Lifes Abundance content relating to 'Dog 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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A Guide To Managing Your Dog’s Weight

owner giving dog belly rub

I have a confession to make.

My dog is officially a chonk.

Like many others with more than one dog in the house, I have one dog who is ambivalent about food and one who loves food with a deep and abiding passion. One eats to live, one lives to eat. Guess which one is the retriever.

I tried to keep my life simple by just having one kind of dog food in the house, but even when we were measuring the food it seemed like Ollie was getting a little wider by the month. A Nest cam confirmed my suspicions- once Dakota wandered away from his bowl, Ollie would run over and scarf up a mouthful of extra kibble as soon as we left the room. I appreciate his resourcefulness, if not the results. Too much to love.

Obesity is a huge problem in veterinary medicine; in fact, almost half the dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. I’m not happy with myself that I let this sneak up on me, as extra weight in dogs tends to compound: it increases their risk of orthopedic problems, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Bottom line: I need to turn this around.

If you are in the same boat with your dog or cat, look, it’s certainly not an unusual problem and I share my own story because I don’t want people to avoid facing the issue because they’re embarrassed, which happens a lot. We don’t often see ‘ideal weight’ dogs out in the world, and we’re pretty used to seeing overweight dogs without batting an eye. If your vet mentions your dog’s weight to you, take a breath and remind yourself that it’s good information to know so you can address it. This isn’t a conversation about what happened yesterday, it’s about what happens tomorrow. It is fixable. Your vet is there to help you with that.

So now what?

Back in the day, advice surrounding weight loss was pretty straightforward: feed them less. Now that we know more, we address it a little differently than saying just to cut back on their regular maintenance food. Dog foods contain a static amount of nutrients mixed into the formulation: for example, if your dog eats 1 cup of food and gets 50 milligrams of a vitamin, cutting the food to ½ cup would mean they’re now only getting 25 mg of that vitamin. Dramatic reductions of their regular dog food could lead to malnourishment.

A better approach: pick a dog food designed for weight loss or weight management. These foods have lower caloric density, meaning there are fewer calories per cup than standard food. This means the pup gets to eat more and doesn’t end up doing that panicked “I’m starving” routine that leads all too many pet owners to give in and go back to their old habits.

Instead of halving the volume of food and also halving the nutrients, this option keeps the volume of food and the amount of vitamins the same. The dog still gets to eat a full cup of food and gets that full 50 mg of vitamins, that cup just has fewer calories. That is the beauty of weight management diets.

You’d think it would be pretty easy to figure out how much food to feed, but if you’ve ever actually attempted it you know it’s trickier than it looks. Yes, the bags may give you a range of how much food to feed, but it’s pretty vague. Pets have different metabolisms and different activity levels, so one 50 pound dog may require fewer calories than another to lose the same weight. It’s just like people! We all have that friend who can eat and eat and eat and still remains svelte no matter what, while others just look at a bag of chips and seem to gain five pounds.

If I wanted to know how many calories I ate today, there are tons of apps that can help me figure that out. They have tens of thousands of entries in their database with full caloric information. You’d think it would be easy to calculate the calories in dog food, but it’s not. Some foods tell you how many calories are in each cup (kcal/cup), but most don’t- meaning you have to call the company or try to find it online.

owner giving dogs food

Even if you do know how many calories there are in a cup, how do you know your calorie goal for your canine? Your vet can give you a calculation based on your pet’s current weight and activity, target weight, and how quickly you’re trying to reach the goal. Once you know their calorie count for the day and how much food to feed, all you have to do is stick with it. Weigh it, use a measuring cup, but whatever you do, don’t eyeball it. That never works.

For mild to moderately overweight dogs, a standard weight management food can work just fine to get your dog where he or she needs to be. For pets with significant weight obstacles, sometimes the vet will recommend a prescription weight loss diet. It is even more calorie restricted than over the counter weight management foods, and often has additional components such as higher protein, higher fiber, and nutrients that specifically support veterinarian supervised weight loss. Once a pet reaches their ideal weight, they transition back to an over the counter food.

Over the counter weight management foods aren’t just for overweight dogs! They are also good maintenance diets for those who are prone to gaining weight.

What about treats? Like everything else, treats count as calories, so keep it to less than 10% of your dog’s intake and plan accordingly. You can get creative here with pet-safe veggies. Ollie gets lettuce at every meal now and he thinks it’s the best thing ever. In fact, Dakota got jealous and now will only eat if he, too, has a piece of lettuce on his food (I tried this trick on the teenagers, but it didn’t work).

Weight loss in pets is a very, very common problem and if you’re in the same boat, it’s ok. Yes, it’s work and takes some effort to come up with a plan as well as the commitment to follow through. But it can be done! Having your vet team on board helps a lot- that’s what they’re there for! Don’t be afraid to ask for their support and a specific weight loss plan to get back on track if you and your pup need the help.

I promise, it’s worth the effort.


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What’s the Big Idea Behind Feeding Trials

man giving dog food

If you’ve been brought to your knees by the vast amount of information you’ve faced in search of the best products for your dogs, we understand. Really, how much can the average person be expected to know about their dog’s products and still have a life? We’re happy to tell you all about the ins-and-outs of our products because we’re very proud of them. But we think it will be even more helpful for you to know what type of company you’re buying from.

We think and operate differently and are transparent about it. We’re private, employee-owned and purpose driven. But what does all that mean in action? Here’s a little behind the scenes insight into our decision to conduct dog food feeding trials.

Dog Food Nutrition

Did you know that there are two ways a dog food maker can demonstrate the nutrition of their foods? These are set by the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the association that establishes nutritional standards within the pet food industry.

Nutrient Analysis

The most common of the two is through nutrient analysis. This is laboratory testing of the finished food that measures the value of each of the key nutrients that are required to be present. Beyond the required nutrients, optional tests can be ordered to tell a fuller story of the nutritional value of the formula being examined. For instance, if a brand prioritizes antioxidants they’ll want to test for adequate value, though it’s not required.

This is the method we at Life’s Abundance have used for over two decades, until recently. Now, after years of internal debate, planning and an ongoing commitment to transparency, we have engaged in the second of AAFCO’s sanctioned tests - Feeding Trials.

Feeding Trials

Feeding trials provide a look at the ability of a food to convey adequate nutritional value to the dogs consuming it. Eight dogs are exclusively fed the food being tested for a number of weeks (duration varies based on life stage). Periodic blood tests and the dog’s weight are tracked and recorded to demonstrate that the nutrients shown on paper actually make it into the dog’s body at life-sustaining levels.

Why Conduct Feeding Trials?

First and foremost, we have a responsibility to the hundreds of thousands of dogs eating our food. Because of this, it is important to know how nutrients in our formulas behave once digested by the dogs eating them. Nutritional analysis, exacting care, decades of anecdotal evidence and now feeding trials bear out our formulation philosophy and the science behind it. A close second reason for these tests is to give you peace of mind as a parent to the dogs you love. Just think, without this proof, your dog will essentially be a participant in an uncontrolled feeding trial.

lineup of Life's Abundance dog food

Importantly, in the veterinary world, feeding trials are the gold standard to demonstrate a food’s worth. While there are many other measures this overlooks, now when your vet asks if your dog’s food has been through a trial, if you’re feeding Life’s Abundance, you’ll be able to say ‘yes.’ We know from all our veterinary consultants and colleagues how important feeding trials are to veterinarians as a mark of quality assurance. This is our way of showing we're absolutely serious about making the best food out there.

To be sure, the decision to conduct feeding trials was a years-long process involving many levels of staff at Life’s Abundance. We consulted with veterinarians, insiders who have seen many sides of laboratory research, sought alternative testing protocols, interviewed testing companies and personally toured testing facilities. It took all of this time, effort and consideration to be certain we’d found a testing company that met our standards for animal care, interaction, environmental enrichment and overall welfare. It was important for us to take this time so that we feel as good about the process as we do the results, so you can too.

What Feeding Trials Won’t Tell You

Though a feeding trial is a true scientific study, it only provides a baseline of whether a food is adequate or inadequate to keep a dog going. It will not tell you anything about the quality of the ingredients or if they will help your dog thrive. It won’t tell you how beautifully or shoddily orchestrated the ratios of nutrients are to one another.

To understand the true quality of the food you choose you need to understand the motives of the brand you choose. But how do you trust that a brand has your best interest at heart, abhors corner-cutting practices and always asks what’s best for the consumer (two- or four-legged) before making a decision? At Life’s Abundance, it’s more than formulating, making and delivering a great food. It’s about getting the ultimate nutrition into your dog so they can thrive.

Life’s Abundance Feeding Trial Status As Of Winter 2021:

  • Adult Weight Loss Dog Food - Successfully completed Spring 2020.
  • All Life Stage Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice - Underway as of Summer 2020.
  • Grain Free All Life Stage Dog Food - In queue to start once the above test ends. Tests are not run concurrently which makes the timeline to complete the series quite long.

Of all the research we do to be sure we’re making the best choices for our dogs, finding a definitive answer or solution can seem like a never ending journey. Understanding the brand and the people behind the products you choose just may be the best measure yet. If you’re not currently feeding Life’s Abundance, consider making the switch to our uniquely formulated foods that have feeding trials to back their efficacy. Others will tell you just how good it feels to fill your dog’s bowl with nutritious food or reward them with tasty treats knowing you’ve made the best choice for them.


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Pet Food Super Powers

The Recall System Is Putting You At Risk

holding pill

Behind the scenes here at Life’s Abundance, when the alert of a recent pet food brand’s recall due to deadly levels of aflatoxin first hit our inbox, there was a sense of urgency to spread the news. At that point, the death of 28 dogs was being reported by the FDA and the media hadn’t picked it up yet.  A meal time had already passed since the notice was posted, and another one was approaching. Unsuspecting pet parents not fortunate enough to sign up to have these alerts delivered to their inbox were about to dip into potentially contaminated bags to feed their beloved dogs.

Eventually, the news media began broadcasting the story. Sadly, dozens more dogs being fed the recalled food died. As of this writing, the investigation is still ongoing with over 110 deaths reported.

Now, a few short weeks later, another pet food brand issued a recall in an overseas market due to excess levels of Vitamin D. The steps being taken in both cases bring the inherent problems of the recall system into relief. They also illustrate the unmatched value built into the Life’s Abundance way of doing business.

The Media Fallacy

Relying on the media for recall information is inherently problematic. Unless the problem is big enough to have harmed a large number of people or pets, most consumers will never hear about a recall. Of the dozens of recalls and product withdrawals in the U.S. each year, how many do you remember hearing about? The ones that make the headlines tend to have caused widespread illness, whether in people or pets. Even then, you need to be at the right place at the right time to catch the information.

The Full Time Approach

A brand with a problematic product surely is aware of the issue. The question is whether they have a system in place to communicate it out to customers. If they do have a system in place, chances are they don’t know who you are - your purchase was likely made through a retailer so they have no way to contact you. Taking the step of signing up for news alerts for each brand you have in your home might catch recall news and deliver it to you. Is that a practical approach? With dozens of brands represented in your pantry, refrigerator and bathroom, probably not. Is it a surefire way to hear about a recall? Odds are slim unless the brand has a system in place to push out an alert to subscribers, and has committed to do so. Keeping tabs on the brands you buy could amount to a full time job.

toddler reaching up

The Point of Sale

A flyer posted on the bulletin board at retail locations is sure to reach a lot of people.  But is it reaching the right people? If you buy your supplements from a specialty store, or your dog food from a pet supply store, it’s unlikely you will return to that shop until you’ve used up the product that may be the subject of the recall notice. And now, at a time when grocery delivery services are being used, visits by consumers are a fraction of what they were - meaning they’ll never see that sign on the register or bulletin board.

Trust The Brand You Choose

At Life’s Abundance we love pragmatic innovation, and the troubled recall system outlined above got our attention decades ago. There has to be a better way, we thought. That’s when we committed to a quick notification system. To explain, because of our direct relationship with consumers, combined with our controlled manufacturing, we know which consumer 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 6,000 people by phone in just one hour ensuring that we can contact all affected customers quickly. We can also reach them by email and through the mail.

As consumers, parents and pet parents ourselves, we understand that deciding to buy a product can feel like a leap of faith. With Life’s Abundance, that leap is backed by our commitment to provide you with safe, high-quality products and, importantly, a system to follow through on that commitment. When it comes to the safety of the ones we love, peace of mind is certainly a measure of a product’s value. Combine that with thoughtful formulation, exceptional quality and rigorous safety measures, and you’ve got a win on your hands.

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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.

Customer Bulletin: Excess Vitamin D Recall Expanded

sick-husky-vitamin-d-recall

NOTE: NO LIFE’S ABUNDANCE PET FOODS ARE INVOLVED IN THIS OR ANY RECALL.

Update as of January 31, 2019:

Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled select canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D. Specifically, 14 different Hill's Prescription Diet and 11 Science Diet canned foods are involved. These recalled products were distributed to retail stores and veterinary clinics nationwide. This recall is the first to involve canned pet food. Click here for the current FDA information and recall list.

Original Article Posted on December 5, 2018:

The FDA has expanded its investigation of the presence of elevated levels of Vitamin D in dry dog foods, which can be toxic and cause serious health problems. Currently, there are eight brands and twelve different diets that have been recalled. After evaluating samples of several of these foods, the FDA found an alarming 70 times the intended amount of vitamin D. Although an essential nutrient for dogs, very high amounts of Vitamin D can cause serious health problems like kidney failure or death.

The FDA says signs of elevated vitamin D levels can include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss. Pet parents with dogs that have been eating the recalled brands and showing these symptoms should discontinue use, contact their veterinarian and can also report a suspected case to the FDA. Click here for the current FDA information and recall list.

Suspected Problem

In the pet food industry, it is common for manufacturers to make dog food diets for other companies. For example, Sunshine Mills makes Evolve, Triumph and Nature Farms, to name a few. It is also very common for these manufacturers to purchase generic vitamin and mineral mixes and use them in other brands. This could be the reason why we saw the Vitamin D recall start with just two brands and expand to eight brands ... and maybe even more.

Safer Solution

At Life's Abundance, we have a much better and safer way of making pet foods. For example, as it relates to this situation with Vitamin D, we do not use a generic vitamin and mineral mix in our pet diets. In other words, the mix we use is a proprietary formula that is made only for Life's Abundance and no other company. This exclusive vitamin and mineral mix goes beyond what AAFCO requires and is just one of the steps we take to make sure your pets are getting safe and nutritious foods.

We hope the information we shared with you will do two things. Alert unsuspecting dog food consumers of this situation so their dogs don’t get sick and also help you feel even more confident about Life's Abundance and our commitment to helping families, including our pets, live long, healthy lives!

Make Thanksgiving Great For Your Dog

Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is surely a canine favorite. There's abundant food, there's full gatherings of friends and family, and did we mention the food?

The downside is much of the bounty you'll be serving at your feast doesn't jibe too well with a dog's digestive system. Sure, they'll enjoy it in the moment, but there can be some serious side effects to all the sneaky feeding of scrumptious table scraps.

Fortunately, we have some food for thought, presented in the following holiday infographic. You'll learn about some of the incredibly tasty and oh-so-nourishing alternative foods and treats your dog is sure to love. After all, we all want this Thanksgiving to be the best it can be for your beloved pup-pup.

To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below. And be sure to share this post with your friends and family!

PDF DocumentPDF Document

Is a Paleo Diet Right for Your Dog?

adorable-terrier

As pet parents ourselves, all of us here at Life’s Abundance know just how overwhelming it can be to choose the right food for your dog. There is so much conflicting information out there: you have to be grain free! Your canine needs to eat like a wolf! You should be putting antioxidants on everything! Home made food is better than commercial! How do you possibly make sense of all the conflicting information from so many different sources?

One of my goals when formulating a new food is to keep up with the most current thinking in nutrition while making sure our foods live up to the highest standards possible. Two of the most popular buzzwords right now are “paleo” and “limited ingredient.” But what do these mean? Are paleo or limited ingredient diets what your companion animal really needs?

Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Paleo diets have been all the rage in human nutrition for the past few years. While there isn’t any one strict definition, the general idea is that if a caveman didn’t eat it, neither should you (or in this case, your dog). In its most basic sense, the paleo diet avoids all processed foods such as cereals, pastas, and added sugars. The paleo diet also frowns on grains, keeping carbohydrate sources limited to those occurring naturally in vegetables and fruits.

Despite the fact there is no one true ‘paleo’ definition, we can certainly look at the overall concept and see something to like. A paleo diet is nutrient-dense, with every ingredient chosen for a purpose. The carbohydrates chosen are those that cause less peaks and valleys in blood glucose and energy levels throughout the course of the day. Given its reliance on unprocessed ingredients, a paleo food is going to avoid things like fillers and artificial colorings and flavorings. One of the major drawbacks to a classic paleo diet is the fact that it does not allow the use of legumes such as peas or lentils, which are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. 

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Limited ingredient diets came about due to a wave of pet parents being concerned their dogs had food allergies. The number of dogs who actually have food allergies is not as large as the number of dogs who have food allergy symptoms (there are complex reasons for this, which perhaps I’ll cover in a future post). Regardless, the idea for limited ingredient diets is to limit intake to novel proteins (meaning an unusual source that a pet has not eaten before), and novel carbohydrates, the diet is less likely to trigger a dog’s food allergy symptoms. This is how we ended up with diets like kangaroo and oats, or duck and peas. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, lamb, wheat, corn, and egg. This correlates to the most commonly used ingredients in pet foods, which makes sense.

If your canine has a true food allergy, he or she is probably going to need to undergo an elimination trial and all sorts of testing to see what is going on, and then move onto a special diet for the rest of his or her life. But if he or she has some minor symptoms of food intolerance or if you are just trying to avoid the major allergens in dog foods, it can be cost prohibitive to put your pet on a novel protein diet; many are prescription-only or are not meant for all life stages. Some diets are based on hydrolyzed soy, which is as appetizing to dogs as it sounds! It just doesn’t make sense to seek out one of these diets if you don’t have to due to medical necessity.

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For many pet parents, their dog may not have food allergies but they still want to avoid the common triggers by feeding high quality, novel proteins that taste delicious and support optimal health. And it’s with these needs in mind that we developed the newest addition to the Life’s Abundance family of foods: our Pork and Venison Grain Free Recipe Dog Food.

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This formulation holds to the paleo ideas of being grain-free. The carbohydrate sources are peas and lentils, which are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The protein sources are pork and venison, which are very rich, nutrient-dense protein sources that taste amazing. Canned foods are great for triggering the appetite because they have more potent smell. Trust me, we’ve all taken a whiff of the new formula and agree … the aroma is pretty yummy! Best of all, it’s formulated to be appropriate for all life stages, from weaning puppies to geriatric seniors, even if they’re missing some teeth.

We are so proud of this new formula and we can’t wait for you all to try it. As soon as you do, post a comment here and let us know what you think. We hope your dogs love it as much as ours do!

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals! And, happy feeding!

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks