Why Accurately Measuring Your Pet’s Food is Essential

One of the easiest steps we can take to better our pets’ health is to measure their food accurately. Being attentive to meal portion size is an important detail for maintaining not just our pet’s weight, but their whole body health. 

Why ‘Eyeballing’ Isn’t Enough

Feeding your pet the right amount of food is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Do you feed a “handful” or a “scoop” of dry food? Do you just fill your pet’s bowl? If so, exactly how much is that “scoop” or “handful”? Is your measurement more or less than a cup?

The Little-Known Benefits of Feeding Eggshell Membranes

Egg membranes are often overlooked as a potential source of nutrition for pets. However, they contain important nutrients that can benefit your dog’s or cat’s health. The egg membrane is the thin layer that separates the eggshell from the egg white. It comprises two distinct layers: the outer and inner membranes. Both of these layers are edible and contain various nutrients.

4 Easy Ways to Prepare for the Most Inconvenient Events

Not all pet emergencies are life-threatening. Some are simply inconveniences that always seem to happen at 5 p.m. on a Friday when your vet is going home for the weekend. When that happens, you need to be your pet’s first responder. This means having the right tools on hand to successfully deal with these “urgent care” but not “emergency care” issues.

NorthPoint Pets Fiber for cats and dogs

Understanding the Role of Fiber in Your Pet’s Diet

Most pet owners immediately associate fiber with healthy poop. However, fiber does much more for your pet than that. Fiber plays a significant role in the absorption of nutrients in their diet and can benefit their overall health in many ways.

The Perks of Pumpkin for Pets

Pumpkin is a commonly recommended supplement for dogs and cats for everything from loose stool to constipation to an occasional bowl topper or a regular supplement. But what is it about pumpkin that makes it so great for your pet? Let’s find out what makes this sweet treat a favorite among vets and nutritionists! 

Reasons You Should Consider Adding Pumpkin to Your Dog’s Diet


Pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber – both soluble and insoluble. 

  • Soluble fiber helps with weight management, lowering fat absorption, stabilizing glucose levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and feeding healthy gut bacteria. 
  • Insoluble fiber assists in preventing constipation and lowers the risk of diverticular disease. 

Because pumpkin contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it can essentially help to normalize your pet’s stool, whether it’s too loose or too firm. It’s a win-win situation! 

As a preventative, pumpkin is an excellent source of prebiotics that feed the good gut bacteria- probiotics. This is a wonderful addition for any pet with a sensitive stomach as it can aid in the digestive process. Also, since roughly 80% of your pet’s immune system resides in their gut, a happy belly can mean a healthier pet!


Pets need food that allows them to consume all their vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A and Zinc help strengthen your pet’s immune health, promote clearer skin and a healthier coat, and improve overall eye health. 
  • Vitamin D helps to grow and maintain strong bones by regulating and balancing the retention of calcium and phosphorus. It also works to reduce inflammation. 
  • Potassium is vital to pet health! It assists in the functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles by aiding in transferring energy from the nutrients. 

Not only is pumpkin a great source of vitamins and minerals your pet needs, but it also assists with the absorption of these nutrients to improve many functions of their body.


Kibble-fed pets often live in a mild state of dehydration, as the body pulls moisture from itself to digest the dry food. Therefore, adding moisture to your pet’s kibble is essential. Adding moisture-rich pumpkin can help to keep your pet well hydrated. Added moisture is crucial for not only the digestive process but also… 

  • Weight control – Pumpkin is high in moisture and fiber, which helps your pet feel full. As a result, your pet is less likely to overeat and will be satisfied longer!  
  • Hairballs– Lack of moisture can lead to more frequent hairballs. An addition of pumpkin to your pet’s kibble will keep them well-hydrated, which means fewer hairballs for them and less clean-up for you. 
  • Low in glycemic index– Glycemic index is a measurement of the blood glucose response to carbohydrates. Low GI foods (such as pumpkin) contain carbs that are digested slowly, so energy is sustained for an extended period of time. 

Pumpkin is super versatile for your furry friends. You can include it as a treat, bowl topper, or toy filler. Pumpkin is worth the hype! With the holidays right around the corner, include your pet in the holiday festivities and try incorporating more pumpkin into your pet’s diet! 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.

Our 18 Favorite Lick Mat Treat Fillers

If your dog or cat is stressed, bored, or suffers from separation anxiety, we recommend trying a lick mat. The lick mat is a durable rubber mat with a textured surface. Simply spread food or a favorite treat on the mat. Your pet will focus on the pleasurable repetitive licking action, releasing endorphins that help calm and soothe.

Although many of our customers like to spread peanut butter (see warnings below) or yogurt on the lick mat, we’ve come up with these healthy and easy-to-use options:

Fresh Foods

  • Mashed Banana – Bananas provide an excellent source of prebiotics for gut health.
  • Mashed Berries – Any variety of berries, either fresh or frozen, are tasty options (blueberries have a high antioxidant value).
  • Mashed Sweet Potato – The sweet potato is a superfood for dogs and a great source of antioxidants and fiber.
  • Primal Fresh Toppers – An aromatic whole food topping that targets immune, joint, or digestive health.
  • Green Juju – A blend of superfood veggies and bone broth supports the immune system, digestion, joints, and your pet’s skin and coat. 

Sweet Treats

  • Unsweetened Applesauce – Use organic applesauce with only one ingredient on the label: apples. 
  • Dog Safe Peanut Butter – Not all peanut butter is safe for pets due to additives. We recommend Nature’s Logic.

Preference for Savory

  • Any Canned (Wet) Food – This type of food offers a variety of proteins and textures so every pet can find something to enjoy. For super-picky pets, we suggest Weruva
  • Mashed Raw Food or Toppers – Using these foods in as little as 20% of the diet can help prevent disease and promote longevity. For puppies, kittens, or senior pets, try Instinct Longevity.
  • West Paw Beef Liver Paste – Beef liver is a high-value and nutritionally dense treat, now in a convenient squeeze bottle. 

Bonus Treats:

  • Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up – A delicious soluble and insoluble fiber that it’s great for digestive health.
  • Primal Goat Milk – Offers natural probiotic benefits for a healthy gut.
  • Green Juju Bone Broth –A tasty and rich broth that coats the intestines to maximize nutrient absorption, heal the gut, and reduce inflammation. 
  • Bones and Co. Goat Whip – A low-carb superfood that includes goat milk with beef collagen for improved gut health. 
  • DentaTreat – Mix this mixed flavorful cheese-based powder with some water to create an enzyme-rich paste that reduces plaque, tartar, and bad breath. 
  • Eggs – Eggs are a great all-natural treat for your dog. Serving eggs raw is best, and scrambled (with no seasoning) is okay. Start small and feed according to the weight of your pet 1-2 times a week. 
  • Plain Unsweetened Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria and is a treat your pet is sure to enjoy.
  • Super Snouts CBD Peanut Butter – A scrumptious peanut butter with the added benefit of joint support and anxiety reduction. 

Variety is vital for optimal health, so feel free to combine any of these foods when you put them on a lick mat. 

Pro Tip: To keep your pet occupied longer, spread the topping on the lick mat and then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to two hours.

why does my cat puke

Why Does My Cat Puke?

Dear NPP, My cat throws up multiple times a week. It’s gross and I’m tired of cleaning up after …

Hold the Kefir!

Kefir has gained recent popularity for pets, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? Science says it’s iffy. The reasoning behind that is that the most common commercial kefir products either did not have the bacterial species it claimed to have, did not have adequate population of those bacteria or the products were mislabeled. Some products even had spelling errors on their packaging!

The most concerning of all was that the website and packaging of many of these products made a wide range of health claims, none of which are supported by the companion animal literature. This doesn’t mean that feeding kefir to your pets is bad per se, but it DOES mean we need to hold pet food companies responsible to safe manufacturing and food handling practices!


I was feeding Performatrin: Now what do I do?

‘House-brand’ or just marketing?

Large chain stores and online retailers such as Pet Valu, Chewy, Pet Smart, Costco and Petco have their own ‘in-house’ brands of dog food to help build customer loyalty. In reality all these ‘house brands’ are essentially a mimic on top selling pet foods under their private label or “house brand”. Their product is a literal copycat of top-selling foods in the marketplace and does not provide anything more superior to what is available to your local pet store. Sales associates are trained to direct consumers to their house brand because they make more money by selling you their brand.

If you were a Pet Valu customer and was persuaded to purchase their ‘exclusive’ line of food, Performatrin you may be finding yourself in a bit of a pickle seeing as how all US Pet Valu stores are closing. The silver lining is that you may be able to find a suitable or even better replacement for Performatrin while also helping support your local economy. Please, before jumping to Chewy, PetSmart, Petco or Amazon – visit your local pet retailer. You’ll be surprised to see a plethora of innovative and unique products, often for competitive prices.

At first taste, an exclusive line of food from an upscale retailer may appear to have everything you would want in a pet food – quality ingredients made by a small company with a passion for pets. Now with the announcement of Pet Value shutting all stores in the US in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, all of the appealing aspects of an exclusive food are no longer so appetizing. In fact, lines that are exclusive only to one chain, or store are usually known as ‘private label’. In short, most private label brands, despite marketing claims, are not all they’re made out to be. In fact, most do not even analyze their final formulations or products to verify they are complete and balanced!

What is private label?

Private label isn’t always a dirty word – but it can be in several contexts. While there are lot of examples, I’ll try and break it down simply. For example, private label could mean the following:

  • A generic formulation of food that exists as several brands, all with differing packaging. However, the ingredient labels and guaranteed analysis will typically read the same.
  • A proprietary formulation that is generally made by a large pet food manufacturer (who also makes several other brands), but packaged solely for one customer, or set of customers.

The reality is that there are only a handful of dog food manufacturing facilities in the U.S. This means that multiple, privately-owned brands of food can be manufactured under the same roof, often with the same ingredient sourcing. This is because ‘pooling’ of ingredients results in reduced costs. Other aspects to consider are cost of the facility, machinery, staffing as well as safety and quality certifications. There are several brands that own their own facilities, but that also doesn’t automatically translate to a superior product. Many high-quality products are manufactured in both situations – as a consumer you have to know what questions to ask to determine which products those are.

Why are private label brands problematic?

Private label brands can be problematic as a consumer because if the retailer who had exclusivity to that product closes their doors (e.g. Pet Valu), it leaves you without an avenue to continue getting your pets food. In addition, these private label brands may market themselves as transparent, when in reality they are very good at hiding pertinent information regarding the food formulation, adequacy testing and sourcing. This leaves you, the consumer, woefully unaware of potential issues – or risking not being able to contact the actual company or manufacturer if a problem arises.


Aside from barriers to purchasing these foods (e.g. if a retailer goes out of business), these brands also come with some potential risks – such as lack of nutritional adequacy or validation. As of the date of this article, none of the brands mentioned below were able to provide us with a full 3rd party nutritional analysis or digestibility study.

Don’t believe me? Keep reading and we’ll look at some of the more common “house-brands” and see if you can find them at another retailer.

  • Pet Valu: Performatrin (although with their closing, it wouldn’t be unusual to find it offered on Amazon)
  • Chewy.com: American Journey
  • PetSmart: Authority
  • Petco: WholeHearted
  • Amazon: Wag
  • Tractor Supply: 4Health
  • Costco: Nature’s Domain (Kirkland)

How do I find a transparent brand?

While small businesses love your loyalty, it is unfair for them to force loyalty by persuading you to purchase a product you can only get at one location, or chain. As a consumer it is always beneficial to purchase products that are available elsewhere in case the situation should arise. That said, there are numerous quality brands that are ‘independent only’ which are vastly different than the shade of a private label because these brands tend to be more transparent, and accessible.

‘Independent only’ (local neighborhood pet store) brands are typically companies with adequate product development teams, more transparency behind the product and have greater brand stability. As a consumer, it gives you a real company to contact in the event of a problem, or if you have a question. Whereas a private label may leave you with the impression the retailer is responsible for the product – misleading on all fronts.

Personally, as a retailer, I would not put my name on something as ‘my own’ if I did not have nutritional adequacy and digestibility testing done on the final product. Leaving the formulation and validation of pet foods to those qualified to do so is something consumers and retailers should both be holding brands accountable to. The pet food market already has a low barrier to entry, with one of the largest problems being that anyone can formulate pet food and sell it in todays market – even without credentials.  It’s also good to ensure that all brands have policies and procedures that require all products be held from distribution until they are confirmed to be free from contaminants and pathogens (e.g. melamine, salmonella etc.)

What can I switch to?

The good news is that there are numerous high-quality brands on the market today that you can easily switch your pet to regardless of sensitivities, preferences, age, or any other factor. The sobering point for you is likely the fact that you’ve been paying top dollar for a brand that is very similar, if not identical to other easily accessible products. If you feed as if you’ve been misled, it’s because you have.

Your local independent retailers are ready and willing to help you find a suitable or even better-quality replacement. However, in the meantime, I encourage you to do your own homework by reaching out to pet food companies and asking questions about who their food is formulated by and in what facility it is made in. This may help to broaden your horizons for pet food options. If you’d like to know more about the ‘right’ questions to ask, and what typical answers may mean (or not mean) click here: 5 Ways Pet Owners Can Improve Pet Food.

Curious to switch? Let us know what you were feeding, and we will happily identify an equivalent or better food when you stop by.

The Big Miss: Is No-Hide® Actually Rawhide?

A ‘consumer advocate’ recently stirred up drama from July 2017 re-circulating an article (figure 1) claiming that Earth Animal No-Hide® treats were rawhide, again. This was on the heels of the announcement of a class-action lawsuit (figure 2) against Earth Animal Ventures (EAV) questioning the ingredients and sourcing of No-Hide® products. I didn’t think I would have to address this issue, but apparently, I do since misinformation and cherry-picked information from the original chain of events keeps circulating (if it’s on the internet it must be true, right?). Consumers and retailers alike need to see the situation for what it is, so I’ll also write this from both a retailer and consumer standpoint to provide the level of transparency I hold others to. As you read this, you’ll understand that both sides have significant issues. In fact, No-Hide® being (or not being) rawhide is hardly the issue. Instead there is a pervasive lack of transparency and misinformation from both the consumer advocate side and EAV.