Lifes Abundance content relating to 'Cat Food'

Alternatives to Feeding Canned Food

dog looking at food bowl

If you’re used to feeding your furry friend canned food, you might find it hard to steer away from it. While these foods are great for puppies and kittens, or pets with sensitive teeth, there are some alternatives that you can try. Here are our suggestions:

First, Consider Calorie Replacement

Whichever route you choose, be aware of the calories that you will need to make up when taking canned food out of the equation. 

For example: If you are currently feeding your 30 pound dog 1 1/2 c. of All Life Stage kibble per day and have been adding one can of Turkey & Shrimp daily (142 calories), you will need to make up the 142 calories another way. It may be just by adding more kibble, or you may choose a combination of kibble, a topper or mix-ins. The same applies to cats, as well.

Replacing Canned Food As a Mix-in or Topper

There are many alternatives to using canned food as a mix-in or topper. Our Turkey Hearts Freeze-Dried Treats are easy to crush into a powder that can be sprinkled over your dry food. Our Buffalo Lungs are also a big hit with dogs. Use a kitchen utensil to crush, scrape or cut small bits of this single-ingredient treat to sprinkle or mix into their kibble. 

These same tempting treats also work well to help with acceptance of supplements or medication.

You can also use baby food as a mix-in. It's highly regulated, so a jar of chicken baby food is only chicken and usually avoids extra salt. Moisten the kibble and mix it in as you would the canned food!

cat eating food out of bowl

Replacing Canned Food As a Primary Diet

Dry food is, by its nature, more nutritionally dense than canned food. This is why it is most often recommended as the primary diet for dogs and cats. However, we understand that some dogs and cats simply cannot eat dry food, whether the very young, or the elderly. 

As an alternative, you can soften our dry foods with a little water. This can provide a nice solution for weaning puppies and kittens, or pets with sensitive teeth. To do this, lightly moisten any of our kibbles to soften the consistency, per our feeding instructions. We do not recommend soaking. Because soaking is not how our food is intended to be used, soaking will not produce an ideal result.

We hope this has provided some additional options that you can implement into your furry friend’s diet so they can achieve and maintain their optimal health!


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Let's Talk About Raw Pet Diets

The Inside Scoop On Homemade Pet Food

Let's Talk About Raw Pet Diets

owner giving dog food

When I was growing up, my mom brought home whatever was on sale that week in the pet aisle: sometimes kibbles shaped like peas and hearts dyed painfully bright shades of green, other times packets filled with squishy red tubes meant to look like ground beef.

Whether or not that was a sound nutritional choice wasn’t on our radar; the vet never batted an eye when we said we fed Kibbles n’ Bits mixed with store brand chow. That’s what you did in the 80s.

The whole idea of ‘high end” pet foods didn’t start to gain a foothold until around the time I started vet school, and now the boutique market has evolved into a dizzying array of food choices, each marketed to one specific niche of owners: the grain-free types, the breed specific types, the dehydrated types, the organic types. There are plenty of folks still on the Gravy Train gravy train. And then there are the raw food aficionados. Each niche has its strongly held beliefs and values, and a good portion of them will take those to the grave.

“So what are you feeding your pet?”, which used to be a pretty generic question to ask during an exam, suddenly became a meaning-laden query laced with dynamite. It’s an oft-shared fact that many veterinarians don’t bring up nutrition with owners at all, and for many of them it comes down to “It never changes anyone’s mind anyway.”

How I approach nutrition conversations

I disagree that conversations never change anyone’s mind. Sometimes a conversation is DOA, but other times it’s a really good opportunity to learn more about a person and their relationship to their pet. Like many interactions we have with each other in life, I’ve found so much more success entering a conversation from a place of curiosity versus intent, of understanding before judging.

Getting to the why of someone’s food choices not only helps you understand that person and their pet better, it gives you an opportunity to determine whether or not a nutrition conversation is something they are open to in the first place.

Let’s be honest here: if someone’s mind is made up, and I mean really made up, nothing you say will change their mind. This goes for both sides of the raw food debate. You can pull up pages upon pages of information that make a compelling-sounding argument that people can and do use to bolster their argument all the time.

These people believe deep in their bones that their choice, whatever it is, is in the best interest of their pets and anyone who believes the opposite is either ill intentioned or woefully misinformed. Arguing just makes hard feelings even harder.

PDF Document

Trying to change the mind of someone not open to having a conversation isn’t something I dedicate time to these days. I respect their desire to make the right decision even if I don’t agree with the decision they ultimately made. Then we move on.

But sometimes, asking someone the “why” of a person’s choices leads to some really wonderful dialogue. Why do you think this is the healthiest choice? What specifically is it about uncooked food that you think is better than cooked food? What concerns you about commercial pet foods? If you know the specific objections someone has or a specific benefit they’ve identified, now you have a very discrete piece of information you can explore. Is it recalls? Worries about old food? Ingredient sourcing? Those things I can answer.

As you can imagine, I believe- like many of my veterinary colleagues- that raw food isn’t the best choice for most pet owners. Whether or not you take my advice will depend on whether or not you trust me in the first place, of course. But let’s assume we have a rapport, and you and I start talking about it. I will tell you the truth:

Over the years, I’ve used just about everything on the market depending on my pet’s situation: the grocery store kibble of my childhood. Kibble from the big brands, prescription foods. Canned foods, rehydrated foods. I even tried raw once, and stopped not because my cat did poorly but because of the risks to people in the house.

Now, I want the healthiest choices available for my pets with the convenience and consistency of a commercial diet, made by a company whose ethics and purpose I believe in based on their transparency, accountability, and quality control history. I am very happy with my decision.

The best thing I can do as a person with expertise is give you the information and the resources I have, and help you line that up with your priorities for your pet.

I can give you my suggestions as to what you should do with that information, suggestions based on twenty years in the field working with thousands of people and pets. Ultimately, though, it’s your choice.

That works really well. Be honest and share what you know. Lead with your good intent, and be satisfied that you had a good conversation no matter the outcome. You won’t win everyone over, but you’ll connect with the people you were meant to.

References:

Read a veterinary nutritionist's perspective: https://weethnutrition.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/campylobacter-salmonella-e-coli-oh-my-why-i-dont-recommend-raw-meat-for-pets/

Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine primer on raw diets: https://vet.tufts.edu/wp-
content/uploads/raw_meat_diets_memo.pdf

Cavallo SJ, Daly ER, Seiferth J, et al. Human outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium associated with exposure to locally made chicken jerky pet treats, New Hampshire, 2013. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2015;12(5):441-446.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human salmonellosis associated with animal-derived pet treats— United States and Canada, 2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.

2006;55(25):702-705. Freeman LM, Chandler ML, Hamper BA, Weeth LP. Current knowledge about the risks and
benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2013;243(11):1549-1558.


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The Recall System is Putting You at Risk

The Inside Scoop on Homemade Pet Food

Bulletin: Cat Food Recall Due To Salmonella

cat at vet

Note: No Life’s Abundance products are involved in this or any other recall.

On April 9th, the parent company of Meow Mix, J.M. Smucker Co., announced a limited recall on their 30 lb. bag of Original Choice Dry Cat Food over a potential salmonella contamination.

What Pet Parents Should Know

The impacted Meow Mix products were sold at some Walmart stores in several states, including Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The company advises pet parents to avoid feeding this food to their cats and throw out any product immediately. The bacteria can sicken cats and anyone who handles the food as well.

Lots of the following Meow Mix pet food products have been recalled if the expiration date is on or before “09/15/22” and has a lot code of “1081804” or “1082804.” You can find this information on the bottom or back of the cat food bags.

More About Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacteria that affects both people and animals. It is transmitted through contact with contaminated food or surfaces that may have been contaminated by the recalled products. Thorough hand washing and sanitizing contact surfaces can reduce the risk of symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and more severely, arthritis and muscle pain.

The GI symptoms are very similar in cats who contract Salmonella, and they may also experience fever or decreased appetite. Even with no symptoms, they can still pass the infection to other pets or humans in your household. If you or your pets experience any of these symptoms after having contact with a recalled food, contact the appropriate healthcare provider.

A Safer Solution

At Life's Abundance, we have a much better and safer way of making pet foods and notifying consumers should a problem ever arise. As for consumer safety, we view the system of product recalls as problematic. That is because most consumers will never hear about a recall. Yet because of our direct relationship with consumers we know who received which product, down to the lot number. In the event there is ever an issue with a product, our proactive communications system allows us to reach thousands of people by phone in just one hour, ensuring that we can contact all affected customers quickly. We can also reach them by email and even through the mail.

We hope the information we shared with you will do two things. One, alert cat food consumers of this situation, and two, help you feel even more confident about Life's Abundance and our commitment to helping families, including our pets, live long, healthy lives!


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The Recall System Is Putting You At Risk

How Your Cat Really Wants To Be Fed

Key Ingredients Most Pet Parents Are Missing

Owner picking up dog poo

Wisely, more and more pet parents seek out foods for their dogs and cats that contain probiotics.  However, the quality, application and overall formulation matter. Can you be sure you’re choosing the best product?

Here’s how to be a savvy shopper when it comes to researching kibble with probiotics:

Species Specific Blend

  • Most probiotics on the market were sourced from cows because they were intended for use in cows, pigs and chickens.
  • The probiotic strains selected for Life’s Abundance foods are ideal to support the canine or feline GI tract because they originated from healthy dogs and cats.
  • One strain doesn’t do enough in the gut to provide the full benefit. With both the upper and lower GI to consider, plus all the different functions of various probiotics, from nutrient absorption to moderating stress response, there is no silver bullet probiotic organism that can do all the jobs.

Look For The Guarantee

Here’s a secret - seeing probiotics listed on a label can provide a false sense of security because many times they are not guaranteed. Without that guarantee shown in the Guaranteed Analysis, there’s no way of knowing if the probiotics will still be viable when your dog or cat consumes them. The guarantee covers the entire shelf life of the product.

So, why wouldn’t a brand just go ahead and make the guarantee, you ask? We cannot speak to anyone’s motives, but there are a few things to consider:

  • It’s not easy to get live probiotics onto dog food and cat food. To ensure survival, they must be dusted on after cooking. This equipment is incredibly specialized and not all manufacturers have it. In the vast majority of cases, probiotics blended in before cooking will not survive. Yet, they can still appear on the label, which looks appealing to consumers.
  • Making a guarantee puts the brand’s reputation on the line with both customers and regulators. For Life’s Abundance, when an ingredient is as vital to health as probiotics are, we think it’s important that we offer you that guarantee.

  • Because a guarantee amounts to an endorsement, brands would not want to stand behind lesser-quality ingredients.


Owner feeding dog and cat

Don’t (Ever) Forget The Fiber

What you may not know is that to be at their best, probiotics need a partner to fuel their health-imbuing adventures.  That’s where fiber comes in.

“Needing more fiber” is a familiar pop culture joke anytime someone finds themselves irregular.
Yet, how often have you considered this truism for your dog or cat? Even beyond stool quality, prebiotic fiber plays an important role:

  • So much more than just stool quality, when proper dietary fiber fermentation is achieved, the fibers provide nourishment for the probiotics.

  • When it comes to fiber blends in pet foods, it’s easy to get it wrong and much, much harder to get it right. The consequences can include gas, digestive upset, poorer nutrient absorption, and loose or inconsistent stools.

  • Because dietary fiber is so critical to gut health which plays a lead role in overall nutrition, Life’s Abundance has put years of work into creating custom blends.
  • There is an overwhelming amount of nuance that makes up the difference between a passable or decent nutritional result, and an exceptional nutritional result. One of these factors is fiber fermentation. Even poorly fermented fiber can produce what looks like a good stool. At Life’s Abundance we understand these nuances and engage world-leading experts to turn up the dial on fiber-blend quality.


With a steadfast formulation philosophy, consistently premium quality products and a focus on overall health through the gut, Life’s Abundance dog foods and cat foods make it easy for conscientious pet parents to make the best choice for their cuddly companion.

We Source From Sustainable Fisheries

fisherman on rocks

At Life’s Abundance, our purpose is to help people and their pets live healthier and happier lives. Part of this vision includes committing to sustainability initiatives because in order to be healthy ourselves, our environment must also be healthy. That’s why we are so happy to share that when we select vendors we look beyond just the quality of their ingredients, safety protocols and facilities to see that they have a commitment to environmental sustainability, just as we do.

The fisheries that supply the whitefish meal in our dog foods and cat foods follow sustainable practices! This is particularly important because of the delicate nature of the ocean environment and the impact of overfishing on the food supply and ecology.  Our fish come from commercial fisheries on the West Coast of the United States, which are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. This means that they have met sustainability standards including minimizing environmental impact, a commitment to healthy fish population levels, and complying with relevant laws.

school of fish

The whitefish meal in our dog and cat foods is derived from de-boned, fresh cuttings of marine whitefish. The fish is tracked from the moment it is caught all the way through to its processing, ensuring only the highest quality ingredient goes into our pet foods. Cats and dogs love the flavor, but what they don’t know is that these strict standards mean that consistently robust nutrient levels are achieved with each batch - a wonderful source of wholesome protein complete with naturally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

We appreciate being able to do business with those who not only provide exceptional ingredients, but share our values and aim to promote responsible marine resource management practices. Whether you are considering our dog foods and cat foods for the first time, or already feeding them, you can feel good knowing that you are choosing high-quality nutrition that is also considerate of the earth.

How Your Cat Really Wants to be Fed

meal-time-with-kitty-lifes-abundance

What does your cat’s dish look like? Is it plastic, stainless steel, or maybe ceramic? No matter what you’re imagining, it's almost certainly one of these types of cat food dishes.

But is that about to change? What if the best answer to "how does my cat really want to be fed?" is, “not in a dish at all!”

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), a collection of the best and brightest minds in feline medicine, just released a 2018 consensus statement on the feeding of cats.1 Contrary to the usual debate over cat food which centers on wet versus dry, this discussion focuses not on the ‘what’ of cat food, but the ‘how’.

Here in the States, we often encourage people to keep their cats indoors in order to keep them safe from predators, and from themselves having an adverse effect on native bird populations. While an indoor life is the safest option, this doesn’t provide them much opportunity to act like, well, cats. Outdoor cats routinely roam over ranges as far as two miles, so it’s no wonder their behavior changes when they are confined to a 2,000 square foot house.

As hunters, cats are hardwired to hunt small prey. Unlike a snake, which may go days or weeks in between feedings, a cat in the wild eats multiple small prey every day. The typical household practice of filling a food bowl twice a day doesn’t do a whole lot to fulfill this instinctive need. Without the job of hunting to keep cats occupied, they may become bored and overweight. It may also contribute to stress, particularly if the household contains multiple cats sharing a single food source.

Fortunately, there is a way to manage this issue without making all indoor cats become outdoor cats. The AAFP offers several suggestions to better approximate natural cat behavior in the home, including:

  • Feeding multiple smaller meals a day versus one or two large ones. Automated feeders can do this on a timer.
  • Ensuring multiple food sources for multi-cat households.
  • Using puzzle feeders to encourage natural hunting behavior.

I love puzzle feeders and recommend them routinely for both dogs and, now, for cats. They are based on the very simple principle that companion animals need to work for their food. You can find elaborate feeders that require pets to remove pieces and move doors around, and others that are as simple as a ball with holes in it that drops food out as it rolls. However, puzzle feeders made specifically for felines encourage their natural pouncing and tossing behavior. You can buy feeders for both wet and dry food, so find one that works best with whichever Life’s Abundance premium cat food your sweet kitty prefers.

Although we’ve domesticated cats and dogs, there’s no reason that we can’t continue to adapt and accommodate their instinctual behaviors, especially as our understanding of their physical, mental and emotional needs continues to expand. I’ve spoken to multiple behaviorists who recommend puzzle feeders as a part of any treatment for behavioral issues in cats, from aggression to inappropriate elimination to over-grooming. It’s such a simple thing to do, so why not give it a try with your cat? We feel confident that your little hunter will be super pleased with the change.

Stay well, and happy hunting to your kitty!

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

REFERENCES

1. https://www.catvets.com/guidelines/practice-guidelines/how-to-feed

Infographic: 5 Common Cat Allergies

You hear a lot about people being allergic to cats, but did you know that sometimes THEY are allergic to US?

The truth is that you hear very little about what allergies cats suffer, even though a significant percentage of domesticated cats have them. In this month's infographic, we're highlighting five common feline allergies that pet parents should be aware of.

Do you already suspect your cat is suffering from a chronic allergy? Be on the look-out for the symptoms, such as:  sneezing, coughing or wheezing; itchy skin and watery eyes; ear infections; vomiting or diarrhea; noticeably louder snoring; and swollen or irritated paws. Some of these symptoms aren't what you would expect, so keep a journal (or at least a running list) of any health-related issues. That way, you'll be prepared to discuss all the relevant details should a vet visit become necessary.

In the meantime, here’s our handy infographic that reveals the most common causes of cat allergies and what pet parents can do to help their feline companions feel better. To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below.

PDF DocumentPDF Document

New Year’s Goals for Pet Kids

Frenchie

Ah, January. A season for new beginnings, new resolutions, and some measure of regret for all the indulgences of the holiday season. If my gym is any indication, “get more exercise” is still on the top of most people’s list of New Year’s resolutions.

Fur kids don’t make resolutions, but if they did, half of them would be joining us in our pursuit of a healthier weight. Here’s a few facts about canine and feline weight you might not know:

1. More than half of dogs and cats in the US are considered overweight. It’s right up there with dental disease in terms of how frequently it is diagnosed. Because it creeps up slowly over time, many pet parents don’t even realize it’s happening until an annual vet check. Suddenly, your 12-pound cat is now 15 pounds. Yikes!

Tabby

2. Being overweight increases other health risks. Diabetes, joint disease, heart and lung disease, some forms of cancer and high blood pressure are all linked to excessive weight in dogs and cats. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same list we see in people. We all need to make an effort to go out and play, walk or run as a team!

3. Weight loss is a process. Some companion animals lose weight more easily than others, so it may take some experimentation to figure out the best course of action for your own dog or cat. One of the most common pitfalls is neglecting to measure food portions. When my dog Brody put weight on after my son took over feeding duties, I was shocked to realize that he was dumping food in the bowl without measuring. Brody was being overfed by almost 30%!

Whippet

4. Helping your fur kid be healthier can make you healthier, too! The Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that people who live with dogs are 34% more likely to walk at least 150 minutes a week. And if your fur kid is a puppy, guess what? You walk faster than people walking without a dog. Sometimes not in a straight line, am I right?

5. Pet kids at a healthy weight live longer. Dogs and cats at a normal weight have an average life expectancy up to 2.5 years longer than those who are overweight. So commit today and add more and better years to not just your own life, but your companion animal’s as well!

The great thing about weight, compared to other medical conditions, is that it is reversible. Talk to your veterinarian about the course of action that’s right for you. They can help you figure out your companion animal’s caloric requirements and ensure weight loss is done gradually and safely.

Here’s to a fruitful and healthy 2017, and successful squad goals!

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Pet Food Super Powers

Super girl and dog

Believe it or not, it wasn’t until nearly the 20th Century that pet food was something distinct from scraps derived from human diets. However, only in the past four decades has the emphasis on health-promotion entered the mix. Some of our readers will no doubt recall the “Gravy Train” commercials of the 70’s. Pet food certainly has changed dramatically since those days! More...

Twelve Days of Kitty Kristmas

Even though we appreciate our furry friends year round, there is no time like the holidays to dote on your cat. In the spirit of yuletide tradition, here are 12 ways to holistically improve your cat’s quality of life. 

Day 1 – Food

Feeding your cat Life's Abundance cat food is the foundation of good health. Nutrition is critical to longevity, not only the quality of the food you feed your cat, but the quantity. Obesity is a common affliction of the American indoor cat population. If your cat eats too fast and is left looking for more, try putting food into a food puzzle instead of a bowl to increase mental stimulation and slow down eating. There are also programmable portion control feeders available that will dispense preset amounts of food.

Day 2 – Kitty Clothing

Short-haired dogs appreciate a warm coat during the winter, and cats do as well! A kitty coat is snuggly and cozy. In particular, clothing benefits older cats who have arthritis or experience trouble keeping warm.

Day 3 – Sanitation

Litter box problems are often cited as the leading cause for abandoning cats. Make sure you provide a nice area for your cat to relieve himself. The standard recommendation is one litter box more than the number of cats (for example, if you have 2 cats, have 3 boxes). Be sure the box is large enough to fully accommodate your cat and clean the box regularly. If your cat has any mobility issues (like arthritis), make sure the sides are low enough that she can get in and out of the box comfortably.

Day 4 – Rest

Cats spend a large amount of their lives curled up in sleep. During the winter, cats look for warm spaces, which can lead to tragedy if a cat seeks heat by nesting under the hood of a car. A heated bed makes a wonderful gift for the special feline in your life, but be on the look-out for products that have chew-resistant electrical cords.

Day 5 – Kitty Massage

For the truly pampered feline, there are self-grooming toys that coax cats in for ultimate relaxation. You can find body-stroke groomers, acupressure pads, ripple massagers, bunting combs, and gum stimulators that massage, stimulate pressure points, or clean teeth and gums. These products are self-grooming, and can be used by your cat whether you are at home or away! If you want to participate, try massaging your cat with our Stainless Steel Odor Removing Bar.

Day 6 – Fitness

Just like people, cats can pack on holiday pounds. The best way to combat unhealthy weight gain is with exercise. Cats love to climb and view their surroundings from an elevated perch, so a cat tree makes the perfect gift. Look for something that is tall with several levels, hiding spots, and scratching posts to simulate your cat’s surroundings in the wild. To encourage your cat to climb, hide food or treats at the top!

Day 7 – Skin Care

Soothing Mist helps control minor skin care issues like dry skin. This spray features zinc and a calming blend of aloe vera gel, marigold, lavender and chamomile to help soothe and protect healthy skin and coats. Safe and effective for both dogs and cats, it's even suitable for kittens over 12 weeks of age. If your cat has serious skin issues, however, do not replace a visit to your veterinarian with this product.

Day 8 – Kitty Garden

Bring the outdoors inside for your cat with a grass garden. More than a third of all cats eat plants, and many pet parents notice their cats chewing on house plants. To prevent your cat from chewing on something potentially harmful, grow a potted grass garden indoors, and let your cat graze away! With a few pots, some peat moss, and oat, rye, barley or wheat grass seeds, you can grow an elegant, nutritious and safe garden for your kitty to nibble.

Day 9 – Treats

Kitty treats make wonderful gifts! Our wholesome Cat Treats are made with high quality proteins, guaranteed vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids to promote a healthy hair coat. Best of all, they’re made right here in the USA.

Day 10 – Hydration

In the wild, cats are desert animals. They do not have a strong thirst reflex, and derive most of their hydration from the prey they ingest. Stimulate your cat’s hydration reflex with a water fountain. Cats love to drink from moving water! As a bonus, a drinking fountain also adds soothing ambiance to your home.

Day 11 – Fun

Cats love to chase and hunt. Simulate their favorite activity indoors with a feathered fishing pole or laser pointer. For tips on how to do this safely and have the most fun, watch Dr. Sarah’s video here.

Day 12 – Gifting

Can’t decide on what to get for the special feline or cat lover in your life? Combine several "treats" together in our Holiday Gift Basket, which features food, treats, supplements, toys and a “meow” mug for doting pet parents.

I hope that you will decide to celebrate the holiday season all 12 ways with your feline companion. And, may everyone in your family enjoy the last few weeks of 2015.

Thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for companion animals,

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks