Munchy Monday: Antioxidant Health Bars

Everyone loves a good snack, right? My go to snack is peanut butter and Ritz crackers and a glass of milk. Snacks are a good thing, whether it’s the mid-morning power snack or the late afternoon pick-me-up snack. Snacks can be a great part of your diet, as long as they are healthy snacks, anyway. When you dive in for the cookies or chips, snacks can be a hindrance to your health. It’s important to pick out healthy, nutritious snacks.

This same simple principle applies to our pups, too! A healthy dog food makes an excellent nutritional base, but everyone knows our dogs don’t just eat kibble. There’s always some treats and snacks around! It’s just as important that dogs get healthy treats that add to their diet, not take away from it.

Life’s Abundance Antioxidant Health Bars are a great place to start!


These healthy treats are loaded with vitamins and nutrients to help give your dog the perfect mid-morning power snack. Antioxidants, in the proper balance, are very beneficial for the body. Oxidation in the body creates “free radicals,” which can damage cells. “Anti”oxidants help prevent the oxidation and free radicals, thus promoting healthy cell function and immune system.

Here’s the list of ingredients:

Oatmeal, Heat-Stabilized Rice Bran, Brown Rice Flour, Ground Flaxseed, Dates, Rolled Oats, Peanut Butter, Oat Flour, Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Honey, Rye Flour, Eggs, Cranberries, Carrots, Citric Acid, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Vanilla Flavor, a-Tocopherol Acetate (a source of Vitamin E), Lecithin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene

Honestly, it sounds like a really healthy granola bar that I would eat myself. These bars smell amazing! If it weren’t labeled as a dog treat, I would have taken a bite when I first opened a pack.

Included on the package is a feeding chart, with recommendations on how many treats a dog should get daily based on their weight. (Like most things, antioxidants are beneficial in the proper balance. There is such a thing as “over supplementing.”)

So if you’re looking for a healthy treat for your favorite pup, Antioxidant Health Bars are a great option!

Interested in ordering?
 You can order from the Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order- 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.


Munchy Monday: Is a Grain-Free Diet Right for Your Dog?

After a longer break than I had planned, Munchy Mondays are back! Today, as suggested by the title, I am posting about Life’s Abundance Grain-Free dog food. I’ll also be touching a little bit on how to know if your dog should be on a grain-free diet.

Let’s begin with the latter.

There is a lot of conflicting information floating on the great world wide web about grain-free dog foods and if dogs should or shouldn’t have them. Proponents of grain-free diets point out that dogs’ ancestors, namely wolves, do not eat grains; so it’s more natural for dogs to eat grain-free food. Some sources also claim that dogs cannot digest grains and that grains can cause allergies. Those on the other side would argue that dogs can, in fact, digest certain grains and that grains can provide valuable fiber in a dog’s diet. According to some, grains can actually aid in the digestion and absorptions of other nutrients.

I am not a veterinarian or a schooled dog-nutritionalist, but here is what I have been able to sort from the muddled information.

-Dogs can digest SOME grain. Corn is an example of one that they can’t digest, but other properly prepared whole grains are digestible.

-Grains can be a source of fiber; although, grains are not the only good fiber source.

-Grain is not necessary to a dog’s diet, as long as their food is well-balanced and nutritionally sound.

-Grain can boost the protein in dog food; BUT it’s important to note that animal-based proteins are better for dogs. They can absorb the protein from plants and animal sources, but dogs need the amino-acids are that found in animal-based proteins. A proper balance of plant and animal proteins is important.

-Dogs can be allergic to grains. Dogs can also be allergic to beef, dairy, etc. The number of dogs allergic to grains is very small.

Basically, a diet consisting of grains is fine for most dogs, and even has some benefits. However, dogs don’t necessarily need grain, and a grain-free food may be gentler on the digestive system for some individuals. If a dog is showing signs of allergies (like itchy skin, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, excessive licking and chewing of feet or skin, frequent ear infections, etc.), a grain-free diet may provide relief. Be aware, though, that grains are certainly not the only food allergy a dog can have. In the end, it comes down to the preference of pet owners and the needs of individual dogs.

Life’s Abundance offers both standard and grain-free food options. Either is an excellent choice. The grains included in the original formula are healthy, whole grains that are digestible and beneficial to dogs. The grain-free formula is a great alternative, though, for the pet owners that prefer it or have dogs that specifically require it.


One thing I personally like about it is the higher protein and fat content. Our Irish Setters are highly active, and we have to be mindful of their weight. They maintain great muscle tone but sometimes struggle to keep a healthy amount of body fat, even when fed more than the recommended portions for their size. We have found that foods with a higher protein count go a long way in maintaining a healthy weight for our very active dogs.

Life’s Abundance Grain-Free food has high quality animal based proteins, including turkey meal, chicken meal, and eggs. There are Omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy sources of fat like chicken, eggs, flaxseed meal, and fish oil. It also contains an antioxidant system including guaranteed amounts of vitamins C and E. Fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients. You’ll find potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach in Life’s Abundance Grain-free formula. Some of these like celery and carrots provide good sources of fiber and carbohydrates. Other sources are tomato pomace and field peas. In addition to all of that, it also contains a guaranteed amount of four different health-promoting probiotics.

Whew, that last paragraph is a mouthful; but it helps you to see just how much great stuff is packed into the food. If you feel like grain-free is best for your dog or if you would simply like to give it a try, Life’s Abundance Grain-Free is an excellent option.

Interested in ordering?
 You can order from the Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order- 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.

Nearing the End!

We are in the final stretch of raising Timber and Duchess’s puppies! Next week marks the time when they are ready to go to their new homes. It has been an exciting two months.

The last two weeks in our home brings a lot of changes for the puppies. The weaning process is completed, and they each receive a health exam, vaccinations, and a third round of de-wormer. We also begin crate training and some more intentional socialization.

For the crate training introduction, I put half of the puppies in a crate in our living room. The first time is usually met with some whining and crying (from the puppies, not me!). I dish out a dose of tough love, and simply let them cry. I make sure the room is quiet and calm; and usually after 15-20 minutes, even the most stubborn puppies quiet down and accept this new place. After all, they are snuggled in a warm place with their siblings, so it’s not a very scary experience. Once everyone has settled, I turn on some music or run the vacuum. This helps them get used to different noises. They usually watch the vacuum curiously but don’t give much other reaction.


Watching Roomba vacuum


Calm and snoozing a few minutes later

And let me mention food. A large litter of growing puppies eats a lot of food! I am feeding about 15 cups of food per day. The puppies eat three times day, with each of them getting approximately 1/2 cup at each meal; and they are growing beautifully! This is what the puppies are currently eating.


As the puppies get older, it’s becoming much more difficult to let them in the yard to play. I now only let half the litter out at a time, because I can no longer keep track of ten setter puppies! They are so curious and have started to wander further and further as they explore their big, exciting world. They have an undeniable fascination with our chickens, but they are bird dogs, after all! They love leaves and anything they can chew on whether it’s toys, sticks, or my toes.

It’s been fun to note the differences between Irish Setter puppies and Mini Goldendoodle puppies. Irish Setter puppies are more independent, exploring farther away by themselves. This is very typical of the breed, which is known for it’s far quartering range while hunting. Some of them already have exhibited the point and stalk behaviors used in bird hunting. Seeing that makes me very happy! We chose to breed a working field line of setters, ones that are worth their salt as gun dogs. Field dogs are usually too small to use in the show ring, but they can out hunt your typical show setter (commonly referred to as “bench” setters). Both bench and field lines of Irish Setters make wonderful family companions; but since both my husband and I come from families that enjoy the outdoors and participate in various forms of hunting, the field dogs appealed more us.

This next week, I’ll be soaking in all the wiggly puppy snuggles that I can! As always, we are excited to see them go to their new homes, but we do miss them when they leave. I’m satisfied, though, knowing I am helping to add a loving companion to so many different families!


Puppy Update- 5 Weeks

It’s amazing how quickly puppies change from three weeks old to five weeks old. There is this sudden explosion of awareness and curiosity. It is such a fun stage!

In the past couple of weeks, the puppies have begun exploring more of their surroundings. They are learning to do their business outside, which is GREAT! They are puppies, and they don’t get it right all the time, but every puddle that ends up in the dirt rather than on their blanket is a success. 🙂

The puppies are now eating three meals of solid food every day. They are still nursing from Duchess a few times a day, as well, but this will be slowly cut out over the next week and a half. The puppies are eating Life’s Abundance Small and Medium Breed Puppy food.


I love feeding Life’s Abundance to our puppies! I know that I am giving them one of the very best foods on the market. It has all of the good stuff (animal based fats and protein, antioxidants, Omega- 3, Omega- 6, probiotics, and prebiotics) and none of the bad stuff (corn, wheat, corn gluten, wheat gluten, artificial flavors, and artificial colors). I know I am giving my puppies everything that their growing bodies need.

For the first few days of the weaning process, I soak the food in raw goat’s milk. This makes it soft and easy to eat, and the puppies LOVE the goat’s milk. After a few days, I start soaking the food in plain water. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I soften the kibble less and less. Around 7 weeks old, I like to have them crunching away on unsoftened kibble.

Now that the puppies are fully interactive, I am seeing their individual personalities begin to blossom. I have a couple of puppies that are my fun and spunky initiators- Winchester, Magnum, and Meadow. Then I have Benelli and Nova who are a bit more mild-mannered than some of the others. They are all so sweet and fun in their own way.








Winchester & Riley







As a quick bunny trail, did you even wonder how I get such cute individual pictures of the puppies? It’s quite a feat, let me tell you. I find it best to perch them on some kind of box or basket. This puts them up off the ground in hopes that they will sit still for a second or two before leaping off to go play. But for every good picture like this…

IMG_6138 Riley

… I have a few dozen of these!




Oh my, I really do love these little guys! 🙂 Some of the puppies are still available! If you are interested in adding an Irish Setter to your life, get in contact with me! This is one of the most fun breeds of dogs you’ll ever meet. I promise, you’ll never have a day without a laugh with an Irish Setter in your home!

Have a blessed weekend!

Munchy Monday: Tasty Rewards

Happy Monday! Did you all enjoy the beginning of your week? Things are quite a bit quieter in my home this evening. Today, Stanley left for his new home, so all of Mia’s babies are now with their new families. (I forgot to get a picture of Stanley with his family, so, unfortunately, I can’t post a final picture of him.)

I’m often asked if it’s hard for me to see the puppies go. It’s a difficult question to answer. Part of me does miss them, and it’s bittersweet to see them leave. I have spent the last several months preparing for them to be born and caring for them as they grew. But in all honesty, I always take a big sigh of relief once they’re gone. As sad as it is to see them go, I know everyone is better off. Once the puppies hit eight weeks old, I simply can not give them the time and attention that they need! They need individual attention and training. They need more space and stimulation and new experiences. I can’t meet all of their needs, but I know that their new families can. I know that they will be so much happier in a home where they can get the individual love and attention they need.

With these things in mind, I’ll be taking a brief look at Life’s Abundance Tasty Rewards for my Munchy Monday post. I picked this particular treat this week, since I’m sure each of my puppies’ families is beginning training.


Treats are a great motivator for most dogs when it comes to training. All of our dogs (except Timber) are very food-motivated. They can be on their worst behavior; and all I have to do is whip out some yummy treats, and I am suddenly surrounded by patient, eager angels.

When training, it’s best to have very small treats. Puppies especially will be consuming a fairly large number of treats with their training, so it’s important to watch that you don’t overfeed them with treats. It’s easy to allow puppies to get pudgy and overweight, so watching the calories consumed with treats is important.

Tasty Rewards are perfect for puppies. They are soft, making them very easy for puppies to eat. Also, this makes them easy to break apart into small pieces that are perfect for training.

The best part about these treats is the fact that they are healthy! Many other kinds of treats are simply empty calories, but Tasty Rewards are a yummy and nutritious snack! They’re loaded with proteins, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.

So to my puppies’ families, let the training begin! Happy treating!

Interested in ordering?
 You can order from the Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order- 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.


Munchy Monday: What’s So Bad About Rawhide?

Rawhide bones and treats can bring our dogs so much joy. They can chew on them for hours! Surely something that is so widely used and marketed can’t be harmful, right?


Rawhide is dangerous and unhealthy on so many levels. Basically, rawhide is a chemically treated leather by-product. An online article from Dogs Naturally Magazine breaks down the process of how rawhide treats are made:

  1. Cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries. They are chemically treated to preserve them during shipment.
  2. The tannery treats the hides with an ash-lye solution or sodium sulphide liming to strip the hairs and fat from the hide.
  3. Next is another chemical treatment to help split layers. The outer layer is then used for leather products like seats, and the inner portion is used for rawhide.
  4. Then comes a hydrogen peroxide or bleach to whiten.
  5. Then they are often given artificial colors and flavors to create the final product.
  6. When everything is said and done, here is what has been detected in rawhides when tested: lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.

Eeek, nasty stuff! It’s no wonder that rawhide can cause irritation in a dog’s stomach and intestines. Not only that, if a dog swallows a large chunk of rawhide, it can become lodged in its digestive tract. Rawhide is not something a dog’s body can properly digest, so large pieces can’t be broken down once they are swallowed.

For those reasons, we don’t give our dogs rawhide. Yet, dogs still love to chew, and they need a healthy option to satisfy their chewing needs. Let me introduce you to Life’s Abundance Porky Puffs.


Here’s the list of ingredients: 

1. Pig nose

That’s it. One ingredient.

You will also not find any harsh preservatives in the Porky Puffs and no artificial flavors and colors. This treat is a MUCH safer and healthier alternative to rawhide! Without the harmful chemicals, it’s much gentler of their system. Your dog can happily chew without you having to worry about what they are consuming.

I tried giving one to the puppies, and they loved it! However, Mia sneaked into their pen and stole it. For the next couple of days, I found it hidden in various places around the house until she finally finished it off. 🙂

If you have a dog that likes to chew and you are interested in finding a healthy, satisfying treat for him, give Porky Puffs a try!

Interested in ordering?
If you are interested in ordering, please order from our Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.

Munchy Monday: Buffalo Bully Sticks

For this week’s Munchy Monday post, I’ll be looking at Life’s Abundance Buffalo Bully Sticks. These healthy treats are a big favorite at our home!



They come in two sizes- 6 inch and 9 inch treats. They are a great treat for puppies and dogs who like to chew, but unlike many other chews on the market, this one is made from safe, healthy ingredients. They are made from 100% grass-fed, free-range buffalo with no additives or preservatives. The tough sticks are a great way to reduce tartar on your dog’s teeth and help their dental health. Also, it’s a great option for a dog with food sensitivities.

Some other varieties of bully sticks have been known to have some dangerous bacteria in them, but Life’s Abundance ensures that each of their Buffalo Bully Sticks undergo strict testing to be sure that your dog is receiving a safe and healthy treat. Life’s Abundance quality assurance says,

We want you to know, with Life’s Abundance, you can feel completely at ease about feeding any of our products because our safety measures are of primary concern… The factory scores a Grade A on all of their annual inspections, audited by the SGS Group, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, setting the benchmark for quality and integrity. The buffalo chews also are tested to ensure that they’re free from e.coli, salmonella, yeast and mold contamination.

In addition, our premium buffalo products undergo an extra level of protection to prevent food-borne illnesses and ensure safety. The chew treats are irradiated according to protocols implemented by U.S. FDA standards. The FDA has evaluated this food processing technique for more than 30 years and has clearly demonstrated its safety. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have also endorsed the safety of this food treatment.

One of the draw-backs, though, to these awesome treats is the calorie content. They have approximately 100-150 calories per treat, depending on which size treat you have. If you have a dog that is over-weight, it may not be the best treat for them; but if you have a healthy-weight dog, this is a great occasional treat that will bring them much chewing satisfaction!

Interested in ordering? If you are interested in ordering, please order from our Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.

Munchy Monday: All Stages & Puppy Food

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a restful weekend. This is my second post in a series discussing dog nutrition and highlighting some Life’s Abundance products. If you haven’t already, you will probably want to read the first post give a little background.

Today, I am highlighting Life’s Abundance main All Life Stage Dog Food and their Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food.

We feed our puppies the Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food while they are with us, and we highly recommend this food for them after they leave for their new homes. Once they have graduated from puppy food, we recommend the All Life Stage food.

These two varieties of Life’s Abundance dog food are very similar, with mostly the same ingredients in each, which is why I am looking at both of them together. The main difference between the two is the overall protein, fat, and fiber count. When looking at a bag of dog food, these items are listed as percentages usually on the front of the bag. The puppy food has slightly higher protein, fat, and fiber counts to accommodate the needs of a growing puppy. The puppy food is 27% protein, 17% fat, 4% fiber. The All Life Stage is 26%, 16%, and 3.5% respectively.

I am going to dive into the nutrition information for the All Life Stage Dog Food. The puppy food is very much the same with a few small differences.

  • Protein: Some dog foods use inferior protein sources which are difficult for a dog’s body to digest. So even though the percentage of protein on the label may be the same, the amount the dog is able to absorb is much less.
    Protein is essential for all bodily functions, including those of the brain, heart, muscles, skin, skeleton and others. Life’s Abundance dog food contains at least 26% high-quality protein. You’ll see more in the puppy food, as puppies need some extra to support them while they grow.Two of the sources of protein in Life’s Abundance food are chicken meal and eggs. Chicken meal is the first ingredient in this recipe. Some foods contain whole chicken or chicken parts, which naturally contain a fair amount of water. Life’s Abundance uses chicken meal because most of the water has been removed, making it a concentrated source of protein. This means that there is a greater “protein content” in one pound of chicken meal versus one pound of whole chicken or chicken parts. Eggs are considered a complete protein source, providing essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Eggs also contain healthy fats, such as omega-6 for healthy skin and a glossy coat.
  • Antioxidants: A dog’s body is designed to create only a certain amount of antioxidants on its own. That is why we cannot over-emphasize the importance of antioxidants. This food contains an antioxidant system including guaranteed amounts of vitamins C and E.
  • Fats: The primary fat source in dog food should be animal based because canines derive significant nutrition from these fats. While vegetable oils may sound healthier, dogs actually need the specific nutrients found in animal fats that are not available in vegetable sources.Life’s Abundance food also contains Omega 3 fatty acids. The benefits of essential fatty acids are well known, as omega-3s are some of the most extensively researched, naturally occurring nutritional ingredients in the world. The guaranteed amount of omega-3s in Life’s Abundance dog food helps support healthy skin, shiny coats and overall wellness.Flaxseed meal and eggs are also in the mix as a healthy source of fats.
  • Grains: Whole grains contain protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other minerals. They also provide the kind of carbohydrates that deliver sustained energy to your dog. Life’s Abundance includes Ground Brown Rice and Oat Groats. Ground Brown Rice is the entire grain with only the inedible outer husk removed. This whole grain contains seven minerals and five B vitamins. Oat Groats are whole oats that have been cleaned, toasted, hulled and cleaned again. Amazingly, they retain nearly all of their original nutrients after this process. Oat groats also contain seven minerals and five B vitamins.
  • Prebiotic Fiber: Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system. Life’s Abundance dog foods contain the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria and help support healthy immune and digestive systems. Unlike other pet food companies, Life’s Abundance guarantees the amount of four different health-promoting probiotics in our dog food.

We firmly believe that Life’s Abundance is an excellent dog food. Its wholesome ingredients help to provide your dog with proper, balanced nutrition for a happy and healthy life! There are most certainly other good foods on the market, but we have been personally impressed by their commitment to excellent nutrition and safe ingredients. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Interested in ordering? If you are interested in ordering, please order from our Life’s Abundance site. When ordering through our page, you should see Kristen’s Happy Tails listed at the top of the page as the Field Rep. If I am not listed as your representative, please mention my ID number when you place your first order 20552921. As your representative, I am able to help you determine what products are right for your pet and answer any questions you may have.552921.

Puppy Update: Four Weeks

Oh dear. Right at this very moment, I have laundry that needs to be put in the dryer, I should be making supper, and our garden needs some desperate attention. Yet, I spent my afternoon playing with my baby and my puppies; and, let me assure you, it was an afternoon well spent. 🙂 I took some updated pictures which you can see on the Available Puppies page. Then we just played! By now, the puppies are fully mobile. They are learning to play and chew, and they have found their little voices! It is such a fun time! They are learning so much, and it’s so much fun to watch their personalities blossom.

This week was the first that the puppies got to sample real food. I soaked and mashed Life’s Abundance Small & Medium Breed Puppy Food in raw goat milk. (Goat milk is an excellent milk replacer for puppies who need to be bottle fed, and it also wonderful to use when weaning puppies. It’s gentle on their tummies, and they LOVE it!) Here’s a picture of their first meal.


Yum, right? 🙂 The puppies certainly thought so. They didn’t any encouragement when it came to eating it! It was devoured in just a few minutes.


Also around this time, we are working very hard at potty training. While I have the puppies, I teach them the very basics of potty training. Right now, their pen consists of two sections- a bed area and a potty area. I am teaching the puppies to do their business in the potty area and keep their bed area clean. In the next couple of days, we will add a large play area for them, as well. Essentially, this teaches them that there is a specific place to sleep, play, and do their bathroom business. Then, once they head off to their new homes, they are ready to be crate trained and house trained. The will have a basic knowledge and will be ready to learn that their crate is for sleeping and outside is for peeing. I started them a week ago on potty training, and I feel like they have really begun to get it in the past couple of days. They definitely aren’t fully trained, but most of the mess gets where it’s supposed to go.

And just for your pleasure, here are a few snapshots from our photo shoot this afternoon.


Harley, Huck, and Harper all snuggled on my lap


Harper getting up close and personal with the camera!


Hamlet sniffing the breeze


And this little girl is going to grow up to be just like her momma! She already loves puppies! This picture makes my heart so happy. 🙂

Life around here is busy right now, but it’s so good! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a blessed weekend!



Munchy Monday: An Introduction to Life’s Abundance

Ok, so I know it’s not Monday, but this is an introduction to a series I’ll be doing called Munchy Mondays for the next few weeks.

I hope you all had a great start to your week! We are in the middle of a very hot week here. Welcome, summer!

This week is the puppies’ four week milestone, and that is when I am planning to introduce them to solid food! (Mushy food may be a better description.) Those of who you have been reading my blog for a while may have noticed I recently added information about Life’s Abundance dog food. I decided since I will be starting the puppies on food this week, that this would be a great time to introduce you all to Life’s Abundance and why we have decided to make the switch! I’ll try to keep the post relatively brief, but I have a lot of information I’d like to pack in here. So be patient with me if I get a bit lengthy! 🙂

Our journey with dog nutrition began during Mia’s first pregnancy. At that point, we were feeding Purina, thinking that is was a good food for her. Purina is a well-known, popular brand of food. I, like so many others, assumed that because it was so popular and well-marketed, that it must be a good quality food for my dog. During Mia’s pregnancy, I began to take a big interest in nutrition and its effect on dogs, pregnancy, and long-term health. I found a super helpful website called Dog Food Advisor. I was shocked to see that Purina Dog Chow was ranked as a 1-star dog food.

When I read further into why it was rated so poorly, I immediately decided my dog would NEVER eat Purina again. Let me give you a brief overview of why Purina Dog Chow is one of the worst dog foods out there. (You can read more details here from Dog Food Advisor.) The main ingredient is corn. Dogs cannot digest corn. It’s of little nutritional value to them, so it’s basically a worthless filler. This is the FIRST ingredient! The second ingredient is meat and bone meal, which is hard for dogs to digest, making it a very poor choice for protein content. Also, this ingredient is “anonymous,” meaning it’s any combination of animals. This is not a good mark for food; because if there’s an allergy, it’s impossible to pin point if you don’t know what exactly your food is made of. The third ingredient is corn gluten meal. Remember what I said about corn? This is basically used to boost the protein count on the nutrition label; but corn is a poor choice for protein for dogs, because they can’t digest it! Purina also has artificial coloring and no probiotics, and the ingredients don’t really improve any further down on the list.

If you’re using Purina, I highly recommend you STOP. I was unaware of how poor this food is, and I can definitely say we have seen big differences in over-all health since switching. There are so many better choices out there.

It was over a year later until we found Life’s Abundance. During that time, we tried a few different brands of food with varying opinions. Beaverdam- average food, no complaints. Diamond- gave our dogs diarrhea. Victor- good quality, the high protein mix is nice for our hunting dogs, but no large breed puppy for Jade when she was growing. It was during Mia’s last litter that we started using Life’s Abundance, and we love it!

Here are some things we have noticed in our dogs during the past two years since switching to higher quality food.

  • Less poop! All that corn filler in Purina makes for a lot of undigestible waste that creates big piles of poo. Nutrient- dense food can be fully absorbed with minimal waste output. 🙂
  • More consistent poop- When on Purina, Mia would frequently battle diarrhea. Since changing her diet, this no longer happens!
  • Less food- When eating a food with a lot of poor quality ingredients and fillers, our dogs needed to eat a lot more to be satisfied. With better food, the amount of food they need to eat in a day noticeably decreased.
  • Beautiful fur- I didn’t think about this too much until we got Timber as an adult. I’m not sure what he had been fed before, but it clearly wasn’t very good. His coat was dull and rough. After just two months on a better diet, his coat is shiny and MUCH softer.
  • Energy! Our dogs have endless energy and stamina. I can tell that they simply feel good! So many people comment on how much endurance our dogs have. When other dogs come to play, my dogs are usually still running and playing long after the others have flopped down in the shade for a rest.

These are only things I can see from the outside, but I’m sure there is so much going on inside, as well, as a result of good nutrition.

As a comparison to Purina, here are the first few ingredients of Life’s Abundance. The quotes below are taken from Dog Food Advisor’s review of Life’s Abundance food.

  1. “Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.”
  2. “The second ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.” All of Life’s Abundance food is free of corn gluten and wheat gluten. Many foods use gluten to boost the protein content of their foods, because protein is so essential for a dog’s diet. However, the protein contained in gluten is incomplete for a dog’s nutritional needs.
  3. Oat groats come in as the third ingredient. They are a gluten free whole grain.
  4. Chicken fat is next. The primary fat source in dog food should be animal-based because canines derive significant nutrition from these fats. While vegetable oils may sound healthier, dogs actually need the specific nutrients found in animal fats that are not available in vegetable sources. Dog Food Advisor says, “Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.”

Also, Life’s Abundance food contains flaxseed meal, “one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids” and fish oil which “is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids.” Life’s Abundance does NOT contain artificial colors or flavors.

I’m sure you can see now how great this food is, but we need to pause for a confession.

There was one thing that I didn’t like when we left Purina behind, and that was the cost. Purina and other poor-quality foods come with a low price tag, which is nice for a family on a budget. Any high quality food costs more, but I like to think of it as an investment. It’s something that is more expensive now, but the long-term benefits will be worth it. The two main things I take into consideration are these: First, our dogs eat less of a high quality food. The cost per pound may be more, but they won’t eat as much. Second, with proper nutrition, our vet bills will probably be less over time, because our dogs will be healthier. In my mind, those two things help to close the price gap.

So, why Life’s Abundance? Aren’t there many other good brands of food? Yes, there other quality foods on the market. We chose Life’s Abundance for a couple of reasons. One thing we really like about Life’s Abundance is that we can get almost all of our dog care products directly from them- food, treats, dental chews, supplements, shampoo, and ear cleaner. They have a wide variety of dog (and cat!) products, all of which I can trust to be safe and healthy options. We also chose Life’s Abundance, because it helps us as a business. We are an Independent Field Representative, and we are able to advertise and sell Life’s Abundance products. When you buy through us, we get a small commission from that sale at no extra charge to you. We use this commission for our purchase of food, treats, and supplements for our dogs. (Just to give you an idea, we typically use over 100 pounds of dog food every month.)

Whew, I think I’ll stop there for now! That’s a lot of information to digest, but I hope you find it helpful when it comes to caring for your pets. If you have any questions about Life’s Abundance products, please contact me! Over the next few weeks, I will be posting Munchy Monday blog posts highlighting different Life’s Abundance products that we recommend; so if you are interested, please follow my blog to see the posts. Have a blessed week!