Life's Abundance | Makers of premium health products for dogs, cats and pet parents, too!

We're One of America’s Best Small Companies!

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We are proud to announce that Life’s Abundance is a 2019 Forbes Small Giants winner! This award is bestowed annually to 25 privately held companies that exemplify their commitment to choosing greatness over growth. Each of these companies provides stellar service to customers, offers employees fulfilling, rewarding work and is a vital member of its community. Below is the write-up in May’s edition of Forbes Magazine.

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Life’s Abundance has been making and selling healthy pet food (and other products) since 1999, and it’s never had a product recalled, a record that makes CEO Lester Thornhill, a native Trinidadian, proud. It relies on customers to market its products, as in multilevel marketing, but with a crucial difference: There are no quotas, and no one is required to buy or sell anything. That not only means a lot of repeat customers but also lets the company keep its goods out of big-box stores and Amazon, which is a matter of principle, Thornhill says, enabling Life's Abundance to manufacture in small batches and guarantee freshness and quality.

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“We are deeply honored to be a part of the Small Giants Community, an inspiring group of purpose-driven business leaders,” says Lester Thornhill, CEO of Life’s Abundance. “This award holds particular meaning to us because it celebrates our commitment to making an impact beyond our balance sheet, whether it’s creating products for the well-being of you and your pets, selecting sustainable business practices, or contributing to charitable organizations.”

The Small Giants Community is open to businesses that are eager to grow and make profits, but only while upholding their culture and purpose. Once a year, 250 like-minded leaders get together for a three-day conference loaded with vivacious speakers and social events centered on how to keep great companies strong. At the summit, the 25 Best Small Companies who were named in Forbes are honored. We were so thrilled to be a part of the celebration this year!

Amazing Greyhounds: Fun Facts About the Fastest Dog

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Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred canines. Ancient paintings of these noble creatures grace the walls of tombs in the great Egyptian pyramids. In fact, Greyhounds are the only breed mentioned by name in the Bible!

Aside from being one of the fastest animals on the planet, they are so good-natured that they are commonly referred to as “Velcro dogs” by their people. 

Would you like to learn more about this elegant, ancient breed? Then look no further, because here’s a handy infographic that reveals some of the most amazing Greyhound facts. To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below!

PDF Document

Our Foundation Awards Funding to 10 Rescues

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Did you know that when you shop at Life’s Abundance, a portion of the profits is set aside to fund the good works of our charitable foundation? Whether you’re ordering nutritional supplements for yourself or premium food, treats and supplements for your companion animals, your repeat business funds our efforts to help save lives of homeless, abused and neglected animals across the U.S.

Our non-profit agency, The Dr. Jane Foundation, provides financial support to small and medium-size rescue groups from coast to coast. Many of these rescue groups are just getting their operations off the ground, and the obstacles they face often boil down to limited resources. If we can help dozens of these groups every year to save more lives and further establish their agencies as agents of positive change, we are thrilled to do so. Since 2007, our foundation has given 186 awards totaling more than $270,000!

And that brings us to today's news. We’re incredibly pleased to inform you that our Board of Directors has funded grant applications for the following ten rescue organizations.

1. TLC Humane Society

Based in the town of Dahlonega, GA, the TLC Humane Society is the only no-kill, non-profit shelter in town. They maintain both a physical shelter facility and a foster-care program. The shelter is nestled on six beautiful acres and aims to find adoptive homes for over 300 dogs and cats this year. Our award was allocated to help cover the costs of much-needed building repair, to ensure that their rescued dogs and cats have a safe environment while awaiting placement in their forever homes.

2. Animal Balance

This organization's primary focus is on implementing non-lethal overpopulation control on islands all over the world. Animal Balance provides basic veterinary care, including spay/neuter, microchipping, vaccinations, parasite treatment and addresses other injuries/conditions as needed for both cats and dogs. Even though they don’t do adoptions, we recognize the importance of their hard work in keeping overpopulation at bay. Our award was allotted to help cover the costs of their next island spay-and-neuter mission on Kauai. This five-day operation requires loads of planning but organizers hope to perform surgeries at four different temporary clinics with the ultimate goal of spaying/neutering over 2,000 feral cats.

3. Yorkie Rescue of America

Founded in 2011 by Tiffini Cartozian, who turned her passion for Yorkshire Terriers into a mission for good, this breed-specific non-profit rescue has saved the lives of over 400 Yorkies. This organization only provides aid to Yorkies who require extensive medical care and/or intensive rehabilitation. At present, they have approximately 40 foster homes with over 70 volunteer caregivers nationwide. Our financial award has been allocated to help offset the costs of veterinary care and to help build awareness for their services across the country.

4. 3rd Coast Labrador Rescue

Established in 2015, 3rd Coast Labrador Rescue is a non-profit organization comprised of unpaid volunteers who are dedicated to rescuing, healing and rehoming Labradors and Labrador mixes in Michigan. The vast majority of their dogs come from animal control, nearby shelters or owner surrenders, so they must deal with a wide range of extreme health issues stemming from abuse, neglect or accidental injury. At present, they do not maintain a presence in a dedicated facility, but rather utilize their own private network of foster homes throughout the state of Michigan. Our financial award was specifically earmarked for to veterinary costs. 

5. Douglas County Humane Society

Partnered with Douglas County Animal Shelter, the Douglas County Humane Society works to reduce the number of stray dogs and cats in their community through outreach, education and by providing veterinary care to animals in need. Since they were founded, their primary goal is to eliminate euthanasia at their local shelter, which they're on the cusp of achieving. Additionally, they provide assistance to local low-income families through their Pet Pantry, helping people keep and feed their pets during tough economic times. Our foundation award is allocated towards covering the costs of neuter and spay surgeries for numerous dogs and cats. 

6. Fur Fun Rescue

Fur Fun Rescue’s goal is to lower the rate of canine deaths in a five-state territory that includes areas of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. By coordinating with local and national transport coordinators, including Pilots N Paws, they transfer dogs from high-kill shelters to welcoming rescue groups. They specialize in difficult-to-place dogs, many of whom have urgent medical needs and seniors who have close to no hope of rescue. This year, they are on target to successfully adopt out over 300 dogs! Our financial award has been allocated to help offset the high costs of veterinary care incurred in rescuing sick and older dogs. 

7. Golden Oldies Cat Rescue

Based in Monterey, California, Golden Oldies Cat Rescue is a resource and advocate for adult cats from Monterey County whose guardians can no longer care for them or who are at-risk in area shelters. Founded in 2016, this group places cats into foster homes while searching for their new forever families. Their motto is “Older Cats, New Beginnings.” Golden Oldies is working to build its foster program to expand its reach. In fact, our award to this organization will help them to reach this goal, while the rest of the funding will be allocated to finding forever homes.

8. Happy Trails Animal Rescue

After years of rescuing dogs in need from local area shelters, this central Florida rescue group underwent a change in their philosophy ... namely, to devote their energies towards resolving one of the most persistent failures of animal rescue: when adoptive pet parents return dogs due to problem behavior. Soon, they will open a brand new Community Resource Center for dog adopters to provide free training, educational and youth programs, free vaccine clinics, a pet food pantry, low-cost spay and neuter services, free grooming and other assistance. Our financial award has been allocated to fund additional training scholarships to dogs and families across Central Florida, including free professional training for dogs with behavioral problems stemming from their experiences in high-kill shelters. 

9. One Step Closer Animal Rescue (OSCAR)

Headquartered in Sparta, NJ, OSCAR is a non-profit rescue organization that saves dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters where animals are still euthanized due to lack of space. At present, they have working relationships with four different state Animal Control Centers. They ensure that all the pets in their care receive the proper veterinary attention and vaccinations, and that all are spayed or neutered. Additionally, OSCAR helps the local community with strays, re-homing animals, intake of NJSPCA abuse cases and operate a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) program for feral cats. Our financial award has been allocated to help offset the cost of building repairs to keep their rescues safe and happy as they await adoption. 

10. Paws & Prayers

Founded in 2001, the animal rescuers who formed Paws and Prayers sought to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home forgotten, neglected, or otherwise left-behind pets. They utilize a foster-based rescue system in which every saved pet receives loving care and attention from their dedicated volunteers until the perfect adoptive home can be identified. Their ever-growing base of volunteers and foster homes proudly saves over 1,000 companion animals each year! Our financial award has been allocated to help pay for spay and neuter surgeries for dogs and cats.

For everyone who actively support the vital work of our non-profit, we can’t thank you enough. Thanks to your personal donations and continued Life's Abundance patronage, we are helping animal rescue groups achieve their dreams of making a positive difference in the world, one animal at a time.

What Your Skin Can Tell You About Your Health

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You already know that when you eat well, sleep enough and exercise, you glow. As evidence, look no further than the notoriously disciplined power couple Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. Okay, okay … genes might have something to do with their eternally spotless complexions. But the inverse can certainly be true ... sometimes, the condition of your skin can point to potential health issues. Here are five telltale symptoms that could signal problems that are more than skin deep, and why.

Flakes: Sure, maybe it’s just symptomatic of dry weather. But if you have a lot of flakes, severe itchiness or dry spots that don’t resolve even after using a thicker moisturizer or running a humidifier, you might want to have a dermatologist take a look. Persistently parched, itchy skin without a rash or a lot of dandruff on the scalp could be a sign of thyroid disease.

Butterfly rash: If you notice that your cheeks and the bridge of your nose have a sudden bloom of red, and it's not just a passing flush, you might have an underlying health condition. A butterfly (or malar) rash is red or even deep purple and can be flat or slightly raised. It might even be painful but doesn’t usually include bumps or blisters. While this could result from an ongoing sensitivity to sunlight, this type of rash can also be symptomatic of a skin disorder (such as rosacea), a bacterial infection (like Lyme disease) or even an autoimmune disease (like lupus). Get it checked out so you know how to treat it appropriately.

Never-ending pimple: Yes, we’ve all had at least one zit in our lives that was so substantial, it seemed to take on a life of its own. For many of us, it happened on a school photo day, thus ensuring its memory will last forever. All kidding aside, if you discover a pimple that has been hanging around for weeks without clearing up (or clearing up and coming right back in the exact same spot), get thee to a dermatologist. There’s a chance it might be basal or squamous cell skin cancer, cystic acne (a condition that can cause scarring but often improves with medication or a diet change) or MRSA (a Staph skin infection that calls for antibiotics right away).

Thin skin: Easy bruising, creping of the neck or joints, and skin tears that take forever to heal. All of these are just symptoms of getting older, right? It’s true that some people develop thinner skin as they age, especially since older skin produces less collagen. While this isn't a sign that disease is present, you can pick up infections if you’re constantly nicking yourself or walking around with open wounds. In addition to drinking a lot of water and upping your sunscreen and moisturizers, the British Journal of Nutrition recommends fish oil or flax seed supplements for improving thin skin. At Life’s Abundance, we offer ultra-pure fish oil in both a smooth liquid and in citrus-flavored capsules.

Hives: If you suddenly break out in a rash of large itchy bumps or welts of varying shapes and sizes, you’re most likely having an allergic reaction to a food or medicine. Discontinue what you believe is the source and avoid it in the future. If you find yourself breaking out in hives quite often, you might want to talk to a medical professional. Stress might trigger an outbreak in people who are already susceptible, particularly those who have an autoimmune disease or a history of severe allergies.

No matter the condition of your skin, be sure you are using care products that actually nourish your skin. Our skin care products are made with pure, organic ingredients and are formulated for fabulous results. We want you to look great and feel great, too!

Please remember that the internet is a powerful tool for research, but there is no substitution for a visit to your doctor. If you have a concern, book an appointment today.

References:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/other-conditions/thyroid-disease-checklist
https://www.healthline.com/health/thin-skin#aging
https://www.livestrong.com/article/159989-how-to-make-thin-skin-thicker/
https://www.everydayhealth.com/hives/can-stress-cause-hives/

Black Bean & Greens Burger Recipe

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Looking for a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Try our signature vegetarian burger! With a lot fewer calories that a regular beef burger, it's actually brimming with the health-promoting power of our special ingredient, Greens Blend

As listed, makes approximately three large or four medium-size burgers. Or, divvy it up into six mini patties and serve as sliders! If you're making it for friends and family, you're going to need to double it, because these burgers are the bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. yellow onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ scoop Life’s Abundance Greens Blend
  • 1-2 Tbsp. avocado oil

Directions

Drain most of the liquid from the black beans, but do not rinse the beans. Pour beans into a medium-size bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Not every single bean needs to be mashed, just the majority. Add flour, onion, white pepper, salt, chili powder, egg and Greens Blend. Mix well with your hands until all ingredients are fully combined. Form into 3-4 burgers, remembering that black bean burgers do not shrink in size like regular burgers. So the size you start with will be the finished size.

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high and add 1-2 tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil. Place burgers into the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

Serve your delicious black bean burgers on a bun (or slider roll if you've made mini burgers). Or, for an even healthier alternative, avoid the bread altogether and wrap your veggie burgers in a crispy butterhead lettuce leaves (either Bibb or Boston).

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All that's left to do is add your favorite burger toppings and tuck in!

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Bows to You?

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Pet parents often ask me, “Why does my dog bow?” The answer is more complicated than you might think, as it often is with our wonderfully complex canine companions. Dog bows serve as building blocks of dog communication and also have a physiological function in the stretching referred to as pandiculation. The reason behind each bow depends on when the dog engages in the behavior. Let’s talk about this unique form of stretching first.

Pandiculation is a brain-reflex-action pattern in which many animals engage. The word originates from the Latin ‘pandere’, which means "to spread out" or "stretch oneself". Next time your dog gets up from rest, watch what he does. Most often, he’ll put his front paws out and lengthen his back as he relaxes his belly. Then he may pandiculate in reverse, by contracting the anterior muscles into a flexed posture. This “wakes up” the muscular system, particularly the rear extensor muscles responsible for running. In a very real sense, this motion activates the connection between the brain and the muscles.

Stretching and yawning upon awakening is one healthy habit that we could relearn from our companion animals. As children, we instinctively do this, but many of us lose the habit.

Remember when you used to stretch? You'd wake up, gently tighten your arms and legs, feel a yawn coming on. Then, you’d reach your arms above your head, then reach down to one leg and then the other. You would first contract your muscles, then lengthen them, followed by complete relaxation. Try it some morning … you might be surprised at how good it’ll make you feel!

Dog bowing is most commonly expressed with what we refer to as the ‘play bow’. This common posture serves as a cornerstone of dog communication. Most often, it functions as an expression of ‘let's play!” Or, it can signal an apologetic tone, such as, "Oops, I didn't mean to bite so hard. I wasn't trying to hurt you. Let's keep playing!”

With a play bow, social hierarchy is not a factor. Dominant dogs can offer play bows to lower-ranked dogs and vice versa. When two dogs meet for the first time, they may initiate interaction with play bows as a way of making friends. Sometimes as part of the mating ritual, canines will initially assume the play-bow position to communicate amorous intent. Even if you don’t know exactly what your dog is attempting to communicate, the context of the behavior can help clue you in.

Want to try something fun? Try doing your own version of the play bow to your dog, and watch your pup go from serious to goofball in a heartbeat. Use a silly voice, plop down and invite your dog to play - you will likely be delighted at your dog’s response!

If dogs are not properly socialized, they may not know how to respond to another dog’s play-bow invitation. Rather than responding in-kind, they may feel threatened and growl fearfully. If you witness any fearful or aggressive reactions, I recommend working with a professional dog trainer.

If your dog invites you to play with a bow, accept the invitation! Chances are that you’ll boost her well-being, as well as yours, by simply engaging in purposeful play for only five minutes. It’s a great way to take a break from the day and begin a game of tug of war, tag or fetch.

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

Dr Jane Bicks  Dr. Jane Bicks

Why Does My Pet Eat Grass?

Tempted to Graze

It’s a question pet parents routinely ponder. While there are competing theories regarding why dogs and cats consume grass, a conclusive answer has yet to be supported by scientific study. Here’s a brief overview of the current speculation behind your companion animal’s impulse to graze …

1. It’s an ancestral thing. The prey of wild dogs and cats frequently have grasses in their intestinal system, so domesticated dogs and cats still retain a yearning for a spot of grass in their diet.

2. Our companion animals know of some nutritional value in grasses that we have yet to uncover (such as antioxidants).

3. They do it to provoke vomiting if they’ve eaten something that has upset their stomachs.

4. They are augmenting their keen sense of smell with taste to discover more about their environment.

5. They simply like the taste and texture of grass, so it’s just for the sake of satisfaction!

Although we may never know the exact reason why, we do know that this is one of the most commonly asked questions that veterinarians hear from their clients. If you notice excessive grass-eating with either your dog or cat, please consult your vet.

What Should I Feed My Senior Dog?

Aging Dog

A lot of folks don’t realize it, but as companion animals grow older, their nutritional needs often change. As their caretakers, we owe it to them to provide the best we can, based on their current nutritional requirements. The truth is, when it comes to senior dogs, appropriate, targeted nourishment can make a real difference in terms of longevity and long-term happiness. More...

How Do I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

Repeated head shaking. Foul-smelling, waxy build-up. Red, painfully inflamed ears. What do all these things have in common? All are symptoms of otitis externa, or what is commonly referred to as ear infections. If you have ever groaned inwardly and felt dismay the moment your dog starts shaking his head or rubbing his ears along the nearest available surface, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, too many pet parents are more than familiar with this recurring medical problem. Often, it is accompanied by an offensive odor and one can only imagine how overwhelming the smell is to the suffering pup!

Canine ear infections result from an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal, causing redness, irritation and a heavy accumulation of wax. Likely triggers of these maladies are skin reactions to inhaled allergens – like pollen, mold or dust mites – or food allergies and sensitivities. Be aware that both large ears and swimming predispose dogs to ear infections.

Humans tend to develop ear infections as a result of viral infections, typically in infancy or early youth. As youngsters, our Eustachian tubes are very small. Respiratory congestion can lead to blockage of these canals, resulting in otitis media (a middle ear infection). Because the infection is internal, they frequently require oral antibiotics. In contrast, pets usually develop ear infections as adults, and the infection is almost always localized in the external portion of the ear. In most cases, the application of prescription drops or ointments directly into the ear canal usually resolves the illness. If you suspect your companion animal may be suffering from an ear infection, please seek veterinarian assistance for diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your vet may prescribe a topical medicine and advise routine cleaning.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals the steps to safe and effective ear cleaning to promote overall ear health.

Amazing Study on Fighting Canine Cancer with Mushrooms

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When I was a kid, I hated mushrooms. HATED them! My mother, determined to get me to partake, would chop them up into bits and mix them in with ground beef stirred into spaghetti sauce. When she went to put the dinner plates away, she’d find a tiny pile of minced up mushrooms on the edge of my plate. Yes, I was stubborn. But Mom had the right idea ... mushrooms are potent little powerhouses of nutrition.

In terms of how humans use mushrooms, they can be broadly divided into three categories: those we eat, those that might kill you, and those with medicinal properties. It's this last category that we're most interested in today. Civilizations going back thousands of years recognized the power of mushrooms in certain disease processes, and veterinarians are also looking for ways these compounds can help our canine companions suffering from cancer. 

Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer found almost exclusively in dogs, and one we see far too often in the clinic. One of the most insidious cancers due to its rapid growth, this sarcoma (connective tissue tumors) is found in the lining of blood vessels. While surgery and chemotherapy may delay the spread of the disease, it very rarely cures the cancer. Even with proactive treatment, fewer than 10% of dogs with this cancer are alive one year after the initial diagnosis. These therapies are invasive, expensive, and cause significant discomfort in and of themselves, so many pet parents do not pursue them.

A group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine investigated the effects of Coriolus versicolor, often referred to as turkey tail. It’s a mushroom commonly used in Chinese medicine, where it's regarded to have anti-tumor properties. Rather than using the whole mushroom, they used an extract of the bioactive agent and administered it to dogs with hemangiosarcoma ... and the effects surprised everyone.

In this study, 15 dogs with naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma were given standardized extracts of the turkey tail mushroom rather than the traditional US medical treatment (surgery plus chemotherapy). To the amazement and delight of the researchers, all 15 dogs showed significant improvement: it took longer for the cancer to spread, and overall survival time was increased. Dogs treated with surgery have a median survival of 19-86 days. However, in this study, dogs receiving the highest dose of mushroom extract had a median survival of 199 days! No, it wasn’t a cure, but more than doubling the time you have left without the need for surgery or chemotherapy, that is definitely worth celebrating!

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While researchers have a general idea of how mushroom extracts work, the exact mechanisms have yet to be identified. The active agent in turkey tail, PSP, boosts the body’s own cancer-fighting abilities by improving the function of the immune system. Compare this to a traditional chemotherapy treatment, where a toxic agent kills both cancer cells and normal cells. As you might imagine, treatment with the mushroom extract is much better tolerated in patients than chemotherapy. In fact, in the Pennsylvania study, researchers found no evidence of adverse side effects!

In Japan, turkey tail has been used extensively as a treatment for many types of cancers, including gastric, breast, lung and colorectal cancer. And it’s not just this mushroom! Over 100 species of mushroom are used as adjunct cancer treatments in Japan and China.

There’s a reason you haven’t heard of it as much in the States. Here, mushroom extracts are classified as a supplement and not a drug, thus they are not regulated or approved by the FDA. It is, however, still available and the research is popping up all over the place. It’s on the radar of established treatment institutes such as Memorial Sloan Kettering. Keep in mind that all of this is a brand new avenue of research with much left to learn about why mushrooms might have a positive effect. Bottom line, don't rush out to buy something you don't understand, but rather have a conversation with your doctor before trying anything new.

While the veterinary studies are few and far between, mushroom extracts are promising enough that many veterinary oncologists are already starting to incorporate them into their treatment regimens. Although they are considered fairly safe, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplement. In addition to making sure it won’t interact with other treatments your dog is receiving, your veterinarian will be able to recommend a brand she trusts to provide a reliable, active dose of the extract. Not all supplements are produced with the same quality control standards.

The bottom line is that this is definitely an avenue that warrants further investigation. In fact, the study was so successful, the manufacturer of the PSP supplement plans to study its effects on human cancers, too! 

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM


Sources

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/mushrooms-pdq

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/384301/

https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/compound-derived-mushroom-lengthens-survival-time-dogs-cancer-penn-vet-study-finds