All posts by lifes abundance

Small But Mighty Chihuahuas

They may be the tiniest of puppers, but Chihuahuas have big personalities in spades, as well as a storied history and a loyal following. That's why May 14th has been named International Chihuahua Appreciation Day!

Learn more about the origins of this ancient breed in the fun and handy infographic below. 

Do you have a Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix? Share your stories about this clever little breed in the comments section below! And don't forget to celebrate these tiny tykes on May 14th!

 

Chihuahua Appreciation Infographic

Six Principles of Eating Clean

Clean-breakfast

Everything old is new again, as is common with all sorts of trends, but now Millenials are seeking out a simpler, more nourishing philosophy of food. Thanks to their renewed commitment to health, the principle of "eating clean" has found a home in this demographic. And, for some of their parents as well.

Eating clean is a new way of referring to a relatively longstanding mindset. In the 1960's, the natural food movement rejected processed foods, which were wildly popular at the time, not for health reasons, but rather for ethical ones. Today, it's about choosing more nourishing options than those offered by giant corporations that use unrecognizable chemical ingredients.

The whole idea behind eating clean is a reliance on healthy, whole and unprocessed food. Rather than counting calories, or restricting oneself to one kind of food (like, for instance, only those low in carbohydrates), this guiding philosophy is more a lifestyle, a consciousness about what qualifies as nutritious. Those who practice it find that it gives you more energy, and because it's flexible and thus adaptable, regardless of your unique routine. For our modern times, where people generally feel pressed for time and always in need of quality fuel to burn, it's the perfect fit.

Colorful-salad

To adopt the "eating clean" mindset, you won't have to keep up with complex formulas or calculations. Fortunately, you'll only need to understand six essential principles of this dietary philosophy, as follows ...

1. Stop eating processed foods in favor of whole, natural foods. A simple rule to remember is that if it comes in a box, can or brightly colored packaging, it's probably processed. Your grocery cart should be full of color, but only natural colors - fruits, veggies, nuts ... you get the idea.

2. Just say "no" to refined foods. Obviously, it takes a great deal of effort to do this 100% of the time, but committing to a daily intake of whole grains from sources like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet is definitely the way to go. And don't forget legumes and beans, as they're great vegetarian sources of protein. You'll also want to end your consumption of high fructose corn syrup, opting instead for sugars from maple syrup, honey and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Say "goodbye" to meals with huge portions. Instead, spread out your consumption with 5-6 small meals evenly spaced throughout your day. These meals don't have to be all exactly the same size. A less drastic change for people who are accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is to have three primary meals with small snacks in between. By adopting the small-snack strategy, you'll be less inclined to overeat at your main meals. Additionally, you'll find that spacing out your meals and snacks will help keep your energy up and your blood sugar levels even.

Fruit-salad

4. Every meal should include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Most Americans don't need to be told to consume carbs and fats, but we often fall short when it comes to protein intake. Not only is protein essential for healthy muscles, it's great for curbing your appetite. Like with almost anything in life, balance is key.

5. Don't overdo it when it comes to the consumption of sugar, fat and salt. Don't worry, it's not that difficult when you eliminate processed foods from your diet. As you live with your new mindset, you'll soon find this is true, because clean foods are typically low in all of these ingredients.

6. Remember to move your body. Just as important as consuming clean foods is using that fuel to power regular physical activity. Establishing an exercise habit may be challenging at first, but within just a few weeks, it'll become second nature. Not only will you feel better, you'll sleep better too! And when you're burning that healthy fuel, you'll be decreasing your body's store of fat while also building your muscles. Soon, you'll be burning more energy even when you're resting, with the added benefit of improving your heart, lung and bone health, too!

We hope you'll start adopting some of these super healthy clean food attitudes and habits. We guarantee that once you commit to living healthier, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of clean eating.

Five Reasons Why Pets Eat Grass

Tempted to Graze

It’s a question pet parents routinely ponder. While there are competing theories regarding why dogs and cats consume grass, a conclusive answer has yet to be supported by scientific study. Here’s a brief overview of the current speculation behind your companion animal’s impulse to graze …

1. It’s an ancestral thing. The prey of wild dogs and cats frequently have grasses in their intestinal system, so domesticated dogs and cats still retain a yearning for a spot of grass in their diet.

2. Our companion animals know of some nutritional value in grasses that we have yet to uncover (such as antioxidants).

3. They do it to provoke vomiting if they’ve eaten something that has upset their stomachs.

4. They are augmenting their keen sense of smell with taste to discover more about their environment.

5. They simply like the taste and texture of grass, so it’s just for the sake of satisfaction!

Although we may never know the exact reason why, we do know that this is one of the most commonly asked questions that veterinarians hear from their clients. If you notice excessive grass-eating with either your dog or cat, please consult your vet.

Six Amazing Facts About Canine Perception

one-with-nature

Have you ever wondered how a dog perceives the world? If you're like many pet parents, at some point you've asked your dog, "What are you thinking right now?"

We already know that dogs have a sense of smell that puts our own to shame. But how do they use all of this sensory information? According to a brand new research study, the answer to that question just became a good bit clearer.

Researchers found that canines actually construct a mental image of what they smell, before they see it. Furthermore, behavioral scientists were amazed to find that the dogs in their study expressed surprise when the object they thought they were tracking turned out to be different than they expected! 

In light of this remarkable view into canine perception, we're taking a closer look at how dogs view, interact and understand the world.

To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below. 

PDF DocumentPDF Document

Interested in more details about the latest ground-breaking research into canine perception? Check out the study below!

Bräuer, J., & Belger, J. (2018). A ball is not a Kong: Odor representation and search behavior in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) of different education. Journal of Comparative Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/com0000115

The Amazing Reason Why Cats Purr

Whisker-Kitty

Most people believe cats purr when they are content or happy, end of story. While cats do purr when they are content, researchers attempting to uncover the answer to this 3,000-year-old mystery are finding the answer more complicated – and fascinating - than an expression of happiness.

All domestic cats purr, as do many wild cats, and purring occurs in a variety of situations. When cats purr in the presence of other unknown cats or kittens, the behavior may serve as a friendly greeting or to convey submissiveness. While it’s true that cats purr contentedly while on their pet parent’s lap, they also purr when they give birth, when they are frightened or even injured. Because kitties clearly cannot be content in all these situations, contentment or friendliness cannot be the only reason they purr.

So why else would they purr?

Natural selection tells us that a particular behavior or trait will persist through multiple generations only if it aids survival. For purring to exist in both domestic and wild cats, there must be something vital about the behavior. Purring is created by the vibration of the cat’s larynx and diaphragm, and therefore requires an expense of energy. If a kitty is sick, surely they wouldn’t burn calories unless it resulted in some sort of benefit, right?

Striking-Kitty-Face

We're all familiar with the expression “cats have nine lives”. Similarly, veterinarians have an old saying that if you put a cat who has broken bones in a room with other cats, the breaks will heal. In fact, cats are amazing self-healers: they have fewer post-operative complications than dogs, have a lower incidence of bone and joint disease than dogs, and 90% of cats survive high-rise falls! What could account for this remarkable set of facts, and is it related to purring?

In fact, there’s striking evidence that purring has healing properties. Researchers have found that vibrations in the frequency range between 25-50 hertz promote bone strength, stimulate healing of fractures, provide pain relief and help heal tendons and muscles. Bioacoustic researchers studied the purring of dozens of both domestic and wild cats, paying particular attention to frequency, pitch, loudness and duration of purring in relation to the cat’s behavior. Guess what they found? The purring is in the range of 25-50 Hz, the exact range associated with healing properties such as increased bone density!

Maybe this has something to do with a cat’s uncanny ability to heal. And just maybe purring is part of the reason why, when we fall ill, having a cat sit on our laps can actually make us feel better! Whether it is simply the comfort of having a friend nearby, or the vibrational frequencies of your kitty’s rumble, the joy of a cat purring on your lap is priceless.

References:

Rubin C, McLeod K. Promotion of bony in growth by frequency specific, low amplitude mechanical strains. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, 289, 165-174, 1994.

Elizabeth von Muggenthaler The felid purr: A healing mechanism? Proceedings from the 12th International Conference on Low Frequency Noise and Vibration and its Control. Bristol, UK, September 18-20, 2006.

Chen et al, The Effects of Frequency of Mechanical Vibration on Experimental Fracture Healing. Chinese Journal of Surgery, 32 (4), 217-219, 1994.

Leduc A, Lievens P, Dewald J. The influence of multidirectional vibrations on wound healing and on regeneration of blood and lymph vessels. Lymphology, 14(4), 179-85, 1981.

Rothschild BM, Rothschild C, Woods RJ. Inflammatory arthritis in large cats: an expanded spectrum of spondyloarthropathy. J Zoo Wildl Med. 1998 Sep;29(3):279-84.

Garman R, Gaudette G, Donahue LR, Rubin C, Judex S. Low-level accelerations applied in the absence of weight bearing can enhance trabecular bone formation. J of Orthop Res. 2007 Jun;25(6):732-40.

Lundeberg TC. Vibratory stimulation for the alleviation of chronic pain. Acta Physiol Scand Suppl. 1983;523:1-51.

Emerald Mocha Latte

Emerald-Mocha-Latte

People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable.
~ Irish Saying

Just in the nick of time for St. Paddy’s Day, we’ve created the perfect way to tantalize your taste buds and nourish your body.

With just five ingredients, whipping up a batch of this green goodness is super easy. Best of all, this delightful pick-me-up features two of our signature supplements.

Chocolate Plant Protein is a delicious, grain-free blend of clean proteins sourced from pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. Greens Blend mixes raw, certified-organic grasses and mushrooms to provide an excellent source of iron, B vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. This recipe is so jam-packed with nutrients, you’ll be dancing a jig in a jiff!

May the wind always be at your back, the luck of the Irish be with you and your cup full of Emerald Mocha Latte. Sláinte!

Ingredients

Directions

Blend until ingredients are completely mixed.

For an extra decadent serving, top off your latte with a dollop of whipped cream!

Pet Product Recalls Skyrocket in 2018

recall-alert

Updated 3-22-18: Something is very wrong in America’s food safety apparatus. Recently, numerous pet food companies have issued recalls for products containing Salmonella, Listeria and even Pentobarbital, a drug used almost exclusively to euthanize dogs, cats and horses. Not only can these contaminants result in pets contracting a serious illness, possibly even a fatal one, but in some cases they can lead to serious harm for anyone improperly handling the tainted products.

So far in 2018, we've seen double the number of recalls vs. 2017 in just two months time. Here's a snapshot of the FDA's pet product recall page ...

snapshot-recalls

What jumps out from the list of recalls is the high number of raw foods which have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, not only in the US, but around the world. Unfortunately, by their very nature, raw foods carry an exceptionally high risk of bacterial contamination.

THE DANGERS OF RAW FOODS

In fact, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal by a team of veterinary scientists from The Netherlands cited the dangers associated with feeding raw foods to companion animals. In a broad sampling of raw-food products, investigators found a startling amount of bacteria and parasite contamination. Numerous products contained Salmonella, Listeria, E coli, Toxoplasma gondii or other harmful contaminants that not only pose risks to dogs and cats, but also to the pet parents serving the foods. In the study's summation, researchers did not hold back in their conclusions, saying, "Cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are also more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets, which could pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health."

One company has initiated four recalls since 2016 after receiving multiple complaints from consumers. The FDA and the State of Washington are conducting separate investigations, due to the repeat nature of contaminants and the number of consumers affected. A number of dogs have been gravely sickened and one cat has died as a result of eating these products.

Another company has recalled its frozen raw pet food after reports surfaced of the death of two kittens from Salmonella septicemia, also referred to as blood poisoning. The FDA has launched an investigation, which has already uncovered the presence of both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in samples of that company's Beef products.

And these are just two of the raw food producers that have issued recalls. The products recalled are too numerous to include in this post, but we encourage readers to visit the FDA site for full details (link provided below).

EUTHANASIA DRUG DISCOVERED IN CANNED DOG FOOD

On February 8th, ABC 7 News (a D.C. affiliate) published a story about their investigation of the actual ingredients in dozens of canned dog food brands. What they found was genuinely disturbing. In all, 31 different foods tested positive for Pentobarbital. Most of the foods were produced by one company, The J.M. Smucker Co. The company first denied the reports, then issued a "withdrawal notice" asking retailers to return defective products. The FDA launched an investigation and the company finally issued a recall. 

Smuckers-recall-one

Smuckers-recall-two

Consumption of a pentobarbital-laced food can cause dogs to suffer drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, inability to stand, nystagmus (jerking movement of the eyes), even coma or death. Needless to say, if you believe your pet is suffering from such problems, please contact your veterinarian right away.

A Class Action lawsuit has been brought against Big Heart Brands, a subsidiary of Smuckers. To learn more about the Class Action, visit the link provided in the citations below, especially if your dog has consumed any of the recalled products.

If you're looking for a brand that puts the needs and wellbeing of companion animals before profits, we invite to you check out our health-promoting line of products for dogs and cats. We don't sell anything we wouldn't feed our own pets, who we treat like family. We only work with thoroughly vetted and trusted manufacturers and suppliers who provide top-notch ingredients. Our pet foods are made in small, frequent batches and go directly to our five warehouses where they are carefully boxed and shipped to customers. We've never had a recall, but we have a procedure in place that would allow us to contact every single consumer of our products directly (either by phone or by email) if there's an issue. At Life’s Abundance, we not only make premium products but we also ensure that we deliver premium products.

March 19, 2018: With all of the additional regulations put in place over the last ten years, pet food safety is still a problem. According to a follow-up story on March 19 by ABC7, they were able to purchase cans of dog food recalled due to pentobarbital contamination.

Citations Worth Checking Out:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180111224018.htm

http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/class-action-suit-filed-against-dog-food-manufacturer-after-7-on-your-side-investigation

https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/6990-fda-investigates-arrow-reliance-raw-pet-food?v=preview

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2018/03/blue-ridge-beef-recalls-pet-food-kittens-deaths-reported/#.Wp7lXujwa70

https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm

About That New Puppy

Blonde-Lab

Few things in life are quite as joyous as finding a new puppy to bring home. First come the aww-inspiring introductions, the wobbly walk, the pure delight of a super-fast wagging tail … well, you get the picture. But before the intoxicating aroma of puppy breath has confused your mind, there are definitely some things you need to take care of first.

Before you pick up your new pup, follow these simple steps in the infographic below to ready your home and protect your new little one. Because once they’re home, you’re going to want to be spending all of your time playing and sharing adorable “first-time” pics and video online. Also, don’t forget, house training.

Be sure to check out our amazing Healthy Start Packs for Small & Medium-Size Puppies and for Large Breed Puppies. Everything you need to feed and care for your new doggo is included, from food to treats to supplemental nutrients to care products!

With just a bit of prep work, you and your newest family member can get down to the business of bonding and creating adorable memories.

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!

New-Puppy-1New-Puppy-2

Celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month!

toothy-grin-dog

There is a reason why an entire month is dedicated to spreading awareness about the oral hygiene of our dogs and cats: it’s an easily remedied problem with potentially dire consequences. So, every February, we celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month in hopes that we’ll reach pet parents in a way that results in a change. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will need dental care by age three. This is often due to genetics, neglect or poor diet. Sadly, tooth and gum problems in domesticated animals are nothing new. In fact, two Ancient Egyptian fossils of cats showed signs of tooth decay!

Does My Pet Need a Dentist?

According to the American Dental Association, almost 80% of adults brush their teeth daily. And on top of that, it is natural for us to schedule professional cleanings into our annual calendar. Why should the standard be any less for our precious companions?

There are several warning signs of an unhealthy mouth. Some are obvious and others, not so obvious. As a pet parent, it is important to investigate your pet's mouth on a regular basis and check for the following:

  • Breath: When your pup swoops in for a kiss, do you detect a foul odor? Unhealthy-smelling breath is a good indicator of the presence of unfriendly bacteria in your pet's mouth.
  • Teeth: Lift the lip and inspect the teeth. Are they healthy white or are they coated in a brown film? If it's the latter, it means your pet is long overdue for a cleaning.
  • Gums: Color should be medium pink, although some dogs and cats will have black or gray spots on the gums, which is normal for some breeds. If the gums are bright red and angry looking, that could indicate a serious problem.

If you detect any of these warning signs, your companion animal would greatly benefit from a veterinary dental screening. But why wait for warning signs? Why not be more proactive? The combination of routine home checks, regular veterinarian checks and a quality diet could go a long way towards ensuring your pet's lasting dental health.

happiness

Head Shape & Dental Health

Believe it or not, the shape of your pet's head (particularly the size of his or her muzzle) affects tooth alignment. And why is tooth alignment important for dental health? Well, perfectly aligned teeth naturally push food particles away from gums, while poorly aligned teeth can result in plaque buildups, possibly leading to an increased chance of infection.

While poor tooth alignment is typically a genetic issue, a pet's activities can also result in alignment problems. For example, tug-of-war games with towels or ropes played often over the course of years, can move teeth from their normal position. Therefore, you might want to limit such activities.

Try Something New This Month

We're incredibly pleased to announce that starting February 1st, Life’s Abundance will be celebrating National Pet Dental Health Month with exclusive savings on select products.

This is the perfect occasion to try something new and integrate it into your dog’s dental care regimen. Throughout the entire month, Gourmet Dental Treats for Adult Dogs, Buffalo Bully Sticks and Porky Puffs are available at their discounted Autoship prices ... up to 18% savings off retail!

There's never been a better time to provide your dog with yummy, nutritious treats that can actually help to maintain a healthy mouth.

World's Best Dairy-Free Cheesecake

LA-cheesecake

It’s raw. It’s vegan. And it’s impossibly delicious.

Our culinary artist has created a taste sensation that puts other cheesecake recipes to shame! What’s so amazing is that’s it’s dairy-free and packed with nutrients, thanks to our incredibly nourishing Vanilla Plant Protein.

Using muffin tins, makes 36 mini or 12 full-size cheesecakes.

Ingredients

CRUST
•1 cup packed pitted dates*
•1 cup raw walnuts (or almonds)

FILLING
•1 1/4 cups raw cashews, quick-soaked**
•1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
•3 Tbsp Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein (about 1/2 scoop)
•1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
•1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (recommend skimming ‘cream’ layer off)
•1/2 cup liquid sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup or honey if not vegan)

FLAVOR ADDITIONS optional
•2 Tbsp salted natural peanut butter
•1/4 cup wild blueberries (allow to thaw slightly if frozen)
•3 Tbsp caramel sauce
•Lemon peel, fruit, chocolate or crushed nuts

Directions

1. Add dates to a food processor and pulse several times until only small bits remain and form into a ball. Remove and set aside.
2. Add walnuts to food processor and pulse 5 times to create a meal texture. Add dates to walnut meal and pulse until a loose dough forms. Add more dates if the texture is too dry. If too wet, add more walnut meal.
3. Lightly grease your muffin tin, either standard or mini-size.
4. Scoop in a dollop of crust (about 1 T for standard tin, 1-1.5 tsp. for mini). Press is down using a small glass or the back of a spoon. A shot glass works perfectly for mini tins. If it sticks, cover the glass with parchment. Place in freezer to firm up crusts.
5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until creamy smooth. Add a bit more liquid (either lemon juice, sweetener or coconut milk) if the mix fails to blend uniformly.
6. Taste and adjust as needed. If you opt to use additional flavoring to the filling, blend in now. Leave aside any toppings for now.
7. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release air bubbles. Add any toppings, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 4-6 hours.
8. Once set, remove by loosening with a butter knife.
9. Serve frozen or thawed. You can store these cheesecakes in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks … not that they’ll last that long!

Notes

*Soak in warm water for 10 minutes if they’re not very sticky. Drain well and pat dry before using.
**To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling water over them and allow to soak for 1 hour uncovered. Drain well before using.