Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pet Food Importance

Courtesy of Life's Abundance: April 2016 Newsletter:

Believe it or not, it wasn’t until nearly the 20th Century that pet food was something distinct from scraps derived from human diets. However, only in the past four decades has the emphasis on health-promotion entered the mix. Some of our readers will no doubt recall the “Gravy Train” commercials of the 70’s. Pet food certainly has changed dramatically since those days!

Back in 1999, our company was born of the true revolution in health-promoting diets for companion animals. As a holistic veterinarian formulator, I’m proud to say our nourishing formulas have made a real difference for the dogs and cats who enjoy our products every day.

As many Life’s Abundance customers have witnessed firsthand, simply feeding a dog or cat appropriate nutrition can go a long ways to promoting health. But how exactly does food alone help to protect wellness? In the following, we’ll explore four ways that nutrition packs a powerful punch!

Edible Immune Protection

One of the best ways you can protect your pet kid is by building up his or her immune system. The scientific evidence is clear … a stressed body has a lower immunity compared to a non-stressed individual. Veterinary behaviorists are just discovering sources of stress in companion animals. Many focus on domesticated cats, who have on the evolutionary scale only just recently made the switch to indoor living. Even though we don’t know all the things that cause stress, or even recognize all the symptoms of stress in pet kids, we do know that actively trying to improve their immunity with proper nutrition is worthwhile.

At Life’s Abundance, we were one of the first to add fruits and vegetables to our formulas. They naturally offer huge amounts of flavanoids, vitamin E, C and so much more. Antioxidants are just one of the many reasons doctors and dieticians say, “eat your fruits and veggies!” A 2002 study suggests that antioxidant supplementation can achieve sustained increases in circulating levels of antioxidants that exert a protective effect by a decrease in DNA damage, leading to improved immunological performance.

Our formulas feature guaranteed levels of Vitamin E and C, as well as guaranteed amounts of probiotics, important to gut health and immunity.

Dog With Apple

Healthy Joints

Joint health, which affects one’s ability to get around, is obviously important to your pet kid’s quality of life. Foods and dietary supplements that contain natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been scientifically shown to promote cartilage, joint and connective tissue health. This is done by decreasing the enzymatic activity that breaks down cartilage in canine joints. These compounds, along with other synergistic ingredients, are found in Life’s Abundance Agility Supplement.

Possibly even more important to your pet kid’s joint health is maintaining a healthy, size and breed-appropriate weight. Your first clue that your dog or cat is too heavy is when you cannot easily distinguish the ribs (and the spaces between them). Measure out proper meal proportions for your companion animal, using the recommended servings as a guideline, to help maintain an ideal weight. If your dog needs to shed excess pounds, I strongly encourage you to cut back on portions and consider switching to our Weight Loss Formula for Adult Dogs. Of course, I can’t stress enough the importance of regular exercise, which also supports joint and bone health.

Sharp Minds & Shiny Coats

For cats and dogs, skin and hair condition reflects overall health and well-being. If your cat has a matted, greasy coat, or your dog’s once shiny coat has grown dull over time, these are examples of the body sending clear messages that something is up and you should schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.

To maintain healthy skin and coat, dogs and cats need to eat the appropriate ratio of fatty acids. Dogs cannot produce omega-6 fatty acids on their own, so it’s vital that they consume sufficient amounts through diet. In fact, new research is highlighting the importance of adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements to daily intake as well, but in proper ratios with other fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for pregnant dogs and for puppies, as they are required for brain and retinal development.

Proper Digestion from Tip to Tail

Many people don’t realize, but your pet’s digestion starts with his or her teeth! Brushing your pet’s teeth at home, coupled with routine oral health check-ups at the vet, can have a phenomenally positive effect on your pet’s health. Giving your dog a daily dental treat and safe items to chew can benefit overall health and digestion.

And that’s just the beginning of a healthy digestive system. To keep things moving along the entire tract, all Life’s Abundance dry foods are formulated with prebiotic fiber, a plant-based carbohydrate that produces fatty acids. These fatty acids provide energy to the large intestine and promote overall health of the entire intestinal system.

We live in a very exciting and fortunate time. With all these advances in nutrition and veterinary medicine, our beloved pets will benefit, living longer and being healthier.

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

Dr Jane Bicks  


Massimino S1, Kearns RJ, Loos KM, Burr J, Park JS, Chew B, Adams S, Hayek MG. Effects of age and dietary beta-carotene on immunological variables in dogs. J Vet Intern Med. 2003 Nov-Dec;17(6):835-42.

Heaton PR1, Reed CF, Mann SJ, Ransley R, Stevenson J, Charlton CJ, Smith BH, Harper EJ, Rawlings JM. Role of dietary antioxidants to protect against DNA damage in adult dogs. J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6 Suppl 2):1720S-4S