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giving Petbrosia a try (and a coupon for you!)

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kibble image source: Petbrosia

When I first heard that there was a custom pet food on the market, I thought it was genius idea. Petbrosia is self-described as “the first and only pet food designed for your pet’s unique nutritional needs.” Interesting! I wanted to check it out. So when they contacted me about giving their food a try, I was super excited.

The first thing I wanted to check out was their ingredient list. Regardless of how custom the food is, if they aren’t starting out with quality ingredients, what’s the point? I was pleased to learn that Petbrosia uses the “highest-quality, all-natural ingredients grown and raised by farmers across America” and that there are no “unnecessary additives and cheap fillers.” They use real meat rather than a “by-product meal.” And one of my favorite features…no artificial colors or preservatives.

What about grains? Petbrosia has grains. The good kind. The first ingredient is always meat, but the food contains brown rice (how much depends on your pet’s custom blend). They also use nutrient-rich sweet potatoes as a source of carbohydrates. There is no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten. Petbrosia’s states: “Our quality carbohydrates provide a balanced glycemic index with a lower impact on blood sugar levels.” I, personally, see the benefits of a food that includes high-quality grains as well as a grain-free food, so I alternate N.A.S.H.A. between the two and am happy to find this food. She has a stomach of steel, so I’m able to transition her rather quickly. You know your dog best…grain or grain-free is a personal choice. High quality is the non-negotiable, in my book.

In addition to high-quality ingredients, Petbrosia foods contain essential minerals such as iron and zinc that help your pet’s immune system, skin, coat, and overall growth and health. Petbrosia explains, “since dogs and cats can often have difficulty absorbing some minerals, we’ve included chelated minerals, organic forms of minerals that are easier to absorb.” What more? custom vitamins and supplements based on your pet’s needs, and every Petbrosia diet contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, important for all life stages.

Digestive health is getting a lot of attention these days, and Petbrosia makes sure dogs and cats are taken care of. Petbrosia blends contain probiotics, the good bacteria that helps the digestive and immune system, and prebiotics, which promote the growth of good bacteria in the colon.

In addition, Petbrosia diets contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that are believed to lower your pet’s risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis–chronic diseases–and improve skin and coat. DHA-rich menhaden fish oil is also included in every diet, which supports brain health.

Whew! Sounds pretty awesome, right? So how does it work?

It’s so easy! All you have to do is answer a few questions about your pet. They ask about breed, weight, age, activity level, allergies, astrological sign (just kiddin’), etc. Petbrosia states

We use patented algorithms to craft a truly unique blend of food customized to your pet’s unique nutritional needs and lifestyle…Our customization process uses your pet’s profile to ensure optimal percentages of protein, carbohydrates, and fats are included in their diet. We also use your pet’s information to keep their diet appropriate for their level of activity, tailored to their health needs, and allergen-free…Based on our research and your input, we’ll update the blend based on the naturally changing nutritional needs of your maturing pet. We’ve studied how aging can influnce feeding for different breeds of pets and apply our insights, to ensure your pet’s Petbrosia diet can continue to serve them for a lifetime.

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When our first box of Petbrosia arrived, N.A.S.H.A. and I were very excited. Whenever a package comes to the door, she barks her head off in true terrier fashion, then wags and wags her tail, in hopes that it might be something for her. It usually is.

The box was nicely and distinctively designed, and the food came in a 10-pound interior bag, labeled with the ingredients in N.A.S.H.A.’s custom blend. The ingredients:

deboned chicken (free-run, antibiotic and hormone-free), brown rice, chicken meal, potato powder, pea starch, pea protein, chicken fat, dried cooked navy beans, dried cooked chick peas, sweet potato, dried egg product, dicalcium phosphate, natural chicken flavor, sun cured alfalfa, menhaden fish oil, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrots, natural antioxidant, blueberries, dried kelp, cranberries, dried apple, chicory root (prebiotic), chondroitin, glucosamine, taurine, chelated minerals (zinc proteinate, calcium carbonate, iron proteinate, potassium chloride, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, calcium panthothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), probiotics (dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus, acidophilus fermentation product, dried aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried trichonderma longibranchiatum fermentation extract, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation extract).

Nothing harmful, and it’s U.S. made, so I felt safe giving it a try. N.A.S.H.A. just thought it smelled good and didn’t much care about what was in it.

What I like about Petbrosia’s ingredients is that they have real meat as the main ingredient and main protein, and they don’t use artificial colors or preservatives. I also like that the supplements N.A.S.H.A. needs are already right in her food, as well as prebiotics and proboitics.

Along with the bag of food, Petbrosia included a “Customized Petbrosia Blend Overview,” which was pretty awesome and made me wish I’d uploaded a picture of N.A.S.H.A. onto the Web site when I’d placed our first order (alas, she had to deal with the generic gravatar on her printout–bad mommy!) The overview listed all of her stats and provided feeding instructions. As an eight-year-old, eleven-pound mixed terrier with moderate activity level, her Target Nutrition was listed as follows:

BlendOverview

AMOUNT PER SERVING:

moisture (min), 4.81%

dry matter (min), 95.19%

protein (min), 33.31%

fat (min), 17.4%

fiber (min), 2.18%

calorie content, 278.73 Kcal/cup

It is recommended based on N.A.S.H.A.’s stats that I feed her 1.75 cups per day, which is about twice as much as I feed her on her current grain-free food, but that’s to be expected. Since Petbrosia’s kibble is also less dense than traditional kibble so that all life stages can enjoy it, that may be another reason why I am recommended to feed her a bit more than I do with other foods. This is something Petbrosia explains clearly on their Web site. N.A.S.H.A. didn’t complain about the possibility of getting more food.

TopSecretSo what did she think? N.A.S.H.A. is super picky about treats, but as far as food goes, she eats to live rather than lives to eat. We should all be so disciplined. She also has an eating ritual, which she closely adhered to the first time she tried Petbrosia. First, she smelled new food in her bowl. Then she looked at me. Then she smelled it again. Then she circled around the table. That’s my signal to “get lost.” She likes to eat in private because she hides some of her meal for later. She’s a little OCD, but that’s one of the many reasons we love her.

So I pretended to “get lost” and then watched her raise her front paw near the bowl, replace it on the ground, and then take three–exactly three–kibbles onto the playroom rug. She then walked back to the bowl, smelled the remaining contents, and then returned to the displaced kibble on the playroom rug, at which time, she crunched them up. That means she liked it!

She hid a few bits of kibble around the play room for later so my kids can say “N.A.–S.H.A.!, not again!” I think she likes the attention. Then she returned to the bowl and consumed the whole thing. Woo-hoo! Liking-it: confirmed.

N.A.S.H.A. has been eating her custom Petbrosia blend for about a month, now, and she still loves it. (Her cousin, Darby loves it, too, because he’s always trying to steal it.) And her coat is shiny (as shiny as a rat’s nest can get), and she has plenty of energy to meet her daily grind. I will definitely keep Petbrosia in our rotation of high-quality foods.

Petbrosia has both dog and cat food custom blends and allows you to order one box at a time or offers an auto-ship option for added convenience. Your food just comes to your doorstep, and you don’t even have to think about it!

Petbrosia is offering our readers an exclusive coupon–25% off! (New customers only.) To take advantage of this awesome offer, enter coupon code RWMP225 when placing your online order.

And have fun! It’s a pretty cool process. Just don’t forget to upload your pet’s picture to make the experience even better! Come back and let me know what you think!

Petbrosia provided me with an order of custom dog food in exchange for my honest opinion. Petbrosia is an affiliate partner of Well Minded, which means, if you order using the coupon code provided, we’ll be extra excited because Petbrosia will pay us a little somethin’ in exchange for referring new customers, which helps cover the cost of running this blog. Cool. huh?


using melaleuca oil for natural pet first aid

Melaleuca (alternifolia) essential oil, aka tea tree oil, is a staple in our family’s medicine cabinet for the pets as well as the humans. I use it primarily for its antiseptic purposes, but it also benefits the skin, in general, and supports immunity. Best of all, it is completely natural and highly effective, which, in my book, makes it a much better choice than traditional over-the-counter topical medications. I don’t know what I’d do without it!

One challenge in treating pets with topical solutions is that if they can reach it, they’ll lick it. And it feels like they can reach just about every part of their bodies. You know what I mean?

Melaleuca oil is a great fix for this problem because it won’t harm them if they lick the  treated area. It also tends to “soak in” and stay where is is supposed to, so even if your pooch or kitty decides to take matters into his own paws…er…tongue, the treatment can still be effective.

Though melaleuca oil is a natural way to heal and care for pets, it is strong, so it usually needs to be diluted. Any carrier oil will work, but I would highly recommend coconut oil for it’s lightness and innate benefits to the skin. Some applications recommend another type of carrier oil, such as olive oil or jojoba oil.

Always be sure to test a small area of your pet’s skin with a highly diluted mixture to be sure he is not sensitive to melaleuca oil. Cats tend to be more sensitive to it than dogs, so start testing felines with a very diluted mixture.

The following solutions can be used as a guideline:

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So how can melaleuca oil help your dog or cat?

Arthritis: Though your arthritic animal should be evaluated by a veterinarian, you may be able to provide some immediate relief by combining 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil. Gently massage the affected area, and, if your pet will tolerate it, apply a heating pad (on low setting to prevent burning). You can also use this method for minor sprains.

Cuts and minor skin abrasions: Melaleuca oil can be applied (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”) 2-3 times a day directly to the wound to aid in healing. This also helps prevent infection. If the wound has already become infected, keep applying the oil for seven days.  Alternatively, your pet’s wound can be bathed with an antiseptic wash. Just add 2-3 drops of melaleuca oil mixed with 3 drops of the carrier oil. Add to a warm bowl of water and stir well. The wash can be applied with a cotton ball twice a day.

Flea repellant: Mix 3-5 drops of melaleuca oil with 1 1/2 cup of carrier oil (jojoba is recommended so that it doubles as a coat conditioner). Store the mixture in a dark glass container in a cool place. In between bathing, sprinkle a few drops over the coat, especially around the neck and either comb through or sponge over the fur.

Dermatitis: Small areas of dermatitis can be treated with the solution mixture recommended above, (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”).

Ear infection: Mix 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Warm the mixture (be sure it’s just warm…not hot), and, using a dropper, apply 1-2 drops inside the ear (do not insert the dropper in the animal’s ear). Massage the affected ear, and try not to let your pet shake his head, or the drops may come out. Do this twice a day until the infection is gone.

Ear mites: Mix 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Using a cotton ball, apply a couple of drops by wiping the inside of the ear. This can be done once a week for ear mite prevention, if you pet is prone to ear mites.

Hot spots: Hot spots can be effectively treated with the solution mixture recommended above, (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”).

Insect bites & stings: If a stinger is present, carefully remove it. Apply the solution mixture recommended above (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”) with a cotton swab.

Mange or rash: Apply the solution mixture recommended above (“Recommended Melaleuca Oil Dilutions for Pets”). This will help with itching and inflammation. Apply twice a day.

Matted coat: Should your pet’s coat become matted, which can often happen in animals with long, fine hair, wet the matted hair with 1 drop of melaleuca oil mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil. Rub the solution into the matted area and try to de-matt with a comb. Try to gently pull the matt away from the skin so it can be cut without creating a bald spot or damaging the skin.

Mouth sore: Combine 3-6 drops of Melaleuca oil with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and warm water. Apply directly to the sore for faster healing and to alleviate pain. This is most effectively done with your finger, in my opinion.

Warts: If your animal tolerates diluted melaleuca oil, you can apply 1-2 drops of straight oil directly on a wart with a cotton swab. This can help with pain and itching, if it is present. This can be done for several weeks…patience is required. Some types of warts will not respond to melaleuca oil, but if the wart is bothersome, it’s certainly worth a try.

High-quality Melaleuca oil is available from most reputable herbalists and natural health stores, and anywhere quality essential oils are sold. I purchase the highest-quality T36-C5 oil from Melaleuca, the wellness company, where excellent discounts can be had with a preferred customer membership. Many of the recipes I use regularly come from R.M. Barry’s Melaleuca: The Wellness Guide.

Though I don’t shun traditional medicine completely, holistic healing is the first route I take for my family, including my pets. Melaleuca oil is at the foundation of our methods, and is something I recommend to my friends and pet sitting clients with confidence.

How have you used Melaleuca oil to help heal your pets?

On the second Wednesday of each month, I contribute an article on holistic pet care at Hybrid Rasta Mama, a fantastic blog that offers information and insights on conscious parenting, natural living, holistic health, real food, and coconut oil. This post was featured last month.

Please visit me there today to read ThunderShirt Helps Dogs Find Anxiety Relief the Natural Way. Leave me some love! XO

Disclaimer: This article is not meant as a substitution for veterinary care or professional holistic animal care. Please consult your veterinarian or pet care health professional before embarking on any new treatment plan.

 


cat bearding…making me crack up, and you have to enter this contest!

I honestly only heard of cat bearding recently, and I guess that goes to show how uncool I am, because it’s apparently all the rage. I’ve been missing out. Never mind the fact that I don’t have a cat. I need to get in on the act.

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photo source: gawker.com

These crazy cat people seem to be calling it “that thing where your cat is also your beard.” Hilarious. I love it. I don’t know how, exactly, they get their cats to pose like this. So great! I see a few dogs in the mix, too, so maybe there is hope for me to have my very own genuine bearding photo.

My good friend, Heather, of Brie Brie Blooms is working with Fresh Step on a Cat Bearding Photo Contest. I can’t even believe how great the contest is. You totally have to enter. Yes, you. Aside from all the fun and gorgeous scratched-up face you’ll have, the winner receives a professional photo shoot with their cat (this is where me having an actual cat of my own would be handy) and a year’s supply of Fresh Step Litter, which is redeemable in the form of a $700 Sam’s Club gift card (okay…I’m running out do adopt a cat, now).

So have you been cat bearding? If not, can you whip out a prize-winning photo real quick (hurry up…contest ends on September 30th)? Meow. Come back and tell me how it goes…I can’t wait to see those photos.


Wordless Wednesday: cat crush

Wordless Wednesday: Cat Crush

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Wordless Wednesday: majestic Maine Coon

majestic Maine Coon

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Wordless Wednesday: curiously close-up cat

Wordless Wednesday: curiously close-up cat

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taming a cat the Minecraft way

Every Friday, my six-year-old son, Porter,  gets excited. It’s stay-up-late, skip-the-bath night, and he can’t wait to play Minecraft. If you have a boy at home between the ages of five and forty-five, you’re probably familiar with this highly-addictive game. I am opposed to video games, in general (that’s a WHOLE other ball of wax you don’t want me to go into here), but when a few of my trusted mommy friends began singing the praises of Minecraft and Porter began to beg for us to “just check it out,” I decided to cave–literally–and let Porter give it a shot. It seemed creative and something that might require actual thinking with a brain rather than mind-numbing button mashing.

For those of you unfamiliar with this game that can be played on basically any platform you can imagine, the Minecraft Web site summarizes it:

Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew, players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.

It can also be about adventuring with friends or watching the sun rise over a blocky ocean. It’s pretty. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.

The game developers release periodic updates. One of the recent updates is a big hit in our house. You can have a pet cat! Or lots of pet cats!

I’ve talked before about the why I don’t have a cat. But virtual cats? I let the kid bring home as many as he could wrangle.

You see, these cats don’t start out purring in your hands. They begin their Minecraft existence as ocelots, roaming wild and free. In order to have them as pets, you have to gain their trust through being near to them and offering fish. Lots and lots of fish. Fish = love.

And the best part? No litter box!

So Porter showed me how he trains ocelots to become suitable pet cats. Talk about a fun way to spend a Friday night! First comes the approach, and like any decent cat would demand, you must prove yourself with a delectable offering, getting close enough to the ocelot so he can smell it, but not so close that you scare it. Once you’ve enticed the creature and gained his trust, you give him fish. More fish means more love, and your new pet cat isn’t shy about showing his affection.

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After you’ve earned this kind of devotion. You can’t shake it. So Fluffy then follows you everywhere, practically winding between your legs. And if one isn’t enough, you can go for more.

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Just as Porter had trained his pride, the rain set in. And we all know how much cats like to stand out in the rain.

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So in order to keep his feline family happy, Porter had to quickly build a structure. He has gotten very good at building, so he threw something up rather quickly and baited the cats inside.

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Everyone needs something to do in the rain, right? It was then that I noticed the kitten. It appeared as if the cats had already gotten busy entertaining themselves in the inclement weather. I asked Porter where the kitten came from. He explained it well: “Well, Mommy, when you have two cats, you get a kitten.” I didn’t probe for additional details. Cute kitten, right?

In Porter’s rush to create a shelter for his new cat family, he skimped a bit on the windows providing only bars as a barrier to the open air.

What happened next is too graphic to show you, and it happened so fast that I was unable to capture a photo. As the virtual storm grew to a crescendo, the lightening began to strike. Porter started to block up the windows, anticipating the inevitable. In a split second with a flashing crash, two of the cats were struck simultaneously and went up in flames. It was heartbreaking.

As the duo burned in a meowing fury, Porter summed up the whole experience: “Oh, NO! Cats are much more harder to take care of than dogs.”

RIP, kitty-cats.

We can’t replace our beloved pets in real life, but, thankfully, Porter can spawn new kittens in Minecraft. We don’t want the cats who have passed to feel as if they have been replaced. But they’ve been replaced.

Minecraft demands a lot of animal interactions, but this new cat training update is proving to be a fun challenge both to play and to watch.