Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Fun and Gifts

Courtesy of the Life's Abundance December 2015 Newsletter:

Dr. Sarah goes over some awesome ideas to show your 4-legged family member your appreciation of them this Holiday season even on a budget.

Holiday Message

From the December 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:

The holidays are very nearly upon us. As I sit here, writing this post, I can’t help but feel this year has flown past even faster than last year. Like many of you, I’m experiencing the flurry of activity that comes with the close of another year. Things certainly are hopping here at my farm, with all of my chickens, cats, my horse, even my new pygmy goat! As fleeting and precious as time is during the holidays, I consider your reading this holiday message right now an honor and a privilege.

This year, we’ve enjoyed significant growth, largely thanks to your amazing customer loyalty. With exciting new products on the horizon, we feel confident that you will love us even more! In spite of our company’s relatively small size, more and more consumers consider us a leading purveyor of health and wellness products, both for companion animals and their pet parents. You can be assured that all of us here at Life’s Abundance are working very hard to ensure that our best days are ahead of us. We have every reason to believe that 2016 will be a stellar year for all of us.

Thanks to the hard work of our Field Representatives, the loyalty of everyone who regularly shops at Life’s Abundance, and all of those generous enough to make periodic contributions, our non-profit foundation continues to thrive, helping animals in need by supporting small and medium-size rescue organizations. In 2015, we awarded more than a dozen rescues grants upwards of $20,000. We could not have done any of that if it weren’t for you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you.

We have expanded our pet product line to include more health promoting products, like our premium grain-free foods for dogs and cats. Rest assured, we will continue to develop our line and hone existing formulas, all to give your pet kids the best possible life.

On behalf of all the employees of Life’s Abundance, we wish every Field Representative, customer and blog visitor the happiest, healthiest and most prosperous year yet.

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

Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

Dr. Jane

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dog Winter Boredom

Happy Thanksgiving!

This video is courtesy of the Life's Abundance November 2015 Newsletter:

Winter is here and it is getting cold!  Unfortunately some dogs get very bored and hate being cooped up inside.  They can also get restless which results rambunctious behavior !

Dr. Sarah gives 8 [awesome] tips for you and your dog to keep boredom at bay and help keep your canine happy!

Dr. Sarah

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holiday Gifts for Dogs and Cats are Here!

Customer favorite for their beloved pets AND to give as gifts!

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*Toys may vary.
Holiday Gift for Dogs

Dogs will go nuts over this assortment of fun and delicious treats! There’s even a cheerful gift included for the lucky pet parent. Everything is neatly bundled in a decorative gift box that will be the perfect adornment for any holiday home.

This Gift Contains:

- Tasty Rewards (full-size 4-oz. bag)
- Wholesome Hearts (3-oz.)
- Antioxidant Health Bars (3 oz.)
- Gourmet Dental Treats (3 oz.)
- Plush, squeaky toy (may vary)
- Ceramic “WOOF” mug
 -Adorable, reusable gift box

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Holiday Gift for Cats

This Gift Contains:

- Cat Treats (full-size 4-oz bag)
- Wellness Supplement for Cats (full-size 4.6 oz bottle)
 - Instinctive Choice (one 3-oz can)
- Fun assortment of toys (may vary)
- Ceramic “MEOW” mug
- Adorable, reusable gift box

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Guilty Dog- Do they feel it?

Thank you Dr. Jane Bicks for this great article from the October 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:
I personally believe that dogs DO in deed experience at the least "feeling bad" and yes probably guilt. I want to wish you and all your fur babies a Happy Halloween - Please feel free to comment and or share your Halloween photos - Lori

Dr. Jane 
If you have had the opportunity to share your life with a dog, then you are probably familiar with ‘the guilty look’. Dog lovers will instantly recognize this classic expression as the one your pup adopts when you discover that he’s gotten into the trash, chewed up your good shoes, or dug a deep pit in your yard. But is he experiencing feelings of guilt behind those puppy dog eyes?

We certainly seem to think so. Seventy-four percent of dog lovers believe that their pups experience some form of guilt. But is it the same sort of guilt we feel, or is it a complex canine behavior that has been anthropomorphized, and is perhaps triggered by something else entirely?

This question is so hotly debated, canine behavior researchers decided to test the theory, and hopefully provide some answers. Consider two recent, credible studies that explored ‘the guilty look’.

In both, researchers ingeniously set up conditions to discover the origins of guilty behaviors in dogs. Based on their findings, they ascertained that the dog’s reaction is tied to the owner’s scolding, not the previous misdeed. This certainly seems to back up what many of us suspect, that humans have a natural tendency to want to interpret animal behavior in human terms.

There is plenty of evidence for what scientists refer to as primary emotions, such as happiness and fear, in non-human animals. Empirical evidence for secondary emotions like pride and jealousy, however, is extremely rare in animal cognition literature. The argument usually given for this lack of evidence is that such secondary emotions seem to require a higher level of cognitive sophistication, particularly when it comes to self-awareness or self-consciousness, that may not exist in non-human animals.

Put simply, guilt is complicated.

A group of canine cognition researchers from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, published several studies in Applied Animal Behavior Science investigating ‘the guilty look’. In a 2009 study, pet parents reported that their dogs sometimes display guilty behavior when greeting owners. They claimed to be unaware of their dog doing anything bad, and asserted that it was the dog’s guilty behavior that told them about the dog’s infraction. However, researchers found there was no significant difference between obedient and disobedient dogs in their display of ‘guilty looks’ after having the opportunity to break a rule when the pet parents were absent.

Dog Looking Guilty

But wait, say pet parents. ‘Guilty look’ behaviors are displayed even when dogs aren’t scolded. So, in a 2015 study these same behaviorists investigated whether the dogs' own actions or the evidence of a misdeed might serve as triggering cue for the guilty behavior. If the ‘guilty look’ was based on some sort of ‘guilt’ as often claimed by dog lovers, then the cue triggering this behavior would have to be linked to the dog’s own action, namely whether the dog has or has not done something “bad”. They tested this by manipulating whether or not dogs ate a ‘forbidden’ food item and whether or not the food was visible upon the owners’ return. The findings indicate that the dogs did not show the ‘guilty look’ in the absence of scolding. So, at least in this study, the ‘guilty look’ was not influenced by the dog’s own bad behavior.

So, we have ample anecdotal evidence from pet parents, but little evidence from published studies to support this claim.

What do you think? Can dogs express the complicated emotion of guilt, or is it a series of subordinate behaviors that originate from the social cues given by their pet parents? Leave your comments in the section below!


Hecht, J., et al., Behavioral assessment and owner perceptions of behaviors associated with guilt in dogs. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. (2012), doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2012.02.015
Horowitz A (2009). Disambiguating the "guilty look": salient prompts to a familiar dog behaviour. Behavioural processes, 81 (3), 447-52 PMID: 19520245
Ljerka Ostojić, Mladenka Tkalčić, Nicola S. Clayton Are owners' reports of their dogs’ ‘guilty look’ influenced by the dogs’ action and evidence of the misdeed? Behavioural Processess Volume 111, February 2015, Pages 97–100

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homemade Pet Food

From the September 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:

Dr. Jane Bicks on Cooking for your Pets

Dr. Jane
If you’re reading this, chances are it’s not the first time you’ve given some degree of thought to the concept of a homemade pet diet. Whether you regard this topic with interest or with repulsion, a series of pet food recalls combined with the ‘foodie’ movement have resulted in growing discussion among pet parents about the costs and benefits of becoming a personal chef for one’s pet kids.

So, what are some of the reasons pet parents turn to making their own pet food? While motivations can be deeply personal, they commonly fall into these categories:

1. Your veterinarian prescribed food that your pet kid won’t eat
2. You have made specific dietary choices and want to extend them to your animal family members
3. You only trust food which comes out of your kitchen
4. You are hoping to alleviate the symptoms or severity of a medical diagnosis
5. You are ambivalent about commercial pet food and curious to see if you could get better results
6. A belief that you could save some money

While these questions provide some food for thought, motivation alone is not an assurance of health and well-being for pet kids. When deciding what to feed their companion animals, pet parent’s choices must be backed up by expertise and solid knowledge. So, what actually does go into the decision to take the plunge into homemade pet food?
Pet Parent Education: Intensive

In the era of Pinterest, there are loads of DIY pet food recipes and enthusiastic testimonials. Some of these recipes give the appearance of being well-balanced and reasonably easy, and may even have a cute name.

But chances are that the vast majority of these will not provide pets with the nutrition they need. In an independent 2013 study of 200 homemade adult dog food recipes gathered from the internet, cookbooks and veterinarians, only five (2.5%) of them were nutritionally balanced. All five balanced recipes had come from veterinarians with advanced training in nutrition.

The takeaway here is that it is critical to involve a holistic or integrative veterinarian and/or a veterinary nutritionist to ensure the nutritional needs of your furry kid are being met.

Cost Analysis: Moderate - Intensive

If the financial bottom line is a priority, time should be spent doing an analysis of the daily cost to feed pet kids a balanced diet. With a quality recipe in hand, pet parents can take to the internet and local grocery stores to estimate the cost of the homemade meal before ever investing in buying the ingredients. The cost of any special equipment, like a meat grinder or food processor, and food storage containers, should also be factored in.

Ingredient Sourcing: Intensive

A balanced recipe from a qualified Veterinary Nutritionist is sure to include proteins, carbohydrates and a list of added vitamins and other nutritional supplements. As with any consumable product, there is great variation in the quality of all of these ingredients as well as variation in what is appropriate for different species. What many fail to realize is that improperly balanced nutrients can actually lead to a host of disease states, essentially creating toxicity within the body. To ensure maximum benefit, be certain that your nutritionist is explicit about cuts of meat and which supplements to purchase, and ensure that all of these questions are addressed:

What form should each supplement be in; liquid or powder?
What source is okay for each supplement; synthetic, natural, purified, etc.?
Are there certain varieties of supplements that should be avoided; Cod Liver Oil or Krill Oil vs. Fish Oil?
Are your personal dietary requirements being met; grain free or vegetarian?
Which cuts of meat are optimal, acceptable and should be avoided; white meat, dark meat, lean or fat?

Food Preparation & Storage: Moderate – Intensive

If you’ve ever done batch cooking for your human family, you’ll have an idea what it’s like to make your own pet food. This exercise takes advance planning, time management, practice and possibly endurance depending on how large a batch is being made.

This time commitment will vary by recipe, quality of equipment being used, size of the batch being prepared, and with fine tuning over time.

Food Serving: Minimal

Home prepared foods are refrigerated or frozen and may require warming to room temperature to serve. At issue here is the commitment to the frequency of this task more so than the amount of time required.

Given the level of difficulty in preparing home meals, and the expertise to get the formulas right every time, this probably isn’t a viable option for most pet parents. If you’re seeking holistic nutrition plus convenience and value, I urge you to consider the premium nutrition offered by any of our Life’s Abundance pet foods.

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Biking with your dog

Courtesy of Life's Abundance August 2015 Newsletter:

Thank you Dr. Sarah for this video!

So many great tips you should know before you start !
From the proper age, getting your dog used to the bike, which pedals and much more!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tips for a Fear Free Vet Visit

Courtesy of Life's Abundance from the July 2015 Newsletter:
Dr. Sarah on No Fear Pet Visits

In this video Dr. Sarah goes over 6 incredibly helpful tips to help your pet prepare and get to the vet a bit easier!

Dr. Sarah

Pet Anxiety

From the Life's Abundance July 2015 Newsletter:
Dr Jane Bicks on Pet Anxiety:

As pet parents, we’re all vaguely aware that we should minimize the stress our pet kids experience. As a veterinarian, I think it’s important that we also comprehend the health risks of prolonged anxiety, too. The fact is, living in a fearful or anxious state for long periods of time can take a dramatic toll on the health of a companion animal.

Any time your pet feels endangered, whether the threat is real or imagined, the body prepares to defend itself by unleashing a torrent of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, that have far-reaching effects on the whole body. These hormones release energy, increasing respiration while inhibiting digestion, the immune system, growth, reproduction and even pain perception. These hormones also decrease blood flow to areas of the body that are necessary for movement. This is appropriate for survival in a real crisis, but when fear, anxiety or stress continues chronically, negative health effects are a real possibility. These effects could include fatigue, hypertension, gastrointestinal problems, skin disease, as well as metabolic and immune problems. You might be surprised to know that pets can manifest many of the same conditions that we do!

Chronic anxiety and stress can even cause permanent damage to the brain. We know that animals staying in shelter facilities are at increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, including upper respiratory tract infections, litterbox problems, hair loss and bladder inflammation. And that’s nothing compared to the extreme duress of prolonged fear experienced by dogs in puppy mills! We can see the affects of stress on dogs when they exhibit signs of stress colitis, an inflammatory GI condition that causes diarrhea - often seen after boarding, veterinary visits, or grooming. Stressed dogs suffering from separation anxiety can also be destructive, chewing carpet, baseboards, or scratching up doors. Dogs that are chronically stressed can lick themselves raw, creating skin conditions like lick granulomas.

Apart from the mental and physical distress, stress hormones also imprint any fearful situation firmly in your pet’s memory as something that was scary and life-threatening. These feelings can be recalled from something as seemingly innocuous as pinpricks from a vaccine needle, a person wearing a lab coat or the sight of nail clippers. Any memory of frightening situations can prove to be a powerful fear stimulus. When your companion animal encounters a similar sort of situation, the stress hormones are released and the fear cycle resumes all over again.

The effects of fear and anxiety can be profound and highly distressing. We need to recognize fear in our pets, do more to decrease their fear when possible, and prevent fear by associating potentially fearful situations with positive stimuli. As you can see, dogs and cats who demonstrate pathologic levels of fear or anxiety need our help, not only for their emotional well being, but their physical well being, too!

Click Here to watch this month’s episode of Pet Talk, where Dr. Sarah explains how you can reduce your pet kid’s stress before and during veterinary visits.

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

Dr. Jane Bicks

Thursday, June 25, 2015

4th Of July Preparedness for your Dog

Dr. Sarah, staff veterinarian of Life's Abundance goes over amazing training ideas and informative information to get you and your dogs ready for the loud holiday celebration of 4th of July.

(Video courtesy of Life's Abundance)

Urinary Problem Symptoms

Thank you Dr. Jane for this article about urinary tract symptoms from the June 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:

Urinary tract infections in people are fairly straight forward. Sufferers experience pain during urination or a frequent urge to go that is a false alarm. For us humans, going to the doctor is usually the next step, whereupon a course of antibiotics is prescribed which usually resolves the problem. Unfortunately, urinary tract infections for dogs and cats aren’t often a simple matter. These infections oftentimes have underlying causes, such as urinary stones, anatomical abnormalities, incontinence, hormonal conditions, stress or even cancer, any of which can contribute to recurrent disease. To ascertain just what’s causing your pet kid’s urinary tract issues really does require the expertise of your veterinarian. Urinary tract conditions can be painful and debilitating, and it is important to detect the signs early for the best chance of solving the problem.

Traditional veterinarians like to focus on infection as a cause, and treat with an antibiotic. Antibiotics can cure or eliminate symptoms, whether by killing the bacteria or acidifying the urine. Sometimes, however, this course of treatment doesn’t represent a final answer, unless a culture tells otherwise. For me, as a holistic veterinarian, I look at every aspect of the problem. Urinary tract syndromes are caused by many things and other parts of the body need to be supported, too. For example, stress can cause urinary symptoms by its affect on hormone production.

The good news is that the signs of urinary problems are fairly obvious in both dogs and cats. Take your pet kid to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms …

• Out-of-character elimination in the home … that is, failure to maintain expected house or litter-box training
• A dog who asks to go outside more often or a cat making excessive trips the litter box
• repeatedly assuming the posture to pee but very little is produced
• blood-tinged urine
• excessive licking ‘back there’
• excessive drinking, panting and/or obvious discomfort

It is helpful to bring a fresh sample of urine to your vet’s office, which can be tested for the presence of white blood cells, protein, crystals and bacteria. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and may recommend additional testing, such as a urine culture, blood work and x-rays, especially if this is a recurring problems.

If tests reveal crystals in the urine, then there is a possibility of urinary stones in the bladder or kidney. Some crystals/stones (struvite) can be dissolved simply by changing to a prescription diet, while other crystals (calcium oxalate) are more troublesome. For some cases of urinary stones, surgery may be the only option.

Cats can develop stress cystitis, similar to a condition in human females. In felines, the condition is commonly referred to FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) or FIC (feline interstitial cystitis). FIC appears to be a complex condition unique to indoor kitties that involves the urinary, adrenal and neurological systems.

New studies show that environmental enrichment can lower the incidence of feline lower urinary tract disease. If your cat is predisposed to this condition, consider implementing the following improvements:

• Scoop litter box daily, sanitize weekly and provide one more box than the number of cats in the household
• keep litter boxes in a quiet area, away from foot traffic
• provide multiple sources of fresh water and consider using a fountain
• feed a high quality diet, usually a combination of canned and dry food
• have multiple cat trees and hiding spots in order to increase the available vertical space for the cats
• increase petting, grooming and play activities that simulate hunting (i.e. toss kibble, feathered fishing pole, laser pointer)
• utilize feline pheromone spray (Feliway)
• consider use of anxitane or zylkene, herbal supplements to reduce stress (your veterinarian can tell you more about the available options)

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a human, a cat or a dog … urinary tract problems are no fun. Hopefully, with the information provided above, and with the valuable consultation of your trusted veterinarian, a quick and effective solution to your pet kid’s problems is well within reach.

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

Dr. Jane Bicks

Friday, May 29, 2015

Helping a Fearful and or Aggressive Dog

Dr. Sarah Video: Training your dog.

Courtesy of Life's Abundance and the May 2015 Newsletter:

Sometimes, dogs behave badly. Going nuts when there’s a knock at the door. Over-reacting to the tiniest of threats. Freaking out over having their nails trimmed. Worst of all, if the proper steps aren’t taken early on, behaviors like anxiety and aggression can become the norm, rather than one-off instances.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah and her canine assistant, Alma, demonstrate two effective training techniques that can be used to overcome unpleasant reactive canine behaviors. We’ll be covering the topics of desensitization and counter-conditioning, plus why it’s important to set realistic goals. And above all, try to have fun whenever you’re training … your dog will thank you for it.

To learn more about the health-promoting and incredibly tempting Life’s Abundance treats featured in this episode and other Pet Talk episodes, click here 

Tasty Rewards Training Treats
Buffalo Bully Sticks
Buffalo Meat Strips

Dr. Sarah Wooten

Signs of Hormonal Issues in your Pet

From Dr. Jane Bicks and the May 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:

Pet parents postpone vet visits for all manner of reasons. Some fear what the veterinarian will find during the examination, while others worry about the costs. Regardless of the reasons for not keeping an appointment, the advantages of regular check-ups simply cannot be understated … especially if you’ve been noticing something different about your pet kid.

Has your dog’s weight ballooned over the past year? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your cat drinks more water than is typical … not only that, she’s actually lost weight. Or, there are no kitty symptoms aside from non-stop meowing at night. What many don’t realize is that unexpected changes in weight and eating or drinking habits are all signs to keep that appointment with your veterinarian. These are some of the common signs of feline and canine hormonal abnormality.

Just like humans, our pets’ health and well-being are governed by their endocrine system, a complex collection of glands and chemical messengers that control everything from hair growth to metabolism. Also just like people, pets can experience hormonal issues that may lead to more significant problems.

So what are the top signs that your pet might be suffering from a hormonal problem?

1. Hair Loss

Your pet’s lustrous hair is getting thin. For dogs, this is especially true for the trunk and tail. For cats, you’ll notice it first on the tips of their ears. Hair loss can be a sign of abnormal thyroid levels, either low or high, or even an early indicator of Cushing’s Syndrome. We’ll talk more about this disease in a moment, which results from abnormally high levels of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland.

2. Weight Gain

Stubborn fat that can’t be shed even with a strict diet. Unfortunately, this too could be a sign of Cushing’s Syndrome or hypothyroidism. Companion animals with Cushing’s also can have a pot belly despite being very active, whereas pet kids with low thyroid function tend to be sluggish and seem exhausted.

3. Sudden Weight Loss

It’s alarming when your pet kid eats with a voracious appetite, but is still losing weight. This could be a sign of abnormally high thyroid levels (usually in cats) or diabetes mellitus in either species.

4. Increased Thirst and Urination

As you might imagine, increased thirst and urination can be a sign of kidney problems. But it can also be a sign of several hormonal disorders, including hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s Syndrome and diabetes mellitus.

5. Other Symptoms:

Changes in appetite
Increased panting
Agitation and nervousness
Changes in energy level

All of these are signs that something might be awry, and your dog or cat needs a full checkup right away. Your veterinarian will ask you some questions, examine your pet and usually recommend lab work. Most hormonal conditions are easily diagnosed with blood work or urine analysis, and fortunately, most conditions can be controlled with supplements or medication. As with most diseases, early detection is essential to successful treatment or control of the problem.

Now that we’ve covered what symptoms you need to be aware of, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common hormonal conditions in dogs and cats.


Hypothyroidism is much more common in dogs than cats. It is caused by an underactive thyroid gland, and symptoms include low energy, weight gain, hair loss, even neurological dysfunction. It is treated with a thyroid supplement and therapy is a life-long commitment.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Equally common in dogs and cats, Cushing’s Syndrome is due to an overactive adrenal gland secreting too much cortisol. Common signs include increased drinking, excess urination, increased appetite, weight gain and hair loss. Cushing’s is diagnosed with blood work and sometimes abdominal ultrasound. Treatment is achieved with a medication that is used to decrease cortisol secretion or surgery to remove a tumor on the adrenal gland.


Hyperthyroidism is seen primarily in cats, and is due to an overactive thyroid. Signs include increased appetite, weight loss, increased thirst and urination, hair loss and agitation. The condition can be treated with a medication to decrease thyroid hormone, surgery to remove a thyroid tumor, or possibly radioactive iodine.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is caused by decreased insulin or insulin resistance (Type 2, primarily due to obesity) which leads to increased blood sugar levels. Signs include weight loss, increased appetite, increased thirst and urination. This is a serious condition if it remains untreated … severe cases can lead to coma or even death. Treatment is with insulin injections and supervised weight loss.

Addison’s Syndrome

In many respects, Addison’s is the opposite of Cushing’s. It’s caused by an underactive adrenal gland. The symptoms are usually severe, include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and possibly even coma. Addison’s is diagnosed with blood work and urine analysis, and the standard treatment is with hormone replacement therapy. These patients are often very dehydrated when they are first seen by veterinarians, which may necessitate hospitalization and intravenous fluids.

How can I prevent hormonal problems in my dog or cat?

New research is actively being done to determine the causes of hormonal conditions in dogs and cats. One promising area of research is in the effects of early spay/neuter surgeries. Veterinarians are studying what changes these alterations have on the endocrine system of our companion animals.

Always feed your dog or cat the robust nutrition offered by premium quality food. Pet parents should consider providing a food supplement to support health and overall well-being as well.

Make sure your companion animal receives an annual veterinary exam. If your pet kid has achieved senior status, annual blood work and urine analysis play key roles in early detection, before medical issues become full-blown problems.

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

Dr. Jane Bicks

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grain Free Pet Food Myths

From the April 2015 Life's Abundance Newsletter:

Dr. Jane - All about Grain Free

This month, I’d like to talk to you about a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. Finding the perfect pet food that reflects both your expectations and represents the best veterinary science has to offer. In particular, we’ll be taking a closer look at grains in dog and cat foods, addressing the top three concerns of pet parents. Are these concerns valid or are they misrepresentations of reality? The truth may surprise you!

The Belief Grains Are Responsible for Allergies

Food allergies or adverse food reactions are abnormal reactions to ingredients found in everyday foods. Recent estimates indicate that less than 5% of skin diseases in dogs and cats are accurately diagnosed as being caused by a food allergy. Even though the incidence of adverse food reactions remains unclear, a lot of pet parents believe that grains are prime suspects. However, the most commonly identified food allergens among dogs and cats are proteins in beef, dairy, chicken, soy and corn. Food allergies can cause itchy skin alone or even gastrointestinal problems as well.

The place where many pet parents get confused is comparing canine or feline food reactions to celiac disease in humans, which is a heritable autoimmune disease associated with a hypersensitivity to gluten proteins in wheat, barley, and rye. There has been a very rare similar heritable gluten sensitivity described in a small number of dogs with the symptoms being weight loss, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, but celiac disease and adverse food reactions in companion animals are rare.

The Belief Grains Have No Real Nutritive Value

Whole grains, like the ones used in many of our foods, contain the entire kernel. Whole grains are used in human and pet food because they pack a nutritional punch. Not only are they a good source of carbohydrates, they also contain essential fatty acids, amino acids, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and even antioxidants! They add to the nutritional profile of the food, which means that they add to your pet’s nutrition as well. The grains used in our foods meet or exceed the criteria of the European Community, which currently exceed U.S. standards for quality.

The Belief That Pets Can’t Digest Grains

Some pet parents believe that carbohydrates from grains are not easily digested by dogs or cats. Like other mammals, cats and dogs have a metabolic need for carbohydrates in the form of glucose. Glucose fuels many parts of the body, including the brain, nervous system, red blood cells, the kidneys, and the female reproductive organs during pregnancy and lactation. If the diet fails to provide sufficient carbohydrates, the body can manufacture glucose by robbing it from amino acids (the building blocks for protein) and triglycerides (in fat), but this is hardly ideal. Both dogs and cats will utilize glucose from ingested carbohydrates to meet their needs. Additionally, both species have sufficient digestive enyzmes to allow for the efficient digestion of properly cooked carbohydrates. We know that not only is the quality of the grains important, but also the manner in which they are cooked. Our foods are prepared in such a way that the grains are broken down during the cooking before they enter the intestines, allowing them to be digested more easily.

So What is the Truth?

The key take-away from all of these points … you must feed the food that most closely meets your own standards and expectations for your pet kid. After all, you know them better than anyone! For all of you who want the best grain-free option for your companion animal, I’m pleased to tell you that our two latest foods are both grain-free!

Grain-Free Formulas That Are Nutritionally Balanced

Like all our foods, our new grain-free foods offer excellent, balanced nutrition. Rather than relying on grain content, these natural formulas do have carbohydrates such as peas, potatoes and a selection of healthy vegetables in the grain-free dog food. Ideal for all life stages, our newest nutritious foods provide another great option for pet parents who want the best for their dogs and cats. For detailed information about these products, including ingredients, guaranteed analyses and more, visit our site, today by clicking here

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

Dr Jane Bicks


Verlinden A, Hesta M, Millet S, et all. Food allergy in dogs and cats: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46:259-73

Carciofi AC, Takakura FS, de-Oliveira MC, et al. Effects of six carbohydrate sources on diet digestibility and post-prandial glucose and insulin response in cats. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutri 2008;86:2237-46..

Carciofi AC, Takakura FS, de-Oliveira LD, et al. Effects of six carbohydrate sources on dog diet digestibility and post-prandial glucose and insulin response. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutri 2008;92:326-36.

Garden OA, Pidduck H, Lakhani KH, et al. Inheritance of gluten-sensitivity enteropathy in Irish Setters. Am J Vet Res 2000;61:462-8.

Blaza SE, Booles D, Burger IH. Is carbohydrate essential for pregnancy and lactation in dogs? In: Burger IH, Rivers JP, editors. Nutrition of the dog and cat: Waltham symposium No. 7. Cambridge (United Kingdom): Cambridge University Press; 1989. p. 229-42.

Eisert R. Hypercarnivory and the brain: protein requirements of cats reconsidered. J Comp Physiol B 2011;18:1-17.

Westman E. Is dietary carbohydrate essential for human nutrition [letter to the editor] Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:951-3

Kienzle E. Blood sugar levels and renal sugar excretion after the intake of high carbohydrate diets in cats. J Nutri 1994; 124:2563S-7S.

Thiess S, Becskei C, Tomsa K, et al. Effects of high carbohydrate and high fat diet on plasma metabolite levels and on IV glucose tolerance test in intact and neutered male cats. J Feline Med Surg 2004;6:207-18.

Laflamme D, Izquierdo O, Eirmann L, Binder S. Myths and misperceptions about ingredients used in commercial pet foods. Vet Clin Small Anim 2014; 44:689-98.

Hore P, Messer M. Studies on disaccharidase activities of the small intestine of the domestic cat and other mammals. Comp Biochem Physiol 1968;24: 717-25.

Hoenig M, Jordan ET, Glushka J, et al. Effects of macronutrients, age, and obesity on 6- and 24-h postprandial glucose metabolism in cats. Am J Physio Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2011;301:R1798-807

Association of American Feed Control Officials. Official publication 2013. Champaign, IL: Association of American Feed Control Officials, Inc; 2013.

Thompson A. Ingredients: where pet food starts. Top Companion Anim Med 2008;23:127-32.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Do it Yourself Tips

This is a great video by Dr. Sarah courtesy of the March 2015 Newsletter

Dr. Sarah goes over 5 do it yourself tips to keep on top of your pets health
from collecting samples to posh pedicures!!

The 2 videos referenced in the above video are below:

Maintaining Your Dog's dental health

Tips to Better Nail Care

Dr. Sarah

Household Stress and Pets

From the Life's Abundance March 2015 Newsletter:

Like children, pet kids are susceptible to changes in family dynamics. Sometimes, stress can cause them to act out in unexpected ways. Changes in the household, such as separation and ‘empty nest syndrome’, can be particularly painful for companion animals. A dog has every reason to believe that their pack (humans and canines alike) will remain intact. When one member essentially ‘disappears’, it can lead to significant pet stress.

The study of behavior in companion animals, and how they handle stress, is a rapidly developing field, most extensively in the lives of military dogs. Just like their human-soldier counterparts, after combat duty, canines have demonstrated clear symptoms of PTSD. Some estimates indicate that more than 5% of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces have been diagnosed with canine PTSD.
Much like human PTSD sufferers, not all dogs exhibit the same degree of symptoms. Some dogs have drastic changes in temperament, ultimately becoming aggressive, clingy or timid. Some become hyper-vigilant which can increase anxiety. Others will actively avoid situations in which they were previously comfortable … like the tasks they were trained to perform, often resulting in their retirement from military service.

Companion animals living in households going through separation or the loss of a family member can be similarly traumatized. They can develop separation anxiety, personality changes and depression. Consequently, they may manifest negative behaviors, such as destruction, timidity or aggression. Pet anxiety can be expressed in a variety of ways, including pacing, panting, whining, destruction, loss of appetite, digging, chewing and excessive barking. The sad fact is that pet kids may be more traumatized by the sudden departure of a family member because they have no way of being prepared for the change.
Another unfortunate outcome of changing human relational dynamics is relinquishment. I know that many vets have received calls from newly separated couples who see no other option than to end their relationship with their dog or cat as well.
If you or someone you know is facing challenging times that could affect a pet negatively, here are some tips to minimize the impact and thus reduce the stress on your furry family member.

For Separation
Even though the loss of a pet during separation can be more heart-wrenching than losing money or material belongings, dogs and cats are still considered property in the eyes of the law. If retaining guardianship of your pet kid means the world to you, consider giving up something valuable, such as a car or cash, to gain full custody. If both sides refuse to budge on custody, draft a visitation plan you both can live with. Take into account post-separation schedules and living situations to determine who is better suited to be the primary caretaker. That individual must agree to completely care for the pet’s needs and make sure vaccinations are up-to-date and other medical care is provided.
If you are considering the possibility of relinquishing your dog or cat, try to remember that things will inevitably get better. Chances are that you will be happier with your pet in the long run. We all know that they can be reliable sources of comfort during rough times.

For Empty Nesters
Consider preventive measures before a grown child flies the coop for college. If your pet kids are accustomed to someone always being home, but will soon have to spend periods alone, schedule brief outings for yourself (anywhere from 15-60 minutes). These ritual changes can help ease a pet into the upcoming transition. Wake up a bit earlier to give yourself time to play with your schedule, to see what might fit your new routine best.
Once your child has gone, make time in the morning to either take your dog for a walk or play with your dog. Either activity will mentally stimulate and physically exhaust your dog so that more time will be spent resting when you have to leave the house. Make departures as low-key as possible. When it’s time to go, adopt the attitude that it’s really no big deal, and quietly leave.

Before leaving, stuff a treat-safe toy with food or a tasty snack. For a dog, try a smart toy that dispenses treats or kibble. For cats, no toy is required, simply hide treats at various locations throughout the house.
There are several over-the-counter products created to help lower stress in companion animals. For severe cases, there are a few options available with a prescription, such as Clomicalm, Reconcile and Xanax. These medications can help with animals that are suffering from anxieties that can’t be addressed by behavior therapy alone.
Regardless of the scenario, talk to your veterinarian about what will work best for your pet kid, given your unique situation.

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

Dr. Jane Bicks

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why a Fish Oil Supplement for your Pets

Thank you Dr. Jane Bicks, Life's Abundance Veterinarian and the Life's Abundance February 2015 Newsletter.

Dr. Jane outlines the top 10 reasons your pet should be on fish oil:

Fish oil supplements are an ideal complement to your pet’s diet because they supply omega-3 fatty acids, which your dog or cat’s body cannot sufficiently produce on its own. Still in doubt? Here are the top 10 reasons why it’s important to supplement your dog or cat’s daily intake with a quality fish oil supplement.
 1. Your Pet Will Burn Fat More Efficiently
The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements help improve the metabolism of a dog and cat’s body in a natural way and cause body fat to burn more quickly. (2,10)
 2. Improved Development of Puppies & Kittens During Pregnancy
During a pregnancy, supply your canine or feline mama omega-3 needs with a pure, safe fish oil supplement. The reason is because the omega-3 fatty acid DHA helps improve brain development, concentration, immunity and eyesight, among other things. (1,5)
 3. Slow Down Your Pet’s Aging Process
We all want to age more slowly, right? EPA and DHA found in fish oil help slow down the aging process by reducing inflammation and extending the longevity of cells. In this way, omega-3s help keep your pet kids feeling younger for longer. (3)
 4. Improved Flexibility
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA from fish oil supplements, the discomfort in your pet’s joints and muscles may actually decrease. What you will notice is that over time, fish oil supplements can help with stiffness to rise and help your pet be more active and enjoy walks and games with you. (4)
 5. Improved Performance in Canine Athletes
Omega-3s in fish oil supplements improve the functioning of the lungs. For our active agility dogs, runners, Frisbee dogs, swimmers and mountain hiker companions, fish oil will help your dog keep up with you. (14)
 6. Better Concentration & Limiting Brain Cell Deterioration
Thanks to EPA and DHA from fish oil, your pet’s brain may age more slowly and perform optimally. The essential fatty acids in the omega-3s contribute to sounder sleep, an essential element in keeping concentration sharp. (6)
 7. Optimized Immune System Functioning
A daily supplement of omega-3s from fish oil supplements help the white blood cells perform their anti-inflammatory function optimally. This helps your pet’s defense against diseases and other ailments by strengthening the immune system. (15)
 8. Better Heart Health
The omega-3s in fish oil supplements help keep cholesterol levels at a healthy level and help keep this vital muscle healthy. (8,9)
 9. No More Grumpy Cat
Fish oil supplements are proven to improve mood in humans, and studies are forthcoming about their benefits in pets! (12, 13)
 10. Healthy Skin & Shiny Coat
The benefits of omega-3s in fish oil supplements for skin health are well documented, but did you know that omega-3s also help protect against sunburn? (6,7)

Adding health-promoting fish oil to your pet’s diet can be one of the best decisions you make for your companion animal. If you want to learn more, visit the website!

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


1. Zicker SC1, Jewell DE, Yamka RM, Milgram NW. Evaluation of cognitive learning, memory, psychomotor, immunologic, and retinal functions in healthy puppies fed foods fortified with docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil from 8 to 52 weeks of age. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012 Sep 1;241(5):583-94. doi: 10.2460/javma.241.5.583.

2. Xenoulis PG1, Steiner JM. Lipid metabolism and hyperlipidemia in dogs.Vet J. 2010 Jan;183(1):12-21. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.10.011. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

3. Figueras M, Olivan M, Busquets S, López-Soriano FJ, Argilés JM. Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) treatment on insulin sensitivity in an animal model of diabetes: improvement of the inflammatory status. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Feb;19(2):362-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.194. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

4. Moreau M, Troncy E, Del Castillo JR, Bédard C, Gauvin D, Lussier B. Effects of feeding a high omega-3 fatty acids diet in dogs with naturally occurring osteoarthritis. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2012 Jul 14. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2012.01325.x

5. Bauer JE, Heinemann KM, Lees GE, Waldron MK. Retinal functions of young dogs are improved and maternal plasma phospholipids are altered with diets containing long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during gestation, lactation, and after weaning. J Nutr. 2006 Jul;136(7 Suppl):1991S-1994S.

6. Bauer JE. Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2011 Dec 1;239(11):1441-51. doi: 10.2460/javma.239.11.1441. Review.

7. Popa I, Pin D, Remoué N, Osta B, Callejon S, Videmont E, Gatto H, Portoukalian J, Haftek M. Analysis of epidermal lipids in normal and atopic dogs, before and after administration of an oral omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid feed supplement. A pilot study. Vet Res Commun. 2011 Dec;35(8):501-9. doi: 10.1007/s11259-011-9493-7. Epub 2011 Jul 23. Erratum in: Vet Res Commun. 2012 Mar;36(1):91

8. Smith CE, Freeman LM, Rush JE, Cunningham SM, Biourge V. Omega-3 fatty acids in Boxer dogs with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. J Vet Intern Med. 2007 Mar-Apr;21(2):265-73.

9. Freeman LM, Rush JE, Markwell PJ.Effects of dietary modification in dogs with early chronic valvular disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;20(5):1116-26.

10. Laflamme DP. Understanding and managing obesity in dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2006 Nov;36(6):1283-95, vii. Review.

11. Brown SA, Brown CA, Crowell WA, Barsanti JA, Allen T, Cowell C, Finco DR. Beneficial effects of chronic administration of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in dogs with renal insufficiency. J Lab Clin Med. 1998 May;131(5):447-55.

12. Hegarty B, Parker G. Fish oil as a management component for mood disorders - an evolving signal. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;26(1):33-40. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835ab4a7

13. Hegarty BD, Parker GB. Marine omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders--linking the sea and the soul. 'Food for Thought' I. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 Jul;124(1):42-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01703.x. Epub 2011 Apr 11. Review.

14. Wakshlag J, Shmalberg J. Nutrition for working and service dogs. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2014 Jul;44(4):719-40, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.03.008. Review.

15. Hall JA, Henry LR, Jha S, Skinner MM, Jewell DE, Wander RC. Dietary (n-3) fatty acids alter plasma fatty acids and leukotriene B synthesis by stimulated neutrophils from healthy geriatric Beagles. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2005 Nov;73(5):335-41.

Leash walking with your Canine

Awesome video courtesy of Life's Abundance from the February 2015 Newsletter:

Dr Sarah goes over Leash Control when walking your dog.

Basic tips give you an idea of where to start, what to avoid in the beginning, and more about reactions to certain situations and stimuli.

I love how Dr. Sarah goes over YOU have to be the one in control (worth the listen just for this)

No scolding and yelling - it may make the situation worse....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pure Fish Oil Supplement for Dogs and Cats

Life's Abundance has now a omega 3 fatty acid supplement just for dogs and cats! Introducing Sealogix Ultra Pure Fish Oil for our furry canines and felines.

 Available in 2 sizes, perfect for cats, small breeds and medium to large breeds.
Sealogix Fish Oil for Pets

Sealogix fish oils for pets are made in a human pharmaceutical facility … the same place as our Sealogix for people.

 They are highly concentrated and ultra-pure. Like our Sealogix for people, each bottle receives a nitrogen flush to remove oxygen from the bottle before it is sealed for ultra freshness. Plus, Sealogix fish oils meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry for quality assurance.

IFOS rated 5 star for purity and concentration.  Results of this third party testing is posted on the Life's Abundance site.

Click here to view as well as serving suggestion

Life's Abundance offers healthy supplements in addition to the fish oil, please click here to view their line for join, general health, skin & coat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Canine IQ Test in 10 Minutes

Courtesy of the Life's Abundance January 2015 Newsletter:

In this video Dr. Sarah goes over how to score the IQ test for your canine.!

She goes over how old your dog should be - have FUN and the right conditions ..

Click below for the free 10 minute IQ test -

Dr. Sarah