Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Evanger's Health Watch: Is Your Cat Enjoying Enough Exercise?

No doubt your cat will benefit from regular exercise. Yet, there are a variety of misconceptions about what amount of exercise is the right amount. Some of this wrong thinking stems from concern over their weight, from people mistaking them for dogs or from not understanding what their natural modes of exercise were when they were in the wild.
Photo: Ann Horne
Evanger's Cat Food provides high quality protein needed
to maintain a healthy weight and immune system

Here’s some insight on your best options to provide your cat the proper amount of exercise.

Myth #1Cats become fat from lack of exercise. While a bored cat that constantly lounges isn’t likely to remain sleek and toned, cats typically become fat from being overfed and being fed the wrong food. With proper nutrition and a focused feeding routine, cats perk up and find ways to stay active on their own. For tips on a healthy weight-friendly meal for your cat, check out our tips on weight management for cats.

Myth #2Cats need to be exercised. In the wild, dogs live in packs that run around together all day. As domesticated breeds, they’re expected to chase prey all day or pull carts or sleds all day. Cats are different creatures that have never followed this formula.

Myth #3Cats have more exercise when in their natural habitat. No doubt cats in the wild are more likely to need to run flat out to escape a predator. But that has never stopped them from running amok through the entire house simply for their pleasure. In fact, kittens will play themselves into total exhaustion. Adolescent cats, Alpha types and Beta buddies are other cat types that tend to play themselves out. If your cat doesn’t find incentive to exert himself at least once daily, lend a hand. Especially older cats need the extra push of us throwing toys around to amp them up. Or consider wand toys, lasers and cat exercise equipment.

If everything indicates that your cat needs more exercise, consider the options below.

#1–Water and food workout. If you have a lazy cat that’s fixated on food, separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories. It’s good for cats to get some type of workout. This will keep him happy and healthy into old age.

#2–New treats. If you're committing to a healthier lifestyle for your cat, it will likely lead to you spoiling him less with food treats. But just because you want your cat to lose weight doesn't mean you can’t provide him with any special treats. Find a healthy cat treat made of single source muscle meats, or buy fun toys instead of food treats. Focus on items that will really get your cat moving, like a stringed feather on a pole that your cat will never get tired of swatting.

#3–Create more vertical space. Provide safe vertical spaces for your cat to jump into and from within a safety realm. This could be a set of empty shelves, windowsill or cat tree. Even when you're not home to play with your kitty, he still has options for burning calories.
#4–Cheap non-toys. Cats love to play with paper, boxes and bags. Leave these items around the house in high places where your cat can safely jump to and turn play sessions into workout time.

These are all great ways to catapult your indoor cat into moving and shaking to maintain a purr-fectly healthy weight!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Evanger's Tip: What Is A “Meat” Meal?

Protein is crucial for all aspects of a dog’s growth and development, which is why puppies, pregnant and lactating females require an even greater amount of protein than other dogs. Protein is also critical to immune system maintenance and a dog’s health in general.

When purchasing dog food, you may wonder what could contain more protein than whole meat? Surprisingly, quality grade meat meal can actually contain more protein than the whole meat from which it is derived.

Meat meal is a dried end product of a cooking process that’s known as rendering. Akin to purposely overcooking, rendering cooks away the water and bakes the residue. The end product is a highly concentrated protein powder called meat meal.

For a comparison, a whole chicken contains roughly 70% water and 18% protein. After rendering, however, the resulting chicken meal contains just 10% water and a whopping 65% protein–nearly four times more protein than whole chicken.

Bear in mind that no meal product can ever be better than the raw materials that were used to make it. Higher quality meat meals are typically made from the meat of clearly identified sources. Lower grade meals are derived from anonymous materials like spoiled supermarket meats, slaughterhouse waste and even diseased or dying cattle.  

There is no such thing as human grade meat meal, since meat meal is never produced for human consumption and the facilities producing it are not licensed or certified to manufacture human-edible products that meet FDA standards. One defining characteristic of a high quality meat meal is a low ash content, which means the proportion of bone to meat is low.

How to Recognize
 Lower Quality Meat Meals

Since many manufacturers do little to clarify the true nature of the ingredients they use,
avoid dog foods containing any meat meal that fails to identify the specific source animal or includes the words “by-product” in its name.

Using generic phrases on the ingredient list, inferior meat-based protein ingredients that are usually associated with lower quality dog food include:
·               Animal Meal
·               Chicken By-Product Meal
·               Meat and Bone Meal
·               Glandular Meal
·               Poultry Meal
·               Blood Meal

Chicken, Beef or Lamb?

Photo: Evanger's
Evanger's dog and cat food uses fresh meats
for an excellent source of protein and
bio-available nutrients
Every protein source has a different level of usable amino acids. This amount is termed “biological value.” Egg has the highest biological value, followed by chicken, fish and red meat. But don’t let that information distract you. Any source of meat protein will serve your dog well. And the fresher the source of protein, the more biologically available those nutrients are to your pet. This means that the body is better able to absorb what it needs to maintain optimal health.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Evanger's Tip: 3 Ways To Get Your Dog Fit For The New Year

Humans aren’t the only creatures that gain weight during the holidays. During the season when overindulging overrides counting calories, even our pets can put on a few extra pounds.

As with humans, a dog gains weight when he consumes a greater amount of energy than he expends. Also in line with humans, an overweight dog faces the same basic health risks that include heart disease, weak joints from added weight, respiratory ailments, diabetes, hormone imbalances and a shorter life span.

Photo: Cally Toong
Evanger's dog foods can help your pet shed unwanted pounds!
To help you dog lose weight, follow a few simple suggestions for a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Dog Diets. Since your dog didn't become overweight overnight, keep in mind that he won't return to his ideal weight overnight either. Slimming down takes time. Changing your dog’s diet and reducing calorie intake will help your dog reach his optimal weight. Be sure to read the labels on your dog’s dry food or canned food. If it contains low quality ingredients, then you should consider another food or brand. High quality, high protein food keeps your dog feeling full longer, while providing more nutrition to the body without storing excess fat. Naturally, the amount of food to feed your dog will vary with size, age and physical issues. Feed your dog small meals several times throughout the day and make sure you don't feed too many dog treats. Another trick we like to use is replacing 1/3 of your dog’s usual meal with Evanger’s Vegetarian Dinner. It’s low in calories, easy on the stomach, and provides all the nutrients of a complete meal with nutrient dense vegetables!

Dog Exercise. All dogs require some level of exercise to stay healthy and avoid gaining weight. Any attention you give your dog–even while exercising him–makes your dog feel loved. It can be as simple as going for a walk and playing fetch to more rigorous activities like agility training and swimming. Man-trailing, where your dog searches for a person, is a great way to provide him with an all-round exercise program. It also strengthens your relationship with your dog while providing you with good exercise as well. As your dog loses weight and regains fitness, you’ll notice how his energy increases.  

Prevention. It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet before beginning a slimming program based on diet and exercise. Just keep in mind that the best plan is to prevent your dog from gaining excessive weight in the first place! Remember that our nutrition team at Evanger’s is an excellent resource to discuss your pet’s unique needs. We can recommend a custom diet plan specific to your pet. Give us a call at (847) 537-0102.

To download a convenient food log to track your progress, visit the Evanger's #GetPetFit Challenge page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Evanger's Breed Buzz: American Staffordshire Terrier

Breed Spotlight: American Staffordshire Terrier

Stocky, muscular bull-type terriers standing 17-19 inches at the shoulder, American Staffordshire Terriers have broad heads, pronounced cheekbones, well-defined jaws, and dark, round eyes that are set wide apart.

The Am Staff is a people-oriented dog breed that thrives when made part of the family and given a job to do. These confident, good-natured, smart dogs are great with children and other pets. They’re also very trainable dogs that are agile and graceful, with a springy gait that displays that confidence.

American Staffordshire Terrier parents describe their dogs as “up for anything,” keenly aware of their surroundings and lovable “personality dogs.” When acquiring an Am Staff, potential owners should do research to find an experienced AKC breeder. A responsibly bred Am Staff that is socialized from puppyhood and trained with a firm but loving touch will prove a loyal, trustworthy friend that is excellent with children.

These natural clowns often make training comical. So it’s critical to keep the training program fun and engaging. And since Am Staffs do have a stubborn-streak, training requires patience and a firm but kind hand.

Am Staffs are good house dogs since they are generally fine with spending time alone and are very clean with minimal shedding. The best way to groom an American Staffordshire Terrier is by using a short soft-bristle brush to bring out the best sheen in his coat. As with most dog breeds, these dogs need to be bathed, have nails trimmed and should have teeth brushed on a regular basis. Ears should be checked regularly for any debris that may cause an infection.

The Am Staff is a medium-sized dog breed with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. The breed displays some instances of mild hip dysplasia and some types of cardiac disease. Responsible breeders screen for these conditions in their breeding stock. Instances of skin and coat allergies–which are attributed to immune system weaknesses–have also been found.

The breed has been afflicted with an inherited disease, Cerebellar Ataxia, which causes a progressive decline in muscle or voluntary coordination (ataxia). This neurological disease shows first signs of appearing usually between 3 to 5 years of age.

Affected dogs typically show loss of balance, difficulty cornering and falling when shaking its head. A screening test has been developed to identify those dogs affected, as well as carriers of the gene that causes the disease. Good breeders utilize this genetic testing on their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.

American Staffordshire puppies benefit from high quality
dog food that provides a higher level of moisture and
nutrients for a healthier immune system and skin.
Because the American Staffordshire Terrier is prone to weaker immune systems and allergies, it is important to take extra care in his nutritional intake. This dog breed should eat canned food (whether alone, or as a supplement to dry kibble). The extra moisture and nutrition from fresh meats will help keep the skin hydrated. We recommend Evanger’s Hand Packed Chunky Chicken Casserole, as it provides a complete meal, including fresh, hand packed chicken and vegetables in a dinner that provides a high level of moisture for good hydration. Remember that fresh ingredients from canned food provide higher bio-availability of nutrients, meaning that the body is better able to absorb what is needed to keep your Am Staff in optimal health!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Evanger's Works with Goathouse Refuge to Give Back and Save Cats

Did you know?
Evanger's has a special shelter program where they significantly help offset the cost of food for the animals. This allows the shelter animals to eat high-quality, nutritious food that many shelters would otherwise not be able to afford.  Recently Evanger's is helping feed over 200 cats at large feline rescue in North Carolina called The Goathouse. These are pictures taken of their cats enjoying our Evanger's premium cat food!

 Recently Evanger's was connected with The Goathouse Refuge, a 501(c)(3) no-kill animal sanctuary dedicated to providing safe, cage-free care for cats regardless of their age, medical issues or disposition until a permanent, loving, adoptive home can be found. Most cats are rescued from local shelters.  Their region in North Carolina is largely rural and poor, and spaying and neutering options are not exercised, even with low-cost plans available. Most shelters in the area are under-equipped to deal with the steady flow of animals coming in and kill for space almost daily. Euthanasia often occurs in inhumane ways (gas and heart stick).  But the Goathouse Refuge rescues from the worst shelters, but also accepts owner-surrenders, strays, cats who have suffered neglect and abuse, and seniors with medical issues to prevent cats from entering the shelter-system which will destroy them. Their cats are fully vetted before adoption, and unadoptable cats stay with them until they die of natural causes.  

We are so happy to be working with an organization that is doing so much for cats in need and its community, so we wanted to share a little bit with you with a note from the Goathouse Refuge.  Our hearts are filled with joy knowing that the Goathouse Refuge is offering cats much more than a second chance.

 A note from the Refuge after getting a pallet of Evanger's Cat Food:
We all love the food - the kitties love the flavor, staff loves the ease of having large cans to work with, and we love the high quality of the food. Our cats get dry food twice a day, and wet once a day (unless they are kittens or sick, they get wet more often then) and for the general population we literally mix two big buckets of wet food (mostly consisting of whatever higher quality food we can buy, plus some donated cans mixed in, plus l-lysine powder and a bit of water to make it last longer. We then put one-cat portions in 200 little white bowls distributed over the adoption building and the outside area so all or most of the cats who want to get a portion of wet food.

Thanks for the photos and update, Greenhouse Refuge!

For more on the Goathouse Refuge, check it out here!

Thanks again to the Goathouse Refuge for doing everything you do! The kitties thank you, too!

Don't forget to check out our website, HERE!
Search Evangers_Pets on Instagram! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meet Shelby the Beagle Mutt, Saved From A High-Kill Shelter, Now Proud Mom of 10 Pups!

Meet Shelby, a beautiful young Beagle mix with quite a story. Beautiful Shelby was surrendered by her owners, and ended up in a high kill shelter in Kentucky. The former owners did not give any reasoning why she was surrendered. Fortunately, Shelby made her way up to K9Lifeline Rescue of Wisconsin at the end of October, and is now being fostered in a very loving home. Shelby is a super sweet dog with an incredibly cute under bite, and a pretty dog smile. While in foster care, she gave birth to 11 puppies last week on 11/17/15; 4 girls and 7 boys! Unfortunately, one "runt" puppy was lost from what is believed to be underdevelopment. Today, the puppies are one week old and doing very well! Everyone is gaining weight and their puppy eyes should start to open up soon. Their favorite thing to do is get milk from mama!
To answer the most common question, we don't know what breed the puppies are mixed with!

We are hoping to have weekly updates of this adorable brood of pups, and follow the journey and watch them grow on Evanger's!  They are still too young to have anything but mama's milk, but mama Shelby is already enjoying her new dinner.

Here's a short album of the puppies being born, and a smiling, happy mom, Shelby!

1st - Female. Born around 5:45 am

2nd - Male. Born 6:12 am
3rd - Female. Born 6:19 am. Rest in Peace Angel 11/21/15 
4th - Female. Born 7:00 am.
5th - Male. Born 7:18 am.
6th - Male. Born 7:51 am.
7th - Male. Born 9:10 am
8th - Male. Born 10:17 am.
9th - Male. Born 11:06 am.
10th - Male. Born (via C-section) 12:16 pm.
11th - Female. Born (via C-section) 12:16 pm.

First puppy born!
2nd puppy born
3rd puppy born with his cute little milk mustache

4th puppy born
6th puppy born bundled up and sleeping
Very happy and proud puppy mom, Shelby
Mama Shelby and her pups - 1 week old! The pups are already growing!

#GetPetHealthy Question of The Week!

#GetPetHealthy Question of The Week!

Every week we have a contest on our Facebook page and invite Evanger's feeders to ask a nutrition question about their pet. Our certified On-Staff Nutritionist picks one question to weigh in on. Here are this week's question and answer.

This week we chose a question that asks about what to do if your dog is causing urine burn on your lawn. Urine burn can be a symptom of a more serious problem so it is important to get educated and have a plan of action!

Healthy diet. Healthy Dog. Healthy Lawn.

Photo by: Hilde Perrine

Courtney Frank:  have been giving my 3 dogs a pill to reduce urine burn on my yard, although they have ample drinking water at all times, they have killed most of it. Is there something natural I could feed them instead? The pills can cause toxicity if not carefully monitored, which makes me nervous.
Changing your dogs' diet to improve overall health is a great idea, and Evanger's foods and treats can most likely help you with this goal.

But altering what they eat in order to reduce grass burn can change the chemical composition of the urine and compromise your dogs' health.

One unintended consequence can be urinary tract infections and the formation of stonelike crystals in urine that becomes too alkaline or too acidic. These conditions are painful (think kidney stones in humans -- ouch!) and can even require surgery and treatment of secondary infections. You get the picture.

So it's definitely best for the dogs, if not the lawn, to continue feeding healthful, balanced diets based entirely on their nutritional needs.

Thanks for sharing your question! We host a #GetPetHealthy Question of the Week every Thursday on our Facebook page. The winner receiving a FREE bag of JERKY TREATS, so check in on Thursdays at