March 2020

5 Fun Family Activities To Do At Home

Family Having A Dance Party At Home

Sometimes an unforeseen event can force you into a home office situation you might not be fully prepared for. When making the transition to working from home, some parents get caught short on one vital thing — how do you entertain the kids?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered — at least for a week! We’ve come up with five weekday activities you can do with the whole family when your kids are home from school — one for each day of the work week:

Monday: Have an ABC Day

Choose a letter and plan the day around that letter. For the letter G, you could eat Granola, drink Greens Blend, play in the Garden, and make drawings of Giraffes (you get the idea!). Set them on a scavenger hunt for things around the house that start with “G”. Keep a list of how many “G” related things you can accomplish in one day. This is a great teaching activity for parents with young ones, but it’s still a fun game for any age!

Tuesday: Grow Fruit Trees & Reuse

This simple project will encourage you to practice your green thumb while teaching kids about seed germination. Save up the seeds from your apples, oranges, or any fruit that you have in the house, along with the cardboard from your toilet paper rolls. Toilet paper rolls make excellent seed starters; they are compostable and can be directly planted into the ground. 

Instructions:

  1. Cut the toilet paper roll in half.

  2. Make four cuts in the roll, 1/3 of the way up.

  3. Fold the cut area on the bottom like you would close a box.

  4. Fill your new seed pots with a light potting soil, plant the seed and pack it down with your thumbs – it's that simple.

  5. Place outside in a sunny spot or inside a window sill and watch it grow!

 Wednesday: Spring Cleaning — But Make It Fun!

If you’re guilty of having a Pinterest board with organization ideas but no time to implement any of the tips and tricks you’ve been saving, this one's for you! Collect all reusable jars in the house and start transferring the contents of your pantry into them. Add a little fun to this project for kids or adults by getting crafty with your labeling. Use an eco-friendly cleaner to wipe down the insides of your pantry once you’ve taken all the contents out!

“Mason

Thursday: Dance Party

Create a music playlist for the family and have a dance party! Movement is important for the mind and body, and dancing is a wonderful way to have fun and connect with your family while moving. We love this activity because it’s something you can do even if you are alone — this is your chance to dance like nobody's watching! 

Friday: Start A Book Club

Start a book club with friends and schedule video chats to discuss. Book clubs promote reading, critical thinking and healthy socializing in kids. And with today’s technology, it’s easy to hop on a group video call and stay connected. Keeping up with a book club doesn’t end when they go back to school — this is an activity that can be permanently ongoing! 

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You can tackle these projects in the order your family wants to. Remember, assigning projects to kids at home is a great way to keep them engaged, entertained and finding success when they’re home from school. It also helps keep them on a schedule and gives everyone something to look forward to each day!

 

FDA Loosens Restrictions On Telemedicine For Pets

Veterinarian Practicing Telemedicine With Patient

In a news release on March 24, 2020 the FDA announced that “it intends to temporarily not enforce certain requirements in order to allow veterinarians to better utilize telemedicine to address animal health needs during the pandemic.” Learn more about this positive development and how it might affect pet parents below.

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News Update from Dr. V:

I think it was maybe four years ago when I started asking my colleagues if we could start talking about veterinary telemedicine. The answer was a near-unanimous “no!” I lectured to empty rooms about this topic I’m passionate about and wrote articles no one understood.

Sure, maybe a few veterinarians here and there showed some interest in a telemedicine app, but the chances are pretty low that it’s something you’ve used with your vet. Well, that’s all about to change.

Until COVID-19 shut down entire states and even countries in a matter of weeks, we’ve always assumed that if your pet had a problem, you would take them to the veterinarian. As a profession we are very married to the idea that unless you have your hands on the pet, you won’t get a complete picture of what’s going on and wouldn’t be doing right by the pet.

What is a VCPR?

Legally, a hands-on examination has always been required for us to create what’s called a VCPR- a valid client patient relationship. Without this VCPR, a veterinarian cannot diagnose or prescribe medication to your pet. While each state defines this VCPR, they’ve all been pretty consistent in requiring this.

Let’s pause here for a moment because the next thing I’m about to say is super important.

Once you establish that VCPR with a veterinarian, it is good for a specific amount of time- usually a year. During that period of time, in almost every state, your veterinarian can do telemedicine visits with you, including follow ups and prescribing medication. I’m not saying they will do it, but they could from a legal perspective — and that’s been the case for quite a long time, actually.

What people are talking about right now is that the FDA has temporarily removed the requirement for the veterinarian to be in the same location to establish a VCPR. In this case, you could have a telemedicine visit with a veterinarian you’ve never met, and they could make a diagnosis and prescribe a medication without ever seeing you. It happens all the time in human medicine, but those laws are very different.

So does that mean when you get up tomorrow you can google “online vet” and get some heartworm pills for your dog with a remote visit? Probably not. Here’s why:

The FDA is a federal organization. But the rules surrounding the practice of medicine are determined by the state. In this case the state laws take precedence. In only a handful of states, such as California, they have made an emergency exemption where a California veterinarian can establish a remote VCPR with a California client. I can’t tell you what other states this is happening in, because the laws are changing quite literally daily. It’s astounding.

But to get back to what I said earlier, even if you can’t establish a relationship with a new vet online, you’ve likely already been able to conduct a telemedicine visit with your current one. It’s just that very few were willing to do it. That’s what’s changing.

“Woman

How is COVID-19 going to affect you as a pet parent?

  1. You may be asked to do drive-up medicine. Although you’ve probably heard that two dogs did test positive for COVID-19 in their system, there is no evidence they get sick from it or can infect others. The health precautions we are taking have to do with keeping both you and the veterinary staff safe, and that means practicing social distancing. Many clinics are asking clients to remain in their cars or limit the number of people in the exam room to one. We don’t like it either, but it keeps us safer.

  2. You may be asked to postpone wellness care. Again, it’s to keep us all safe. In addition, many veterinarians are donating as many masks and gloves as they can to help the doctors and nurses keeping us safe in the hospitals. This is a community effort.

  3. You may find your vet is suddenly offering telemedicine. I’m biased, but I think this is great. It’s important to note that telemedicine is only useful in some situations. An emergency will always require a visit to the ER. Pets will still need surgeries and bloodwork and x-rays and get hurt, and we’re doing all we can to stay open and be there for you when you need us. 

So when are veterinarians using telemedicine?

Most of the time, it’s for things like follow up visits, skin issues like hot spots, recurring ear infections, mild limping, “is this normal” questions, prescription refill requests, flea and tick medications, and general advice. It’s a limited list, but it covers a lot of ground. Again, every veterinarian is allowed to decide for herself if and when they want to offer telemedicine, so there’s no requirement that they do.

I may be biased, but I hope they all decide to do so! If they’re not offering telemedicine services, it never hurts to ask if they will consider it. It can get put into place very quickly. In fact, I’ve spent the last two weeks working behind the scenes with my colleagues to pull together resources to help those in the profession get onboarded with telemedicine as quickly as possible- so if you see my name out there, say hi! 

I do this because I believe in helping pet owners in any way I can, and this is my way of serving the community in time of crisis. 

Thinking of you all and hoping you remain safe and well,

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V 

Skin Purging vs. Breaking Out - Know the Difference

Woman Going Through Skin Purge

We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning, take a quick glance in the mirror, and see it — a pimple that wasn’t there the night before!

But before you start blaming hormones or genetics, it is important to figure out if you’re just having a skin purge or if you're breaking out. Here's everything you need to know:

What is Skin Purging?

This essentially means that your body is “purging” the toxins that you’ve ingested or used in skincare products through your pores. It can happen when you make significant diet changes or try a new makeup brand. Stress or a lack of sleep can also be a trigger.

Skin Purging vs. Breaking Out

Location is key when trying to determine the difference between a skin purge and a normal breakout. Breakouts associated with general acne tend to happen in areas where your skin is already pretty oily, like your nose or around your mouth. Blemishes caused by purging can show up anywhere and usually do in places you wouldn’t normally get a pimple.

How Long Does Skin Purging Last?

In most cases, skin purging should only last a few days as you continue to use your new product. However, it should never last more than a month total. If the issue worsens dramatically or lasts more than that time frame, you might want to look into talking to your doctor or dermatologist.

It’s also important to pay attention to see if your skin purge is really just irritation in disguise. If blemishes are accompanied by redness or swelling, it would be a good idea to talk to your dermatologist and find the culprit of what’s happening.

“Mother

How Do You Know a Skin Purge is Over?

This one is simple — you’ll notice your skin clearing up and blemishes disappearing without any new ones taking their place. You can also tell the end is near when you’ve continued to use your new products and are seeing results associated with their intended use.

Why Your Skincare Ingredients Matter

Making the change to using skincare products with organic ingredients is worth it. As you can tell from the consequences, the ingredients in the skincare and makeup products you use matter greatly. If the brands you are putting on your face contain a high level of harsh chemicals, there is a greater chance you’ll see a skin purge after you’ve stopped using them as your skin forces toxins out. 

Are you ready to see for yourself what a regime of high-quality products can do for you? Shop our collection of premium skincare products to see for yourself. You’ll love our effective, luxurious and clean formulas designed to keep your skin looking and feeling spectacular.

 

4 Simple Ways To Help Your Pet Lose Weight

Dog Exercising to Lose Weight

Did you know that more than half of the dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight? All that extra heft puts our beloved pets at-risk for many serious health conditions.

The good news is that solving your companion animal’s weight problem might be easier than you’d expect!

Check out these helpful pet weight loss tips to ensure your beloved friend will live an even healthier and happier life:

  1. Select A Wholesome Diet 

    One vital measure towards curbing weight is also a simple one — selecting the perfect food. Choose a diet that states an animal-specific protein source (such as chicken or fish) as the number one ingredient. Avoid foods pumped up with corn, wheat and glutens, as carb-loading will sabotage any weight-loss efforts. Our wholesome dog foods and cat foods provide a complete spectrum of nutrition that your pet needs to thrive at a healthy weight.

    If you have a hefty dog at home who is ready to drop some pounds, try our Adult Weight Loss Formula — this recipe is enhanced with L-carnitine to support a healthy metabolism and weight management.

  2. Use a Measuring Cup for Portion Control 

    Did you know as few as 10 extra pieces of kibble can lead to excess weight gain in smaller dogs? Just by measuring meal portions, you can help your dog or cat shed unwanted weight! Each pet’s metabolism is different, so it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian — they can calculate your pet’s ideal daily intake.

    “Cat

  3. Only Feed Healthy Treats

    It feels great to give your pet a tasty treat — but you can feel even better when that treat has a nutritious benefit! Many treats out there aren’t much better than canine candy bars — that’s why at Life’s Abundance, we believe that every treat should have a purpose, and every calorie should have a benefit. Over the years we’ve worked to create the best healthy dog treats and cat treats on the market. Your pet won’t hesitate to scarf down our delicious treats - and get a boost of nutrition at the same time!

  4. Short Daily Exercise

    Research has proven that the one of the most effective ways to live a healthier and happier life is daily exercise, for both pets and humans! As little as 20-30 minutes of brisk walking can have a remarkable effect on your health and your dog’s, improving cardiovascular health, enhancing mood and boosting immune function. If you have a cat, get them active for 10-15 minutes twice a day, whether it be with their favorite toy or even using a laser pointer.

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Many pets around the country struggle with weight problems — implementing any of these four suggestions could drastically improve the life of any pet, especially if they have a weight problem.  

Be sure to share this post with other pet parents! It just might be the first step in the process toward a better life for a precious cat or dog.

4 Ways To Support Digestion And Immunity

Woman Gets Probiotics From Eating Yogurt

Gut health has been gaining traction in the health and wellness world, and for very good reason. Gut health affects everything from your immune system, to your weight, to your brain function, so it’s really important to focus on what’s going on in your belly.

More and more research highlights the importance of the healthy bacteria that live in your gut.

Having adequate “good” bacteria has been shown to help regulate the digestive system and help support the immune system. Recent probiotic studies connect proper balances with healthy body weight and brain health too!

Here are four ways you can take steps to support your digestive health, a key to your overall well-being and immunity:

  1. Take a Probiotic daily 
    Think of this supplement as a bit of an ‘insurance policy’ to help make sure that you’re balancing the bacteria in your gut every day, no matter what. Support your digestive health and immune system with our Probiotic Supplement — it has a proprietary 5-strain blend with 25 billion CFUs guaranteed. Plus, it's made in the USA

  2. Add fermented foods to your diet 
    Try adding foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. They begin with a live active culture and are fermented, giving them the benefit of probiotics.

    Man Pours Water To Stay Hydrated

  3. Drink lots of fluids 
    Our bodies need water for skin health, immunity and energy, but also to push things along through digestion. So while we need the bacteria for gut health, we also need the fluids to keep everything moving as it should.

  4. Eat fiber
    Many fibers are considered to be prebiotics. This means that they feed the good bacteria already present in your gut. But different fibers feed different bacterium, so it’s important to get these prebiotics from multiple sources and from a variety of foods.

To ensure a healthy gut, you should take a premium Probiotic supplement for balanced gut health and a supported immune system. You can also include a serving of fermented food each day for extra measure. Once you take gut health into your own hands, you may be surprised how great you feel and become a pro-probiotic fanatic as well!