Category Archives: Healthy Living

Healthy Grain Free Holiday Cat and Dog Treats

Making holiday cookies and looking for a recipe for grain free, healthy cat and dog treats that your companions will love?  These are easy, fun, fast  – and pooch and feline tested!

Pawgevity Junior and Mindy's HoHoHo Balls

A healthy, grain free treat for cats and dogs.

Pawgevity Junior and Mindy's HoHoHoBalls

Told you it was easy!

Hint:  put the almond butter in the freezer for a little bit before making – the balls will form easier.

Enjoy and happy holidays!



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We Celebrate Earth Day – Every Day – at Pawgevity

At Pawgevity, we make a conscious effort daily to lower our impact on the planet while producing and getting our foods to you. This is not a marketing ploy. It’s what we personally believe in. Here’s some of how we do it.

We source ALL of our ingredients locally and directly from small farms here in Virginia. Ingredients aren’t being trucked from across country or even other countries, across sea and land.

Our farms are certified organic and beyond organic; not industrialized, factory farms. Farms that raise their animals naturally on pasture; not GMO feeds, in crowded and inhumane conditions. Farms that grow their crops organically, without the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Clean, green, sustainable farms.

Butterflies grazing on natural, no spray gardens

Zero waste in production. Our produce trimmings are turned into clean compost, which in turn nurtures a next generation of produce. All animal parts that we can’t use, either due to regulations or choice, go to rendering (ironically, some may end up in lesser pet foods. At least we know THAT ingredient is safe.)

We don’t “overmanufacture”. Our production runs are relatively small and we run lean – meaning we don’t have a lot of inventory sitting in freezer for a long period of time before it gets out to the stores. Fresher/faster and less electricity used storing it.

We consolidate our deliveries. We deliver every two weeks, not every week, and plan our delivery routes carefully to minimize gas expenditure.

We reuse our delivery totes. Over and over and over again, indefinitely – they don’t end up in landfills. No cardboard boxes.

Our food containers are reusable (for home use) and recyclable. We encourage reuse of them prior to recycling and are even holding a contest through midnight EST on 4/29/12 asking our customers to post on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail with their creative reuse ideas (photos, if possible). When recycled, they’re being made into all kinds of great products, by companies like Preserve that produce plates, toothbrushes and more.

Minimal waste in consumption. Because our foods are highly bioavailable, there is very little “waste” from the “end” consumer. Good food in = less “poop”.

Our offices are run clean and lean – we use natural sunlight as much as possible for heating and light and CFL bulbs when we need to supplement our lighting. Opening our windows provides fresh air and a cooling effect as needed. We are planning indoor plantings to naturally clean the air further. Environmentally friendly cleaners are employed. Our printed material is done on recycled content paper, approved by FSC.

We’re constantly striving to do better for you and for the generations that follow us. Earth Day, every day.

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Eat Your Fruits and Veggies! For Cats and Dogs, too. Another RAQ.

Recently Asked Question (RAQ):

“Wow, why all the veggies? What percentage of the food is plant matter? I’d rather see more meat and less veggies. :)”.

Our Answer:

Glad you asked.

Actually, the list is long and it may seem like a lot of produce but it’s a small percentage of the actual food ratio. Each ingredient provides a very important benefit.

Our Cat Formulas are 90% protein/10% produce.
Our Dog Formulas are 80% protein/20% produce.

The produce plays an important part in ensuring that the animals get phytonutrients and other essential nutrients from whole foods – as opposed to adding synthetic vitamins, minerals and inappropriate ingredients.

Cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs are opportunistic omnivore/carnivores. It has been observed, by scientists and those in the field, that both wild and domesticated cats and dogs “graze” when given the opportunity – most all of us have seen cats and dogs chomping on grasses, goodies in the vegetable garden, and fallen fruit. They are self healers and will eat what their bodies need, when left to their own devices. When they down herbivorous prey, they often go for the stomach contents first – which contain ground produce.

All of our Formulas have been carefully formulated and approved and are recommended, fed, and sold by wholistic vets very knowledgeable in nutrition and with decades of experience with raw feeding, in particular.

What’s your animal’s favorite produce?

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Thirty Years and Enriching Pets’ Lives, Directly and Indirectly, Everyday

By Terry Haas

Its the close of another National Professional Pet Sitter’s Week here in the United States and it has been 30 years since the founding of the first professional association – the National Association for Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). In 1982, a few well connected, forward-thinking, pet-loving entrepreneurs birthed a business from what once was the under-the-table domain of neighbors and family members, and yes, at times, the kid-next-door. Cheers to them, they know who they are (as they are not exclusively among the ranks at NAPPS). The Industry has since become a thriving slice of the 50+ billion dollar pet care services industry, employing not only those self-employed sole proprietors who started it all, but hundreds of thousands of independent contractors and employees. But that’s only one of the Industry’s collective achievements. Because these people were not just entrepreneurs, they were also caregivers and students of animal behavior and health, rapidly arming themselves with the experience of the hundreds of pets in their care and all of the results of the foods fed, toys played, leashes handled, training methods employed and other services consulted like veterinarians.

I began Loyalty Pet Care in the early days of 2007. My discovery of the Industry was accidental, but the inspiration and passion for it, no less energizing than my previous career as an archaeologist/environmental scientist. The void of being behind a desk, the addition of physical exercise through work. The difference – instead of joy derived from discovery of the past, joy derived from connecting and inspiring connections between humans and animals. As a trained scientist, I couldn’t help but naturally collect data from day one. In one way, many of my new Industry peers viewed this position as unprofessional – seeing our role as professional pet sitters as one that silently serves and provides care per client instruction, only.

If you were exposed, over and over again, by the use and results of use of hundreds of pet care products, foods, training methods and experience of area service providers, do you think you could contain letting others know which were most effective? Which were detrimental? And which were downright dangerous? In my view, one of the greatest accomplishments of the Industry is this: awareness and sharing of knowledge to protect and better the lives of the animals who enrich ours. I have a great, and timely story to help punctuate this point.

Last week I was contacted by a former employee who moved on to become an Adoptions Coordinator at a County Shelter. She forwarded me the thankful email of a cat parent who had reached out to the Shelter to surrender the cat, citing inappropriate house soiling. My former employee advised me that her Loyalty Pet Care cat sitting training (now referred to as Loyalty® LitterLab™) played a big part in enabling her to understand and advise this pet guardian, in turn giving her the tools she needed, with the medical support of her veterinarian, to discover the issues, resolve them and create a happy and healthy life for her cat. With the shelter at record highs for felines up for adoption, it is clear that our former employee saved this cat’s life.

There is no better thanks or praise for National Professional Pet Sitters week than hearing that our work has indirectly enabled a pet’s life to be saved. Who is your Professional Pet Sitter and what would you like to thank them for at the end of Professional Pet Sitters week and the start of the 30th year of this Industry’s birth?

Terry Haas is a professional pet sitter, certified PetTech® CPR, First Aid & Care instructor and the owner of Loyalty Pet Care® – a small employee-based, force-free, holistic-leaning, adopt-not-buy, professional pet sitting business currently exclusively serving Arlington County, Virginia. Like Pawgevity, Terry has always been uncompromising on quality, integrity and love, three areas that oftentimes slow down her profits, but never her success. Like Loyalty® on facebook:

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Superballs – A Healthy Super Bowl Sunday Treat for our Four Legged Friends

Superballs are a grain free, guilt free, healthy and wholesome goody for cats and dogs. You can make as many or as few as you’d like.

Thawed Pawgevity Frozen Formula of your choice
Pawgevity Chewz (same protein as Formula)

Take Chewz and crush into small pieces, using a roller or by hand.
Form thawed Formula into small meatballs.

Roll meatballs in the crushed Chewz.

Serve on a field of shredded greens.

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Living and Loving the Vida Local

“I got tired of drinking bad coffee” – Monty of Cabin Creek Roasters, Edinburg, VA.

Every local entrepreneur has a story – a reason for being, a call, a mission, a purpose. As Norm and I sat down to dinner (locally grown) at our campsite last night, we reflected on all of the inspiring localpreneurs we’ve hung out with just this week.

We’re so fortunate to have relationships with many of the best local farmers in the Commonwealth. This being the height of the produce season, I’m visiting with our fruit and veggie partners on a very regular basis. Everything’s super fresh and vibrant – one day I even waited while the crew cut Swiss chard for us, still warm from the morning sun. And though everyone’s busy, we always take a minute to catch up, discuss the weather (brutal but not unexpected) and families and the future. Farmers are some of the most optimistic people I know. And they all share one common thread. They want to nourish their communities with the healthiest food possible, no matter the sacrifices and hardships they face in their own lives. The best and prettiest produce always goes to the customers, while the blemished and misshapen inhabit their own tables.

And even though farming means longer, harder hours then most of us can imagine – they then bring all that goodness to us, making it convenient to eat well – through farmers markets, buyers clubs neighborhood deliveries and deliveries to our local stores. Our friends Molly and Mike Peterson of Mount Vernon Farm know this routine well and go out of their way just to accommodate everyone – including taking care of our furry friends by meeting us for Pawgevity pickups on off delivery weeks.

Our localpreneur experiences aren’t limited to just food but other forms of nourishment as well. Thursday evening we experienced locally produced art and wine courtesy of Barrel Oak Middleburg and the Byrne Gallery. Middleburg, VA has become quite the art and vino lovers’ destination with the opening of BOM – where you can sip tasty wine (with your dog, no less) as you peruse lovely art – followed by a short stroll down the street to view the current exhibition of Vienna, VA abstract artist Nia Tavlarides Stratos at the Byrne. If you don’t think you like abstract art, run don’t walk to Nia’s exhibition – this DC native artpreneur brings pure joy and beauty to every canvas she touches – a calling – in her words “I see art in everything, every moment, every day”. (Confession – Nia and I have been friends since kindergarten and I’ve watched her art evolve from elementary school to world class talent).

But back to foodpreneurs – obviously a favorite topic! Yesterday we hit two farmers markets – one very small, one quite large – both fun destinations with uniquely wonderful local goods. New Market, VA was our first stop where we picked up Cabin Creek Roasters coffee; corn relish and other goods from our Shenandoah Farms friends; baked yummies and even locally produced eco laundry and dish detergent. One of our favorite finds was this recycled, repurposed bag – we didn’t meet the woman who makes them but simple, pure, purposeful, entrepreneurial genius.

Then on to Harrisonburg – the farmers’ market was abuzz with activity. Between the two stops, we picked up our groceries for the week. Sprite melon (ever tried these cute little guys? – they’re wonderful), cantaloupe, elderberries, tomatoes, basil, arugula, baby purple potatoes, mini eggplant, garlic, rainbow radishes, Firefly Garlic Fire hot sauce (their tagline: “It will light your a.. up!”), A Bowl of Good stuffed bread, shitake mushrooms, bi-color corn. All grown and produced locally – some picked just that morning. We tried to purchase a little something from each of the stands as all had so much to offer. Focus is always on the unique, heirloom, unrecognizable – we encourage you to try something new from your farmers market every week – it encourages the farmers to diversify and grow things you’ll never find in the supermarket. Move over Monsanto!

Shopping wasn’t limited to healthy fantastic foods, however – I wasn’t able to resist Staunton artist Carmen Rose’s handcrafted art glass earrings, especially after meeting Carmen. The story behind the ingenious recycled puzzle piece earrings she had on display – “I woke up one morning with this great new idea to make earrings using puzzle pieces! Later I was looking on etsy and – it had already been done”. She tweaked her organic vision and made her own take on them. I’ll be picking up a pair of those on our next trip.

Want to support your locals? Let’s spread the word. Who are some of your favorites?

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Important Summer Tips for your Cats and Dogs

This spring has presented with an especially tough change of season. The intense heat, humidity and ozone alerts are taking a toll on all of us. Outdoor allergens are at their peak. Particularly affected by all of this are our cats and dogs. Here are some simple steps to help them (and you) through it all with relative ease.

Honey’s not just for sweet tooths. Raw, local honey in very small quantities is beneficial in boosting their immune response to environmental, plant based allergens. It must be raw and local – obtained from bees that have fed on nectar from plants in your area – to have real effect. Give no more then 1/8 teaspoon, mixed with their food, one to two times per week. We love Marshall’s own Fern Hill Apiary.

Exercise common sense. Keep strenuous exercise to a minimum. Provide air conditioning or fans and walk dogs only in the early AM and after 8PM. If you use a midday dog walker, request they walk in shade for a short bathroom break and sniff time (we like to call it “reading the paper”) only and then spend time indoors playing or giving a nice brushing/light massage. If your dog has to be outdoors – please, this is NOT recommended and highly discouraged – provide shade and cool, fresh water (put an oversized ice cube in), run a fan, allow to dig a dirt pit (many dogs, especially terriers, will dig a hole to get to cooler ground), provide a kiddie pool. Please, no jogging or biking with your dog – many will try to keep up with you to please you and will endanger their own health. If you’re exercising out there, please bring extra water – you very likely will come upon a dog in need.

Clip that coat! Full and medium and long coat dogs that originally hail from Nordic type climates benefit greatly from a summer cut to help them cope. There are lots of great groomers out there – ask for a short cut, not a shave – dogs can get sunburn, too.

Hey, I like my nose! Heat and humidity are especially challenging for brachiocephalic (short muzzled) dogs – pugs, shih tzus, bulldogs and the like – severely limit exercise and time outdoors during peak heat.

It’s OK to leave me home this time. This is not the time to take your dog for car rides, unless you are not leaving them in the car, even for a minute. Too many tragic stories begin with “I was just gone for…”. If you see a cat, dog or child in an unattended vehicle (even in an unshaded bed of a pickup truck) – please call 911 immediately – it’s an emergency.

If you do encounter an animal that’s been affected by the heat, – the AVMA has good tips and a video.

And remember – cats love heat, but they should always be given a choice. We provide our cats with an enclosed sun porch with free access to the rest of the (blessedly) air conditioned house. One will stay out on the porch all day, while the others alternate.

Summer’s coming and the living is… easy. Slow down and allow your companion to adjust as well.

Any tips you’d like to pass along?

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