Lifes Abundance content relating to 'pets'

Can You Claim Pets On A Tax Return?


woman cuddling with dog

Pets contribute to our lives in so many ways, but have you ever thought about how they contribute financially? You may be thinking, “Yes, I spend on their kibble and treats and plush toys” but that’s not quite what we’re referring to. There might be a way you can claim your dog or cat on your tax return. Pets are not considered dependents since they don’t have a social security number, but there are a variety of other ways that animals can show up in a tax filing. Talk to your accountant about these possibilities to find out if you qualify:

Fostering & Volunteering

If you’re helping out an animal shelter or rescue by offering to foster a pet, some of those expenses can be considered a charitable deduction on your taxes. This includes anything you pay for out of pocket from their food to medical expenses to other care supplies, and possibly even the miles you drive to their vet appointments.

As a volunteer, you can also list your travel expenses for the volunteer work. However, this has to be travel specifically related to the nonprofit’s mission, not the commute there (remember to keep a mileage log). Of course, financial donations to qualified nonprofits, like The Dr. Jane Foundation, can qualify too.

Service Animals

Is your pet a service animal? If you have physical disabilities, vision or hearing impairments, or a mental health condition such as PTSD, talk to your accountant about the possibility of writing off some expenses. This could be veterinary care including surgery, food necessities, pet supplies, training, grooming, boarding, and even the cost to acquire the pet itself. However, your companion must have formal training to be a service animal and a letter from your doctor in order to qualify.


cat getting head scratched

Moving & Changing Jobs

If you’ve recently relocated for a job and qualify for a moving expense deduction, your dog or cat could be included in this. The IRS considers your pet a household possession, so if you’re able to deduct expenses like transportation for your family, lodging while moving, or packing and shipping any goods, your pet may be part of that too. There are a few requirements to meet such as the distance and time of the big move.

Pet Providing Service for Business

Does your pet have a job of their own? Maybe they work alongside you on your farm to help guard a herd of goats. Maybe they’re a star in a movie or advertisement or work as a performance animal. Do they have their own successful social media account or breed adorable puppies that you sell? All of these examples could qualify for deductions. It may be the food used while breeding, travel cost to get them to the movie set or anything else that involves caring for your animal. If you start a hobby with pets that turns into a business, remember to officially establish this new venture in order to deduct related expenses.

Now that you know of the many ways you may be able to claim your pet, talk to your accountant for guidance. There are requirements they can help you untangle, but the universal rule is to keep good records. Save those receipts! And, thank your sweet, furry friend for any savings!


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Appreciating The Joys Our Pets Bring

Pets Make Life Healthier For Their Pet Parents

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season


dog getting treat on holiday

Between the seasonal errands and frequent visitors, we furry family members know it can be hard to keep up with us too. We promise that we try to be on our very best behavior (with snacks as a reward, of course) but we do need a little extra consideration around our home. Try as we might, around the holidays, there may be more risks than you think.

Most of us love visitors. I mean, five times the belly rubs, two times the treats, and lots of cuddles? I’m here for it. I love to greet everyone, but my younger fur-sister gets easily overwhelmed. She’s at knee-level, and that’s a lot of traffic coming in the door with feet at the bottom and booming voices at the top. It can also be scary when the small kids come to tug on our ears or tails, or worse, wrestle us into a neck-squeezing hug. I’ll play with the kiddos for a bit, but then really appreciate a break. My sis would rather keep clear of them altogether until she feels like being brave. So, to keep everyone happy and safe, please remind the guests that we can be sensitive! Sometimes putting me in my safe zone is more comfortable. This could be my crate or my bed in your room, but make sure to leave treats, toys, or even better, something that smells like you! It’ll keep me calm.

Speaking of holiday joy, your beautifully decorated tree can be a danger to us. For my feline besties, it’s a tower waiting to be scaled, and for us canines, it can get in the way of our zoomies! One of the best things you can do is put it out of our reach. Maybe put a fun decorated fence around it. Also, it’s no fun when my tail hits the ornaments, sending them shattering to the ground. What can I say? I’m a happy guy and can’t help that my tail acts like an excitement meter. We dogs took a vote and we think the best way to get around this is by avoiding glass ornaments.


cat on woman near tree

Another risky decoration? Those festive houseplants! I like to think of myself as the most well-behaved, good boy since I’m not a chewer or a digger. However, some (ahem, the new puppy in the house) love to take a little bite or two of your favorite houseplants. Plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly can be toxic if they’re ingested. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and breathing problems are all side effects we could experience, possibly sending us to the vet. I know they’re beautiful, but faux plants look just as festive and are a safer option for all of us!

Now, let’s skip to the oh-so fantastic smelling family dinner. Of course, it can be a joy when my puppy eyes fool all the visitors and I get a little piece of their meal, but some holiday foods can wreak havoc on my digestive system. Lots of festive treats include chocolate - a major no-no for us canines. Oh, and that turkey! Not only can it cause pancreatitis if I eat it, but the bones can do even more damage if they get lodged in our intestines. If you really want to satisfy my holiday cravings, toss me a few delicious treats that are full of healthy, high-quality ingredients.

We know we have to share your attention with visitors during these times, and we want to be part of the holiday joy too!  So, with these few precautions we’ll enjoy all the festivities together.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Make The Holidays Safe And Stress Free For Your Dogs And Cats

Getting Ready For Company?

How Gut Health Affects Overall Pet Health


cat and food bowl

If someone asked you “how’s your microbiome doing?” a few years ago, you’d probably feel moderately offended and tell them to mind their own business. Generally, talking about your gut health was not considered a part of polite conversation with anyone except your gastroenterologist. How times have changed! You can’t walk three feet in the grocery store without seeing something touting prebiotics. What gives? It all comes down to this key question:

Bacteria: friend or foe?

Back in the Middle Ages, medicine took an exponential leap forward with the concept of germ theory: the idea that many diseases are caused not by ‘ill humors’ or the lack of a good bloodletting, but by tiny organisms too small to see with the naked eye. In 1928, Alexander Fleming pushed us into a new stratosphere with the discovery that penicillin, an innocuous looking mold, was capable of stopping bacteria in their tracks.

For the next century or so, we’ve been busy at work figuring out how to kill bacteria, be it with antibiotics we swallow, disinfectants in our soap and in cleaning sprays, and in our overall belief that the more sterile something was, the better it had to be for our health. Bacteria = bad!

On the other hand, we’ve also been reaping the benefits of bacteria and other microorganisms for years. Whether it’s yeast turning grains into beer or bacteria fermenting our favorite sauerkrauts and yogurts, our understanding of the role of microorganisms in our lives continues to evolve as we realize just how much these little organisms can accomplish. Bacteria = good!

We’ve also known our guts are teeming with bacteria. We know there are ‘bad’ bacteria, the ones that move in after a course of antibiotics or cause a bad case of food poisoning, and we’ve also known having a healthy population of “good” bacteria goes a long way in keeping the baddies from setting up shop. Without really knowing exactly what these bacteria do, most of us have gone about our lives thinking of the good bacteria as innocuous hitchhikers in a symbiotic relationship: they don’t do much, really, but they don’t hurt either.

We were wrong. Enter the world of Gut Microbiomes.


dog and owner playing with ball

What the heck is a microbiome?

The intestines host a world all their own. Teeming with bacteria and viruses, the microbiome feeds off the environment we’ve created for it while doing a whole heck of a lot in return, such as:

  • Producing fatty acids that keep our gut lining healthy
  • Helping to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Producing critical chemicals like serotonin
  • Regulating inflammation of the GI tract
  • Promoting healthy weight and metabolism

Not only do these bacteria assist in digestion and promote the health of the gut itself, many of these actions impact the entire body. Heard of the gut-brain axis? It’s true! The health of the gut can directly impact cognitive function and mental health. Anyone who’s felt ‘sick to their stomach’ under times of extreme duress may find this not so surprising. 

Each month, a new study into the effect of the microbiome tells us something new: the microbiome affects neurotransmitters, metabolism, mental health, inflammation, and even the aging process. If your microbiome isn’t healthy, in short, neither are you.

If it sounds complex, that’s because it really is. Your overall health can impact your gut health. Conversely, your gut health creates ripple effects throughout the entire body. And every one of these same principles applies to our pets.

The importance of food

We all know that food is important for health. What we didn’t know was just how important. Food provides essential macro- and micro-nutrients, the building blocks of our bodies. It is a fuel for our bodies. But just as importantly, it fuels the microbiome.

Nutrition choices directly affect the health of our microbiome, a fact that’s even easier to observe in pets- whose diets often vary much less than the average person. The biomes of a dog eating a high-protein diet, for example, is consistently different from that of a dog on a higher-carbohydrate diet. What does this mean? We’re learning more every day. 

In addition to the choice of pet food, pet owners can impact gut health by adding probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are the bacteria itself: eating yogurt for a mouthful of Lactobacillus, for example, would be ingesting probiotics. Prebiotics, in contrast, are components that serve as food for the microbiome: health food for your bacteria buddies. One thing we do know: the dog and cat microbiomes are unique to them. In short? Don’t grab people supplements and expect them to help. Stick to products meant for pets.

We don’t know everything there is to learn about the microbiome, but one fact is crystal clear: take care of your microbiome and it will take care of you. And when it comes to taking care of the gut, there’s nothing more important than the food you choose to feed it. Luckily for you, when it comes to your pet, we’ve believed this all along.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Key Ingredients Most Pet Parents Are Missing

Get The Scoop On Feline Digestive Orders

You And Your Cuddly Companions


person petting cat

What strengthens your connection to pets more than the yummy treats you give them or the sloppy kisses they give you? Cuddles! Cuddling with your dog or cat builds up your relationship with each other.

With all that floof, our pups and kittens seem to be made for cuddling! No doubt, you’ve experienced all the love that your furry friend can give. But did you know that your love of cuddles also gives benefits to the object of your affections? From you to your canine to your feline, you’re all receiving a positive impact from snuggling up on the couch.

Scientifically speaking, when you are physically close to your pet, your brain, and theirs releases Oxytocin, the love hormone. That’s why you get all those warm and fuzzy feelings!

For the Humans:

Cuddling with your pet has endless benefits for your health. It can relieve depression and make you feel happier. This is due to two neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, that are released when snuggling. Plus, it lowers your levels of cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for all the not-so-good feelings like anxiety. So, maybe take a few minutes before a long, stressful day to cuddle up with your furry companion.


dog cuddling on human shoulder

For the Canines:

It’s no surprise that your dog cuddles up next to you because they absolutely adore you. They consider you their person, so nothing feels better than being close to you. Rewind to earlier times when dogs used to stay close to other dogs and their owners when they needed to keep warm in cold weather. This habit has stayed true to many breeds of dogs today. In addition, this is one of the ways that canines show their affection and bond with you. Remember, dogs are pack animals like us. Some need the same physical touch and companionship to feel happy. Without it, dogs can slip into depression and higher feelings of stress. Cuddling with your dog can also help you stay in tune with their health. While petting them, you’ll be able to observe them from head to toe. Bumps, bad smells, or sensitive areas will become apparent when you’re so close.

For the Felines:

Everyone is an individual, but generally, cats absolutely love and benefit from cuddling just as much as we do. In fact, they depend on your companionship! A new study shows that cats miss you when you’re gone. Even leaving them with an item with your scent on it does not alleviate their stress. They just want you! Another study revealed that cats would actually choose human companionship over their own food. Just like you, cuddling lessens symptoms of sickness and reduces feelings of stress. Even if your cat has behavioral issues, they’re more likely to decrease with daily pets and cuddles.

Remember, not all dogs or cats are fond of cuddles. But for those who are, you can feel comfort in knowing it benefits them as much as it does you. So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, cuddle up next to your sweet pup or kitten for a few minutes. You plus your cuddly companions is a combination for a longer, happier, and healthier life.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

How Cats Help Your Health

The Many Health Benefits Of Living With Dogs

All You Need To Know About Bathing Your Pet

cat getting a bath

“You smell like a wet dog” isn’t much of a compliment, is it? While most of us know the rush of warm fuzzies you get from snuggling up close with a clean, fresh pet, most pet owners are also aware of the opposite end of the spectrum: the stinky side.

Perhaps you’ve spent the past year closer than ever to your pet, so you may be more familiar than you’ve ever been with their particular…fragrance, shall we say. Questions about your pet’s skin and coat are some of the most common conversation topics in the vet clinic, so let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about what’s normal, what may need a vet visit, and what are the best things you can do at home to help your pet look and feel their best.

How often should I bathe my pet?

If the thought of struggling to get your dog in the bath on a daily basis gives you hives, here’s the good news: daily bathing is rarely the answer. For a pet with good skin and coat health, a good monthly washing may be all they need in order to clean away accumulated dirt and oil and get them smelling nice. If you have a cat, the answer’s even better: since they groom themselves, healthy cats may not need baths from you at all (everyone cheer).

The actual answer is: wash your pet as often as they need. If your pet gets dirty all the time because they’re constantly getting in the mud, there’s no reason you can’t bathe them more frequently. It’s important to use the right shampoo to avoid over-drying the coat, stripping out oils, or causing flaking. More frequent bathing may also reduce the effectiveness of topical flea and tick products such as Advantage and Frontline.

Pets with medical conditions often require more frequent bathing as part of their treatment. Whether it’s a pet dealing with infection, a pet suffering from conditions like seborrhea (think of it like a form of doggie dandruff), or a pet with allergies who needs to remove environmental allergens from their coat, there are many reasons a pet may require bathing weekly, or even a few times a week. Make sure to follow your vet’s recommendations as to the type of shampoo and how to use it- it may seem like a lot of work, but topical treatments can be very effective and much nicer than needing to rely on a systemic treatment!

dog getting a bath

What’s the best type of shampoo to use?

If your pet has a medical condition, you may be prescribed a special shampoo. Think of it less as shampoo and more as skin medication. Keep in mind these tend to work very differently than your typical shampoo which is just there to gently clean, so be careful to follow the directions and don’t use it for other pets in the house. Many medicated pet shampoos may not even have any cleanser in them, so if you’re not sure, ask your vet if you need to first use an over the counter shampoo before using the medicated one. Some of the most common medications delivered via shampoo format are:

  • antibacterials: chlorhexidine for skin infection
  • antifungals: ketoconazole for yeast infection
  • antiseborrhea: coal tar, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur to combat dandruff-like conditions
  • anti-mite: lime sulfur dips for topical parasites such as demodectic mange
  • anti-itch: oatmeal, hydrocortisone

For everyone else, shampoos designated for pets are your best choice. These shampoos have much less stripping action than human shampoos and are much gentler on the skin, so never use a human shampoo on your pet. If your pet has particularly sensitive skin, you may need to look for one with no fragrance added. For the rest of the crew, look for a gentle formula with conditioning properties like our very own amazing-smelling Revitalizing Shampoo. I’ve sniffed a lot of dog shampoo over the years, and this one takes the cake in the “wow your dog smells delightful” department. If you’ve tried it, you know.

What are signs my pet may need a vet visit?

Regular doggie-smell should resolve with a good cleaning. If they still feel oily or greasy, or still have a strange odor after bathing, make an appointment as this may be a sign of a problem that goes below the surface of the skin. Even smells that aren’t necessarily “bad,” but just strange, can be a sign something’s off (ever heard someone talk about their dog’s Frito feet? Yes, it’s a thing, and often means infection). Any red or raw patches should be evaluated as well, as these can be signs of allergies or infection.

Bathing is a good time to check your pet’s ears as well. While you don’t want to put shampoo and water in their ears, I like to clean my pet’s ears with a dedicated ear cleaner right before their bath. If your pet is prone to ear infection, you may also want to put a cotton ball in their ear before bathing to keep water out (Be gentle if you do this! There’s no need to stuff their ears full of the fluff).

So there you have it! Smelling like a wet dog might not seem like a compliment, but with the proper shampoo there’s no reason it couldn’t be. Here’s to a pleasant, snuggly summer!


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

The Secret Ingredient To A Sweet Smelling Pet

Tips For Grooming Your Dog At Home

Keep Your Pet From Melting Down When You Return To Work

person petting sad dog

Rewind back to March of 2020 when many of us started making the transition from working in the office full time to mostly working from home. This was quite the adjustment for those who were used to the commute to and from work every day. Along with working from home, some people took up some new hobbies. Maybe for you it was gardening or cooking, and others it was home workouts or painting. While you were filling your time with these activities, there was one member of the family that got used to you being home all the time. Your furry, cuddly companion. Whether you already had a dog or cat, or got a so-called ‘pandemic pet’, they definitely got accustomed to having you around from morning to night. 

Now, as it’s time to return to work, you should start thinking about how your absence will affect your pet. They won’t be used to seeing you every minute of the day anymore so some pets, especially those you got during the pandemic, could develop separation anxiety. Symptoms of this include excessive drooling, destruction around the house, or howling. Not only is this stressful for you, but it’s just as stressful for your pet too. There are some tips to help them ease into the transition and lower their stress while you’re away.

Tip 1:

If you know you’re going back out to work soon, come up with a plan to train your pet how to be alone. The best way to do this is by leaving your house for small increments of time and then working up to 1, 2, 3 hours and so on. By doing this, your furry friend starts to feel confident that you’ll come back.Then, once you leave for work for a bigger chunk of time, they will already be used to it and feel more comfortable on their own.

Studies have shown that an action as simple as petting your dog or cat before you leave actually decreases their anxiety while you’re gone. Generally, dogs get nervous when you leave and those negative feelings worsen as more time passes. So, giving them this love and affection as you say goodbye could help them stay calm and lower their heart rate.

woman holding dog in arms

Tip 2:

Sometimes, you can train your pet as much as you can to be without you but fact is, some just get bored. They want to play and be entertained but if you’re not home, they have no one to give them that attention. The result? Maybe some chewed on shoes, or even worse - walls. If your dog loves to chew, or chews to relieve stress, give them something that'll occupy them such as a chew stick. The flavor and activity will satisfy their urge and provide them with entertainment.

Tip 3:

When you come home after your workday, it’s important not to overreact when you see your dog. We understand - you miss them and they miss you too, so it’s hard not to excite them as soon as you open the door. However, this can lead to a bunch of bad habits over time. They could start to jump on you (and other guests) as you enter, knock down anything you’re carrying, or bark excessively. The best thing you can do is be as calm as possible while entering and teach them to greet you in the same manner. Always remember to reward this good behavior!

Going back to work in the office won’t be out of the norm for just you. It will be a huge change for your furry friends too. Try your best to be patient with them as they work through this adjustment. Once you’re back home after a long day, you’ll both appreciate all the cuddles and playtime just a little bit more.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

A Closer Look At Pet Anxiety

Tips For Calming Stressed Cats

Pet Safety While Traveling

woman holding cat near car trunk

The clouds are lifting - both literally and figuratively - as we head into summer. After what feels like a very, very long winter, people are chomping at the bit to get out of the house and back into the world. But what about your pets? Are you taking them with you?
 
Travel in 2021 won’t be entirely like it was before, but those very same travel trends set the stage for a dog-friendly trip. According to AirBnB, who experienced a 128% increase in customers looking for a home away from home during the pandemic, more than six out of ten people are looking to take a trip this year within driving distance from home. Paris and Rome, the darlings of 2019 travel, are out. Instead, people are eyeing the Great Smoky Mountains, Breckenridge, and Palm Springs.

Hotels are out, too. With more people working remotely than ever before, people aren’t looking for a spa-like indulgence nearly as much as they are a different view out of the front window. With rules and requirements changing from day to day, people are also waiting until the last minute to commit to a trip. That’s easier said than done when you’re also needing to plan for a pet.
 
Road trips with pets bring a whole different set of contingencies, but none more important than this: how do you keep dogs safe in the car?
 
For many people, the answer is: you don’t. And the results can be tragic. Here are three reasons you should consider a dog restraint, if you aren’t using one already:

  1. Injuries. According to BarkBuckleUp, a 60 pound dog traveling at 35 mph, which isn’t even freeway speed, becomes a 2700 pound missile during an accident. Not only is that catastrophic for the pet, they can also cause serious injury to other passengers.
  2. Distractions. A pet who panics and tries to get into your lap or under your feet can be a serious problem.
  3. Loss. The number one reason pets die in traffic accidents isn’t from injuries sustained in the incident. When first responders arrive at the scene of an accident and encounter a frantic, unrestrained animal, it is extremely common for them to escape and, sadly, run into traffic. I have seen this firsthand in the ER, and it’s horrible.

So now that we know “no restraint” is the worst option of all, what are our other choices?

"dog

BETTER. Keeping your pet in a crate in the car is better than nothing. I see this frequently, especially with larger dogs where seat belt restraints are more difficult to use. Although it may not be as good as other means of restraint in terms of preventing injury, a crated pet is much less likely to escape your car during an accident or even at a road stop. Ideally you will have your crate secured to the car to keep it stable.
 
BEST. Restraints and carriers specifically designated for dogs are the safest and most effective option for travel. If you have a small dog, you can buy a carrier with safety belt integration built in.
 
For larger dogs, you’re most likely looking at a harness that either connects to the car’s seat belt or hooks into a latch system. For my two large dogs, I find the harnesses a good compromise between safety and usability, as they often have a separate attachment for a regular leash to make it pretty quick to get them in and out for rest stops on a road trip.
 
So which choice is right for you? That can be a tricky one. Because pet harnesses and crates are not required to meet specific safety standards, you’d have no way to know as a consumer which harnesses actually keep the pet secured during an accident. The Center for Pet Safety, a non-profit dedicated to establishing safety standards for pet products, performed actual crash tests with a variety of harnesses and crates to designate those worthy of a CPS certification. Many restraints failed the test. You can find a list of approved products that received the CPS certification on the Center for Pet Safety.
 
But at the end of the day, the best option is going to be the one you actually use. Once you have that part squared away, you can get onto the fun part- deciding where to go!


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Fire Safety And Prevention For Families With Pets

Leash Safety Made Easy

Pet Parent Tips From Life’s Abundance Employees

child whispering in dog ear

The past year has brought about lots of new pandemic pets and we are all for it! As pet parents ourselves, we understand that getting a new pup or cat can come with a lot of work. From getting all their essentials to training them, it can sometimes get a little overwhelming. So, we asked our very own Life’s Abundance employees for their top tips on having a furry friend.

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Want more? Here’s additional tips and tricks we felt you just had to know!

Nail clipping is so much easier with a second person holding an enticing treat level to the floor. It's a wonderful distraction to help keep the dog in place and distracted. Who knew they could love a pedicure?! - Arin

I try to get creative and make fun games for my dog, Tucker, to keep his mind busy. Like putting his food in a puzzle. - Alyssa

Establish pack leadership, pack mental health, and boundaries for the pack inside the house. - Jennifer

Don't free feed, give 2-3 small meals a day and always plenty of water. - Stephen

Entertain them when away at work. Lots of toys and I have an interactive camera so I can say hi to her and send her a treat. I also use a treat holder and I leave that in the morning before I leave to keep her a little entertained. - Denise

Make sure your dog is microchipped and has a collar on with his or her name and a phone number to call if they get lost. - Rocky

Do not start feeding your dog table scraps. It will be very hard to resume pet food after your vet yells at you for doing something you know you shouldn’t have started to begin with. Just don't do it. If you must, keep a bag of high-quality dog treats around and toss one out every so often. - Sasha

Whether you’re a new pet parent or an experienced one, we hope you learned something new!

What are your best tips you use for your furry friends? Comment below!


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Appreciating The Joys Our Pets Bring

puppy and kitten

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a ton of time lately with my dog’s head in my lap. I’ve lived with many dogs over the years, but it seems like no matter if I’m petting a lab, a Lhasa, or a coonhound, one fact remains- they always know when I need them there.

This has been an extraordinarily challenging time for everyone, no matter where you live or what you believe. Finding common ground and a sense of unity feels darn near impossible sometimes- until you start talking pets.

Like anyone who’s worked in a field where you interact with the public, I’ve met all kinds of people. One of the things I love most about veterinary medicine isn’t just that the medicine is cool- which it is- but to me, the joy is really in the immense honor and privilege I have in hearing the stories of what pets mean to us.

When I began working as an in-home hospice veterinarian, that took on an even deeper level. Unlike when someone brings a pet into the clinic, I was being invited into their homes to be present for a very momentous moment in their family’s life. I’ve sat on leather couches and corduroy; patio chairs and grassy blankets; sat in joy and sadness and dawn and dusk and no matter who, where, or when I was helping, I felt the same love and connection every time.

girl with pets

With COVID, this connection has taken on even greater meaning, as so many people find themselves spending much more time home in the company of their pets than they ever did before. Here in San Diego, our local Meals on Wheels partners with a rescue organization to deliver pet food to the seniors who rely on the program for healthy meals. Why? Because the volunteers realized many seniors were feeding their meals to their pets, choosing to do without themselves rather than have to give up the companionship of what is, for so many, their main source of emotional support.

When I feel frustrated with the state of humanity and start to wonder if things are as much of a lost cause as it sometimes feels like, I like to think that dogs and cats really do cause us to reveal our true natures. When no one’s watching, how do you interact with your pet? As hard and as rough as things can get, that answer remains constant. We all have the capacity to both give and receive a deep and unconditional love.

This belief has allowed me to be online talking with pet owners all over the world for over a decade, and allowed me to treat every family I encounter with the same dignity and respect. When it feels like there is so little space for common ground, nowhere to start and build upon, this love we share with our pets has consistently served me well for many years, and I hope it does for you as well.

When I first met the Life’s Abundance team and began writing and getting to know you all, I knew right away that this family felt the exact same way I did when it comes to how we honor and love our pets and each other. I’m so grateful to be here with all of you and get to celebrate all the little joys that our pets bring into our lives. Be safe and well!

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V

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The Many Health Benefits of Living with Dogs

Why People Prefer Cats



The Importance of Pet Insurance

Near-term costs. Long-term savings. That’s exactly what pet insurance, just like your health insurance (if you’re fortunate enough have coverage), offers pet parents. And in difficult economic times, pet insurance may be the answer to escalating vet bills.

Veterinary charges continue to rise dramatically, in large part due to the fact that procedures that were once used exclusively for human diagnoses (like CAT-scans and MRI’s) are now much more commonly used in diagnosing companion animals.

Recent measures put the number of insured companion animals at 3%, but that’s double the number of covered pets compared to the previous year. 

Pet insurance represents a relatively inexpensive way to help families deal with the high costs of the veterinary care. Policies are available through companies like Veterinary Pet Insurance, Pet Health, Inc., ShelterCare and others, both for cats and for dogs, and cover everything from annual exams to specialized treatments. 

Before you buy a pet insurance policy, call your veterinarian office to find out what policies will cover costs there. After all, there’s no point getting a policy if it your veterinarian doesn’t accept it. 

Additionally, you recommend that you discuss with your vet which policy will best cover your companion animal’s needs. With the expert information you can receive from your vet, you should be able to make the best determination for your family’s needs.


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