet, your furry friend can be better protected from skin allergies, respiratory diseases, heart problems, immunodeficiencies, and even cancer.

Get a good head start by beefing up your dog’s diet with antioxidants. Try out Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef for adult dogs. Some of its added premium ingredients include rosehip, manuka honey, and kiwi, all of which are brimming with antioxidants.

Simple Remedies For An Itch-Free Pup

Natural remedies for itching have become heaven-sent for many owners. If you cannot immediately go to the vet but would want to offer your pup some relief in the meantime, do a quick check in your pantry. Some natural ingredients there may be the source of your relief for your pup! 

Colloidal oatmeal baths

An age-old recipe for dealing with mild burns, dry skin, and eczema in humans is a good salve made of colloidal oatmeal. Thus, many households keep them handy, as some moms and even grandmas swear by its relieving effects on many skin conditions. If your fur baby ever gets similar itchiness on his skin, then it’s time to whip out the family colloidal oatmeal salve recipe. 

Some pet owners may prefer mixing this into a paste, which you can apply on the afflicted skin. This can bring a soothing effect and help lessen the angry red appearance of the irritated skin. However, if you want to soothe that itching while also making his fur shiny and soft, why not make it into a soak instead?

Mix enough to create a milky solution that you can put in a small tub. Pro-tip for owners who don’t want a messy tub: put the oats in stockings or cheesecloth before soaking it in the tub. Depending on your dog’s size, you may need anywhere between a cup or more of the colloidal oatmeal. Make sure the water is lukewarm, then let your dog soak in the solution for up to 15 minutes. Pat them dry once done. Try to inject this regularly into his daily routine until the itching subsides.  Of course, you can continue to give him oatmeal baths to make your pup’s fur shinier and fluffier.

Coconut oil

Because of the high-fat content in coconut oil, most vets would not recommend regularly mixing coconut oil into your pooch’s diet. Instead, use coconut oil as a topical treatment. This natural ingredient is useful for improving skin conditions, and this includes addressing dryness and itching on dog’s skin.

Target the areas where the redness and itching are most prominent. Rub down the afflicted areas every day, both on his skin and fur. Even if there may be some skin abrasions and cuts due to incessant scratching, the beauty of coconut oil is that it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Even if the itching has somehow elevated to a potential bacterial threat, immediately addressing it with coconut oil and then consulting with your vet the two-punch combo you need to defeat your dog’s itching.

Make your dog’s life easier by taking all the necessary precautions of allergens and food intolerance in his environment. Start by finding the most suitable pet food brand that caters to his every needs. earthmade brings a great difference specifically by introducing sustainable farming that makes for healthy living for your pet as well. With meat products sourced from New Zealand farms, locally single-sourced protein can be the first step to ensure your dog’s optimal health and wellbeing.

5 Tell-Tail Signs Your Cat Is Happy as a Clam

Since February is National Cat Health Month, it’s the perfect time to check up on your cat’s overall health and well-being. There’s nothing we want more than keeping them healthy and happy. And one way to do so is to learn how cats communicate with us.

The problem is that cats are complex creatures with unpredictable mood swings. One minute they want to cuddle and the next, they want to be left alone. Admittedly, it’s part of their charm and one of the many reasons why we adore them so much.

When it comes to deciphering “cat language,” it can be confusing. Their facial expressions reveal only a tiny fraction of their thoughts. Instead, cats express themselves through body language and vocalisations.

As paw parents, it’s important for us to know that our cats are truly happy in our care. And while they cannot answer us directly, there are a few ways to tell if they are satisfied. Here are five tell-tail signs to look out for:

Healthy appetite for meals

A healthy appetite is a good sign that your cat is happy and they’re not overeating. When your cat is in good spirits, they eat a consistent but not excessive amount. Proper nutrition is essential to your cat’s health so make sure they are eating a balanced diet with all the nutrients they need.

Keep your cat’s healthy appetite with earthmade’s all-natural and grain-free cat food. Made from New Zealand’s highest quality ingredients, our dry food is prepared in our kitchens, where cooks and nutritionists work together to achieve the optimal nutrition profile for your kitty. Our hypoallergenic cat food is packed with iron, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that helps improve your cat’s overall wellness, inside and out.

Try our Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef—it’s high in iron and animal protein for enhanced energy and well-being. Or our New Zealand Mackerel, which is full of omega-3 fatty acids for fewer allergies and better skin and coat. Or how about our Cage-Free Chicken? It’s low in calories but high in omega-6 fatty acids not only for that shiny coat but for general wellness.

Our cat food is also made with kiwi, known as a superfruit. A great source of vitamin C that helps with hairball control and collagen production, making your cat’s coat look softer and more radiant.

Regular grooming

Self-grooming is a characteristic of most cats and they take it very seriously. Cats are flexible and well-equipped for grooming. You might notice them stretching and twisting into some pretty unusual positions when doing so.

Grooming is an excellent reference for their mood. A cat who feels content tends to groom themselves, so a shiny coat is a good sign that all is well in your cat’s world. But when they’re feeling under the weather or unhappy, they may stop cleaning themselves.

On the other hand, over-grooming can indicate a medical or behavioural problem. If you notice your cat is grooming excessively, talk to your veterinarian.

Vocal cues

We can’t communicate verbally with our cats, but they have vocal cues to give us context clues. These will help you tell if they feel hungry, affectionate, anxious, or in pain. Note that cats do not meow at one another; they only do it as a way to get attention from humans.

Murmuring sounds that include purring usually means contentment and approval while chattering or twittering happens when a prey is around. There’s a chance your cat might feel frustrated or excited when seeing a feathered friend nearby.

Purring, in particular, is a good sign that your cat is happy and fond of you. Cats are believed to reserve their purrs exclusively for humans they adore. They don’t even purr for other felines except for their own kitties. The higher the pitch of your cat’s noises, the happier they are.

But remember to give your cat space when they growl or hiss at you. Cats make these sounds when they are annoyed, stressed, or scared. It’s a signal to back off.

Engaged and playful

Another sign of a happy cat is their playful behaviour. It means they’re in the presence of someone they trust and are healthy and active. While cats are famous for thier spontaneous bouts of energy (from chill to maximum energy in a split second), they still make for playful pets.

Your cat will often show you how happy they are by asking to play in several ways. It can be from lying on their side to twitching their tails. Even senior cats still have a sense of fun, albeit in a less physically active way. No matter the age, cats will interact with you and other household pets they like and trust.

A cat that’s ready to play will become alert with their ears forward and tail up.

Body language

Cats are expressive if you know what to look for in their body language. Try and pay attention to your cat’s posture. When they rub their bodies or chin against you, it’s often a display of love and affection, but this also means they are marking their territory. A happy cat may roll and display their tummy for you.

How they hold and move their tail communicates a lot of things, too. For example, when it’s curled around your legs, your cat is being friendly. When they hold their tail high, they are projecting confidence.

Cats are expressive with their eyes as well. If your cat gives you a long, slow blink, consider it a compliment—it’s their way of saying they trust you.

Finally, when your cats start to rub their cute little paws into your lap, pushing and pulling like they’re whipping up a batch of biscuits, it’s called kneading. It’s a behaviour they learned as kittens. Cats may knead anywhere, from a soft surface to you, perhaps your shoulders, when they are happy.

Cats do not communicate with us the way we do with other people, but they do talk to us in their own way. Make it a habit to spend more time with your cat. Whether it’s playing or just chilling at home, it will go a long way toward your cat’s mental and emotional health.

 

7 Tips For Choosing Your Dog’s Best Pet Food

 

The experience of eating goes beyond mere physical satiation and fuel for the daily grind. It’s also about nutrition, where the right food choices and sources can be the difference between healthy living and barely thriving.

Better pet food is not just about having more palatable options. It’s about properly sourcing the best ingredients with the best nutritional content and serving them in the most natural way, with love. If you’re all about having the freshest meal served on your family table, would you not also want the same for your fur babies? But when more choices make it harder to decide, consider the most important things you want to give your pet.

Instead of tedious trial-and-error runs, why not evaluate your top choices against expert opinions? So, where do we start? Is it the price tag? The meat choices each brand offers? The brand itself? For the best balance of nutrients, palatability, and freshness, remember these seven tips before filling out your cart and hitting “Check-out.”

Know your pet’s nutritional needs

It all starts with looking at your pet’s needs. A balanced diet consists of natural food sources with as little artificial content as possible. Dogs need 22 amino acids to have a balanced nutrition. The good thing is that dogs can create more than half of these amino acids on their own. However, 10 other amino acids need to be supplemented by way of proper food choices so they can have a complete and balanced overall nutrition.

A lot of the meat protein options offer these amino acids in varying amounts. Beef is a major source of amino acids, followed by poultry. Additionally, plant-based protein like corn and soybean can also add in to the protein content. However, having too much protein from different sources can impact your dog’s risk of obesity. This is why many pet owners have started switching to single source protein brands like earthmade. By singling out a protein source, there are minimal risks for allergic reactions and lesser chances of having overly-dense pet food that can lead to obesity.

Visit your vet

A check-up with the veterinarian should not just happen when your pet is sick or struggling. When you have doubts about pet nutrition, a viable and credible firsthand source to start with is your vet.

Ask your vet the basics: how do I know if my pet is allergic to any food ingredient? Are there any meat types I should look out for? What’s the best portion to help them eat better? More importantly, understand if your pet is allergic to any food ingredient. While new pet owners may do a trial-and-error process to learn more about their pet’s allergies, opting to work with a professional gives you an expert’s opinion at the get-go.

Go the hypoallergenic route

When it comes to food-related allergies, what happens is that your pet’s immune system may start producing antibodies to address a harmful protein in the dog’s body. While protein is an important nutritional source, it can come from both plant and animal sources. With many off-the-shelf brands offering various protein mixes with good taste, one way to avoid giving your pets unwanted allergic attacks is to opt for hypoallergenic dog food. Their specific formulation already reduces risks for allergens and nutrient intolerances.

How does this work? Nowadays, several pet food brands have entered the market with hypoallergenic choices. Manufacturers that produce single source protein tend to stick to one type of protein, making it easier to identify if this is the right kind to feed your dog. As they are prepared with very little artificial add-ons, if any, you can be sure just what your dog eats, with no worries. What’s more, some brands like earthmade go a mile further by sourcing only from farms that follow ethical practices in raising livestock.

Consider fresh food prepared the tastiest way

Once you start opting for single source protein dog food brands, the next step is finding one that tailors to the best taste. The beauty of farm-to-bowl brands like earthmade is that they also explore natural ingredients to enhance the taste.

Ever heard of rosehip? It’s a naturally-occurring plant that contains galactolipids, which help in easing allergic reactions and reducing inflammation in your pet. It is considered as a natural pet food brimming with natural vitamins. Want to boost your pet’s joint health? Rosehip has you covered there, too.

Love honey? Your pet may love it too! Go with brands that utilize imagination with research in adding these taste-enhancing ingredients. More than just boosting that palatability factor, these are also vitamin-laden ingredients, added in the right portions for an optimal health boost.

With earthmade, you can get Manuka honey for your pet. A honey that is native to New Zealand, the Manuka honey has antibiotic and antibacterial properties to aid in many medical conditions, including better digestive health.

Examine brand credibility

Now that you know what needs to be in the bag, consider the brand who makes the pet food. Many brands seem to offer the same thing—so what should you look for to get the best?

As tempting as it is to just “go with what you know,” it pays to explore beyond a well-known brand name. Newly established brands specializing in pet food tend to also focus on specific offers that have been tested through research and proper regulations. Look to the nutritional standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, as their goal is to provide the criteria for balanced pet foods.

Know where your chosen pet food was manufactured, and see if it adheres to the highest standards. Ask more exploratory questions. Where do they source their ingredients? Do they practice ethical procedures? Is their food preparation procedure up to quality standards? How does this company implement quality control for their pet food? Does their procedure include research and testing?

For instance, in the case of earthmade, all their protein sources speak quality because their livestock has been grown and cared for in New Zealand farms. To adhere to their high standards of production, each recipe is carefully reviewed and catered to contain only the necessary ingredients in the right portions.

Wanting the best for your pet pal does not end with the willingness to spend more. It also means taking more time to evaluate each offer rather than ordering the first one that seems to fit the bill.

Beyond the purchase: Feeding habit matters!

As much as it would be nice to give your fur baby everything that he literally craves for, vets have often expressed the tendency for pet obesity. Chubby and “thicc” canine or feline might look good on photo, but the excess weight that they carry can become more than just a physical inconvenience.

Obesity is more than just your pet’s weight. It carries with it many risks, including issues with joints, heart problems, and diabetes. By being more aware and conscious of their dietary needs, dog and cat owners can make sure that getting the best pet food will also translate to feeding them well with it.

Bonus: The thing about treats

For people, treats are those little rewards given when they accomplish new things or when they need to pick themselves up after a rough patch. It may be tempting to equate the same emotional value to treats for pets. When your pooch seems sad or when he does well with his training, it may seem like a treat is the only way to reward him.

Treats can be more than just a reward. They can also add a few more nutritional supplements to your pet’s diet. The key is complementing their main food source with treats. If there are any missing nutritional or vitamin needs in your food source, fill those in with treats. That way, you also don’t go overboard with any proteins or vitamins for playtime rewards.

Approach treat-giving in the same way as experts do when advising people on a healthy, balanced diet. As much as it would be great to give them a reward for a new trick done well, not watching how much is “enough” can also cause new problems to arise. Experts agree on limiting his treats to only 10% of his entire diet. So while you’re at it, why not opt for the nutritious type, like earthmade’s air-dried treats, so even his treats are au naturel. You wouldn’t want to waste getting the best pet food for their needs only for treats to offset all that hard work.

Browsing for the best pet food online may be harder than it seems. Between all the promises and positioning that pet food brands hold, there seems to be new trends that influence what becomes popular and available.

Go with a brand whose promise is hinged on two simple things: freshness and palatability. earthmade features a line of grain-free kibbles and grain-free air-dried treats, formulated to include top-notch ingredients for your pet. Sourcing livestock raised following the animal welfare act, utilizing nutritious ingredients like Manuka honey, kiwi, and rosehip, and laying the foundation for a well-balanced diet, earthmade’s choice pet food may be the missing link for your pet’s natural diet.

Try earthmade’s grain-free kibble or grain-free air-dried treats, either for your cats or dogs, and give them the healthy natural living they deserve. Hit the link and get your own sample today.

10 Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year With Your Dogs

From scrumptious food to impressive pyrotechnics, these are a few ways Chinese New Year is commonly celebrated around the world. As it marks the start of a new lunar cycle, it’s a time of festivities and gatherings with friends and family—including our dogs.

Our pups are family and we treat them as such every day and on any occasion. When it comes to celebrations, we want to make it special and memorable for them too. After all, it’s not a party if we have to leave our furry pal behind.

Chinese New Year is celebrated over fifteen days, so there’s plenty of time to make sure your dogs get a slice of fun! But just in case you’re short on ideas, we’re sharing ten ways on how your pups can celebrate Lunar New Year happily with you.

1. Give them a good brushing
Let them welcome the Year of the Tiger feeling fresh and clean. Our pups need a good brushing regularly. It helps with their hair shedding everywhere and from their coat getting too matted. Plus, we want them looking fresh when they’re strutting around the house as the festivities begin.

2. Dress up and wear something silly
Celebrations are in full swing and there’s no reason you should leave your dog out of the fun. You can try many silly and fun outfits with your pup. Make them party-ready with a darling costume they are comfortable with. Opt for red since it’s the color of the season and it’s associated with happiness and good fortune.

Do remember that dogs are prone to licking and chewing, so steer clear of glittery and sparkly outfits. If your dog doesn’t like dressing up, a smart bowtie over their collar or a party hat is just as festive. Don’t forget to take photos!

3. Surprise them with new treats
We always love spoiling our dogs with yummy snacks and treats. Add Earthmade’s air-dried dog treats to their menu. It’s a party but we still want them to eat healthy. Air-dried food retains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes naturally without additives or preservatives. It’s food that delivers power-packed nutrition and flavor.

Give them a little feast of their own with Free-Range Grass-Fed Goat Liver Slice, Free-Range Grass-Fed Venison Ears, or Free-Range Grass-Fed Goat Lung Slice. All are great sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’re air-dried, grain-free, and hypoallergenic treats suitable even for dogs prone to allergies.

Spoil other pups too and send some angbao or gift bags their way with Earthmade treats!

4. Build a blanket fort

In case you have family and friends over, designate a safe space where your dog can relax or hide if they start to get tired. Fill the space with their favorite toys, pillows, and blankets.

You can also try to muffle the noise with a sound machine. Dim the lights and, before you know it, your dogs will drift to a peaceful slumber. Your dog might prefer to hunker down in an enclosed area rather than the couch with guests around, so it’s best to have this option.

5. Take your dog for a walk
Just the two of you before it gets busy! Our dogs thrive with attention and care, so it’s important to spend as much quality time as you can. If you’re going to entertain guests later, take your dog out for a walk before the celebration kicks in.

Be completely present and refrain from using your phone. Play with them, give them treats, or just let them run free in a safe open space. Your pooch will love you even more for this.

6. Make resolutions together
Resolutions are hard to stick to on your own, so it helps to have someone to keep you on track. And there’s nobody better to have by your side than your beloved furry companion.

Take this chance to bond while developing healthier habits together. Commit to doing daily walks, playing more in the park, or taking a trip somewhere new. Treat yourself and your pup to a year filled with exciting adventures and new experiences together.

7. Have an intimate dog party
When it comes to doggie parties, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it intimate. Invite some friends and family who are paw parents too. You can serve dog-friendly food, give out “doggie bags” filled with treats and goodies, and play some games.

Make it even more memorable with a pet-friendly photobooth. Put together silly props or baubles (that are not harmful for your pets) to use in your pictures. You don’t need an expensive camera—just set up your phone or computer with a timer and enjoy!

8. Have a movie marathon
If you’re keen on a quiet Chinese New Year celebration, why not have a movie marathon with your dog? ​​Put on your comfiest pajamas, make fresh popcorn (for yourself), bring out some treats (for your furry friend), and cuddle up and watch some movies together. Extra bonus points if you watch dog movies in between. Napkins for the inevitable tear-jerker scene required!

9. Spread goodwill
Many Chinese New Year festivities are centered on reconnecting with friends and family while giving small meaningful gifts. But why not give to local shelters too? They provide important service but often with limited resources.

Show your appreciation to your pup by giving to other animals in need. Surprise and send angbaos to your local shelter or volunteer to give them an extra hand.

10. Let them open gifts
Time to spoil our dogs silly with lots of gifts. Make the unveiling process a little more exciting by letting your pup open their presents. If you’re nervous of your dog’s unwrapping skills, keep it simple by using gift bags. That said, watch them closely as some dogs have a tendency to eat anything in sight, including wrapping papers and bags.

If you have some guests around, don’t be shy to ask them to refrain from feeding your dog anything during the party. But start by putting food harmful to your dogs out of reach. Remember that chocolate, onions, and alcohol are to be avoided. And if you’re thinking that you want to let your dog try non-alcoholic wine, anything made from grapes is just as bad.

The puppy eyes can be hard to say no to, but a harmless scrap can be dangerous as certain foods are toxic to dogs.

We hope this list helps and that you, your family, and furry pals have the best time! Have a prosperous Lunar New year!

How Are Air-Dried Treats Different from Dehydrated Treats?

Pet owners want nothing more than to make their pets’ lives as comfortable as possible. They shower their furry friends with treats, toys and accessories. Some even throw birthday parties for their dogs or cats.

But you have to be careful of what you give to your canine or feline companion, especially treats. What they eat greatly impacts their health and behaviour. The right treats guarantee a happy and healthy four-legged friend.

Air-Dried or Dehydrated?

Manufacturers made pet feeding more convenient by inventing dehydrated and air-dried pet food. These foodstuffs do not require freezing or thawing before consumption. Owners, as a result, save time and money on food preparation and storage.

Dehydrated and air-dried pet food also have a longer shelf life. Without moisture, they are free from bacteria, yeast and moulds that cause spoilage. Dogs and cats are safe from potentially fatal food-borne diseases.

Although dehydrated and air-dried treats have similar benefits, they are processed differently. The awareness of how these treats are created helps you make better pet food purchases. You will know if the fodder type you are currently using meets your pet’s dietary needs. If it doesn’t, then you will be able to buy the food that matches your pet’s nutritional requirements. Properly addressing your pet’s nutritional demands maintains its overall health and wellbeing.

Dehydrated Pet Treats Contain Less Nutrients

Dehydration involves cooking raw pet food over low heat for a long period. Doing so removes moisture, inhibiting the growth of harmful microorganisms in the food and greatly reducing its size. The finished product is a crunchy feed that is safe for animal ingestion and is easy to store.

This process, however, cuts down the food nutrient content. Heat eliminates several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B, C, A, D and E, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Deficiencies in these nutrients stunt pets’ development, lower their quality of life and increase their susceptibility to illness.

Air-Dried Pet Treats Are More Nutritious

Air-drying desiccates uncooked animal fodder through evaporation and is prepared in small batches. Moisture and microbes are obviated while preserving vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes. The result is food that is naturally preserved without using artificial preservatives.

Air-dried pet food is at least 95% more digestible and nutritious than its dehydrated counterpart. It is a method that has been used for centuries to maximize protein.

Because air-dried pet treats are easily digestible, these do not accumulate in your pet’s stomach. Bloat, a painful intestinal condition that sometimes requires surgery, is prevented. Your pet’s intestinal system becomes healthier, saving you expensive veterinary bills.

A healthy gastrointestinal tract also improves nutrient absorption. Your pet fully absorbs the nutrients found in air-dried treats, boosting its immunity. It ends up less likely to get sick and will have a higher life expectancy.

B vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and manganese are just some of the nutriments in air-dried treats. B vitamins improve energy and appetite. If you own a senior dog or cat, fortify its diet with B vitamins. B vitamins ensure that your ageing pet will continue receiving the exercise and nutrition it needs to remain healthy.

A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Pet

Air-dried treats adequately meet your pet’s nutritional requirements. It will have the energy to run and play and enjoy a lower disease risk. Your dog or cat will live a long, healthy life as your faithful companion.

There are many options available in the market, so do look out for how treats are dehydrated and processed the next time you get some for your pets.

Earthmade pet food keeps dogs and cats of all life stages healthy and happy. Our air-dried treats are GMO-free, grain-free, hypoallergenic and contain natural and essential vitamins and minerals to optimize your pet’s strength and vitality. Check out our product range here.

A Palm Oil-free Promise

Palm oil is an ingredient that can be found in just about anything. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal that palm oil is used in nearly half of the packaged products that can be found in any old supermarket. It’s found in human food, such as ice cream, chocolate, and donuts, as well as non-food items for human consumption such as shampoo, deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste.

However popular it is, it’s important to note that palm oil is not a conflict-free ingredient. The growth in demand for this vegetable oil has led to plantations in valuable rainforests, destroying the ecosystem and contributing to global warming. Additionally, corporations often remove indigenous people from their homelands to expand their palm oil plantations, which is a human rights violation. Unsurprisingly, palm oil can also be found in many pet food brands.

But why is palm oil still being found in pet food brands? Despite the recent consumer shift towards better and healthier pet food products that contain fewer or no by-products of corn, wheat, or soy (or any sort of grain for cats), palm oil is still appearing in pet food products under the names “glycerin” and “propylene glycol”. On other ingredient lists, it simply appears as “pure palm-oil”. But why is it found in pet foods?

For a start, palm oil is a cheap filler ingredient that does not benefit or enhance your pet’s well-being in any way at all. That’s why we’ve opted to use the fatty acids Omega 3 and 6 in our food instead, which makes our pet food much healthier for your furry friend. Plus, they’re obtained through much more sustainable sources—most notably from cold-water mackerel, farmed off the coast of pristine New Zealand. These fish-derived fatty acids have been linked to healthy ageing in human beings, and can help manage inflammation in pets, especially in the skin, coat, and joints.

While other brands might state that their pet food products have been enriched with EPA and DHA, you can rest assured knowing that the fats in earthmade pet food come from the fish meal in them, making them the perfect all-rounded hypoallergenic meal for your pet.

From farm to bowl

How much do you know about what goes into your pet’s bowl?

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Far from the days of kibble with basic flavours, modern pets and their owners now enjoy access to a wide range of various types of pet food. In fact, with new types of pet food products being introduced to the market every day, pet owners now have to be more knowledgeable than ever to keep up with the times.

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However, the dietary needs of pets haven’t changed at all—they still need a healthy diet primarily composed of high-quality proteins, plus other important nutrients and even fiber in the right quantities to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible. As a pet owner, you have the responsibility of selecting a type of food that will keep your pet both happy and healthy.

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One way of discerning whether or not a type of food is good for your pet is how traceable it is to its source. Like human food, the provenance of pet food can tell you a lot about its quality. Mystery meat and grain-filled pet food products are still being stocked in many supermarkets, but thanks to the push towards raw food diets in recent years, many more brands have worked to become more transparent and forthcoming about where your pet’s food comes from, as well as how it’s made. Now, a brand’s transparency has become a key indicator on whether or not a type of food could potentially be good for your pet’s health, even without having to try it out first.

If you’re looking for a brand that allows you to trace the provenance of your pet’s food while engaging in sustainable farming, look no further than earthmade. From the pristine fields of New Zealand, where livestock roam both cage- and stress-free, earthmade produces high-quality hypoallergenic pet food from local single-sourced animal protein so that you know exactly what you’re getting in every packet.

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Hello Kiwi, Goodbye Hairballs.

If there’s one fruit that has earned a good reputation as a health food due to its high Vitamin C content and an endless list of nutritional benefits, it has to be Kiwi. Sure your cats produce their own Vitamin C, but it won’t hurt to incorporate Kiwi in their diet (it actually helps build up their gums and teeth). Kiwi is also high in a unique fat-free vitamin E, a natural source of antioxidants to support the immune system. If you are looking for a good way to get potassium that’s needed for your cat’s basic bodily processes and Magnesium for nerve and muscle function, this healthy cat snack will steer him in the right direction.

A healthy diet for your cats needs to be properly balanced, and in order to attain this balance, providing them with fiber in the right quantities, along with high-quality proteins and other nutrients is very important. You can serve fiber-rich Kiwi to your cats to aid in their digestion. It actually contains enzymes which break down proteins for absorption and better digestion.

Your cat’s diet also plays a vital role in the health and condition of their coat. Lack of sufficient nourishment and essential vitamins and minerals can increase the rate of hair being shed. Also, a lack of fibre can lead to constipation, slowed digestion, and stomach upsets. All of these can lead to hairball issues. Thankfully, Kiwi contains a good amount of fiber that helps with the expulsion of hairballs through defecation.

And guess what? Kiwi has no saturated fats. So if your cats suffer from obesity, Kiwi is a good choice for a low-calorie food. It helps to balance their weight by balancing their fat intake.

Adequate levels of serotonin found in Kiwi helps regulate appetite, boost mood, and alertness. So you can go ahead and feed your cats a moderate portion of this delicious fruit without worrying that it will have a detrimental effect on their life. It can be given as a tasty treat, snack, or simply serve them earthmade that has incorporated this natural goodness.

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The 4 Winning Properties of Manuka Honey.

Known as the nectar of the Gods, honey has been well-received by both man and animals since ancient times. Among all the different types of honey, Manuka honey packs the most punch for its amazing healing abilities. 

For your pets, Manuka honey can be a literal lifesaver. Filled with long-lasting antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties, it can be applied physically or consumed in measured quantities. Manuka honey is great for healing open wounds on pets, but be sure to use only the pure and good stuff. The benefits of Manuka honey to treat wounds and skin conditions have been well documented. It has actually come to a point where honey is now being used in mainstream treatments.

But don’t just reach out for a bottle of Manuka honey and smear it on your pet’s wound. Like any medical treatment, care and professional guidance is needed. The right method of application involves soaking the wound dressing that will be in contact with the skin in Manuka honey and then applying the bandage to the wound.

It is also entirely safe and beneficial for your pet to ingest some Manuka honey when it isn’t feeling too well. If your pet has a bad stomach, a slightly diluted Manuka honey formula can be given to ease the discomfort and boost the number of good gut bacteria. Not only is Manuka honey tasty, but it can also help to restore healthy skin cells, ramp up its immune response, and help it to heal faster.

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Rosehip for hips and joints.

If you have ever taken a closer look at a rose (particularly the wild rose “Rosa Canina”) after its petals fall off, you would have noticed reddish, round berries. These are rosehips.

Rosehips are not only loaded with a chokeful of Vitamin C and a host of amazing antioxidants. They are also well-known for many abilities such as boosting immunity, treating osteoarthritis, lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer, and achieving beautiful skin and coat, among many others. Owing to its many benefits, pet owners swear by rosehips and use it not only on themselves but also on their pets.   

There are a few ways to let your pets enjoy the goodness of this healthy pet food. The most common way is to consume it through the food they eat (rosehips can be found in earthmade dry pet food). Another way is to give it to them as supplements. For a less invasive way to use rosehip on your pet, you can add rosehip oil to your pet’s shampoo (or get one that already comes with rosehip oil).

As your pets get older, it’s very much likely that they will face hip and joint problems. Watching your pets being unable to move freely is not a pleasant moment for pet owners. Rosehip can do its part to support your pet’s hip and joint health. It can be used to relieve and prevent various hip and joint issues, improving the mobility of your pets so that they can keep you company for many years to come.

Dogs love the taste of fresh rosehip so if you are lucky enough to have access to fresh ones, go ahead and treat them to some of this healthy pet snack every now and then.