The year 2015 marks my 19th year as the owner of Sojos. That’s 133 in dog years! And my passion has never burned brighter. There’s no question that 2014 was an important year for us. We moved meat to the #1 ingredient in in our Complete recipes. We launched Sojos Lamb Complete. We launched freeze-dried, raw Sojos Simply Meat Treats. And we opened a brand new freeze-drying facility to meet the growing demand.
Summer’s in full swing and that means getting outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. And on those glorious sunny days, what could be better than a good, old-fashioned cookout? But before you invite your friends and head to the park, or even just the backyard, make sure that your cookout is safe for your dog.
Recently we had to make the difficult decision to discontinue a couple of products. You may have noticed that Kung Fu Fido Fortune Cookies, Monzies Cookies, and Sojos European-Style Cat Food Mix are no longer listed on our website. For the smattering of loyal customers of these products, this song’s dedicated to you.
When warm weather finally arrives, dogs are just as eager to get out and enjoy it as their owners are. But both canines and humans alike face a trade-off: with sunshine and climbing temperatures come pests like fleas and the dreaded mosquito. Those biting little buggers can do more than give you an itch to scratch – they can give your dog heartworm, a potentially fatal parasite.
As the days get longer and temperatures start their slow upward climb, dog owners’ minds turn to all the fun they’ll soon be having, together with their four-legged friends, outdoors. But along with that anticipation comes an annual concern: fleas. Protecting your pet from infestations of these disease-carrying parasites can be a tricky business if you use conventional methods. However, taking a natural approach to flea control will help you and your pet rest easy and stay healthy.
Meet Riley. Riley is a four-year-old Pug who was adopted into to his forever family with a serious weight problem. Riley and his little Pug sister Penelope live in Montana and enjoy mountain hikes and trips to the dog park, but Riley’s weight made it difficult for him to keep up. Pugs, in general, are often thought of as chubby pups. Their fat rolls are endearing, and their small statures often allow them to gain weight easily. However, just like any other breed, an overweight Pug faces serious health problems.
It cracked me up today to open the latest edition of Pet Business Magazine, and see myself included in the cover story, "A View from the Top". The cover promises "Visions of the Future: Prominent pet industry executives discuss their expectations for the pet specialty channel." Unfortunately for the reader, the editors of Pet Business deemed Ward Johnson of Sojos a "prominent pet industry executive".
Acupuncture is one branch of traditional Chinese medicine that has been steadily gaining popularity as a holistic treatment modality for pets. It involves placing extremely thin needles in the skin along energy meridians to balance or restore the flow of energy. The practice has been used to treat an extensive variety of conditions in humans for thousands of years.
Walking your dog daily is a great way to exercise him physically and mentally. A well-exercised dog is far more likely to behave well within your home, so you’re both happy. But if you take the same route everyday and walk at the same time each afternoon, it might be time to add some zest to your walk. Here are some ways to add a little pep to your step: Grab a buddy
Whether you are ready for your first pup, or want to adopt a friend for your cat or dog, adopting a rescue pet is a great option for anyone looking to grow their fur family. Millions of animals are surrendered each year, leaving kennels full which, in many cases, leads to euthanasia .
It's not always easy to know how much you should feed your dog. Just like us, every pet is different. Things like age, activity level, body type, current weight and individual metabolism (the rate that calories are burned) all make a difference.
Albuquerque is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, home to more than 70 different ethnicities. That diversity is reflected in the area’s architecture, artwork, cultural centers and cuisine. The city is home to more than 550,000 residents, and both humans and pets will discover many fun activities in the Duke City, as it’s known.
Southern charm with no shortage of style: that’s Asheville in a nutshell. The city’s spirit is steeped in the arts as much as the outdoors, and its spectacular setting in the Great Smoky Mountains is inspiring to people who love both. For vacationers and locals alike, the added bonus is that the city of roughly 85,000 residents is incredibly pet-friendly.
Atlanta is a buzzing metropolis that is a major hub in the southern United States. The city boasts an amazing arts culture, a breathtaking aquarium, headquarters of big businesses like Coca-Cola, and quaint surrounding neighborhoods. The variety you will find in Atlanta is sure to have you coming back for more.
Boston is much more than one of America’s largest cities – it’s one of the country’s most outstanding travel destinations. History buffs, foodies, art lovers and others all have an endless list of reasons to visit, and dog owners should certainly be counted among the population who will love a trip to Boston. The city stands apart as a dog-friendly destination, as well as a great place to call home.
The “Queen City” of Charlotte, N.C. lives up to its nickname with true genteel character. It’s a place that’s bustling with business as one of the biggest banking centers in the United States, but it also has a strong cultural heartbeat and visitors are always treated to a generous dose of the famed Southern hospitality – even if the visitors are four-legged. If you’re traveling with your pup, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this dog-friendly city.
The “windy city” is known for its thriving metropolis and bustling culture. As the third largest city in the United States, Chicago has a lot to offer. From amazing museums and shopping to world renowned restaurants and sports teams, Chicago has something for everyone. No matter what brought you and your dog to the biggest city in the Midwest, be sure to check out some of the best dog-friendly sites while you are in town.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free vacation with plenty of beautiful country scenery, rich history, architecture and the small-city charm, take a quick trip to Kentucky. Tour the Kentucky Derby Museum, or a race at Churchill Downs, visit one of the many performing arts centers or one of the many amazing restaurants. Without making your way too far south, Louisville offers the warm southern hospitality and delicious dining that the south is recognized for, and, it’s a great place for Fido to visit!
In a country that truly loves its pets, some cities stand out for being exceptionally dog-friendly. From pooch-welcoming patios to abundant trails and parks, many factors go into making a town a doggie paradise. In Minneapolis-St. Paul – also known as Sojos HQ – there’s just about everything a dog owner could want. So, what is it that makes our hometown so dog-friendly? Here are just a few examples of amenities that keep people and their pooches happy:
If there’s one thing dogs love, it’s being outdoors - and the same can be said of residents and visitors of Missoula, Mont. Nicknamed the “garden city” because it enjoys a milder year-round climate than the rest of the state, Missoula has something to do in every season. And with a population that boasts one dog for every two people, you can bet that plenty of the activities in the area are pup-friendly.
Nashville, Tennessee is the country music capital of the world, known for Southern hospitality and crisp fall colors. And while your four-legged friend cannot accompany you to a show at the esteemed Grand Ol’ Opry, there are plenty of activities fit for you and your pooch.
Portland routinely ranks as one of America’s best-loved cities, and if dogs could vote, they’d probably give it a bark of approval, too. The “City of Roses” is a great place to live if you have four-legged friends, but it’s also welcoming to visitors of all breeds. So whether you’re shopping for a place to relocate or simply your next vacation destination, check out what makes Portland so pup-friendly.
With a reputation for weather that’s pretty much perfect all year round, it’s easy to imagine that San Diego is a great place to be a dog. But weather isn’t the only important component in creating a truly dog-friendly city (after all, Minneapolis-St.
If there’s any question about whether the City by the Bay loves its critters, just look at its namesake: Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals. No, the name wasn’t chosen by pet lovers back in 1847, but it’s a fitting moniker for today’s animal-friendly town. In a city where dogs have been noted to outnumber children, there are lots of services and amenities that cater to pooches and their “parents.”
Tampa is a popular destination for eager vacationers of all walks of life. The sunny skies, lively city and plentiful beaches draw tourists from far and wide. Tampa’s rich culture hosts a diverse past and a unique blend of art and athleticism. Whether you are drawn to attractions like Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium or the sandy beaches of Tampa Bay, this city has something for everyone – even your pets.
After the first few months of owning a pet, you master the basic grooming tasks. You brush your pet frequently, and he knows exactly what that bottle of pet shampoo means. But grooming your furry family member means more than just the occasional brush and bath. When you are ready to move beyond the basic grooming for your pet, you can start to take on additional tasks. Grooming should be a relaxed process, so be sure to ease in the new tasks to your pet’s at-home grooming routine with plenty of treats and praise. Start by adding these tasks to your pet’s routine:
Hitting the farmer’s market, street fair or music festival is a great way to enjoy the summer months with your furry friend by your side. Many outdoor events allow you to bring Fido to enjoy them with you. Pet-friendly events are a great way to introduce your pooch to other dogs, other people and new places. Here are some things to keep in mind before you attend with your pup:
Traveling with your dog is great fun—especially when you visit a city that’s as pet-friendly as Austin, Texas. It’s not only where you’ll find Lake Austin and the renowned SXSW music festival—Austin is home to long list of welcoming places for you and your furry sidekick. Stay
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is about to vote on a policy against the feeding of raw meat to pets. Specifically the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine will vote to create a policy to "discourage the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans."
Your love your pets—they’re a part of your family—so of course you want the best care for them when you’re away. Whether you’re travelling or an emergency requires you leave Fido at home, there are several options to consider.
Even the most devoted dog people can find excessive barking bothersome. It can keep you up at night, annoy the neighbors and just generally set you on edge. Dogs that bark too much face a lot of potential problems – some owners elect to have their dogs devocalized or “debarked,” while others actually choose to euthanize their pet. But those extreme options can be avoided – and you can still find solutions for a quieter, calmer, dog-friendly household.
Whether it’s intentional or not, our canine companions are always learning from us. The challenge is making sure the lessons are positive and constructive—and, above all, fun for everyone involved. To that end, professional trainers are invaluable. They help us teach our dogs to eagerly respond to instruction and happily follow the rules. And as a bonus, a well-run obedience class is a blast for both of you—not to mention, a great place to set up some doggie playdates.
Outdoor fun, especially in the warmer months, always carries with it the possibility of picking up ticks. Those nasty little parasites are famous for hitching rides on humans and dogs alike, and are notorious as carriers of Lyme disease. But did you know that ticks can carry a variety of other diseases that threaten your dog’s health?
Every dog owner knows that each dog is a uniquely special animal. Whatever they might look like on the outside, dogs have their own personalities and develop one-of-a-kind relationships with their owners. Unfortunately, those outward appearances can have an effect on the kind of life a dog has – and it shows in the effects known as “Black Dog Syndrome.”
If you’ve ever seen a police dog follow the trail of a missing person or a mischievous pet sneak his way out of a fenced-in yard, then you know that dogs can be very clever. Dogs can learn some impressive skills, but just like humans, they need to exercise their minds in order to keep them in shape.
The Siberian Husky was originally bred as a sled dog and this animal has incredible endurance. These pups have a thicker coat than many other breeds, with a soft fluffy undercoat and a dense, coarse top coat. With this thick coat, Huskies thrive in sub-zero temperatures, allowing them to make long treks through the winter snow. The Siberian Husky loves to run and is an active breed that often has a happy-go-lucky temperament. Huskies are long famous for participating in the grueling long-distance Iditarod race.
Next time you head out on an outdoor overnight adventure, bring along your furry friend. Camping with your dog can be a great experience for the both of you—you’ll enjoy his companionship and he’ll enjoy exploring the great outdoors. Here are some things to keep in mind to help make sure your camping trip goes off without a hitch. Don’t force an indoor dog outdoors
With widespread illness grabbing headlines these days, most of us are trying our best to stay healthy. As we’re washing our hands, lining up for flu shots and boosting our vitamin C consumption, another question often comes to pet owners’ minds: Can my dog catch a cold or the flu?
Many vegetarian dog owners have questions about whether or not a vegetarian diet for dogs could be feasible or even healthy. After all, much has been made of the fact that dogs are omnivores – meaning they eat both plants and meat. If this is true, shouldn’t they do just as well on plant-based diets as meat-based ones? The answer to this question can be found by looking at the circumstances of canine evolution and examining the anatomy of a dog’s digestive system.
Cat owners know that one of the least glamorous parts of being the perfect pet parent is cleaning out your cat’s litter box. While they get to have their own private bathroom within the home – which dogs surely envy – that little box can cause quite the stink if it’s not properly maintained.
We all know that a person whose diet is packed with unhealthy, over-processed and nutrient-poor foods is going to have dental problems. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the same would be true for a dog or a cat. But while more and more people are coming to understand the power of a healthy, whole-foods-based diet for themselves, when it comes to pets, kibble, though increasingly understood as being nutritionally inferior, is still what many people trust and use. And that mindset is contributing to pets developing oral health problems on an unprecedented level.
Even for devoted cat owners, cats can be a bit of a mystery. Of course, that’s part of what makes them so fun to live with. From their peculiar behaviors to their range of vocal tones, cats will keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, many cats have a quirk that can be a real concern to their owners: picky eating.
Cats have a reputation for being low- or even no-maintenance when it comes to keeping clean. It’s true that they’re a fastidious species, but grooming is something that most cat owners will have to think about at some point in their pets’ lives. As an added benefit, grooming can help keep your cat’s shedding under control, cutting down on the amount of cat hair you need to deal with in your home.
Cats are unique creatures - any owner will confirm that with a litany of stories about her cat’s peculiar habits. But they’re not just set apart by their exceptional talent for starring in Internet videos. Cats have unique health needs to keep them up for their busy schedules of mischief, snuggles and jumping on top of the refrigerator.
Developing a daily routine for you and your pooch is essential to both his wellbeing and yours. Having a schedule creates structure for Fido—structure that comforts him. Pets don’t necessarily understand the concept of time; instead they react to events. For example, if you always let your dog out the moment you return home from work, your pet will expect to be let out immediately after you return, even if you are early one day.
Each dog is one of a kind. His personality, his coat, his nose, and his metabolic type are unique. A dog’s diet should fit his individual needs and will depend on his size, age, activity level and metabolic rate. But just because you have a large dog doesn’t mean he will burn off a large amount of food. Depending on your dog’s metabolic rate, a small dog may require more than his larger, slow-metabolism counterpart. Dogs are omnivores and despite their metabolic rate, they should consume a balanced diet of protein and plant-based foods.
It’s springtime and many of us are looking at the fresh buds on the trees through red, watery eyes. Unfortunately our four-legged friends don’t get a hall pass when it comes to allergies. While environmental allergies (ie. pollen, etc.) and genetics can play a role, often the guilty-party can be found on the ingredient panel of your dog’s food. Dog food allergies can mimic seasonal allergies, causing flaky, itchy skin, scratching, shedding, irritated ears, goopy, watery eyes and digestive issues.
There are millions of human yogis in America, but there is also a growing number of four-legged acolytes of the age-old Indian wellness practice. Pet owners who enjoy the calming, centering and health-promoting effects of yoga are keen to get their best friends in on the benefits.
The only thing better than a trip to the Golden Coast is enjoying the California sunshine with your furry friend. Whether you live in Los Angeles, or you’re planning a weekend getaway, this city is the perfect place to bring Fido.
Traveling with your pup to New York City might seem outrageous to some—it’s already crowded enough—but the Big Apple is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country. Just make sure Fido is on his best behavior and doesn’t mind the loud honking or crowds of people before you pack your bags!
Dogs love nothing more than to get out and play – and sometimes they play rough. That can mean bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes, so every dog owner should be prepared to treat their dog in case of a minor boo-boo or a more major injury. Pre-made first aid kits can come in handy, but they often don’t contain enough of the key essentials to fixing up your pet when he needs it most. Taking a DIY approach and building your own first aid kit will ensure that you have everything you need – and enough of it.
If you hear “essential oils” and think they’re only for pampering beauty products, think again. These powerful natural remedies can be and are used for much, much more. For dogs, essential oils can provide helpful solutions for both physical and behavioral problems, but only when used safely and wisely. That’s why it’s important to learn a bit more about essential oils before incorporating them into your pet care regimen.
It’s the biggest, boomiest celebration of the summer for Americans, but for some dogs, the Fourth of July is more frightening than fun. The thunderous noise from fireworks can have a major effect on some dogs, while others barely seem to notice. Much of that has to do with their first exposure to fireworks, but it sometimes happens that even if a dog is well out of the puppy stage, a major scare will stay with him for the rest of his life.
It’s the biggest, boomiest celebration of the summer for Americans, but for some dogs, the Fourth of July is more frightening than fun. The thunderous noise from fireworks can have a major effect on some dogs, while others barely seem to notice. Much of that has to do with their first exposure to fireworks, but it sometimes happens that even if a dog is well out of the puppy stage, a major scare will stay with him for the rest of his life.
Dog ‘waste’ is a major concern for the environmentally conscious pet owner. Especially since the 78 million dogs in America produce 10 million TONS of dog ‘waste’ each year. The way you pick up and dispose of your pup’s poo has a major effect on the environment when you consider those stats. Here are some options to make cleanup more ‘green’:
Good vision is critical to quality of life for your cat, so doing what you can to maintain her eyesight is incredibly important. Knowing how to spot problems is key, but so is maintaining a lifestyle that supports her eye health. Whether you’ve got a new kitten or a senior cat, you can do a number of things to ensure she can see clearly for as long as possible.
Sojos RAW dog and cat foods provide many health benefits to pets, but ensuring healthy eating doesn’t stop at the type of food you serve. Make sure the type of bowl you are using to feed your pets is the best possible to support a healthy lifestyle.
When you consider your pets family members, there’s no question about whether you’re going to help them when they need special medical attention. Whether it’s a short-term injury or a chronic condition, making your pet feel well and doing what you can to keep him healthy is second nature.
As we’ve discussed before, feeding your dog human food and table scraps isn’t a bad thing – as long as you’re feeding healthy items, along with his natural dog food diet. And while it can be a fun feeling to give Fido a taste of what you’re having, going about it the wrong way can leave your dog with some undesirable habits, like begging.
Moving to a new location with your dog or cat can add extra stress to the moving process. On top of packing, hauling and organizing, finding a pet-friendly rental can be difficult. There are often weight restrictions or breed restrictions on apartments and homes even if those places are listed as “pet-friendly,” so be sure that you ask for the specifics before you fall in love with a location.
To the disappointment of those who feed raw dog food and raw cat food, the American Veterinary Medical Association adopted their proposed policy to discourage the feeding of raw foods to pets (as we recently discussed). And while the language of the policy was changed from “never feed” to “avoid feeding,” the controversy around the topic seems unlikely to quiet down any time soon.
The temperature’s rising, which usually means you want to get your furry friends into the beautiful outdoors. This summer, make sure you’re prepared with gear to make the most of your warm-weather adventures. For your camping trip
In recent years, there’s been a growing awareness among both regular people and health care professionals – including veterinarians – about the benefits of non-Western medicine. In many cases, it used to be called “alternative” but is now called “complementary,” illustrating a widening perspective about what treatments are effective. Chinese traditional medicine, having been practiced for thousands of years, naturally captures attention for its longevity and effectiveness.
If you own a dog, you have, at some point, looked at him and wondered how on earth his stomach can rumble and squeak quite so loudly. But while those sounds might inspire amazement, they’re also a signal that your dog isn’t feeling well. And if the discomfort we humans get from stomach upset is any indication, he can really be miserable. So, what can you do to help him feel better?
Dog training has gone through some profound changes over the eons that people and dogs have lived and worked together – and even in recent years. Unfortunately, many of the formerly common methods were cruel and only served to intimidate and hurt dogs. Today, we have a better understanding of how to interact with our dogs in ways that are both humane and encouraging, and therefore more effective for training. Positive reinforcement is at the heart of those ideas.
Whether your pup’s ears flop or stand straight up, there’s a good chance that at some point in his life, he’ll get an ear infection. It’s an incredibly common condition and can be triggered by a multitude of causes, so it’s important that every owner knows what to look for and how to treat it. Luckily, symptoms are pretty easy to notice, giving you a good indication of when your dog needs special treatment. They include: * Persistent bad odor coming from the ears
You know how uncomfortable your own skin can become in winter if you don’t take care of it - it cracks, it flakes and it itches. When you think about everything you need to do to stay comfortable in your skin, remember that your dog might need a helping hand to deal with winter dryness and other issues, too.
Summer is a fun time for dogs and their owners. There are lots of opportunities for walks, runs, swims and relaxing together in the sunshine. Dogs can easily get overheated, though, and owners need to watch for signs of hyperthermia (elevation in body temperature). Heat stroke in dogs is a serious condition that can be avoided! Your dog sweats through his foot pads and releases heat by panting. Neither of these is adequate when it’s really hot out there, so you need to make sure he doesn’t overheat.
We humans are lucky: We have an array of ultra-high-tech winter gear that helps us get through the winter cold. While we’re piling on the socks, thermals, gloves and gaiters, we sometimes assume that because our dogs have fur, they can handle whatever Father Frost throws at him. But cold tolerance, like so many things, varies from breed to breed, and can even be dependent on what your dog’s used to.
Ah, the wonders of puppyhood. One minute he’s stealing your heart—the next your favorite running shoe. His appetite for life is second only to his need for healthy, nutrient-rich food. Does that mean he needs a special “puppy formula?” In a word, no.
Hereditary health problems can affect purebred dogs as well as mixed breed dogs –whether your pup comes from a pedigree of champions or the shelter, genes don’t discriminate. Hip dysplasia is just one of those hereditary conditions, and it can have a dramatic effect on your dog’s mobility, health and happiness. It develops because of poorly formed hip joints – think of it as a ball-and-socket joint, in which the ball is loose in the socket. That looseness causes difficulty in moving, and can lead to degeneration and a significant amount of pain.
What could be more fun than a spring or summertime hike with your dog? Getting out into the wilderness sounds like a blissfully carefree activity until you remember one thing: ticks. Every field of tall grass, every thicket of trees, every meadow of wildflowers is potentially crawling with those nasty parasites that can do much more damage than giving you a case of the heebie-jeebies.
Sometimes dogs’ skin and coat concerns go beyond the cosmetic. While proper care and feeding will help stave off a host of skin issues, sometimes it’s outside of your control. Problems like hot spots, which appear as itchy, bald patches, can cause your dog a lot of discomfort. Here are some of the key things you should know about treating this troublesome skin issue.
A carpet of emerald green lawn, a dazzling rainbow of fragrant flowers in bloom and not a pest in sight - it sounds like the perfect garden, doesn’t it? But for your dog, that same backyard paradise could be a minefield of poisonous plants and dangerous chemicals. Plan carefully, though, and you can have the garden you want, with far less risk to your pets.
Both humans and dogs are dealing with obesity in increasing numbers. More than half of American dogs (52.5 percent) are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. It’s hard not to think there’s a connection. For the good or for the bad, is your lifestyle affecting you pet’s?
If you’re like many pet owners, you grew up with the idea that there was only one kind of veterinarian for house pets. But that was then – now, pet owners have the option to take their dogs, cats and other household critters to a holistic vet clinic, where the emphasis is on wellness and treating the whole animal, rather than simply dealing with problems as they arise.
Pets play such an integral role in our lives. They greet us in the morning with kisses, they welcome us home with wagging tails, and bring a smile to our faces on the days when nothing else seems to do the trick. Pets are a part of our families and when we lose a pet, it can be difficult to deal with that loss. It is not unusual to feel a deep sense of grief when a pet dies. After forming such a strong bond, severing that tie can be painful.
Our pets are part of the family, so it’s no wonder you love snapping pictures of them looking oh-so-adorable. A bouncy puppy, impatient pooch, or sneaky kitty can be hard to capture on camera. Here are some tips to help you take better pet photographs: Get prepped
When someone asks what I do for a living and I say that I run a pet food company, the question invariably comes up – “How did you ever get into that?” If I had a nickel for every time that I’ve told the entire story, I would have $3.65. Most of the time I just shorten the story to the Cliff Notes version – “Oh, I just kinda fell into it.” Of course, that doesn’t do the story justice, but then again, a nickel ain’t worth what it used to be.
For a guy who owns a pet food company that touts its Grain-Free products, I sure do eat a lot of gluten. So, it is with great pride that I can say that since April 12, 2012, I have been 100% gluten-free. It all started one night when I came home from an exceptionally long day at the office. It was around 10 pm, and my wife and kids were fast asleep. Given how late it was, you’d think that I’d be a bundle of stress. But on the contrary, I was feeling pretty good. (It must have been a sense of accomplishment from finally finishing my 2011 workers comp insurance audit).
They say that the five most stressful events in a person’s life are getting married, having a baby, buying a house, the death of a loved one, and bringing the manufacturing of your pet products in-house. Most people never have to deal with the last one because, luckily for them, they don’t own a pet food company. In the early Summer of 2001 I was tackling three of these, simultaneously preparing to walk down the aisle, sign my first mortgage, and completely shift my company from one that sells pet food to one that makes and sells pet food.
Color can tell us a lot. In some animals, like brightly colored poison dart frogs, it’s a warning signal to keep your distance. But in plants, bright, bold hues send a message: “Nutrition available here!” One of the easiest ways to improve any diet is to consume more brightly colored foods - so long as nature is the one providing the color. In every bag of Sojos, there are three bright orange ingredients that help us deliver the nutrients your dogs needs most: papaya, pumpkin and sweet potato.
It’s no secret that many people love sushi. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with ingredients that are good for you. From brown rice and cucumbers to fish or seafood, sushi is both tasty and healthy. Dogs can experience some of the same health benefits that humans do from many of these ingredients. Because of their nutritional benefits, each bag of Sojos contains kelp and ginger.
The fully stocked shelves at natural foods stores will tell you a lot about how popular vitamins are with people. However, pets can benefit from these health-boosting nutritional helpers, too – that’s why you’ll find them in our raw dog foods.
For millennia, people have used herbs to treat illness and bolster their health. We might not necessarily think of those healing properties when we grab a sprig or a leaf to season our foods, but the value they possess for flavoring is certainly equal to their value to our well-being – and that of our pets.
At Sojos our mission is to provide you with an easy-to-use, made-from-scratch raw dog food that provides your best four-legged friend with nutrition that meets all his body’s needs. We talk a lot about using ingredients that you’d find in your own kitchen, and it’s not just lip service, we really mean it.
“That’s like herding cats” is an old phrase used to describe a particularly difficult or unwieldy task. Cats definitely have a reputation as being more independent and unconcerned about listening to the “rules”, compared to their canine counterparts. But as plenty of cat owners have learned, it really is possible to train a cat – even if you can’t herd a whole group of them.
News spread Friday that fourteen people spread across nine states had become ill from salmonella poisoning after handling tainted dog food. As an advocate of raw pet food, It was interesting to see that the food in question was a cooked kibble.
Chiropractic work can be an all natural way to boost your pet’s health. It is the realignment of the nervous system to restore proper nerve connections and flow. Adjustments work to restore the root problem, not just alleviate surface symptoms like many medications do. Pet chiropractors work on a wide range of animals from dogs and cats to horses and elephants.
Sure, a dog’s chubby tummy and roly-poly wrinkles can beoh-so-adorable. But excess weight can have serious side effects. And like the obesity epidemic in humans, pet obesityis on the rise. A pet’s smaller size makes it difficult for us to understand how it feels to carry just a few extra pounds. But here are some estimates from PetMD to help you put it in human terms:
In the future, I need to remind myself that there is no such thing as “just looking” when it comes to a visit to the animal shelter. Set foot through that door and it’s a virtual certainty that you’re going home with new member of the family. I learned this the hard way when we spontaneously decided to pop by a local shelter last week and wound up coming home with an adorable Terrier mix named Andy.
I have a secret. I wasn't always an animal lover. Working in the pet industry – it’s something that I don’t advertise. I have allergies. I didn’t grow up with pets. As a result, it never came naturally for me.
Summer is finally here and there’s almost nothing better than enjoying a day in the outdoors with your pooch. But while you soak up the sun, your pup may be too toasty! Keep your pooch cool this summer: Hydrate
Summer isn’t summer without a vacation, and there’s no better time of year to bring your dog along for the fun. As you plan the great getaway, whether it’s a weekend visit or a two-week camping extravaganza, make sure that your pets’ needs are covered and plan for ways to make the trip comfortable for them.
Pet obesity has been getting a lot of notice in recent years, as our four-legged buddies’ waistlines expand right along with those of many humans. And just as in humans, diet and exercise are the two key factors in how your pet gains - or doesn’t gain - weight.
“Fighting like cats and dogs.” Everyone knows that old chestnut has a shred – or maybe more than a shred – of truth in it. Nevertheless, plenty of pet owners love both dogs and cats, so mixed-pet households are a definite reality. Pet parents know that finding a balance that keeps the fur from flying can sometimes be a challenge, but with a few adjustments, everyone can get along just fine.
Go to any pet food and supply store and it’s easy to feel like you’re suffering from sensory overload. With aisles upon aisles of food options, each touting its own tagline, it can be confusing to make any choice, let alone the one that’s best for your dog. If you find yourself mystified by the multitude of options, let us offer a little extra help.
Kids and dogs are a classic combination – what mom hasn’t heard a plea to bring a puppy home? Whether you adopt a pet when your kids are old enough to ask or raise a baby in the presence of a dog, there are plenty of lessons to be learned so that your kids are dog-friendly.
A lot of considerations drive owners to transition their pets to raw dog food: concerns about health and meeting a dog’s real dietary needs are just some of them. Once you’ve made up your mind to give your dog a raw diet, you have a lot of options when it comes to the kind of protein you’ll be feeding.
Watching your cat dart across the room after a laser pointer may appear like a harmless game, but is it really safe? Cats seem to enjoy frantically chasing the little red dot from corner to corner and up the wall. While laser pointers may seem like a good way to exercise and entertain your cat, they may not be a safe toy.
Pet owners and new parents have one thing in common that confuses anyone who doesn’t fit into either of those categories: an almost unlimited ability to discuss what happens when their precious little one has a bowel movement. For others, it’s a gross-out discussion, but dog owners have to keep an eye on their dog’s stool. It’s an important indicator of health. Besides, on walks and in the yard, there’s no shortage of opportunities to check up on it.
While it certainly is not a glamorous part of being a pet owner, it’s important to care for even the smelliest parts of your pup. Anal glands play an important role in your dog’s life, and all dogs – no matter what breed – produce the pungent, musky fluid. This fluid identifies your dog to other dogs, telling them things like his gender, age and health status.
It’ summertime and temperatures are heating up! You love your dog, and want to bring him with you whenever you can. Sometimes, though, it’s better to leave Fido at home. When you’re headed to a place that does not allow dogs, consider what could happen when you leave your pet unattended in the car.
Cats have a long history as companions to their human owners, and some seriously wild stories have come out of all those centuries. In some societies, they were treasured; in ancient Egypt, cats were so loved that owners shaved their eyebrows in mourning when a prized pet feline died. In others, cats were on the receiving end of dangerous superstition and were seen as the companions of witches.
Deciding on a dog to bring home can be very difficult process. Your dog will be with your family through thick and thin, for a lifetime. While it’s easy to fall in love with an adorable face, not every breed will be suited to your lifestyle. Although there is no formula for picking out the right dog for you, there are a few characteristics to consider when making your decision, whether your are picking out a new pupy from a holistic breeder or rescuing a pup from your local shelter.
At Sojos, we don’t just value growth for the sake of growth – to us, real growth means always finding new ways to improve our product and boost our efficiency at bringing the best raw dog and cat food available to our two-legged customers and four-legged fans. With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that we’ve set up shop in a brand-new-to-us space, just down the road from our old home in Northeast Minneapolis, Minn.
As a pet parent, you want to feed your furry family members the best food possible—but when choosing, terminology can be confusing. For example, “natural” and "organic” are often used interchangeably, even though their meaning is very different. With that in mind, we hope you’ll find the following definitions helpful: Organic:
When nightmare stories about pets dying on airplanes make the news, it’s enough to make any pet owner weary of flying with Fido or Boots. However, there are situations in which you need to transport your pet over a long distance – so what’s an owner to do?
What could be better, in your dog’s mind, than a free and unencumbered run through the outdoors? On the list of things he enjoys, a trip to the off-leash dog park probably ranks right near the top. But when you visit the park, you’re sure to encounter other dogs - and their owners - so sharing the space politely is a priority.
I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN with a household full of animals (three of whom were my siblings). We had two cats. Claude, the hunter who’s constantly shedding mane resembled something close to Donald Trump’s comb-over. Claude was an outdoor cat and he ruled the neighborhood with an iron claw. In his later years, we got him an understudy, Grover, who appreciated the attention of humans more so than his feline master and spent a fair amount of time indoors. Both expressed their appreciation of a full food dish by periodically leaving dead rodents on our front doorstep.
It’s not just we humans living in a high-tech world – our pets do as well.. From microchip identification systems to food and water dishes that refill automatically, pets are very much a part of the digital age. Since new developments are practically constant these days, it pays to stay up to date on what new and wonderful innovations are available for pets and their owners. These are some of our favorites:
It can be hard to leave your pet behind when traveling. Those pouty eyes and droopy tails give you the guilt trip whenever you bring out the suitcase. Many pet owners decide to take their pet on the journey along with them. If you pet enjoys traveling, then Phoenix may be your next must-see destination. This pet-friendly city has plenty to offer, from unique Southwestern architecture and geology, to a Wild West history and relaxing resorts.
Traveling with your pet is a great way to spend time together and enjoy some new experiences together, whether you want to hit the hiking trails or explore a pet-friendly city. But when your pooch is along for the ride, there are a number of new factors to consider.
We all need to do our part to be more eco-friendly, and dogs and cats are no exception! Of course, owners are the ones who make the decisions, but an increasing numbers of pet products on the market promise to be better to – and demand less from – the earth. So, when you’re out shopping for your pet, do what you can to pick out environmentally-safe supplies and accessories. As a bonus, most earth-friendly products are also pet-friendly! Dogs
When you decide to bring a new pet into your home, there are many factors you should consider when selecting a cat breed. While dog breed information seems readily available, it can be tricky to find information about cat breed temperament and activity level, whether you are adopting a cat from the shelter or selecting one from a holistic breeder.
It’s a pet owner’s worst nightmare: a beloved cat or dog goes missing. After the panic sets in, what can you do to ensure that your best buddy gets home safely? Luckily, in today’s digital world, there are options that will spread the word far and wide faster than a flier on a telephone pole could ever do.
There’s something charming about an old, gray-faced, slow-moving dog. He’s not a playful pup anymore – he’s a good old boy. But those creaky old bones and stiff movement – likely caused by arthritis – are probably causing him more pain than his sweet face and wagging tail are letting on. And even if your dog is just starting out his golden years, arthritis can still profoundly affect his quality of life.
Grooming your dog is about much more than looking good – it’s also important to his health and comfort. Grooming helps protect your pet from diseases and parasites that could harm him. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these problems by getting into a regular grooming routine. Your pooch will look and feel his best. To get started, keep these grooming necessities in mind: Brushing
Pet-proofing your home can be just as challenging as baby-proofing. It takes a lot of work to prepare and it’s a job that’s never over. Keep your pet safe and your family happy by taking a few precautions in your shared space. Make a sweep through your home to pinpoint these potential dangers. Indoors *Latch cabinets with childproof latches if you have a curious pet. Especially secure household chemical, medications, and cleaning products. *Block small spaces behind appliance or cabinets where pets could get stuck.
No question about it, protein is the basic building block for life. But like most good things, there’s a case to be made for moderation. Although it’s widely believed that feeding more than the recommended amount of protein has no adverse effects, too much protein can accumulate as fat and lead to potential weight problems for your dog.
The new year is upon us, and that has many people thinking of how they can prepare for a happy, healthy and successful 2013. While there are plenty of resolutions that fall to the wayside by February, you can beat the odds by taking a slightly different approach: share your resolutions with your best four-legged friend. We all want to give our pets the best lives possible, so tying them into your resolutions can help bolster your resolve to turn goals into accomplishments. When you succeed, your dog will benefit as much as you do.
There’s no such thing as a non-shedding dog, just like there’s no such thing as a non-shedding human! Shedding is a natural process for your pup—it’s how he ditches old or damaged hair. Though certain breeds definitely lose more fur than others (think Huskies, Pugs or Newfoundlands), shedding is just part of having a furry friend. Here are some tips to help you make the most of a hairy situation: Get brushing
For many people, summer means out-of-town vacations. But what are you going to do about your pooch? It’s often not feasible to take him along, which means you may have to decide whether to board him at a kennel or select an in-home sitter. Each has its pros and cons – many owners worry that kennel management won’t be attentive enough to their pooches.
Does your dog wolf down his meal in a matter of seconds? Most dogs love food—cry for treats—beg for a bite and go absolutely bananas at mealtime. The fresh ingredients in Sojos all-natural raw dog foods can be absolutely tantalizing for your furry friend, so it’s no wonder he’s ready to scarf it down ASAP! Excitement is totally normal, but when your dog eats his breakfast in a few seconds flat, it might be time to try and slow him down.
One of the biggest challenges we have faced when converting even the most health-conscious pet owner from feeding a kibble or canned diet into a shelf-stable raw dog food diet, like Sojos, is the 15 minutes of soaking time required. Everything is moving along smoothly as new customer reads the bag and smiles at the REAL food they can see through the clear window. Then they read the part in our instructions that says “soak for 15 minutes”.
A shiny, soft and full coat is a telltale sign of a healthy cat. Logic says that the exact opposite is true as well: if your cat’s coat isn’t looking so good, it’s a sign that her health isn’t up to par. Unfortunately, there is a whole host of skin diseases that your cat can come down with – and it’s up to you as the owner to be able to spot them, treat them and prevent them for the future.
We’re in the midst of Spring and while it’s great that the weather’s getting warmer, the weather’s also getting wetter. April showers bring May flowers, but they can leave your pet, and your home, a muddy mess! Here are some tips for dealing with a muddy dog: Grab some rain gear
There are plenty of good reasons to explore joint support for your dog. If he’s aging, he’ll certainly need it – likewise if he’s had an injury. But even if your dog is still relatively young, it’s a good idea to talk to a holistic vet about what you can do to support good joint health over his lifetime. There are a variety of holistic options for treatment and support that don’t carry the risks sometimes associated with conventional choices (such as drugs or surgery).
Pet overpopulation in the United States can turn what should be a joyful event – the birth of a puppy or kitten – into a tragedy. Each year far more cats and dogs are born than will ever find homes. In fact, the leading cause of death for cats and dogs in the United States is the euthanasia of healthy but unwanted animals. Animal Ark, a no-kill shelter right here in Minnesota, is committed to helping to solve this problem. The organization works to raise awareness about the needs of homeless animals in Minnesota and throughout the nation.
It’s a dreaded disease for humans and dogs alike: cancer. While the exact causes aren’t yet clear for the many forms in which canine cancer appears, and cures remain a distant hope, there are actions you can take that encourage your dog’s overall wellness. A healthy body that is both better able to fight disease and stay strong through treatment and recovery. And nutrition –particularly a diet of raw dog food – is at the heart of wellness.
Much like roses have thorns, cats naturally come with claws. What can be useful tools – and, in the wild, a necessary evolutionary trait – can also cause problems in the home. When kitty starts to scratch on a beloved piece of furniture, it can be an expensive frustration. In many cases, avoiding those frustrations is the reason behind getting a cat declawed. Before you make the decision to do so, it’s important to know some key facts about the procedure.
Keeping your pet in good health is a top priority for most pet parents. While medications on the market address every issue imaginable, using natural ingredients to allow the body to fight ailments on its own should always be your first option to keeping your pet in optimal, holistic health.
Your aging dog doesn’t give you any less love than he did as a puppy. But in his golden years, things naturally change – his activity levels might shift into a lower gear, his weight might change and he might face the signs of aging that affect all of us, human or dog, like arthritis, hearing loss or impaired vision. While no owner can stave off all the side effects of growing old for their dog, what you feed him can make an enormous difference in his quality of life.
Manners are important during the holidays – and that goes for both people and dogs. With a house full of people things can start to feel a little chaotic, which can make your dog feel stressed. And if your dog’s not behaving, it can make guests feel uneasy, too. Maintain some order and keep the celebration focused on fun by giving your dog the tools he needs to be a polite pup.
Fall is a beautiful time of year. But along with colorful leaves, pumpkin flavored treats and apple picking, this is a season for nasty allergies. As temps cool and plants dry out, the winds pick up—and suddenly your pooch is up to his ears in allergens.
Many pet owners enjoy the companionship of bringing their dog to work with them and dogs have long been assistants to their human counterparts. From the earliest days of domestication, dogs began working with humans as guards, hunters and herders. With an unwavering loyalty, a willingness to please and training capabilities, dogs make wonderful workers.
When a curious dog catches the scent of something, his first instinct is to taste it. Where we would inspect an item before we consume it, dogs eat and then decide they want more. Humans enjoy all varieties of chocolate, but just a small amount could be fatal to your pup. Just why is chocolate toxic to your pooch? The cocoa beans used in making chocolate contain a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs. This bitter alkaloid, which is related to caffeine, is metabolized in dogs much more slowly than their human, chocolate-loving counterparts.
There’s no doubt about it – interest in feeding raw dog food is strong and growing. As more and more people encounter raw-fed dogs and see how healthy they are, owners look for realistic solutions to do the same for their pets. However, there’s a persistent perception that feeding raw is too expensive to make financial sense, whatever the benefits might be for a dog or cat. But is it true? The simple answer: No. And why not? Here are two key reasons:
Animal shelters and rescue organizations regularly implore the public to spay or neuter their pets – and for good reason. Those organizations are on the frontlines of the battle against pet overpopulation, and see daily the negative consequences it can have. Preventing unwanted litters isn’t the only good reason to spay or neuter your pet, however. Altering a pet brings multiple benefits. So why should you spay or neuter your pet?
The holidays are coming, and for many people, that means traveling long distances to see friends and family and celebrate the season. For dog owners, that can also mean leaving their beloved best friend at home, either with a sitter or a boarding facility.
It’s not exactly breaking news that puppies are hard to resist – those wiggly, soft, sweet little critters can charm just about anyone. If you’re already a pet owner, however, you know that a puppy, cute as it is, is a real commitment – though it’s worth all the work in the end. If you’re considering adding a new pup to a household that already includes other dogs, you have even more to think about.
Winter’s always going to be a little chilly, but every now and again a harsh cold snap descends. With temperatures and wind chills in some parts of the U.S. dipping well below 0 F this week, animals of all kinds can be very vulnerable to frostbite or worse. By protecting your own pet and lending a helping hand to others, you can make the difference between life and death.
For those out there who said I'd never amount to anything – check out the March/April Dogs Naturally Magazine. Ok, I admit it, I'm still not a world-famous novelist. Baby steps, right? I was honored to participate as a guest writer for the latest issue of this up-and-coming publication. You can find a sampling of my journalistic artistry by clicking here. You'll find your's truly on page 11.
One of the greatest benefits of feeding a raw dog food diet is that it can easily be customized. While there are products like Sojos Complete that take all the guesswork out of raw dog food, for owners who want to customize their pets’ meals, raw food mixes without meat are a great option.
Your cat has impeccable hygiene; she’s constantly licking those paws, grooming herself and keeping squeaky clean. This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for grooming, though. Keeping her paws healthy is essential for her overall wellbeing. Here are some tips to keep kitty’s kickers in top shape: Scratch, scratch
Your dog has some durable paws, but they certainly aren’t indestructible. You throw on your hiking boots for a climb in the mountains and your rubber boots in the rain. Dogs don’t have that luxury—their paws come in contact with all kinds of surfaces when they walk, run, play, swim. This exposure can lead to some painful injuries if you aren’t careful to help your pet tend to his tootsies. Here are some tips to help your pet keep those feet healthy: Moisturize
At the beginning of 2011, to say that our staff was spread too thin would have been one of the world’s all-time understatements. My production supervisor had recently quit. I was working long hours, sometimes through the night. We were still adjusting to bringing our own freeze drying operation in-house. We were growing like a weed and having a hard time keeping up with demand. I was putting out fires left and right, all while hosting a perpetual knot in my stomach. After owning Sojos for 15 years, I was running on fumes.
In the days since the shooting in Newtown, Conn., the affected community - and the nation - have been reeling with grief. In the face of such a senseless tragedy, we all mourn together. Finding a sense of connection and love is incredibly important, and many people believe that dogs can help suffering people do just that.
Earlier this month the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) passed a resolution discouraging the feeding of raw meat to cats and dogs. During the groundswell of opposition that arose in the weeks prior to the vote, there was much fear and gnashing of teeth among raw feeders (including myself) trying to prevent this resolution from passing. Many worried that the AVMA was trying to ban raw food for pets, or that this ruling would ultimately alter the FDA’s stance on raw diets.
Seizures can be caused by a variety of things: epilepsy, brain injury, heat stroke, low blood sugar, brain tumor, distemper, kidney or liver failure, or poisoning, to name a few. Seizures are marked by convulsions, dilated pupils, and muscle twitches. These episodes can be frightening for both dogs and owners and the cause may be difficult to pinpoint. Visit your holistic vet to talk about what may have caused your dog to have a seizure. Targeting the cause will allow you to better treat the issue.
The statistics are scary. Bloat, or more technically Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV), is responsible for tens of thousands of animal deaths every year. But if you understand the condition and its cause, it doesn’t have to be a worry. What is it?
There are few things more disarming than a sweet, roly-poly puppy. If you’re looking for a pup to be a new part of your family, it can be hard not to fall in love at first sight, but knowing more about where that adorable little furball comes from can make all the difference in the world.
Almost all people can read emotional cues in other human faces and body language – but can you do the same with your dog? Humans and dogs have a long history together; most scientists agree that the earliest domestication of dogs took place at least 16,000 years ago – others have found evidence that domestication happened as long as 32,000 years ago. In either case, that’s a long time that we’ve shared our spaces and activities with dogs.
It’s easy to fall in love with cats – and because of that, it’s easy to want more than one. If you already have a cat, however, adding a new one to the household should inspire some serious consideration and planning. Without it, the introduction of a new purring bundle of joy could lead to some unwanted chaos. Whether you’re considering a kitten or an older cat, keep these tips in mind to make the transition smooth and less stressful for you, your existing cats and the new kitty on the block.
Keeping pets safe, sound, healthy and happy is something every dedicated owner wants to accomplish. The unconditional bond you share makes you willing to go the extra mile to maintain your animal’s wellness - but what’s the best option for doing so? For many people, the method of safeguarding a pet’s health is changing, moving away from traditional veterinary medicine to a more holistic approach.
It can be difficult to read your pet’s body language. If he growls, bares his teeth, snarls, snaps or bites at you or others, these aggressive behaviors are unacceptable. Paying close attention to your pet’s body language and aggression triggers can help you understand why he is acting that way. There are several types of aggression. Here are some common types:
Even for the most planned, organized person in the world, getting a puppy or a dog can be all about emotion. Seeing a sweet look on that cute little critter’s face can somehow make it feel as though everything will be easy and turn out well. But after you’ve brought a new dog home, no matter his age, challenges usually start to appear, and it’s up to you to handle them with a calm demeanor.
Can your dog clear a room because of his flatulence? It’s not his fault! All dogs are prone to gas, especially if you feed them a low-quality food with fillers and artificial preservatives, random table scraps or too many snacks. Food allergies and eating too fast can contribute as well.
Any dog lover knows how cute puppy breath is, but when those roly-poly little furballs get bigger, “doggy breath” is a whole other aroma – and often not a pleasant one. But don’t be fooled into thinking that bad breath is normal for a dog. In fact, it can be an indicator of deeper health problems. The numerous possible reasons for bad breath mean that brushing his teeth won’t necessarily fix the issue.
The instinct is strong, whether you’re human or canine: When the cold winds start to blow, it’s hard to resist curling up to stay cozy and warm. But after a few weeks – or months – of laying low, we all get a little stir-crazy and want to get moving.
Most people know what dog-sledding looks like, but what about skijoring? Skijoring is a mix between cross-country skiing and mushing. Residents of icy climates have long practiced this winter sport, and it’s now gaining popularity all over the world. When skijoring, a dog connected by harness, pulls a person on cross-country skis. Whether you are a competitor or just trolling around the park, skijoring is a great way to have some fun with your pooch during the frigid winter months. Almost any dog breed can try this sport, but should be over 30 LBS.
Most dog owners have been on both sides of this equation: An eager dog-lover approaches a dog, and the pup has a negative reaction -either barking, nipping or running away. It’s upsetting and embarrassing, but it’s hard to place blame in that situation. Some communication might have saved the day.
You’d love to get a cat or dog, but worry about allergies. The advantages of owning a pet typically outweigh the disadvantages, note the experts at the Humane Society of the United States. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your animal companion with a minimum of sneezing.
You want your pet to be a confident, happy member of your family. A confident pet will be more interactive and spend more time with you, and most of us want all the extra snuggle time we can get with our little buddies. But, many cat owners have to cope with pets that are skittish and scared, which can leave owners feeling like they’ve done something wrong – and lead to a less-than-ideal relationship.
Back in the ’50s and ’60s, the pop culture vision of the distant future – like the all-too-crazy-to-imagine year 2000 – often included people getting all their nutrition in the form of a single capsule. While we live every day in that previously unimaginable future, it seems sillier than ever to think that we could get everything our body needs from a pill instead of real food. And why? Because we’ve wised up, and now we know better than to buy into the idea that synthetic food can be as healthy as real food.