Year-End Reflections and Thanks

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:12 by Dr. Jane

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...

A Furry Friend is the Best Medicine

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:08 by Dr. Jane

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...

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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Cats Behaving Badly - Part 2

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:35 by Dr. Jane
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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...

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Foundation Award to Stickney's Toy Breed Rescue

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:32 by Life's Abundance
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Family Gathering
Family Gathering in the Kitchen.

It is our great honor to relay news of yet another financial award granted by Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation. In a recent round of funding, we subsidized the vital enterprises of a non-profit organization whose mission is to salvage the lives of dogs damaged by human greed.

Located in Cortland, Nebraska, Stickney's Toy Breed and Rescue and Retirement Sanctuary specializes in small breeds, dogs who generally weigh less than 25 pounds. Nine out of ten of the dogs received into their care come directly from puppy mills, not just locally but from other states, too. More...

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions about Dogs

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

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Feline Feeding Behavior & Why it Matters

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:53 by Dr. Jane

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...

Dealing with Gassy Pets

Thursday, 21 June 2012 16:37 by Dr. Jane

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...

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Successful Aging - Mobility Wellness

Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:24 by Dr. Jane
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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...

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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:

4Health
Apex
Canidae
Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover's Soul
Country Value
Diamond
Diamond Naturals
Kaytee Fort-Diets (a rat and hamster feed)
Kirkland
Natural Balance
Premium Edge
Professional
Taste Of The Wild
Wellness Complete Health®
Super5Mix®

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 http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.

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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