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Pet Care

Make nutrition a priority for your pet

Providing your cherished companion with a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life.

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As a dog or cat parent, you are responsible for your pet’s well-being and making good decisions about what’s best for him or her. Providing your cherished companion with a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life.

A balanced pet food recipe formulated with high-quality ingredients provides your pet with the optimal mix of the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals he or she needs to thrive. For premium quality, look for recipes that are minimally processed; made with fresh meats, poultry and fish; and contain no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.

While the quality of ingredients is important, it’s also crucial to choose a recipe that is specific to your pet’s life stage and breed size. This helps ensure it contains the right balance of nutrients to meet your pet’s specific needs, including hip and joint support and weight management as he or she gets older.

Puppy and kitten recipes are specially formulated with higher levels of protein and essential fats to help support the needs of growing pets. Conversely, adult and senior pets may benefit from diets that are lower in calories and fats to help maintain a healthy weight as their metabolisms and activity levels slow.

Large breed dogs may also benefit from ingredients in their diets like glucosamine, chondroitin and green-lipped mussels to support healthy hips and joints as they age. Smaller kibble and breath freshening ingredients like parsley and peppermint are often well-suited for small breed dogs.

By choosing carefully balanced pet foods made with premium ingredients, you can take nutrition to another level for your pet. One example is Now Fresh recipes for dogs and cats. Each kibble recipe is made using fresh, de-boned muscle meat and no by-product or meat meals. The recipes also feature more than 20 nutrient-rich superfood ingredients.

Consider the important benefits superfoods can provide your pet and look for ingredients such as:

  • Whole nest-laid eggs: Eggs are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids in the optimal amounts dogs and cats need.
  • Pumpkin: Rich in beta-carotene and prebiotic fiber, pumpkin helps support healthy digestion.
  • Blueberries: A great source of essential fiber and manganese, blueberries are also rich in antioxidants that help support healthy immune systems.
  • Pomegranate: This fruit is rich in antioxidants and a good source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K.
  • Papaya: A tropical fruit, papaya is a natural source of digestive enzymes.
  • Cranberries: With antioxidants to support immunity and antimicrobial properties, which can help support urinary tract health.
  • Strawberries: An excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins, dietary fiber and essential minerals.

When selecting the right food for your pet, look for a statement on the packaging that confirms it has been formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. An option like Now Fresh also clearly indicates on the package which life stage and breed size the recipe has been formulated for.

Learn more about pet nutrition at NowFresh.com.

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Pet Care

5 Ways to support cats in your community

To help cats in homes and communities enjoy great lives, consider these five ways you can help.

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From social media to video games, cats rule the internet. They’re a constant source of joy and entertainment, and a beloved part of more than 45 million American homes, according to the American Pet Products Association. There are also millions of free-roaming and homeless cats across the country, however.

To help cats in homes and communities enjoy great lives, Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program is working to create more pet-friendly communities. Consider these five ways you can help and learn more at BetterCitiesforPets.com.

1. Provide a forever home. Many shelters are facing increased intake as pet parents feel forced to give up their pets due to hardship. In fact, Shelter Animals Count revealed cat intakes in June were double that of January. Check with your local shelter to learn about adoption options and resources to help. Your community might offer sponsored programs to help local cats get adopted.

2. Make sure your cat has kitty ID. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, microchipped cats are more than 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners than those without chips. One of the first things a shelter or veterinarian will do with a found cat is scan for a microchip, so it’s an easy way to ID your cat if lost and help him or her get home. Also make sure your contact information associated with the microchip is up to date.

3. Share the love. If you’re a cat parent, you know the importance of healthy nutrition, routine vet visits and active play to exercise your cat’s mind and body. You can also help homeless cats enjoy these necessities by supporting your local shelter or rescue. Donate food or funds for medical care, volunteer to help socialize cats or become an ambassador for adoption by sharing social posts about cats looking for homes.

4. Learn about community cats. If your city has a lot of free-roaming cats, you might be surprised to learn they’re probably being cared for on a regular basis through a community cat program aimed at helping humanely reduce overpopulation and nuisance behaviors. In these programs, shelters, volunteers and cities work together to feed, spay or neuter, vaccinate and care for outdoor cats.

5. Become a community cat advocate. There are various ways to support community cat programs, including getting involved as a feeder, donating food or supplies, or helping with trap-neuter-return events. You can also write letters to your city government to explain the benefits of community cat care and pet-friendly policies. Your voice matters and cats can benefit from your support.

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Pet Care

Tips to keep your pets safe from thieves

Pet theft is constantly on the rise, so it’s important to stay vigilant with your pet at all times. Leaving your dog unattended is never a good idea, and the cost of losing a family member is devastating.

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Pet theft is constantly on the rise, so it’s important to stay vigilant with your pet at all times. Leaving your dog unattended is never a good idea, and the cost of losing a family member is devastating. Staying alert is key, whether you’re home or out walking your dog. Pet thefts have risen 40% since 2021, so it is increasingly important to take precautions to keep your pet safe.

The American Kennel Club and AKC Reunite are here to give you tips on keeping your pets safe from thieves.

  • Walk close. When you’re out on walks with your dog, keep them on the leash and in-sight at all times. This will reduce the likelihood of them wandering off or catching the attention of someone with the intent to steal.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in your yard. Whether your yard is in your front or backyard, leaving them outside by themselves makes them an easy target for thieves. Especially if your yard is visible from the street, they become an easy target if alone.
  • Avoid isolated routes. Especially early in the morning or late at night, avoid routes with few people and buildings if possible. If there are others around, your pet is less likely to be stolen, or in the case that they are, there are more likely witnesses.
  • Be wary of what information you give out. It’s fairly normal for strangers to approach you and admire your dog on walks, but giving out too much information about your dog can also put them at risk. Information like how much your dog cost, or details about where you live are not things you should share.
  • Vary your route. Walking the same routes with your dog every day might seem like a great idea, but it’s also a great way for someone looking to steal your dog to make themselves aware of your routine and where you go. Varying your walking route makes it harder for thieves to find you and your dog.
  • Don’t tie your dog outside a store. Leaving your dog tied up outside of a store unattended is extremely dangerous, even if you can see them from the window. It only takes moments for your attention to be elsewhere and someone to untie them and take them along. If you need to go in stores, go to dog-friendly establishments or leave your dog at home.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car. Similarly to leaving them outside, leaving your dog in your car unattended is not only dangerous for the dog, but also can prompt thieves to break in, or steal your vehicle.
  • Be diligent. In the event that your pet is lost, post recent photos of your pet everywhere you can: social media, community pages, put up signs, etc. Make sure to also contact local shelters and vets so that if your dog does turn up, or someone tries to bring them in as their own, they can recognize your stolen dog.
  • Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags are important, but can be easily removed. Make sure your pet is microchipped with a permanent ID.
  • Always report to the police. Many don’t realize that reporting this theft to the police can make a huge difference, but it is a crime. If your pet is stolen, make sure to alert authorities so that they can also be on the lookout and even apprehend the person who stole them. In the event that your dog is stolen, also report this to your microchip company.
  • Update microchip contact information. Make sure your pet’s microchip is up-to-date in case your pet is ever stolen, as well as their collar tags. Keep AKC Reunite’s number, 800-252-7894, in your phone in case of emergency or if your pet is found.
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Pet Care

Home sweet home: Pet cats rarely stray far

The domestic cat is one of our most popular pets. In Norway alone, 5.4 million people own approximately 770,000 cats. But where do our four-legged friends go? The cat wants to go outside, you open the door, it leaves and disappears. After a while it returns, but where was it in the meantime?

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Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev from Unsplash.com

The domestic cat is one of our most popular pets. In Norway alone, 5.4 million people own approximately 770,000 cats. But where do our four-legged friends go? The cat wants to go outside, you open the door, it leaves and disappears. After a while it returns, but where was it in the meantime? 

Researchers and master’s students at NMBU, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, are shedding some light on the feline mystery. They have GPS-marked almost 100 pet cats in a small town in Eastern Norway and tracked the cats when they were outside.

“The goal was to map the movements of  an entire population of pet cats within the same area,” says NMBU-professor Richard Bischof.

The cat owners all lived within about one square kilometer, which gave the researchers a very detailed insight into many cats’ activities within a limited area. The high number of cats within such a small area makes this cat tracking study unique.

In your neighbor’s garden

The results from this small Norwegian town corresponds with similar research from other European countries: the answer to the cat mystery lies significantly closer to home than the owners probably expected.

The cats spent an average of 79% of their time outdoors within 50 meters of the owner’s home. The average maximum distance for all cats was 352 meters.

“Some individuals traveled relatively far, sometimes several kilometers, but those were the exceptions,” says Bischof.

Most cats are literally just around the corner when they are outside.

The “catscape”

“As far as we know, no one has ever tracked that many cats in one small area. This made it possible for us to show what a domestic cat population looks like in time and space,” Bischof says.

“We tend to think of animal populations as a collection of individuals or a single number,” Bischof continues. “Instead, I prefer to see them as surfaces that envelop and interact with the landscape.”

Bischof also points out that most cat owners probably do not think of their cat as a member of a larger animal population. But they are clearly part of what the researchers called the “catscape” in their article.

“The catscape is the combined intensity with which an area is used by all cats living there, and we were able to create a map of it using GPS data,” Bischof says. 

Large differences between individuals

The results showed that there was great variation between the individual cats in how they used the landscape.

“This is quite typical,” says Bjarne O. Braastad, professor emeritus of ethology at NMBU. “Cats have different personalities, and research results reflect this: there is often great variation.”

He goes on explaining that the cats probably spend a lot of time near the home in their own garden to rest.

“It is also worth noting that almost all the cats were neutered,” he adds. “It will of course play an important role. Neutered cats are less likely to roam.”

Student participation

How the animals use the landscape also dictates how they interact with the environment. And cats definitely have some effects on their natural surroundings.

“An interesting topic for further studies is of course the effects on local wildlife,” says project manager and professor Torbjørn Haugaasen. “We did not have the opportunity to include it in this project period, but in the future we would like to take a closer look at that as well.”

A large part of the project has been carried out by NMBU’s master’s students.

“It has been a good combination of research and education,” says Haugaasen. “The students have gained a lot of practical experience with applied science, and also been co-authors of the scientific article.”

Popular project

Although the study has so far been focused on eastern Norway, rumors spread, and the project received inquiries from across the country to join.

“People are obviously very curious about what their cat does when it is out and about. Interest has been really high,” says Haugaasen.

After the data collection and data analysis was complete, the cat owners gained access to digital maps where they could see where their pet had been. The researchers conclude by pointing out how important the cat owners’ help has been.

“We could not have done this without them. As an added bonus, we had the opportunity to include many families with children in our research. Maybe we have inspired some budding scientists?” 

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