Bringing Home New Puppy

Friday, 25 January 2013 11:03 by Dr. Sarah

Few words evoke as much spontaneous glee as ‘my new puppy’. But, it’s also true that some might react with mild dread at the mere thought of the work involved in adopting a new pup. Fortunately, Dr. Sarah is ready to share the fruits of her personal experience and veterinary wisdom, all to help viewers ensure a smooth transition into the wonderful world of puppydom.

In the latest episode of Pet Talk, our puppy-loving doctor is joined by a very special co-host – Sarge. While technically not a sergeant (or even a human), Sarge is qualified to assist in this department, as he is a full-time puppy. With Sarge’s help, Dr. Sarah will reveal how, with just a little bit of prep work, you and your newest family member will be getting down to the business of bonding and creating adorable memories.

From tips on what you’ll need to buy before bringing your puppy home, to how to safely puppy-proof your home, to ideas for communicating effectively with your pup, to dietary considerations and so much more, Sarah and Sarge will demonstrate what you need to know in order to put your best paw forward.

From all of us here at Life’s Abundance, we send our heartfelt wishes for a long, healthy and happy relationship with your new canine companion.

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Puppy FAQ

Friday, 25 January 2013 11:02 by Dr. Jane


To kick off the New Year and the launch of our Large Breed Puppy Food, we’re celebrating everything puppy. If you’re a new pet parent or are simply thinking about adopting a new puppy, we offer the following collection of frequently asked questions about puppies, along with Dr. Jane’s insightful responses.

My puppy often has the hiccups. Is this something I should be concerned about?

For a puppy, hiccups are generally not cause for alarm. Puppy hiccups are usually a harmless, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. Hiccups are experienced by all breeds and sizes, with episodes typically lasting less than a few minutes. Some unborn pups even hiccup inside their mother's womb! While hiccups are harmless, when accompanied by regurgitation, or the sudden discharge of undigested food or water, especially without much provocation, is worrisome. If your pup vomits, especially repeatedly, a veterinary exam is very much in order. More...

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Trick or Treat

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:32 by Dr. Sarah

In this thrilling episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah peers into her crystal ball and treats pet parents to some special tricks to help fur-kids have a happy and healthy Halloween. Our staff veterinarian offers some timely tips on keeping your pets’ paws off potentially hazardous candies. Further, Dr. Sarah conjures up the perfect spell to keep your furry friends from unexpectedly venturing out among the other creatures of the night! And, since tasty treats are central to All Hallow’s Eve, Dr. Sarah reveals some healthier options made especially with your four-footers’ nutritional needs and well-being in mind. In the brief video, you’ll learn all sorts of helpful tricks for taking the fear out of your Halloween celebration!

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All Creatures Are Great - Big or Small!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:30 by Dr. Jane

Big dog and a little dog

One of the most amazing things about canines is the astounding range of sizes and shapes they come in. From Saint Bernards to Chihuahuas - and everything in between – there’s a dizzying array of physical variations. This explosion of varieties has happened extraordinarily quickly in terms of evolutionary timescales due to relentless selective breeding by humans and, as a result of our genetic meddling, the dog is now the physically most diverse land animal on the planet.

With the multitude of shapes and sizes in the canine kingdom, you may be surprised to note that only six or seven locations in a dog’s genetic code can explain about 80% of the differences in height and weight among dog breeds. In comparison, in studies on humans, like those conducted by Carlos Bustamente, professor of genetics at Stanford, differences in height and weight in humans are controlled by hundreds if not thousands of genetic variations. More...

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Tips & Tricks for Brushing

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:34 by Dr. Sarah

Think back to when you chose which dog to share your life with … did grooming requirements weigh heavily on your decision-making? Chances are, probably not. It’s important that you have some understanding of your dog’s grooming needs from the get-go. You don’t want to wait until she’s uncomfortable or you are frustrated before acting. Some pet parents postpone grooming duties until the coat builds up foul odors, or when shedding is so prevalent that dog-hair tumbleweeds are rolling across the floor. But, with the helpful information provided in this short video, that’s all about to change. With assistance from her beautiful, blond assistant, Alma, Dr. Sarah offers a concise review of the basics of home grooming.

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Debunking Myths and Misconceptions about Dogs

Friday, 24 August 2012 15:50 by Dr. Jane
Untitled 2

Dog Magnify Glass

Remember the old party game “telephone” where a message is passed secretly through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group? If you’ve played the game, you’re well aware that the initial message gets drastically altered as it’s passed on from one person to the next. The same thing can happen with any information – including “facts” about pets. As a caring pet parent, it’s important to stay “in the know” regarding the furry companions who reside under your roof. The internet provides a wealth of resources at your fingertips, however, you are not only exposed to helpful tips and advice on how to best care for your companion animals, you’ll also see some misinformation. So let’s take a look at five of the most commonly shared myths about pets and discover why you can’t always trust everything you read when it comes to your four-legged friends. More...

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Successful Aging - Factors in Lifespan Determination

Friday, 24 August 2012 15:48 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the final installment in our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, we’ll devote time to one of the great mysteries of health … is it due to some sort of genetic luck-of-the-draw or does it have more to do with living wisely? Our hope is that a deeper understanding of this topic could assist all pet parents, aiding them in their attempts to ensure longer and healthier lifetimes for their dear companions. Dr. Sarah explains recent research conducted in this fascinating arena, all with an eye towards the potential benefits in regards to the longevity of our furry four-footers. Additionally, Dr. Sarah will reveal a startlingly simple and ingenious method of feeding that shows great promise for helping extend the natural life of not only companion animals, but humans too! This is one episode you won’t want to miss. Be sure to share this important health message with your friends and family.

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Camping with your Canine Companion

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:49 by Dr. Sarah

Are you looking for an affordable alternative for summer vacation? Do you yearn to explore the Great Outdoors? Are you tired of leaving your dog behind when you leave town? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then this episode of Pet Talk was made just for you! In this special summertime message, our intrepid, happy-go-lucky staff veterinarian Dr. Sarah applies her ready-for-anything attitude to a great American pastime with a twist … canine camping. Aided by Alma, her fun-loving, Goldendoodle co-star, our pet expert is on location in the Colorado woodlands, sharing her insights and practical tips to help prepare you for your next nature-land adventure.

As an added bonus to our readers, we’re including a full explanation of what you’ll need to pack to mount your next expedition into the wilds. And be sure to download the handy checklist version to take the last-minute guesswork out of what you’ll need to pack.

From here on out, camping won’t be complete without your canine companion. So, shake the moths out of your tent, dust off your backpack and buy a pack of strike-anywhere matches. Don’t forget to share your camping stories with other Life’s Abundance customers in the comments section below!

Packing List for Camping with your Canine Companion

Identification tags: If your pup is out of the house, she should wear her ID tags (license, vaccination & home address) labeled with your name, city, state and phone number. For your camping trip, consider purchasing an inexpensive, temporary tag for her to wear along with the standard tags. Some stores have engraving kiosks - simply enter the relevant info (such as your dog’s name, the name of the park where you’ll be camping and your assigned campsite number). If your park of choice doesn’t assign numbers ahead of time, or if you’re camping on a wilderness trail, include the phone number of the nearest ranger station. If there’s space enough, include pertinent information about medical conditions (such as ‘Diabetic’) or behavioral issues (like, ‘Cat Aggressive’).

Leash: In addition to your standard leash and collar (make sure they’re in good condition while you’re at it), consider bringing back-ups. It’s a good idea to have one short lead, especially if your destination is heavily wooded - you don’t want Max’s retractable lead wound around a couple of trees when he’s in an excited state.

Tether or Crate: You need to have a way to safely restrain your dog while you are setting up camp, cooking, etc. - just ask anyone who’s ever tried to pitch a tent while holding a leash - not pretty. If your dog routinely sleeps in a crate, and you’re driving to your campsite, bring it along. Obviously, it’s not something you want to carry on your back if you’re hiking to your site. However, a crate is a safe place she can return to while you’re busy prepping or cleaning up your camp site.

Bedding: Bring an all-weather tarp to place under the bedding to shield you and your pup from the ground, especially for camping in cold weather. Laying on the ground risks exposure, as body heat is quickly absorbed into the earth, and we don’t want you or your dog experiencing hypothermia.

Cold Protection: To further protect your pup, especially if she has a short or thin coat, pack a doggie sweater for her to wear. Again, there’s no reason to risk hypothermia.

Booties: Depending on the terrain, presence of ice on the ground, prevalence of fire ants or if your dog has weak footpads (i.e., predisposed to tearing, not uncommon in older dogs), booties are a good solution for paw protection. Don’t forget to do some trial runs with the booties before you leave … wearing shoes for the first time takes some getting used to.

Food and Water: Don’t wing it when it comes to having enough food and water. Do not simply trust the safety of streams, rivers and lakes as a source of hydration, for you or your dog. It’s rare these days to locate natural water that isn’t tainted by giardia, toxic chemicals or other harmful bacteria. If you insist on using water from a natural source, bring giardia tablets (follow the label instructions) and a tiny bottle of bleach (you only need a couple of drops per gallon) to purify the water. When it comes to food, pack two extra days of dog food beyond your planned stay. Preserve the food in a sturdy water-proof container. If your campsite features a “bear box” (a storage container high off the ground, often on a pole), please use it - it’s there for a reason. If you don’t have travel bowls, pack your pup’s regular ones – even these can evoke a measure of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Toys: Even though the Great Outdoors may captivate your attention, boredom’s a distinct possibility after your dog has marked his or her territory and sniffed around the camp site a couple of times. If your dog is fearful under the stars, a favorite toy from home might provide a measure of comfort.

First Aid Kit Items: Chances are, you already plan to take some first-aid items … by adding a couple of more products, you’ll be well prepared to handle many canine emergencies, too.
Take the following items and keep them safely stored in clear storage bags … that way, you won’t waste precious time in an emergency situation digging through your backpack.

Bandages: Vetwrap (self-stick gauze), butterfly bandages (used to close open wounds), waterproof surgical tape, duct tape, 4” X 4” gauze pads and non-stick sterile pads
Styptic Powder, to stop bleeding (Kwik Stop is a good brand)
Small Scissors
Hemostats or needle-nose pliers
Small razor (to shave hair from injured area)
Irrigation syringe (to flush eyes and wounds)
Ear and eye ointment (ask your vet or vet tech for which brands for common conditions)
Triple antibiotic ointment with lidocaine (that last part will help with stinging, painful wounds - check with your vet)
Medication for insect stings in both a topical spray and oral capsules (again, talk with your vet about brand choice and dosages)
Hydrogen peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
Muzzle (if your dog is in pain, you need to take steps to prevent him from biting you or others while addressing the emergency)

If you are planning a camping trip in a remote location, it would be wise to consider enrolling in a back-country EMT course, which should be available through your local community college.

It sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re adequately prepared, you’re more likely to have a blast. Enjoy your trip!

(Please note: Always consult your veterinarian on your first aid kit regarding items, brand choices, dosages and guidance on their uses.)

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Competing Brands Announce Recalls

Wednesday, 9 May 2012 22:23 by Dr. Jane

I am truly saddened to hear of the current pet food recall concerning possible salmonella contamination. I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of this kind of infection in dogs and cats. Our hearts go out to the pet parents who are right now sitting on “pins and needles”, worrying about the health of their companion animals.

As part of our unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of all companion animals, we want to take time to alert you about this unfortunate situation.

Here’s what we know so far. According to the FDA, Diamond Pet Foods and other brands produced at their Gaston, South Carolina facility between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 have voluntarily recalled dry dog and cat foods due to potential salmonella contamination. This recall affects the following pet food brands:

Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover's Soul
Country Value
Diamond Naturals
Kaytee Fort-Diets (a rat and hamster feed)
Natural Balance
Premium Edge
Taste Of The Wild
Wellness Complete Health®

The scale of this recall is massive … products were distributed to customers in 41 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming) and may have been further distributed to other states through various pet food channels.

Symptoms of salmonella infection in pets include decreased appetite, fever (possibly quite high), lethargy and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dogs and cats may experience vomiting and/or diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and they may refuse food or water. If you know a pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, please contact a veterinarian immediately.

Keep in mind that infected – but otherwise healthy – pets can still be carriers of the disease, potentially infecting other companion animals and humans. You should always thoroughly wash your hands after handling your pet’s food and touching surfaces that might have been exposed to the contaminated products. Since these bacteria can also be present in the feces of your dog or cat, you should dispose of it carefully. According to the Center for Disease Control, 14 people in nine states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis.

For complete information on these recalls, we encourage you to visit the FDA’s web site at

Please be assured that this recall does not affect any of our Life’s Abundance products. We are fully confident that our products are completely safe. As you know, we employ numerous safety and quality controls to ensure the highest quality of our products.

When a recall occurs, many pet food companies rely on the media to inform consumers. However, people lead busy lives and often they are not aware of news reports or articles, which can lead to an extremely unfortunate situation for affected pet parents and their companion animals.

The good news for Life’s Abundance customers is that we employ an unparalleled, quick-response system. If we need to share information about a product with our customers, we can do it quickly and effectively. Thanks to our unique distribution system, we are able to pinpoint the lot numbers which identify the individual products shipped to each of our customers. Because we maintain databases with our customer's contact information, we can email them immediately about any issues with their products, should they arise. Also, through our automatic Interactive Voice Response system, we are able to call hundreds of our customers anywhere in the country within just a few hours. At Life’s Abundance, we believe informed consumers make for healthy pets!

Thank you for taking the time to read this important post, and thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Dr Jane Bicks   Dr. Jane Bicks

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Treat Your Pet to Good Health

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 15:43 by Dr. Sarah

Even though we act like it’s true, pets aren’t just like people. Ingesting empty-calorie snacks every once in a while can have a much greater impact on pets than humans, and not in a good way. Even feeding a diet of premium food may not offset the potential damage of ingesting “junk foods”, which often contain unsavory ingredients including artificial flavors and colors. In this particular health equation, it isn’t just a matter of subtraction (or taking away the bad stuff). Thanks to Dr. Jane’s wholesome recipes, you can actually add nutrients to your companion animal’s daily intake. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals how simple it is to make a positive change. If you want to provide your fur kids with the best possible nutritional advantage, you owe it to yourself to watch the latest episode right now. And, please, share this vital message with your friends and family, too!

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