Life's Abundance | Premium health products

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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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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Taking Care Of Your Skin In The Winter

woman with lotion

Winter weather looks and feels quite different across the U.S. For some, winter means below the freezing point with plenty of snow, but for another lucky bunch, sunny skies and warmer temps are the norm. In the same way that switching out your summer wardrobe for fall sweaters is a yearly ritual, your skin can majorly benefit from a similar update when it comes to the skincare products you use each season. Whether you’re in the harsh temps of NYC, or basking in the LA sunshine this winter, your unique skin deserves the best protection it can get!

What does winter skin look like?

Generally speaking, as winter temps drop, so do humidity levels, meaning air becomes drier and naturally, so does our skin. How does this manifest in my skin you might be wondering? Oftentimes, these changes look like flakiness or dullness and skin can feel itchy or chapped. Plus, existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can be exacerbated. In harsh winter regions, like the Midwest or the Northeast, some people may also experience redness caused by the effects of extreme winter conditions.

All of that dry air means that skin is more prone to losing water in a process called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL, so skin may need extra assistance in sealing in water. Our skin relies on a healthy, functioning skin barrier to retain water with ample lipids, so when this natural barrier is out of whack, so goes hydrated skin with it.

What is the skin barrier & what does hydration have to do with it?

The skin barrier is our last natural defense between us and the outside world. It’s a fancy way of saying the outermost layer of our skin, and its function and purpose is vital to maintaining healthy hydration and overall skin health. The skin barrier keeps vital water in and potential pathogens and free radicals out. In order to lock in hydration, the stratum corneum, the skin’s outermost layer, relies on a healthy layer of protective lipids (oil) to coat each skin cell, effectively keeping water in and intruders (like drying winter air for example) out. The bottom line is that hydrated skin and a healthy skin barrier go hand in hand.

illustration of skin

How to pick the right winter moisturizer for you

Knowing your skin type is a helpful place to start when considering what your independent needs may be. Dry, oily, or balanced? Read on.

Normal or balanced skin

This skin type falls in the middle of the skin spectrum; it doesn’t produce excess oil, but it’s not overly dry either. While balanced, this skin type is still vulnerable to winter extremities and can benefit from a protective barrier plus other nutritive ingredients to restore skin. Those with normal skin types can benefit from Life’s Abundance Facial Serum, formulated with essential fatty acid-rich oils and antioxidants to protect skin from harsh, external environmental factors like dry air or cold wind. If skin needs an added boost of moisture throughout the winter months, add a few drops to your facial moisturizer before bed to help prevent TEWL.

Oily skin

This skin type naturally produces excess sebum as compared to normal skin types, so water can be key when looking for a moisturizer. Opt for the Life's Abundance Facial Moisturizer. Containing 7 of the 8 essential amino acids that help skin retain water, dry winter air will meet its match. This lightweight formula easily absorbs into skin and won’t leave behind oily residue.

Dry skin

Dry skin types produce less sebum than normal skin types, meaning they lack lipids. Add dry winter air to the mix, and dry skin types will also lack water, leading to a state of dehydration.  The best way to combat this is to consider a double-dose of moisture using both water and oil. Start with the Facial Moisturizer and add in 2-3 drops of the essential fatty acid-rich Facial Serum. Blend in the palm of your hands to create a creamy emulsion and massage into skin for an ultra-hydrating, protective barrier.

lotion on hand

Plant actives at work

Dive into how each moisturizer works to hydrate and nourish your skin back to health.

  • The Facial Serum is packed with essential fatty acid-rich ingredients to protect, moisturize and restore.
    • Pomegranate oil: High in punic acid (omega-5) to help prevent moisture loss.
    • Chia oil: Contains the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), that’s been shown to help restore the skin's moisture barrier, especially in dry skin types!
    • Prickly pear seed oil: Exceptionally high in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid (omega-6) which plays a key role in maintaining a healthy skin barrier function.
  • The Facial Moisturizer offers skin a hydrating, protective base.
    • Aloe leaf juice: Contains 98% water and helps skin to become more hydrated and improves elasticity.
    • Hemp seed oil: One of the many amino acid-rich ingredients in this moisturizer that helps bind water to the skin.

Beyond skincare

In addition to your winter skincare arsenal to tackle dry, winter skin, here are a few lifestyle tips to help keep skin hydrated and happy this winter:

  • Use a humidifier.
  • Exfoliate regularly.
  • Consume your water (don’t just drink it!) - think soups & bone broths.
  • Avoid hot showers & baths as this can be damaging to the skin barrier.
  • Drink extra H2O! Tip: If you want an extra nutritional boost, add Life’s Abundance Minerals and Antioxidants drink mix.

 



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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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Don't Disconnect, Decrease

man watching television

With the New Year here, many of us are thinking of some good habits we want to implement into our lives. One of the biggest things people think of is to completely disconnect from technology. This could mean staying off and away from their smartphones, televisions, and computers. While it sounds good on paper, it may not be the smartest to quit cold turkey. This can be quite unrealistic and hard to stick to, so a better option would be to decrease, not disconnect.

We get it, technology can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. You probably catch yourself scrolling through social media or stuck in front of a TV for hours at a time. Before you know it, the day just passes by. One of the other things about technology, primarily social media, is that we constantly compare our lives to the people we see online. This causes an unhealthy relationship with yourself as you start to become unhappy with your own reality. There are other harmful effects of too much screen time including:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • A disrupted circadian rhythm
  • Neck and back pain

So, it sounds pretty reasonable when you decide that you want to go on a full technology detox. You may think it’ll relieve you of any related stress and allow you to fully relax without the worries of needing to respond to someone. This may have worked well in the past, but it doesn’t necessarily do as much good as you think.

smartphone and laptop

Technology surrounds us in our everyday lives. Whether you work on a computer, or make calls and texts on your phone, our society is engulfed in it. Technology has only grown over the years, which has made it even harder to disconnect from it. Some of us might even flippantly say we are addicted to it. In saying this, it’s important that we don’t completely rid ourselves of it. Not only would it not last long, but it also doesn’t work so well when you are trying to go about your normal day. Texts, calls, and work emails are just a few things that make it difficult to fully disengage.

Instead of completely disconnecting from technology, set a goal to decrease and limit your time on it and around it. This is a much easier habit to implement into your life since you won’t be quitting it so abruptly. For example, if your screen time on your smartphone tends to be around five hours a day, set a goal of  two hours, or any amount you feel is achievable. Find yourself sitting in front of the television binge watching your favorite show? Decrease down to an episode or two.

If you find it hard to stick to it, you can write it down where you’ll always see it so you’re constantly reminded of it. You can even tell a friend to help hold you accountable. Set yourself up for success and schedule this time away from technology to do other activities. You can go for a walk, talk to a loved one, or spend time doing a hobby. Little by little, you will start to feel the results of decreasing your tech time, both mentally and physically. You can do this!

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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!

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

Dog Training: The Secret to Canine Cooperation

Is Therapy Training Right for Your Dog?



Set Goals, Not Resolutions

journal writing

2020 has been quite the year and we’ve all been through this journey of ups and downs. The new year is finally here and you might be tempted to think of a long list of resolutions you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to start going to sleep earlier, make a workout plan, or save a certain amount of money. We get it - you may feel like you lost a lot of time and need to catch up on life. We’re here to tell you though, resolutions shouldn’t necessarily be your focus in the new year. Goal setting is a much more realistic way to reach where you are striving to be.

What is goal setting?

Goal setting is the process of defining exactly what your goals are and what steps you will take to achieve them. This ensures you have a solid plan in place with set deadlines. As you define these objectives, they should be attainable and tangible.

Why does goal setting work better than resolutions?

Resolutions are merely goals or habits you want to incorporate into your life without actually having a plan in place. This can make it extremely difficult to live out your resolutions in the new year. In fact, about 80 percent of resolutions fail before the end of February! This is usually because the resolutions set are huge goals that end up being very overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a deadline or clear plan set for yourself.

In saying this, goal setting is much more efficient in this way because even if you have a big, intimidating goal you want to reach, you can break it down into smaller ones. For example, if you are aiming to shed a bit of that holiday weight, it is better to take it little by little. Aim to lose a lesser amount of pounds each week rather than a higher amount of pounds in six months. Smaller goals are easier to obtain and you are much more likely to reach your target.

woman victory

How can you incorporate this into your life?

It’s best to identify a few goals you want to achieve. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a bunch of things you want to get done this year. It’s okay to have a top two or three objectives and put all your energy into those few. On top of this, there is also something called setting “SMART” goals. This means your goals should be:

  1. Specific - Stay away from generic goals like “eat healthier.” The more specific you are, the better it will be when you start planning.

  2. Measurable - Measure your progress in terms of amounts, time passed, etc.

  3. Attainable - Goals are meant to be achieved! They should not be so out of reach that you cannot attain them.

  4. Relevant - Keep your goals aligned with your life. Make sure it helps you get where you want to be.

  5. Time Bound - Set a deadline! It will only make it that more rewarding for you when you achieve it.


Now that you have your goals, it’s time to make a plan for each one. Write out the small steps within your large goal and make deadlines for those too. All that’s left to do is stick to your plan! Just remember that you can take advantage of goal setting at any time of the year, it isn’t only limited to each time the new year comes around.

Happy planning and Happy New Year!

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

Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

New Year's Goals for Pet Kids