Life's Abundance | Premium health products

How Cats Help Your Health

cat head scratch

It's long been known that dogs can have a soothing effect on their human’s health - but did you know that cats can do something similar as well? There are many studies that show that sharing your home with cats supports good physical and mental health. I mean really, who can be upset when you’re looking at those sweet faces? Here are some of the ways that your feline friends help you out.

Improves Your Mental Health

Imagine relaxing on your couch and your purring cat cuddles up next to you. Did you know that by simply petting your cat, your body produces stress reducing hormones? Talk about a win-win for both you and your feline! In one study, single people with cats reported feeling fewer negative emotions and bad moods than single people who do not own cats. Even if you’re prone to stress, cat parents also feel less stress and more confidence when their cat is present. 

Boosts Your Physical Health 

Being a cat owner can also improve your physical health in a variety of ways. Studies show:

  • Many cat owners sleep better than non-cat owners.
  • Cat owners may be less likely to die from a heart attack. This is true even of former cat owners!
  • Small health complaints, like headaches, backaches, and colds reduce or diminish after a person gets a cat.
  • Cat owners have a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.
  • You have better ability to cope with challenges than people who don’t have pets.

woman petting cat

Mental Health Development in Young People

If you thought cats were only good for you, they are an even better influence on your kids. One survey of kids between the ages of 11 and 15 showed that those with pet cats enjoyed better quality of life. This included higher energy levels, better attention and focus, and improved social skills. Kids in this study were overall happier, whether at school or at home. In addition, when kids are exposed to cats early on in life, their immune system is built up as they age. Therefore, they are less likely to develop allergies or asthma.

Relationship Management

You know that love you have for your cat? These feelings actually extend into your interactions with other people. Cat parents tend to be more socially sensitive and trusting, which helps them in relationships. Even more, they allow us to be more caring, loving, and patient. In fact, it's been suggested that cats are "social catalysts," prompting their humans to interact with others. This can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Cats help you in a variety of ways. You have someone to care for, snuggle with, talk to, look after, think about, play with and interact with. Your cat helps you stay healthy, and of course we want to do the same for them.

One of the most critical factors in helping your feline friend thrive is their daily nutrition source. Feeding a healthy diet to your cat will help them live their happiest, longest life by your side. We formulate food with both you and your cat in mind by only choosing ingredients that work well together and give real results. Plus, our carefully designed antioxidant and gut health systems supply your cat with the support they need. Learn more about premium cat food and cat treats, and give your felines the same love they give to you!


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Bulletin: Massive Pet Food Recall Due to Salmonella

feeding pets


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

On March 27th, the FDA announced a massive recall of 140 lots of dog and cat food produced by Midwestern Pet Foods. This voluntary recall spans many brands and is the result of possible Salmonella contamination.

What Pet Parents Should Know

  • The list of affected brands includes Earthborn Holistic, Venture, CanineX, Unrefined, Sportmix Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix and Meridian.
  • The complete list of affected lots can be found at FDA.gov.
  • The FDA advises to discard the recalled products in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them.
  • They also recommend washing your hands and any dishes or utensils that have come into contact with the recalled food.
  • No illnesses have been reported as a result of the recalled dog and cat foods to date.

What Is Salmonella

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

The GI symptoms are very similar in dogs and cats who contract Salmonella, and they may also experience lethargy or decreased appetite. If you or your dog or cat experience any of these symptoms after having contact with a recalled food, contact the appropriate healthcare provider.

For a complete list of the 140 recalled lots, visit FDA.gov.

A Safer Solution

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

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


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Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

woman holding bottle and bag

Going green is more than just a trending topic. If you truly want to have a significant impact on your own ecological footprint and improve your local community, then you should consider adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. On the surface, it may seem difficult to transform your entire life and begin living in an eco-friendly way. However, you can take small steps and slowly change your habits in a way that will eventually make a big difference in the world around you.

Here are five ways that you can live a more sustainable life:

Minimize Your Plastic Use

It seems that everything and anything can be made out of plastic, and that material has taken a serious toll on our world. It is often found washed up on beaches and has been known to cause harm to animals that come into contact with it. One of the best ways to combat this global issue is to reduce your own use of single-use plastics. A few ideas that can help you get started include:

  • Purchasing a reusable water bottle to use instead of buying disposable bottled water. Get fancy with it and buy one that really suits you.
  • Metal and glass straws which are super affordable, eco-friendly alternatives to using regular plastic straws that are not biodegradable.
  • Bring reusable, fabric bags to the store and give them to the bagger to use instead of plastic bags.

Shop at Thrift Stores

The process of manufacturing and distributing clothing products is incredibly draining on the world's natural resources, and the high turnover rate of new fashions has only compounded this issue. Rather than constantly buying a brand new wardrobe every season, you can shop at thrift stores to get great deals on clothes that are in excellent used condition. Even better, many of these stores have designer brands in stock that are still in season and in style!

Amp Up Your Recycling Efforts

One of the simplest ways to live a more sustainable life is to recycle as often as possible. If your community has a recycling program in place, make sure that you recycle every eligible product that you can. However, be mindful of what cannot be recycled as one tarnished recycling bin can compromise the entire load. In addition to participating in curbside recycling, you can also get creative and think about ways you can reuse the products in your house before you dispose of them. Some great ideas include:

  • Repurpose glass jars to organize small items like nails and pins.
  • Use egg cartons to start a gardening hobby.
  • Turn your empty paper towel rolls into a DIY bird feeder.

woman farming

Go to Farmer's Markets

At the farmer's market, you will be able to discover endless options for your next meal. There are tons of vendors available who sell fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. In addition, you can find homemade pastries and baked goods as well as other locally-produced food items. By shopping local at the farmer's market, you can support your community and reduce the need for cross-country transportation to get food into your area.

Be Mindful of Your Water Usage

Thousands upon thousands of gallons of water are wasted on a daily basis, while many around the world do not have access to clean, fresh water. By being more conscious about how much water you use and when you use it, you can aid in the water conservation efforts that are taking place worldwide. Some things you can do include:

  • Take cooler, shorter showers.
  • Buy a rain barrel to harvest fresh water to reuse in your garden.
  • Wash your dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher.

Buy from Sustainable Companies

Many companies are getting on the train of sustainability and incorporating eco-friendly practices into their daily operations. Choosing these green businesses over others that take a toll on the environment is just another way to live a more sustainable life. At Life’s Abundance, we aim to decrease our carbon footprint in just about every practice from product packaging to using solar panels. We took it an extra step with our Trees for the Future program by planting a tree for every clean beauty and clean body purchase. As a result, we will have planted over 1,000,000 trees by 2025!

As you take small steps toward a larger goal, it is important to know that a sustainable lifestyle is always within reach. By being conscious of the impact that you have on the environment and staying informed about the best ways to go green, you can improve your own health, reduce your ecological footprint and make the world a better place for the generations to come.


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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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Yoga At Your Desk

woman at desk with yoga mat

Unless you’re on your feet often as part of your job, it’s highly likely that you sit at a desk for hours on end - and you know what those new studies say, “sitting is the new smoking.”

The chronic stress and tension you place on your body by sitting at a desk, without taking breaks to get up and move, places unnecessary strain on the lumbar spine, overstretches the mid to upper back, and shortens the muscles of the chest and hips, leading to neck, shoulder, and low back pain - and who wants that?

Instead of sitting uncomfortably throughout the day, set aside just a few minutes in between calls to stretch your tight muscles with the quick yoga poses in the video below, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind.  Your body will thank you, and you’ll move through your day healthier, happier, less stressed, and more productive.

POSES

 

Arms clasped behind back to open shoulders

Start by sitting up straight in your chair and interlacing your hands behind your back. Micro bend your elbows and lift them without locking. Roll your shoulders outward to create more space in your front body, and then lift your hands away from your lower back, any amount,  and breath into your upper chest.

Seated pigeon

Crossing your legs while seated, especially when done on one side more than the other, can create imbalances in the hips and lower spine- this pose stretches the outer hips which tend to be super tight from all that sitting.  Flex foot, extend leg out if hips too tight, bend knee and lean forward if you want more of a stretch.

Seated side stretch

The side body tends to collapse when hunched over a computer, contributing to neck and shoulder discomfort. This pose helps you sit with a taller spine, and lengthens the muscles around the ribcage to create more space. Keep shoulders rooted as stretch and side body long.

Seated chair twist

The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff over time. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain, and stress. Turn sideways hands on the back of the chair, twist from the ground up, and lengthen through the crown of the head.

Forward fold lower back stretch in chair

Forward bends calm the nervous system, so hold this pose for at least 10 long deep breaths. Sit in your chair and widen your legs so they are wider than hip-distance apart. From the hip crease, bend forward and allow your entire body to relax. You can round your back. Drop your head and completely relax your neck.


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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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This Ingredient Has Sweet Benefits For Your Skin

close up womans face

Sugar. We love it, we crave it & we do our best to avoid it. The human brain can be biologically impaired when it comes to excess sugar intake; our cognitive abilities degrade and our self-control is pushed to the limit. We all know the (many) reasons to avoid over-consuming it - like chronic inflammation, poor dental health, weight gain that can lead to liver or heart disease, & glycation (a natural aging process that’s exacerbated by sugar) - but what if we told you there’s a seriously beneficial way to incorporate sugar into your life? It turns out, sugar may not always be so bad.

Topical Skin Care

You read that right. Your everyday skin care routine is a perfect place to introduce this controversial ingredient. Now hear us out. Not all sugar is created equal - discover how sugar can gently support skin health. How? Let’s explore this sweet ingredient in its many forms below.

Sugar Cane Extract

Saccharum officinarum, or as we’re discussing it here, sugarcane, is a hearty species of grass that originates from Southeast Asia. Beloved by cosmetic chemists and skin care formulators, this plant extract contains humectant (moisturizing) and exfoliating properties.

Sugar cane extract contains glycolic acid, falling under the category of an alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA. AHAs are water-soluble acids, with their most common sources being fruit, and you guessed it, sugar cane! They work by gently peeling away dead skin cells on the surface to unveil more even-toned skin. AHAs, like the glycolic acid found in sugar cane extract, are an excellent option to help aid skin that has hyperpigmentation or a rough texture.

man looking in mirror

Sugar Maple Extract

Just reading this ingredient name, we’re dreaming of warm morning waffles topped with freshly tapped Vermont maple syrup. But let’s switch gears. This sugar extract is in fact from the very same source as your morning breakfast syrup, but formulated into skin care, this extract can help reduce signs of aging and more. This particular sugar extract is also a member of the AHA family, containing malic & tartaric acids. Let’s break them down:

  • Malic Acid: Most commonly found in apples, malic acid is an AHA beloved for its ability to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, even-out discoloration known as hyperpigmentation & reduce congestion in the skin. But what sets it apart from other AHAs, you ask? It’s molecule size. Larger than other AHAs (like glycolic acid), it is unable to penetrate the skin as deeply, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While this does mean it may not be as effective as other AHAs in its family, it is however a more suitable option for sensitive skin types that have experienced irritation from other AHAs.
  • Tartaric Acid: The largest in molecular size than other AHAs mentioned in this post, tartaric acid is an AHA that’s often added to formulations to help enhance the performance of other AHAs when it comes to sloughing away dead skin cells.

Find these delicate exfoliators in our Facial Cleanser. Gentle enough for daily use, the sugar cane extract & Sugar Maple Extract support skin function by gently exfoliating dead skin cells as you wash, revealing fresh, more even-toned skin.

Sucrose (Sugar) Extract

Consumed through sweet baked goods or sugary beverages (added sugar can be sneakily hidden in many coffee drinks & even gut-healthy drinks like Kombucha), sugar can be detrimental to skin health and appearance. The natural process of glycation (a process in which our skin ages) is excelled with the introduction of sugar, and sugar has also been known to cause breakouts and inflammation. But fear not, when sugar is topically applied, skin reaps many benefits.

Sucrose is most likely the most common form of sugar you may be familiar with. It is naturally a humectant and an exfoliant (an AHA). Humectants work by attracting and retaining moisture in the air to seal in hydration. Similar to the Sugar Cane Extract discussed above, sucrose is a natural source of glycolic acid that helps slough away dead cells at the skin’s topmost later to help uncover smoother, brighter skin. Sucrose takes form in the shape of small, crystalline particles which allow it to perform as a gentle abrasive to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and buildup that can lead to congestion, breakouts, or a dull complexion.

Put sugar to work with our Hibiscus Mask & Scrub. Use it as a gentle facial scrub 2-3 times weekly, or opt for a face mask 1-2 per week. Let sit for 15 minutes & rinse.


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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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Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl Recipe

close up smoothie bowl

When was the last time you ate cake for breakfast? If you normally try to eat healthy, the answer is probably never. Well, thanks to our Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl, you can now have your cake and eat healthy too!

Ok, so it’s not exactly cake, but it tastes just like a creamy slice sans the red dye, sugar and calories. It’s also a thousand times easier to make than baking an actual cake and you can lick the bowl because it’s vegan.

This smoothie bowl is not only beautiful but it’s full of nutrient dense ingredients, a few of which you may not prefer to eat on their own, but you’d never even know they’re blended in here, like cauliflower and beets.

Just one serving of our Red Velvet Smoothie Bowl boosts your diet with:

  • Cauliflower is very low in calories yet extremely high in vitamins, including 77% of the RDI of Vitamin C, 20% of the RDI of Vitamin K and  11% of the RDI of Vitamin B6. It’s also full of fiber and a great source of antioxidants.
  • Beets also contain many important vitamins including folate, manganese, and potassium but they also contain pigments called betalains, which research shows may contain a number of anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are high in sugar, but luckily a small amount packs a nutritious punch.
  • Raspberries are an antioxidant powerhouse containing 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C and a healthy dose of manganese, vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium. Plus they have less sugar than almost every other fruit and are full of fiber.
  • Bananas are most touted to be full of potassium, and while they do have 9% of the daily RDI, they also contain 33% of the RDI of Vitamin B6, 14% of Manganese and 11% of Vitamin C. They are also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that can help moderate blood sugar.
  • Cacao powder is full of naturally occurring antioxidants called Polyphenols that are packed with health benefits such as reduced inflammation, better circulation, improved cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.

red velvet smoothie bowl

If all those health benefits don’t get you excited, remember the aforementioned comparison to tasting like a slice of Red Velvet Cake. We’re sure you’re going to love it.

Share your smoothie pics on social and tag us at @lifesabundance #lifesabundance - we can’t wait to see your creations.

Serving size: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ⅔  cup frozen cauliflower
  • ⅓ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup frozen beets
  • 2 tsp Life’s Abundance Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cacao powder
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Toppings of choice: We used chia seeds, bee pollen (leave off for vegan bowls), plain plant yogurt, cacao nibs, freeze dried raspberries, and sesame seeds.

Instructions

  1. Blend ingredients from top to bottom and add your favorite toppings
  2. Enjoy!


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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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