Pet Advice & Ideas

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.
  • Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food - In queue.
  • Large Breed Puppy Food - In queue.

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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What You Should Know About Dog Cancer

close up smoothie bowl

I love so many things about being a veterinarian- puppy kisses, seeing a sick patient recover to go home to a happy family, you name it. That being said, there are also a few things that I wish were different. Having to deal with dog cancer is one of them.

As one of the leading causes of death in both dogs and cats, working through a cancer diagnosis is one of the most challenging and common problems pet owners face. But here’s the good news: The number of treatment options has skyrocketed in the last few years, thanks to brilliant researchers and some big advancements in immunotherapy. Gone are the days when the options were limited to prednisone or whopping doses of chemotherapy. Pets are living longer and happier with cancer now than they ever have. Let’s review a few things about cancer that every pet owner should know:

Risk Factors

Age: It’s kind of a paradox that the better veterinary care becomes, the more cancer we’re seeing. It makes sense when you think about the fact that cancer is a disease associated with age. Sadly though, we do sometimes see cancers in young pets, but by and large the more time your pet has with you on Earth, the greater the chances become that they may face a cancer diagnosis.

Genetics: Some breeds are more prone to certain types of cancers than others. Golden retrievers are notoriously susceptible to lymphoma (a lymph node cancer) and hemangiosarcoma (a cancer of the blood vessels). Scottish terriers, West Highland White terriers, beagles, and Shetland sheepdogs show higher numbers of bladder cancer. Brachycephalic dogs- ie any dog with a smushed face like pugs, are more likely to develop brain cancers.

What about diet? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Cancer is a complicated disease with many contributing factors, and the truth is we just don’t know how much of a role food plays in dog cancer. We do know from human medicine that certain foods or food additives are more likely to contribute to cancer, and other foods or nutrients may be protective. This is why choosing a healthy diet is so important. You want to reduce as many risk factors as possible, even if they’re ones we never see. That’s why our premium dog food is formulated with the finest ingredients that help your dog achieve and maintain optimal health.

Age, diet, and breed are never a guarantee of a pet getting cancer- thank goodness. But it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind so if your pet exhibits any changes in health or behavior, you know to get it checked sooner rather than later.

woman and dog touching heads

Signs to Look Out For

Cancer is tricky because it’s not one specific disease. As the uncontrolled growth of a mutated cell, the behavior varies quite a bit depending on the type of cancer, the location, and the overall health of the patient. These signs exist in other illnesses as well, so just because your pet exhibits one or more does not mean it’s cancer- but it does mean you should check in with the vet!

  • Change in appetite. A Labrador who normally inhales his kibble in ten seconds flat suddenly leaves kibble in the bowl every night? That’s not normal.
  • Sleeping more. A pup who usually zooms around the house all day suddenly curls by your feet for hours at a time? Might be worth getting checked out. It could be a behavior change related to owners spending more time at home, so we’ll hope for that!
  • Sudden swellings. Anything bulging that shouldn’t be bulging- get it checked out ASAP. A tiny lump or bump on the skin? Here’s what oncologist Dr. Sue Ettinger recommends:
    If a lump is:
    • Bigger than a pea
    • Present for more than a month
    Then it should be checked out! Caught early, even some of the most aggressive cancers can be treated easily- but the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.
  • Non-healing sores. People often say “spider bite” any time a pet has a red or ulcerated lesion on their body. It rarely is. Even if it’s not cancer, any ulcerated skin is going to be painful, so no matter the cause, get it looked at!
  • Really anything else out of the ordinary. You know your pet better than anyone. Coupled with the increased time you’re spending at home in their company, people are 100% spotting conditions they might otherwise have missed.

Don’t Panic!

Dog cancer is scary. As someone who's been through it more times than I’d ever wish, I understand and appreciate the natural response of being scared, and grieving. But the one thing you should know is that cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Years ago, many people had the opinion that if a pet was diagnosed with cancer, therapy was a waste of time and money. Times have changed.

While the treatment and life expectancies vary tremendously, many cancers can be managed almost like a chronic disease. With supportive care and a carefully crafted treatment plan, pets can live comfortably for months or sometimes even years. Recent advances in immunotherapy are showing incredible promise. A lymphoma vaccine? A melanoma treatment? Things that were considered untreatable just a few years ago are now on the verge of having very effective treatments. If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, ask the vet if anyone nearby is participating in clinical trials your pet may qualify for. The Veterinary Cancer Society has a list of trials.

No one considers what’s going on in the world a blessing, but since so many of us are spending more time at home anyway, you might as well use some of that time to give your pet a once-over and check for lumps and bumps. While the outcome of a cancer diagnosis is never a given, one thing is for sure: the earlier you know, the better your pet will do.

Stay safe and don’t forget to love on your pets for me, ok?

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V


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Maintaining Pet Dental Health At Home

cat teeth

Pet Dental Health Month comes around once again to remind us of how important it is that we focus on our pet’s oral hygiene. Other than not wanting to smell doggie breath, there are multiple important reasons as to why you should be taking care of your pet’s dental health. About 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have dental issues, so it’s a pretty common concern. You may think that your pet doesn’t have any problems now, but left untreated, it can become costly and painful in the long run.

What starts as bad breath could have tons of underlying causes beyond just their mouth. Your dog or cat could have built up tartar, tooth decay, oral abscess, or periodontal disease. If you wait too long to resolve these issues, they could eventually lead to heart, liver and kidney problems. Luckily, you can take preventative measures so your pet doesn’t have to face these scary scenarios.

Nutrition for Dental Health

Besides the obvious solution of getting a dental cleaning, you can actually give your dog certain foods and treats that will help minimize the potential for oral problems. It’s important that you feed your pet a diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients, whether it’s their food or treats. One of the ingredients you should be looking for is oats. Oats are a strength-giving ingredient that not only supports strong teeth but also helps coats as well! Probiotics don’t necessarily help dental health on their own, but they do help your pet’s intestinal tract which in turn promotes a healthy mouth. Calcium is a given as it maintains healthy bones, so that means teeth too!

Gourmet Dental Treats: These treats are a tasty snack that also targets nutrition and dental hygiene. The high-quality grains and proteins, plus calcium and phosphorus, help maintain strong teeth and gums. Plus, the added parsley helps with doggie breath!

Porky Puffs: Less about nutrition, and more about the chew, these are a great alternative to rawhide. Porky puffs are made from pig snouts and contain no artificial preservatives or flavors. Give your pup one of these delicious treats for their ultimate chewing pleasure!

Buffalo Bully Sticks: Delicious AND healthy? Say no more. These bully sticks are made from free-range, grass fed buffalo. The chewing action helps reduce tartar and maintain your dog’s dental health. Totally a win-win.

dog licking girl

What Else Can I Do?

Along with dental treats, there are steps we take at home to maintain your dog and cat’s dental health and ensure long lasting pearly whites.

  • We humans are supposed to brush our teeth twice a day for a healthy smile. Just like us, our pets need this too. We know it can be a struggle, but brushing your pet’s teeth twice a day can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
  • If you can easily get into your pet’s mouth without them pulling away, it might be in your benefit to take a look at their teeth and gums. Lift the flap of their mouth and examine for any signs of bumps or swelling on their gums, and any tartar or chipped teeth.
  • If your pet’s teeth seem a little too dirty to manage, it might be time for a proper teeth cleaning by their vet. While it may be a bit costly now, there are long term consequences such as dental extractions that may come if you put it off.

Proper oral health is necessary for a long, happy life for your pet. And if you love happy cats and puppy kisses as much as we do, then it’ll be a win-win for both you and your furry friend.


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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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Which Dog Breed Is Your Perfect Valentine?

woman with great dane

Many would agree that dogs make our lives whole. The love, loyalty, sweet cuddles, and wet kisses are what make us dog people. And just like us, they have their own personalities too! There are the ones that live off of adventure and others that are perfectly content as lap dogs. Here are just a few breeds that have personalities very similar to yourself!

Extroverts

Beagle: Extroverts! What better dog breed to match your outgoing and friendly personalities than a beagle? Beagles are usually an all-around great dog that can adapt to many lifestyles. However, they are extremely intelligent and playful which makes them a great fit for extroverted owners. So, feel free to invite company as beagles will meet them with a happy wagging tail.

Introverts

Shiba Inu: Shiba Inus have a unique personality. They were originally bred as hunting dogs and tend to be a bit possessive. But, just as any breed, they can be trained in a way to be loving family dogs. The reason they make great dogs for introverts is because they are independent and almost “cat-like.” So they are a great match for those who are more to themselves.

Social

Golden Retriever: Goldens fit into so many different categories but they are most definitely a social pup. They are known for being family-friendly and generally getting along with many people. They’re the perfect fit for the social butterfly since they naturally fall in love with just about any visitor that will give them a belly rub and a tasty treat.

Homebody

Maltese: Quite the cute little one in the toy dog group, maltese breeds are fond of cuddling. They still love to play and be active but they don’t require as much activity as other breeds. They make great companions for people who prefer to stay home as they are gentle, loving and are very content being curled up on your lap.

Peaceful

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: You already know that getting a dog means that there is barking involved. However, there are certain breeds that are less likely to bark, including the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. If you’re the type of person who enjoys living more peacefully without much noise, this breed is usually more quiet than others. Even excessive yelling doesn’t go over well with these spaniels.

Intellectual

Doberman Pinscher: Looking for a pup that matches your need for knowledge? Dobermans are known for their obedience and intelligence, in fact they are one of the smartest breeds in the world. They respond very well to positive reinforcement so you can feel comfortable training them to sit, stay, or fetch all day long.

Adventurer

Border Collie: Running in the park or hiking up trails, Border Collies are lovers of adventure. They are naturally athletic and are part of the hunting and herding dog groups, meaning that you can bet they are always looking to be where the action is. These dogs will no doubt be up to partnering up with you as you embark on all your outside adventures.

woman playing with border collie

Cuddler

Great Dane: Okay, we know. This sounds absolutely off track. However, despite the Great Dane’s...greatness, they’re actually avid cuddlers. Their size certainly does not stop them from taking a seat on your lap. So, if you’re the type of person who enjoys a rainy day spent snuggled under the covers, then a Great Dane might be the one for you. Just make sure you can take the weight of at least 100 pounds.

Athletes

Parson (Jack) Russell Terrier: Say hello to high energy! If you love going out for a run and spending all your energy, Jack Russels would enjoy being by your side. They are a smaller dog breed that needs to be exercised more than your average pup, they don’t do well just chilling out at home. Also avid hunters, don’t be surprised if they start sprinting after a small animal.

Creative

Poodle: Just take a look at how pet parents get their poodles groomed and you’ll realize they’re a walking canvas on their own - ideal for the creative type. Besides that, poodles are a smart breed that love to be stimulated in different ways. This includes both physical and mental training that ranges from the traditional fetch to becoming a watchdog.

Don’t get us wrong. Just because you might be a huge extrovert, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t fit well with a Shiba Inu or Great Dane. The amazing thing about dogs is that they will always adore their owner no matter what their personality is. Plus, don’t they always say opposites attract anyways?

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Bulletin: FDA Recall Issued After Dog Deaths

pet food recall

UPDATED JANUARY 25, 2021: The FDA has added a list of countries where the recalled product may have been exported by Midwestern Pet Foods. As of this date, approximately 110 dogs have died and 210 have gotten sick. The countries affected are listed below.

On January 11, 2021, the FDA reported that Midwestern Pet Foods has expanded the recall to all of their pet foods containing corn and was manufactured within the company's Oklahoma plant and has an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. While the investigation is ongoing, the FDA approximates more than 70 dogs have died and 80 have gotten sick after consuming certain pet foods manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods. The updated list of recalled pet food products is listed below.

Note: No Life’s Abundance products are involved in this recall. We do not use corn, the ingredient at the center of this investigation.

On December 30, 2020 the FDA reported that Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. has voluntarily recalled several lots of dry dog food and dry cat food due to potentially fatal levels of the toxin aflatoxin.

The Problem

Aflatoxin is a mold that is present on grains such as corn, which is commonly used in pet foods. At high levels this can become toxic and cause sluggishness, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, and prolonged liver damage. Severe cases may lead to death, as in this case.

The investigation is ongoing and updates will be posted here. As of this reporting, the FDA has announced the death of at least 28 dogs and 8 illnesses in conjunction with this Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. pet food recall.

The FDA advises pet parents to stop feeding their pets the recalled products and ensure no other animals have access to the food. It also recommends contacting your veterinarian, especially if your dog or cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above. For more, visit the FDA’s alert.

Products involved as of January 11, 2021:

Lots of the following pet food products have been recalled if the date/lot code includes an expiration date on or before “07/09/22” and includes “05” in the date/lot code, which identifies products made in the Oklahoma plant:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH:MM”

The affected products were distributed to online retailers and stores nationwide within the United States.

Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. may have exported the recalled product to one consignee, respectively, in each of the following countries: Bahrain, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

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. For example, as it relates to this situation with aflatoxin from corn, we committed from the beginning to never use corn or wheat in our pet diets, in part, for this reason. The ingredients selected for our foods represent the best of quality and safety, right down to the micronutrients.

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. Alert unsuspecting dog food consumers of this situation so their dogs don’t get sick as well as help you feel even more confident about Life's Abundance and our commitment to helping families, including our pets, live long, healthy lives!

7 Steps For Off Leash Dog Training

man training dog

Training your dog off-leash is a rewarding experience for both you and your pup! However, there are certain precautions you need to take before allowing your dog to roam freely. Off-leash training can be difficult in the beginning, especially for breeds that love to run and investigate their surroundings. It can also be easy for them to get distracted when there are other people and dogs nearby. Here are some steps that will help you in safely leading your furry friend towards their first off-leash adventure.

Off-Leash Training Steps:

  1. First things first is to evaluate if your dog is a good candidate for off-leash training. Some dogs might have more difficulty training, like beagles that love to run or chow chows that tend to be super independent.
  2. Before any training, your dog needs to learn how to sit, heel, and come.
  3. As you guide your dog into training, minimize their fears as best you can. This means making sure the environment is free of loud noises, bigger dogs, or children.
  4. Start off by keeping your dog on a long leash or in a large fenced area. You should not let them off-leash until you are 100% confident they are ready.
  5. Use high-value dog treats or toys as you train your dog to sit, heel, and come. Reward them well and shower them with attention when they complete a behavior.
  6. Over time, you can start to use a drag line, which is a smooth rope attached to a collar or harness, to give them more freedom.
  7. Once they become consistent with commands, you can consider letting them graduate to time off the leash.

woman running with beagle

The goal of the first several steps is to convince your dog that it is in their best interest to stay close to you and not run off. Sometimes, neutering can make a huge difference as the possibility of roaming decreases by up to 90%. Regardless of this and other factors, like breed, step one above is crucial - each dog should be evaluated for training. If your dog constantly runs off, or demonstrates predatory behavior, you will want to involve a professional trainer. Dogs are kept leashed for their safety and the safety of others, so we know there is some risk to going off-leash. But, there is also a big reward for your hard work and consistent effort!

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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



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.