Ask Dr Jane

Many of us are familiar with the idea of antioxidants, and we know they are a good thing for both dogs and humans, but do you know why? There’s a reason we put so much thought and effort into our formulations at Life’s Abundance, and antioxidants are some of our favorite ingredients! To understand why antioxidants are vital to health, you need to know about free radicals, a by-product of normal metabolism. When oxygen molecules are split into two oxygen atoms, they are missing one electron ... thus a free... Read more →


Does Your Cat Suffer With Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Second only to upper-respiratory illness, digestive disorders are the chief reason for feline veterinary visits. Cats with digestive problems exhibit symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea, to weight loss, constipation and excessive gas. While the causes are many, feline IBS and IBD are two common digestive disorders. On many occasions, they are mistaken for one another, which is unfortunate because they call for very different treatments. In this post, we’ll cover the basics and try to clear up the confusion surrounding these disorders. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, also affects... Read more →


Understanding And Dealing With A Dog Or Cat Who Is Stressed

Over the course of the last decade, there’s been ample evidence to support the idea that chronic stress plays a contributing role in a variety of medical conditions in humans. It may come as no surprise that researchers have similarly determined that long-term stress can be a factor in the medical and compulsive disorders of companion animals. Conditions such as feline lower urinary tract disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, obesity, gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), noise phobias and separation anxiety have all been found to have a chronic stress component in both... Read more →


Pet Food Super Powers

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... Read more →


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,... Read more →


Have you ever wondered why women and cats have such strong relationships? Specifically, why some women (a very few, mind you) tend to collect large numbers of cats? While you’ve heard the term “crazy cat lady”, you never hear of “crazy gerbil ladies” or “crazy ferret ladies”! In fact, some behavioral researchers wondered the same thing. A recently published study in the journal Behavioral Processes indicates the answer lies in a special bond that exists only between cats and women. Scientists from the Konrad Lorenz Research Station and the University... Read more →


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... Read more →


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... Read more →


Signs Your Pet Kid Has A Hormonal Problem

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... Read more →


Effects Of Household Stress On Your Pets 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... Read more →


Top 10 Reasons Your Dog Or Cat Should Take 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... Read more →


How Much Can Your Dog Smell?

Dogs are scent-oriented creatures, with some of the most highly developed noses on the planet. Hide a few treats around the room and see how quickly they’re ferreted out. But does your dog’s schnoz have more practical applications than we realize? The answer … well, it couldn’t be plainer than the nose on your face. Every year, scientific investigations yield more and more evidence that dogs are up to some pretty surprising challenges, in ways that are proving quite beneficial for people. We’ve all seen police dogs skilled in the... Read more →


Lyme Disease - An Emerging Problem For Dogs

It’s the height of summer, which means that mountain trails, bucolic meadows and forested thickets are beckoning your dog to romp and explore. This impulse may be at odds with concerns about new research on Lyme disease, which may have you more inclined to restrict your canine companion’s activities to the Great Indoors. Before you put the kibosh on outdoor fun, make sure you know all the facts about canine Lyme disease. According to Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2014 State of Pet Health Report, based on the medical data from over... Read more →


Imagine walking down the road. Suddenly, you are confronted by a large, snarling dog heading directly for you. Try to imagine your level of fear. If you were once terrorized by a dog earlier in life, multiply that fright by a factor of ten. Your heart would race, your body would start to shake and your breathing would become shallow and rapid. These reactions are caused by a surge of hormones, such as adrenaline, often referred to as the ‘fight or flight response’. It’s how your body reacts to a... Read more →


Minimize Stress When Moving With Your Pets

Moving to a new residence can be a nerve-wracking event for everyone involved. With the average American moving 11-14 times, that’s a lot of trips to ‘Stressville’. Between sorting through your possessions, packing up boxes, traveling to the new location, switching utilities and all of the other steps that go into a move, it’s easy to become frazzled at the mere prospect of all that work. Coordinating all of these elements can prove challenging even for folks with a knack for organization. Moving with a companion animal adds an extra... Read more →


Great Tips When Using A Pet Sitter

While boarding facilities are a great option for many people, some pet parents feel more comfortable hiring a pet sitter to stay home and care for their pet while they are away. Pet sitters and pet parents can make for a winning combination in companion animal care, but the secrets to this relationship are preparation and communication. If you are planning on hiring a pet sitter, here are some tips that help ensure a seamless experience: 1. Make sure that the pet sitter you hire is bonded and insured. Ask... Read more →


Three Toothsome Tips for Canine Dental Health

Everyone knows “doggie breath” can be quite unpleasant. But few realize its presence can indicate an actual disease … sadly, it’s one that affects the vast majority of dogs over the age of three. While it may prove offensive to you, it might actually be painful for your pup, and could lead to other more dangerous health issues, too. Fortunately, there is something you can do to help your furry companion! In her latest veterinary-health post, Dr. Jane provides pet parents a brief, three-point review of doggie dental health. You... Read more →


Holistic Tips By Dr Jane Bicks - Focus On Fleas

Last month, we launched a new series about ‘holistic’ health care for companion animals. Remember, holistic care entails viewing the body as a whole as well as how every discrete part works in relation to all the other parts. In keeping with a holistic mindset, this month I want to address fleas. Flea season is, or will very soon be, upon us again and the treatment of fleas illustrates how important the holistic approach is. If you’ve experienced problems with fleas, or if your dog or cat is itchy, ask... Read more →


What Does The Term "Holistic" Really Mean?

The holistic approach to veterinary care has different meanings for different people. Essentially it means just what the name indicates - looking at “the whole” and not the individual parts. Holistic practitioners consider the whole of a companion animal’s being and how every discrete part works in relation to every other part. Fundamental to this mindset is that everything is interrelated and nothing occurs in isolation. Furthermore, holistic veterinarians don’t only focus on physical aspects, they also consider the emotional, mental and spiritual elements. Holistic health boils down to balance;... Read more →


by Dr Jane Bicks As a holistic vet, I’m frequently asked, “How can I deal with my cat’s bad attitude?” The problem area dubbed “feline aggression” can be complicated, upsetting and potentially hazardous for pet parents. Not only can cat bites and scratches really hurt, they can transmit diseases, too, such as cat scratch fever (yes, it is real). While most cat moms and dads prefer a purring lap-warmer, especially on cold winter nights, some felines need extra help learning how to sheathe their claws. Unfortunately, feline aggression is not... Read more →


Keeping your companion animal’s skin healthy and coat shiny can prove challenging. Even though you might already feed a quality food, and brush and shampoo regularly, there’s more to this area of pet care than you might think. Veterinarians will tell you that the condition of the skin can be a good indicator of a pet’s overall health and nutrition status. That’s why wise pet parents should monitor their companion animal for any of these tell-tale signs … • Dry, flaky skin or a dull, brittle coat • Oily, foul... Read more →


by Dr Jane Bicks, DVM According to a 2009 study published by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 34 million dogs and 54 million cats are classified as overweight. Sadly, these staggering numbers continue to rise. Just like in humans, obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the U.S. Excess weight lowers metabolism, increases appetite and can worsen other medical conditions, such as arthritis and respiratory problems. If your pet needs surgery, extra fat can make it more difficult for a surgeon to operate and increase the... Read more →


Is Your Canned Dog Or Cat Food In A Non Badge Can and BPA Free?

A lot of pet food cans are lined with material that includes BPA, bisphenol A. This substance is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dr Jane Bicks, product formulator for Life's Abundance says this about the cans they use - "Way ahead of you on the cans by about 20 years. I was one of the first investigators with hyperthyroidism in cats. I did a retrospective study to determine the possible causes of it. Canned cat food was one of the possible causes.Thus when I made canned food I selected... Read more →


by Dr Jane Bicks: Did you know that cats can become mothers in their first year of life? While more and more pet parents spay their cats early in life, many good Samaritans have gotten more than they bargained for, after finding that the stray they adopted is pregnant. As a matter of fact, we here at the Life’s Abundance office found ourselves in a similar situation when a sweet little stray showed up at our door a while back. Of course, food and water were the first order of... Read more →


Do You Know What Plants Can Harm Your Dog?

by Dr Jane Bicks If you’re a dog lover, thoughts of summertime conjure memories of long evening strolls and outdoor recreation with your dog. In fact, you may have already started this summer to create new fond memories. Given that, the last thing you want on one of your nature walks is for your canine companion to be sidelined by an injury. Unfortunately, many pet parents don’t realize until it’s too late that there are menacing toxins lurking in the plants of both cultivated and wild landscapes. Plants that you... Read more →


Probiotics have received a great deal of attention lately, and this focus is absolutely justified. An increasing number of products, from yogurts to pet foods, contain probiotics. Often referred to as “healthy” and/or “friendly” bacteria (or microorganisms) in the media, their proper notation is “direct fed microbials” when used in pet foods. Basically, probiotics are helpful bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract. In fact, every digestive system contains millions of bacteria, both those with a healthful purpose (like probiotics) and some that are not so beneficial. While some kinds... Read more →


Why Isn't Life's Abundance Dog & Cat Food Organic?

Over the past 6 years this is the most frequently asked question I would say people have. Most people have it in their minds that organic is always best. We asked Dr Jane Bicks, formulator of HealthyPetNet products this question. Here is her answer.... I would love to have an all organic food as long as it fit my mission statement. My mission is to formulate and produce food with the best nutrition I can give to a dog and cat. Unfortunately, organic meats are still hard to come by.... Read more →


Make The Holidays Safe For Pets

By following some simple tips, you can ensure a trouble-free holiday season for you and your pets. There are some things from which you should shield your pets during the festive months. Some common holiday plants are toxic to cats and dogs. Don’t keep holly, poinsettias, lilies or mistletoe on or near the floor, where pets have easy access to them. If you have a live tree in your home, don’t let pine needles accumulate on the floor, as these needles can perforate the intestinal lining of dogs and cats.... Read more →


Dr. Jane Bicks Tips for Washing Our Pets

Dear Dr. Jane: Can you give me some tips on the best way to bathe my dog please? Dr. Jane's Answer: Sure! Here are some great tips for washing our pets. 1. Don't wash your pet outside unless you've found a way to get warm water out there. Cold water is not as enjoyable to pets as it is to us. 2. Don't use the bathtub. It can hurt your back and it's hard for your pet to get a grip. Instead, use the shower or the laundry room sink.... Read more →


What Causes Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) has many causes, few of them dietary: 1. Cats need to drink more water. Studies have shown that cats simply don't drink enough water. I suggest that you give your cat fresh water in a ceramic dish rather than plastic or stainless steel. Cat fountains generally increase water intake because cats enjoy them. Since canned food provides water and nutrition I recommend feeding your cat canned food at least once daily. Instinctive Choice canned cat food provides excellent concentrated nutrition with a great taste.... Read more →