Life's Abundance | Makers of premium health products for dogs, cats and pet parents, too!

Six Ways to Whittle Your Pet’s Waistline

Dr Jane Bicks According to a 2009 study published by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 34 million dogs and 54 million cats are classified as overweight. Sadly, these staggering numbers continue to rise. Just like in humans, obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the U.S. Excess weight lowers metabolism, increases appetite and can worsen other medical conditions, such as arthritis and respiratory problems.

If your pet needs surgery, extra fat can make it more difficult for a surgeon to operate and increase the chances of complications with anesthesia. With nearly half the nation’s pet population afflicted with weight issues, chances are you or someone you know has a pet that is affected. Here are six tips to help your pet shed unwanted pounds and keep the weight off for good.

1. Increased Awareness

There are two main causes of obesity in pets: too many calories and too little exercise. Secondary factors can also come into play, such as genetic factors of a given breed or the sex of the animal. A quick online search will reveal whether or not your breed is prone to weight gain. And be aware that neutered, middle-aged and female pets are more likely to have weight issues. More...

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Since the late 1970’s, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism, making it the most common feline endocrine disorder in the world. What causes hyperthyroidism, and why is it so common? Previous studies of cats in the U.S., Great Britain and New Zealand have identified a number of risk factors for the development of hyperthyroidism, including genetic predispositions, the feeding of some canned cat foods and cross-breeding. Furthermore, some veterinarians believe feline hyperthyroidism is simply an outcome of cats living longer. But, if thyroid dysfunction is symptomatic of old age, why is it not more common in dogs, or people for that matter?

Veterinarians first noticed a dramatic surge in feline hyperthyroidism in the 1980’s. This rise coincided with the prevalent use of PBDE’s as a flame retardant in many products. A chemical flame retardant used widely in carpet pads, furniture, and electronics, PBDE (or, polybrominated dephenyl ethers) were researched in a recent EPA study that suggested that these chemicals may partly explain the current epidemic. PBDE’s linger in the environment, and cats ingest the substance in both foods and by licking their fur which retains house dust laced with toxic PBDE particles. Furthermore, studies have also shown a link between hyperthyroidism and BPA in the lining of many canned cat foods. Life’s Abundance is proud to inform our consumers that the lining in our canned foods is BPA-free.

An Environmental Science & Technology study reported in 2007 looked at whether hyperthyroid cats had greater body burdens of PBDE’s, and found that all cats have high levels compared to humans, with some cats with incredibly high levels (Dye et. al, 2007). The potential link between feline hyperthyroidism and PBDE exposure may be the veritable “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to evaluating the human health impacts of PBDE’s. People in the United States have the highest PBDE levels reported worldwide, according to a 2004 study also published in Environmental Science & Technology. By gaining a more complete understanding of chronic indoor PBDE exposure and its effects on thyroid hormone levels in cats, medical researchers can better assess whether the same risk exists for people. Researchers believe that further studies need to be performed before concluding a direct link between PBDE’s and feline hyperthyroidism.

There is good news, however. It isn’t necessary to rip up your carpet and throw out your furniture as these chemicals have been or are in the process of being banned in many states. And cats still live longer, healthier lives if they live primarily indoors, and the risk of being attacked by other animals or hit by a car while roaming outside is still much greater than the risk of developing hyperthyroidism from PBDE exposure.

What can you do if your cat has already been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism? What are the symptoms? In this video, Dr. Sarah reviews the signs of hyperthyroidism and treatments available. If you suspect your kitty has hyperthyroidism, schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian.

Potera, C. Environews Forum. Chemical Exposure: Cats as Sentinel Species. Environ Health Perspect. 2007. Dec;115(12)A580.

Wakeling J, Everard A, Brodbelt D, Elliott J, Syme H. Risk factors for feline hyperthyroidism in the UK. J Small Anim Pract. 2009 Aug;50(8):406-14.

2011 - Out With the Old and in With the New

Cosmetics

Do you have a cosmetic “junk drawer” in your bathroom? You know, the one filled to the brim with enough makeup to beautify the entire Dallas Cowboy cheerleader squad! Somehow it’s difficult to bring ourselves to dispose of all the latest (or has been) styles that we have purchased over the years. They’re probably still good, right? However, in many cases, the answer is “wrong!”

Every time we use cosmetics, we expose our products to air, moisture and/or bacteria. Over time, the efficacy of the preservatives in cosmetics diminishes. As a result, cosmetics have the potential to become a breeding ground for bacteria. And when applied to the skin, cosmetics contaminated with bacteria could cause irritation, skin rashes or even worse – an infection! More...

How to Survive Holiday Stress

 

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Stressed Woman

For many people, the holidays are a stressful time of year. Unexpected guests dropping by, entertaining relatives, and finding the perfect gift on everyone’s list are all daunting tasks. To add even more to the holiday pressure, we must still deal with our day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Talk about unwanted stress!

Stress is the body’s normal form of defense. When faced with danger or discomfort, your body reacts in a ‘fight or flight’ mode as a form of protection. If your body is subjected to constant, repetitive and stressful situations, without time to restore itself, your health could suffer. More...

Canine Joint Disease 101

Unfortunately, arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting dogs in America today. In 2008, arthritis was listed among the top ten disease conditions in dogs (source: VPI). According to recent data, there are as many as 10 million dogs currently suffering from the chronic pain of joint disease, and one in five dogs will develop arthritis or joint disease during their lifetimes.

Otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, arthritis is caused by the loss of cartilage that covers the tips of bones in movable joints, such as the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, etc. Arthritis is generally a wear-and-tear disease seen more often in older dogs. As a result of continual rubbing, the cartilage wears away leaving bone ends exposed to each other. Since there are no nerve endings in the cartilage, no pain is felt until the cartilage is worn away; but when that happens, the edges of bones rub together causing pain and inflammation.

Arthritis can also occur in younger dogs as a result of genetic conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Canine arthritis is similar to human arthritis in that it cannot be cured, but the silver lining is that arthritis in dogs is not a hopeless condition. There are many effective treatments available to ease symptoms, slow progression of the disease and to help ensure your dog’s quality of life.

In this video, Dr. Sarah explains how to determine whether or not your dog might be suffering from this all-too-common disorder, as well as tips about how to manage pain and other symptoms should your dog be diagnosed with degenerative joint disease.

Ensuring Better Days for Homeless Pets

Ensuring Better Days for Homeless Pets

Resting Doggie

This holiday season, we’re especially pleased to bring you news of yet another financial award given by the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation, this time to an inspirational organization of animal rescuers in Pennsylvania.

Better Days Animal League is a non-profit animal rescue organization that was established in the summer of 2007. In their short time on the scene, they have helped to rescue and find forever homes for hundreds of animals in need.

The folks at this wonderful organization coordinate their efforts with local government officials and other local rescue organizations to further their primary mission, which is to be a strong advocate for animals. In fact, they are absolutely dedicated to the principle that all life must be treated with value, dignity and respect. More...

Useful Tips for Winter Puppy Care

The holidays are fast approaching and, amid the hustle and bustle, many people choose to adopt a new puppy into their homes during the holiday season. If you are the proud pet parent of a brand new puppy, here are some great tips on how to best take care of your new bundle of joy during the cold-weather months.

Most puppies do fine in cold weather - many of the long haired large breeds love to chase snowflakes and romp through winter landscapes. If you are considering adopting a short haired breed or small puppy, never leave them outside unattended. Although it is important to watch them vigilantly to make sure they stay warm, most dogs can still enjoy short stints outside. Remember, puppies need a lot of attention and care, and for potty training purposes, they need to be able to relieve themselves every few hours. You can start potty training your puppy as young as eight weeks of age, and it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

If you have opened your home to a puppy this winter and are wondering about how best to care for your new family member, then watch this video. In it, Dr. Sarah talks about special considerations for puppies during the cold months and tips and tricks on how to beat old man winter.

Giving Makes the World a Better Place

Dr Jane Bicks A time of togetherness and giving, the holiday season is upon us. Many of us will be devoting a great deal of time preparing for and spending time with family and friends. And while we may be busy scurrying about, carrying out holiday plans, the holidays are also a time when some reflect upon their lives and consider the consequences of their actions for the benefit of others.

And I’m so grateful to have a role in a company that does so much to promote the welfare and health of companion animals. As I’m fond of saying, we’re a small company with a great heart. Helping companion animals to lead healthier, longer and happier lives is not just an important company commitment … it’s our personal mission.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak directly to you in posts like this, to share my thoughts and insights in the hopes that they will benefit you in some way. In this post, I’d like to reveal the latest news from the work of the foundation that bears my name.

As you probably know, the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial support to a variety of animal rescue groups, all of which are dedicated to helping to save neglected, abused and unwanted animals. Today in America, there are literally thousands of rescue organizations working to make a brighter future for these helpless creatures. We provide funding to deserving organizations that meet very specific qualifications, such as demonstrating a high level of cleanliness, maintaining a caring environment, providing full veterinary care, and facilitating adoptions of their rescues.

In the past few months, we’ve awarded thousands of dollars to numerous worthy rescue groups, including... More...

Four Steps to Younger Looking Skin

Revitalizing Clay Skin. It has been with you since before you were born. The largest organ of your body, your skin stretches as you grow and shrinks when you diet. But, most importantly – ages while you age! Here are four simple steps that you can take to keep your skin looking younger and feeling healthier:

Sun Protection – As we age, our skin is exposed to countless hours of sun. Constant, unprotected exposure can eventually result in what we commonly refer to as age spots. Ranging in all different sizes and shapes, these spots can appear on any area that has been exposed to the sun’s rays – your hands, arms, legs and, unfortunately, even your face. In order to decrease the risk of the appearance of these spots, you must protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. These rays come in two different wavelengths, UVA and UVB. UVB rays, while shorter than UVA, make our skin burn when overexposed. UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin’s layers, damage our collagen fibers … creating those dreaded wrinkles and leathery-looking skin. The best form of protection (besides staying indoors during daylight hours) is to use a broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Moisturize - Not only do moisturizers make your skin feel soft and smooth, they also act as a “security blanket” for your skin. By using a moisturizer, you are giving your skin a temporary layer of protection that substitutes for lost collagen and elastin. Blanketing your skin with moisture helps to slow the progression and deepening of wrinkles. When looking for a moisturizer, be sure to take your skin type into consideration. Typically, moisturizers are made from two types of bases, oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions. Water-in-oil-based moisturizers tend to be thicker and greasier and ideal for hands or extreme dry skin. On the contrary, oil-in-water-based moisturizers are lighter and a much better choice for normal-to-oily skin. Be sure to check the label when choosing a moisturizer and select one that best matches your skin type and needs. More...

Welcome Home, New Pet! Now What?

Dr Jane Bicks
With the holidays just around the corner, many people will consider adding a new pet to their home. According to recent statistics, more and more Americans are adopting not only their first companion animal, but their second and even third. The pervasiveness of multiple pet households indicates just how important pets have become in our lives, and that we want our existing pets to have companions of their own.

Having multiple pets increases everything: the joy, the cost, the hair, and the cuddles. As a veterinarian, I am often asked for advice on how best to integrate a new pet into a home that already has resident animals. In this post, I’ll be focusing on dog-only and cat-only households.

In a Dog-Meet-Dog World

When seeking to add an additional dog to your family, be sure to choose a breed, gender and personality that compliment your current canine. For example, it’s unwise to match a tea cup poodle puppy with a large or giant breed dog, especially an active one. Even if no harm is intended, the puppy could easily be injured. Similarly, be conscientious if you already have an older dog with arthritis, as a puppy could prove overwhelming. In general, opposite genders get along better, as do spayed and neutered pets (procedures I heartily endorse). In general, we would recommend the adoption of a dog younger than the resident dog; if the ages are reversed, tension could result, leading to recurring fights over who claims dominance. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, personality is an important factor. You know your resident dog’s disposition and it’s essential to take that into consideration when bringing a new dog into your home. More...