All posts by dr. jane
The great thing about cats is that they are superb at being independent and social companions. Most cats enjoy spending time outside playing with other felines. As a pet parent, it is very important that you are aware of some possible dangers associated with having your cat freely roaming outdoors. Since the 1960’s, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) have been spreading amongst the feline population worldwide. While these two diseases are preventable, they are contagious and potentially fatal if they are not detected early enough. The good news is that vaccines are available to decrease the chances that your feline will catch FeLV or FIV. " />

Spotlight on Feline Illness - FeLV and FIV

Five beautiful cats

The great thing about cats is that they are superb at being independent and social companions. Most cats enjoy spending time outside playing with other felines. As a pet parent, it is very important that you are aware of some possible dangers associated with having your cat freely roaming outdoors. Since the 1960’s, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) have been spreading amongst the feline population worldwide. While these two diseases are preventable, they are contagious and potentially fatal if they are not detected early enough. The good news is that vaccines are available to decrease the chances that your feline will catch FeLV or FIV. More...

Puppy FAQ

Puppy

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...

During the holidays many of us are swept up in a whirlwind of activities including trimming trees, opening presents and spending time with friends and loved ones. Once the twinkly lights are extinguished, the gifts are distributed and the kids go to sleep with full bellies and warm hearts, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s passed and make resolutions for the upcoming year." />

Year-End Reflections and Thanks

Dog with Santa hat

During the holidays many of us are swept up in a whirlwind of activities including trimming trees, opening presents and spending time with friends and loved ones. Once the twinkly lights are extinguished, the gifts are distributed and the kids go to sleep with full bellies and warm hearts, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s passed and make resolutions for the upcoming year.

As I look back on 2012, I feel the need to reiterate how truly honored and grateful I feel to be a part of a company devoted to the health and well-being of companion animals. Our products speak for themselves but they all include one important ingredient you won’t find on the label – heart. From our customer service agents to our management team to our dedicated Field Representatives, everyone here at Life’s Abundance plays a part in fulfilling our mission … to help dogs and cats lead longer, healthier and happier lives. More...

The inclusion of animals in medical settings is nothing new – in fact, dogs and other animals have been visiting hospitals and other medical care facilities for over 150 years. The benefits of using therapy dogs in facilities where comfort and affection may be in short supply have become strikingly evident in recent years – and the need for these canine volunteers has grown exponentially. In fact, many people have asked me what character traits make for a good therapy dog. Since it’s a wonderful way to help someone in need, I’m glad to use this forum to discuss what makes a good therapy dog and give you an introduction to getting your dog started in this most noble of vocations. " />

A Furry Friend is the Best Medicine

Cavalier

The inclusion of animals in medical settings is nothing new – in fact, dogs and other animals have been visiting hospitals and other medical care facilities for over 150 years. The benefits of using therapy dogs in facilities where comfort and affection may be in short supply have become strikingly evident in recent years – and the need for these canine volunteers has grown exponentially. In fact, many people have asked me what character traits make for a good therapy dog. Since it’s a wonderful way to help someone in need, I’m glad to use this forum to discuss what makes a good therapy dog and give you an introduction to getting your dog started in this most noble of vocations. More...

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." />

All Creatures Are Great - Big or Small!

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...

According to pet parents, one of the more common cat behavioral problems is aggression between cats in a multi-cat household. The source of the explosive behavior could be due to any of several reasons, including incompatible personalities, territorial competition or overcrowding. Cats normally establish a hierarchy among themselves, but the tricky thing is it can be fairly unpredictable and can change suddenly: cats that have gotten along for a long time may experience an abrupt falling out, leaving pet parents mystified. " />

Cats Behaving Badly - Part 2

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Hissing Cat

According to pet parents, one of the more common cat behavioral problems is aggression between cats in a multi-cat household. The source of the explosive behavior could be due to any of several reasons, including incompatible personalities, territorial competition or overcrowding. Cats normally establish a hierarchy among themselves, but the tricky thing is it can be fairly unpredictable and can change suddenly: cats that have gotten along for a long time may experience an abrupt falling out, leaving pet parents mystified. More...

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. " />

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions about Dogs

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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...

Cats are enigmatic creatures. Having an appreciation for their motivations will not only help you to develop a deeper bond, it could make your cat healthier, too." />

Feline Feeding Behavior & Why it Matters

Kitty at the table

Cats are enigmatic creatures. Having an appreciation for their motivations will not only help you to develop a deeper bond, it could make your cat healthier, too.

Feeding your feline optimal nutrition not only requires an understanding of your cat’s unique nutritional needs, but also of their feeding behavior. In fact, understanding the nuances of feline consumption can help combat one of the most common feeding disorders in cats - obesity. More...

One of the endearing qualities of companion animals is a complete lack of awareness about social norms. If they’re hungry, they eat. If they have an itch, they scratch. And, if they have gas, they … well, they release it. No doubt, gassiness is a subject that can spark the giggles. A comic staple of popular films, whether you euphemistically refer to it as breaking wind, cutting the cheese, barking spiders, a case of the vapors, churchhouse creepers, low flying geese, smoofers, whootzies, silent but violents, talky shorts, paint peelers, caboose rumblers, intestinnabulation, drive by pootings, smurf killers, lighting the afterburners, under-thunder, one-gun salutes or disturbances in the force, excessive gassiness is just another issue pet parents have to tolerate … or do they?" />

Dealing with Gassy Pets

Wink

One of the endearing qualities of companion animals is a complete lack of awareness about social norms. If they’re hungry, they eat. If they have an itch, they scratch. And, if they have gas, they … well, they release it. No doubt, gassiness is a subject that can spark the giggles. A comic staple of popular films, whether you euphemistically refer to it as breaking wind, cutting the cheese, barking spiders, a case of the vapors, churchhouse creepers, low flying geese, smoofers, whootzies, silent but violents, talky shorts, paint peelers, caboose rumblers, intestinnabulation, drive by pootings, smurf killers, lighting the afterburners, under-thunder, one-gun salutes or disturbances in the force, excessive gassiness is just another issue pet parents have to tolerate … or do they?

Let’s look at the causes. Excess gas in canine and feline intestinal tracts can be a function of normal biological processes, but repeated episodes may signal that something is out of whack. While cats do experience episodes, this is a much more common complaint for pet parents of canines than felines (cat lovers, you may now feel appropriately smug). Dogs who eat too quickly can swallow a lot of air along with their food; if it isn’t burped out, gas will find an exit path on the other end. Large meals, especially those eaten rapidly, and a radical change in diet can both lead to poor digestion, resulting in excessive gas. More...

Successful Aging - Mobility Wellness

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Senior Dog

Enjoying daily activity without stiffness and pain is key to our companion animals living “the good life” in their Golden Years. Because joint stiffness, muscle loss, pain and weakness can negatively impact quality of life, maintaining good mobility and strength is vital for better ‘healthspans’, a term we introduced last month, which refers to leading longer, healthier lifetimes.

In companion animals of a certain age, bodily systems start to degrade, breaking down at a cellular level. Just like in the whisper-circle game, where one person tells another a simple message, which is then repeated to each successive person … invariably, the message changes over the course of multiple re-tellings. Similarly, the cells are replicating over and over again, and after so many redo’s, the genetic messages become garbled. On the macroscopic scale, this means a loss of strength and mobility. More...