Pet Food Recall Not Quite Yet

Pet Food Recall,
Not Yet—But Be Careful

Keith Somers, Editor
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

WTW5 –  Cincinnati, February 25, 2015

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Nestle Purina Petcare Company, alleging that some Purina Beneful dog foods include substances capable of killing dogs.  There has been no pet food recall as of today.

The suit claims more than 3,000 people have reported that their dogs became seriously ill and/or died after eating Purina Beneful, and some pet owners have incurred extensive veterinary bills to have their dogs tested and treated for illnesses.

The lawsuit was filed by Frank Lucido on Feb. 5 in Contra Costa County, California. It alleges that the following dry “kibble” dog foods are sickening and killing dogs:

  • Purina Beneful Healthy Weight
  • Purina Beneful Original
  • Purina Beneful Incredibites
  • Purina Beneful Healthy Growth for Puppies
  • Purina Beneful Healthy Smile
  • Purina Beneful Healthy Fiesta
  • Purina Beneful Healthy Radiance
  • Purina Beneful Playful Life

The suit claims the pet foods contain substances that are toxic to animals, including propylene glycol, an antifreeze component and known animal toxin that is poisonous to cats and dogs.

According to the lawsuit, Nestle knew or should have known that the Food and Drug Administration has prohibited propylene glycol from being used in cat foods.

The suit also claims the food contains mycotoxins, a group of toxins that are produced by fungus that occurs in grains. Mycotoxins are a significant health risk to dogs, the suit says. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that dangerous levels of mycotoxins have been found during testing conducted on Purina Beneful Original.

Pet Food Recall,
Here’s the Skinny

The consumer complaints show “consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating, and kidney failure,” the lawsuit claims.

In many cases, pet owners claimed their dogs showed symptoms prior to these diagnoses, including lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, seizures and bloating.

The class action lawsuit invites pet owners who have fed their dogs and cats Beneful brands between 2011 and 2015 to join. It asks for a jury to hear the case and award $5 million in damages.   Still no pet food recall!

Bill Salzman, director of corporate communications for Nestle Purina PetCare, has issued a statement denying the allegations in the lawsuit.

“We believe the lawsuit is baseless, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves and our brand. Beneful had two previous class action suits filed in recent years with similar baseless allegations, and both were dismissed by the courts.

“Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation. Online postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers.

“Bottom line: Consumers can continue to feed Beneful with total confidence.”

USA Today, March 2, 2015  –  2nd Class Action Suit Filed Today

The new filing is asking that Purina pay Lucido and other members of the class action lawsuit unspecified actual, statutory and punitive damages and restitution.

We inform—you resolve!

NBC News, February 24, 2015

ABC News. February 25, 2015

USA Today, March 2, 2015/2nd Class Action Suit


pet food recallHere is how you can help.

1.   Push the agencies that can do something about this potential pet food recall.   Get involved by contacting the following organizations:

2.   At a minimum, inform your friends and fellow pet owners to be very careful of what they feed by carefully checking the ingredients list on the package.

3.   Finally, take a look at a company that has never had a pet food recall in 16 years, since the inception of the company, for any reason—and it’s shipped fresh to your door in less than 6 weeks from the Life’s Abundance facility in Florida.


A Great Company
Helping Pets & Pet Lovers
A Business Opportunity of a Lifetime

Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products,
 the Healthy PetNet Foundation, and
a Member of the Healthy Pet Challenge Team

Scent Detection Canines, Gifted Creatures Part I

Scent Detection Canines,
Teach Us Valuable Life-Lessons

 Keith Somers, Author
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Scent detection canines are the necessary interest in this article.  However, if you are a dog parent, you must know that canines are multigifted and some of what they do is teach us many valuable life-lessons.   Here is a partial list—dogs:

  • Love us unconditionally;
  • Bond with us easily and rely on us for affection and protection
    and everything in between;
  • Never hold grudges—nor should we;
  • Live for the moment—the past is gone, the future is
    unknown and now is the focus;
  • Teach us to actively play every day;
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day—a great example;
  • Enjoy the journey, head out the window, smelling the air, enjoying the breeze;
  • Are dependable and loyal—being a loyal and dependable friend,                 lover, sibling, partner or parent will enrich your life in many                ways;
  • Teach us to Love unconditionally.

Scent Detection Canines Are
The Best “Sniffers” On the Planet

Scent detection canines listed as the top ten breed “sniffers” can vary, depending on who puts the list together.  I hope you will be as amazed as I was in gathering this data.

Experts have reported incredible true stories about the acuteness of dogs’ sense of smell.

  1. There’s the drug-sniffing dog that “found” a plastic container packed with 35 pounds of marijuana submerged in gasoline within a gas tank.
  2. There’s the black lab stray from the streets of Seattle that can detect floating orca scat from up to a mile away across the choppy waters of Puget Sound.
  3. There’s the cancer-sniffing dog that “insisted” on melanoma in a spot on a patient’s skin that doctors had already pronounced cancer-free; a subsequent biopsy confirmed melanoma in a small fraction of the cells. And so on.

What do dogs have that we don’t?   For one thing, they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us.   And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours.

Here is my list, beginning with number ten, the English Pointer, and moving to the top of the list, number one, the Bloodhound.


PointerThe first Pointers appeared in England in 1650.  Many hunters admire the Pointer for his bird-finding ability and say he has the best nose of all the pointing breeds.   He has a long, deep muzzle with wide-open nostrils he uses to seek out his feathered finds.  I was unable to find the number of olfactory smell receptors
for the English Pointer.

English Pointer


Coonhound---1There are many Coonhound breeds—Black and Tan, Bluetick, Redtick (photo below), English, Plott, Redbone, and Treeing Walker.   All of them have highly effective noses but different styles of scenting.  Some have “hot” noses, meaning they work best on fresh trails.  Others are said to be “cold-nosed,” able to follow an old, or “cold” trail with little trouble.   I was unable to find the number of olfactory smell receptors for the Redtick Coonhound.

Redtick Coonhound


English-Springer-Spaniel---4The English Springer Spaniel was officially recognized by the AKC in 1910.   This popular dog comes in two types—field-bred and show-bred.  The field-bred types are highly prized by hunters for their good nose, which is liver-colored or black with broad nostrils.    At the present time I do not know the number of olfactory receptors that typically belong to the English Springer Spaniel.   I was unable to find the number of olfactory smell receptors for the English Springer Spaniel.

English Springer Spaniel



Belgian-Malinois---2The Belgian Malinois was officially recognized by the AKC in 1959.  Commonly employed by police and military forces and as search and rescue dogs, this breed is well known for his keen sense of smell. Among the breed’s talents are the ability to sniff out explosives, prostate cancer and cheetah scat.

Intelligent and trainable, the breed possesses a strong desire to work and is happiest with regular activity and a job to do. A relatively easy keeper due to their medium size and short coat, this confident breed loves their families, but may be somewhat reserved with strangers.   I was unable to find the number of olfactory smell receptors for the Belgian Malinois.
Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois


dachshund-silhouette-280x168The Dachshund was officially recognized by the AKC in 1885. Spunky, upbeat, curious, friendly, the Dachshund is well-balanced with bold and confident head carriage and intelligent, alert facial expression, all make him contagious.   Bred to hunt bagers in Germany, he can be found in historical records dating back to the 15th century.

His hunting spirit, good nose, loud tongue and distinctive build make him well-suited for below-ground work and for beating the bush. His keen nose gives him an advantage over most other breeds for trailing.

This extended hound has 125 million scent receptors.   According to the AKC, he ranks 11th in popularity.



Labrador-Retriever---1The gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever from Canada, for the last 24 years, continues to be the most popular breed in the United States, according to AKC registration statistics.

This versatile hunting breed comes in three colors – yellow, black and chocolate – and because of their desire to please their master they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement.   I was unable to find the number of olfactory smell receptors for the Labrador Retriever.

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever



German-Shepherd---3The German Shepherd was officially recognized by the AKC in 1908.  This well-known herding breed is said to have 225 million scent receptors in his nose. One of the things he’s known for is his ability to air-scent.   Rather than keeping his nose to the ground, he casts about for human scent that is carried by the wind.

Smart, confident, courageous, and steady; a true dog lover’s dog.  A good German Shepherd is also highly versatile, and many are employed by the police, military, and search and rescue groups.

German Shepherd



Beagle---3The Beagle was first officially recognized by the AKC in 1885.  These dogs are solid, sturdy, and happy-go lucky.   Their origin is unknown, remaining in obscurity.

He might be one of the smallest of the hound breeds, but the Beagle has just as many scent receptors as the German Shepherd—225 million.   Many of the merry little hounds follow air and ground scent.  The Beagle’s scenting ability makes him popular not only with hunters but also with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which employs the dogs to detect contraband (especially food items) in airports.   Beagles who have been on the job for a while have a 90 percent success rate and can recognize nearly 50 distinct odors.   Beagles love to follow their noses, which at times may get them in trouble.




Bassett---4The Basset Hound is patient, low-keyed, and charming—even a bit lazy, making an unusually good family pet.   He was officially recognized by the AKC in 1935.

Of French origin, the Basset is built to follow a scent trail low to the ground.  His heavy long ears sweep the ground, bringing scent upward to his powerful nose.  The loose skin beneath his chin, known as a dewlap, helps to trap the scent, keeping it easily accessible as he works.  The AKC says that the Basset is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability.  He loves to chase rabbits.  He has 250 million scent receptors.

Basset Hound
Basset Hound



Bloodhound---10This giant hound has 300 million scent receptors — more than any other breed. He is famed for his man-trailing abilities and is so reliable his evidence is admitted in court.   Bloodhounds can not only follow a scent on the ground, they can also air scent.   Like their cousin the Basset, they are built to be the perfect tracking dog, with a large, long head; a nose with large, open nostrils; long ears that sweep the scent upward from the ground; and a cape of loose skin around the head and neck to trap and retain the scent. Last but not least, the Bloodhound’s stamina and persistence make him a superior trailing dog.

The Bloodhound was officially recognized by the AKC in 1885.  Sweet, easygoing, friendly—that’s him!   While Bloodhounds are extremely affectionate, they are take-charge dogs and need to know who’s the boss.


Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products,  the Healthy PetNet Foundation, and
A Member of The Healthy Pet Challenge Team


Pet Food Recalls, 2015

Pet Food Recalls

Keith Somers,  Editor
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Pet food recalls are actions taken to remove a product from the market and may be seen as three types:

  1.   A voluntary withdrawal of a product done by the company;
  2.   Request made by the Food and Drug Administration; or
  3.   By an FDA order under statutory food recall

Pet Food Recalls
Last 8 Months

Here is a list of the known pet food recalls for the last 8 months including January 2015. There are links for each one so that you can check out the details.

Pet Food Recalls
Why Chance It?

If you want to learn about great pet food, we’re glad you found us. Life’s Abundance is holistically balanced and provides the nutritional harmony that’s important to help your dog or cat achieve and maintain optimal health.

  • Natural pet food recipe that cats & dogs really crave
  • High-quality ingredients provide nutritious meals
  • “Fast-cook” at low temperature bumps up nutrition
  • Strict inventory controls ensure quality and safety
  • Fresher than other brands, only 4-to-6 weeks old
  • Holistically balanced for your pet’s optimal health
  • Feed less & provide better nourishment
  • Developed to improve health and longevity

This is why Life’s Abundance Pet Food
since the founding of the company
in 1999, sixteen years ago.


pet food recallsPet Food Recallspet food recalls

 Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and a Team Member of the Healthy PetNet Foundation

Digby the Tiny and Nero the Giant

Digby the 1-Pound Chihuahua and
Nero the 130-Pound Neapolitan Mastiff

 Keith Somers, Editor
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

January 28, 2015  
One of these dogs weighs less than a pound and the other 120 pounds, but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming the best of friends.

Digby the tiny Chihuahua was close to death when he was rescued from between two dumpsters outside an apartment building in north London.  The 5 week-old puppy was scared, cold, and hungry.  But since being rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and taken to their center in Southridge, Hertfordshire, on Monday night of this week, he has found a new reason to survive, and it takes the shape of the 130-pound Neapolitan Mastiff, Nero.  They have become fast friends.

The Mastiff belongs to the center’s manager, and employees say Nero has really “allowed Digby’s personality to shine.”  Anna White, the RSPCA center’s manager said,  “It was as if the little fellow took on Nero as his personal minder.  Poor Digby had to be rescued once by the RSPCA and it seems like he is taking precautions to make sure nothing can happen to him again.

Natalie Ditchfield, RSPCA animal collection officer, said:
“It is so lovely to see he is safe and happy.  When I first came across Digby he was frozen and shaking and had just been left to die. He’s really tiny—small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.
He seemed to come out of his shell as soon as we arrived at Southridge and he spotted Nero.  It really is a love story.
And a remarkable one at that!”

Late word is that the RSPCA have found some folks who want to adopt the puppy and Digby will soon move in to live with his new forever family.

Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products,  the Healthy PetNet Foundation, and
A Member of The Healthy Pet Challenge Team

Natural Healthy Treats for Dogs & Cats


Natural Healthy Treats
For Dogs & Cats

by Keith Somers,
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Natural healthy treats, as a special reward, brings great enjoyment to your dog or cat.   And it makes us feel good, too. The very act of giving a treat helps to solidify the bond that we share with our companion animals.  Unfortunately, most of the pet snacks available on the market today are non-nutritive “junk foods” that could be dangerous to your pet’s health.  It’s important to remember that even if you feed your pet a diet of healthy food, mass-marketed treats can have a significant negative impact on his or her health.
Thankfully, you don’t have to abandon this great way to reward your pet.  There’s no reason treats can’t be nutritious and tasty.  At Life’s Abundance our natural healthy treats are as important as our food for nutrition and pleasure.  You have our guarantee—we do not create pet products simply on measures of taste or texture.
Natural healthy treats is a wholly unique approach in the pet product industry.  To address the dietary requirements and taste preferences of all dogs and cats, we’ve developed a wide array of oven-baked healthy treats, savory training treats and satisfying pork-hide treats. These yummy products are uniquely formulated by one of our company veterinarians, Dr. Jane Bicks, to target particular health needs, both through balanced nutrition and specific vitamins and herbal ingredients.

natural healthy treatsWe have lots of
Natural Healthy Treats<–Click Here
your dog will love:

  •  Antioxidant Health Bars
  • Gourmet Dental Treats
  • Wholesome Hearts, Low-Fat Treats
  • Tasty Rewards Training Treats
  • Porky Puffs Treats
  • Buffalo Bully Sticks
  • Baked Treats
  • Buffalo Lung Fillets
  • Dog Treat Sampler Pack

We also have
Natural Healthy Treats <–Click Here
your cat will enjoy:

  • Chicken, herring & liver meals
  • Guaranteed vitamin C & E, omega-3’s, DHA & EPA
  • Healthier hair can minimize hairballs
  • Made in the USA

At Life’s Abundance, we’re driven by a desire to affect positive change in your dog’s and cat’s health, and that’s reflected in every single joyous bite. Most Nutritious Pet Food

Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products,  the Healthy PetNet Foundation, and
a member of The Healthy Pet Challenge Team

Premium Natural Dog Food Is Here

Premium Natural Dog Food
Is “Dog-Gone Good!”

by Keith Somers,
Like Dog Wonders on My Facebook Business Page

Premium Natural Dog Food from Life’s Abundance is made with select ingredients, including:

  • high-quality chicken;
  • catfish meals;
  • whole grains;
  • nutritious vegetables and fruits;
  • probiotics;
  • omega fatty acids;
  • additional nutrients;
  • and much more.

It is healthy and fresh delivered to your door in less than 6 weeks from the Life’s Abundance facility in Florida, and it has never been recalled—for any reason!

Watch this 1 minute video:

Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and the Healthy PetNet Foundation

Christmas Greetings From Dr. Jane Bicks

Christmas Greetings From
Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

FIRST . . . Who Is Dr. Jane Bicks

Dr. Jane  Bicks is clearly defined by her absolute dedication to the health and wellness of companion animals.  She is a “nationally recognized authority on holistic treatment of animals.*  Dr. Jane regularly consults with pet industry experts to ensure that Life’s Abundance innovative health formulas exceed the highest of quality standards, effectiveness and safety.

Additionally, she closely monitors discoveries in nutritional science.  Once they are verified, she makes the corresponding improvements to Life’s Abundance formulas.  Much of her career has been spent researching and developing premium pet products.

She is the author of three national books on pet care.  Her books include Revolution In Cat Nutrition, Rawson Associates, New Youk, 1986, Dr. Jane’s Thirty Days to A Healthier, Happier Cat, Berkley Publishing, New York, 1997, and Dr. Jane’s Guide to a Healthier, Happier Dog, Berkley Publishing, New York, 1999.

She has served on several professional boards including the Cornell Feline Health Center.  Dr. Jane served as the President of the Veterinary Medical Association in NYC and was appointed by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help start one of the largest animal shelters in the United States.  She has also appeared on many network television and cable programs and numerous radio stations as a veterinary expert.

Her work to promote the betterment of the companion animal community was the inspiration for Life’s Abundance’ very own foundation, which is why it proudly bears her name. The Dr. Jane HealthyPetNet Foundation is dedicated to the promotion, maintenance and management of America’s small animal rescues, each of which are committed to saving abused and neglected animals from the desperation of homelessness.  Dr. Jane serves as a board member and the guiding force behind the good work of this much-needed foundation.

There is very little at Life’s Abundance in Jupiter, Florida, that has not been positively changed by Dr. Jane’s love and commitment to our pet companions.

SECOND . . . Read Her Report On 2014

The season of giving is upon us once again. Many of us will be spending time with family and friends, and probably doing a bit of frantic last-minute shopping. Although the holidays are a blur of such activities, it’s also the time of year many of us pause to reflect on our own lives, and consider the impact we’ve had on the lives of others.

As I look back on 2014, I feel truly honored and grateful to be part of a company devoted to the health and well being of companion animals. From our unbeatable customer care providers to our top-notch warehouse workers, from accounting to marketing, and everyone in between, we’re all pet people. It’s not uncommon to see a dog or two in our offices on one of our ‘take your pet to work’ days. Helping companion animals lead healthier, longer and happier lives is not just our company commitment … it’s a personal mission that guides our work every day.

I’m amazed by what we have been able to accomplish in the last twelve months. This year alone, we introduced six new products to our pet health line up, including two dental health products and four all-natural buffalo chew treats. And there is so much more on the horizon! In the next couple of months, we’ll launch more products, including two ultra-pure fish oil supplements for companion animals.

Plus, we have a brand new web site! A vast improvement over our old site, it’s so easy to search, which makes our products easier to find. In fact, I can do everything on my smart phone! And, I’m very pleased to say, our blog readership has tripled this year, which means our message is reaching more pet parents than ever before.

I continue to be honored by the accomplishments of our non-profit
– both as its namesake and by the amazing goodness it achieves. Thanks to your continued business and generosity, The Dr. Jane Foundation has been able to help fund the everyday activities of courageous animal rescues across the country. Some may say that putting an end to pet homelessness, abuse and neglect is a pipe dream, but I also know that there’s nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it.

THIRD . . . Her Personal Greeting to You

No matter where you are this holiday season, know that I’m holding you and your pet kids in my heart. I’m thankful of the great privilege that is working on behalf of you and your families, for the trust you place in our company and our products, and for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

From all of us here at Life’s Abundance,
we wish you and yours
a joyous holiday time and good cheer
throughout the New Year.

 Friday, December 19, 2014—Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

Keith Somers
is a registered Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products,  the Healthy PetNet Foundation, and
The Healthy Pet Challenge Team

Holiday Pet Gift Baskets for Dogs & Cats

Holiday Pet Gift Baskets
Two Great Selections

Holiday pet gift baskets are now reduced in price and in limited quantity—ORDER NOW!


Holiday Dog Gift Basket
Retail Value $32.00, Now Only $19.95

Dogs will go nuts when they see and smell the delights in this year’s Christmas gift baskets including:

  • Assorted baked treats
  • 4-once bag of Tasty Rewards
  • Plush squeaky toy
  • Canned Turkey & Shrimp Breakfast
  • Canned Chicken & Crab Dinner
  • Bundled in a decorative, keepsake tray


Don't Put It Off---ORDER NOW!


Holiday Cat Gift Basket
Retail value $21.00, Now Only $14.95

Cats tend to crave more independence than their canine buddies.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t need affection, too!  In this year’s Christmas basket for cats, yours will find:

  • An assortment of toys
  • Natural Cat Treats for Healthy Skin & Coat
  • A can of Instinctive Choice
  • A bottle of Wellness Food Supplements
  • A festive keepsake tray


Don't Put It Off---ORDER IT NOW!


holiday pet gift baskets

Keith Somers
is a registered Executive Independent Field Representative
of Life’s Abundance products
and the Healthy PetNet Foundation

Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy

Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy
An Amazon Top Seller

The Hide-A-Squirrel dog toy offers owners an innovative approach to playtime. This engaging toy works as a reverse puzzle. You hide the squeaky squirrel pieces inside the plush tree trunk; dogs use their problem-solving skills to sniff them out. By encouraging them to seek and stalk the squeaky prey, the Hide-A-Squirrel provides pups with an outlet for their instinctual behaviors.

hide-a-squirrel Dog ToyAnd besides its fun for all the family.

The Hide-A-Squirrel introduces an innovative approach to playtime. The toy works as a reverse puzzle. First, hide the squeaky squirrel pieces in the in the various openings in the plush tree trunk. Then, simply sit back and watch as dogs use their problem solving skills to retrieve them. Dogs love to search, stalk, and capture the small “squeaky” prey. Just one of these toys can result in a full day of play!

  1.   Squeaky squirrels increase pup’s play drive
  2.   Provides hide-and-seek enrichment
  3.   Dogs take squirrels out, you stuff them back in
  4.   Keeps your pup occupied, eliminating boredom
  5.   Develops problem-solving skills

This Hide-A-Squirrel dog toy is one among 100 best sellers at Amazon this year.  And, the price has been reduced by 57%—from $17.99 to $7.79.  You save $10.20.  The shipping could be free too.  The is still time for shipping by Christmas.

hide a squirrelOrder Now for Christmas



Pet Stress In Companion Dogs & Cats

Pet Stress In Dogs & Cats,
How To Understand It

Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM, Author

Executive Director
of New Product Development & Education
with Life’s Abundance, Jupiter, Florida

pet stress

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 dogs and cats (Luescher, 2003). Even so, compared to humans, relatively little research has been published regarding stress and its effects on companion animals.  

Some presume that the effects of pet stress on dogs and cats are not much different than those on other non-human animals. But, it appears that they’d be wrong.

In the mammalian world, dogs and cats are unique due to the bonds they share with humans, marked by their social interactions and the human homes in which they commonly reside.

As dogs and cats have gradually changed from living in natural settings to co-habitating with humans, one might expect that they would have fewer stressors than their outdoor ancestors. However, the evidence seems to contradict this assumption. Some veterinarians argue that, even though environmental stress is lower for today’s companion animals (i.e., less risk of predation, starvation, etc.), overall stress levels are actually higher. Furthermore, current sources of stress – such as boarding, veterinarian examinations, long-term confinement in a crate, boredom, habitual inactivity and even the sounds of modern life – are ones against which dogs and cats may not have well-developed defenses and are often unavoidable.

Stress has been eloquently described as “the sum of all nonspecific biological phenomena caused by adverse conditions or influences. These include physical, chemical, and/or emotional factors to which an individual fails to make satisfactory adaption and that cause physiological tensions that may contribute to disease” (Campbell et al, 2004).  Bodies manage stress through the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system (referred to as the “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis”).  In general, the response of the autonomic nervous system is very rapid and specific, whereas the endocrine system adjusts more gradually and is broader in its effect.

Pet Stress In Dogs & Cats,
How To Deal With It

In order to mount an adequate stress response, both the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system require nutrients that can only be obtained through dietary intake.  For example, the endocrine messengers (norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and cortisol) are synthesized by the body.  However, in order for the body to create these messengers, it needs to obtain tyrosine, choline and acetate, as well as cholesterol and acetate . . . all from dietary sources. Synthesis of these endocrine messengers is also dependent upon ingesting nutrients such as zinc, copper and manganese, as well as significant amounts of vitamin C.  In the autonomic nervous system, signal transmission is made possible by electrical activity in the nerve cells. Fueling this activity requires dietary intake of sodium, calcium and potassium. All of these elements are vital for normal nervous and endocrine system responses to stress.

As a holistic pet food formulator, I know that the way the body responds to stress and chronic disease might have predisposing nutritional factors, such as a nutrient deficiency, imbalance, or toxicity.  A good formulator must know whether or not supplementation of a given nutrient can help a companion animal manage stress effectively.

In spite of how well you care for your dog or cat, it is still likely that they will encounter daily stressors.  While unavoidable, it is possible to minimize the effects through a combination of exercise, nutrition and holistic treatments.

Substances like valerian, chamomile and inositol can help to soothe the jangled nerves of dogs. Pheromone diffusers and sprays are effective stress reducers for both dogs (D.A.P) and cats (Feliway). If your budget is tight, you can do pet massage at home to help relieve tension. To develop a program of stress reduction that’s uniquely suited to your companion animal’s needs, consider enlisting the help of an alternative-medicine or holistic veterinarian.

Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that providing proper nutrition is vital for helping companion animals deal with stress and lead long, healthy and happy lives. In addition to feeding a high quality diet, feeding them a daily supplement is a simple way to ensure sufficient nutrients to maintain a healthy endocrine and nervous system, in turn helping to cope with any stress your pet encounters.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals. Each and every one of you has my sincerest wishes for holiday full of joy, and a wonderful new year of health!

Dr Jane Bicks, read more about her   Dr. Jane Bicks, read more about her.


Campbell, K.L., J.E. Corbin and J.R. Campbell. 2004. Companion Animals: Their Biology, Care, Health, and Management. Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Cameron, M.E., R.A. Casey, J.W.S. Bradshaw, N.K. Waran and D.A. Gunn-Moore. 2004. A study of environmental and behavioural factors that may be associated with feline idiopathic cystitis. J. Small Anim. Pract. 45:144-147.

Luescher, A.U. 2003. Diagnosis and management of compulsive disorders in dogs and cats. Vet. Clin. North Am. Small Anim. Pract. 33:253-267.

DeNapoli, J.S., N.H. Dodman, L. Shuster, W.M. Rand and K.L. Gross. 2000. Effect of dietary protein content and tryptophan supplementation on dominance aggression, territorial aggression, and hyperactivity in dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 217:504-508.

Dodman, N.H., I. Reisner, L. Shuster, W. Rand, U.A. Luescher, I. Robinson and K.A. Houpt. 1996. Effect of dietary protein content on behavior in dogs. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 208:376-379.

Casey, R. 2002. Fear and stress. In: BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine. (D. Horwitz, D. Mills and S. Heath, eds.) British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Gloucester, England. pp. 144-153. Glickman, L.T., N.W.

Glickman, D.B. Schellenberg, K. Simpson and G.C. Lantz. 1997. Multiple risk factors for the gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome in dogs: a practitioner/owner case-control study. J. Am. Anim. Hosp. Assoc. 33:197-204.

Gue M., T. Peeters, I. Depoortere, G. Vantrappen and L. Bueno. 1989 Stress-induced changes in gastric emptying, postprandial motility, and plasma gut hormone levels in dogs. Gastroenterology 97:1101-1107.

Hennessy, M.B., V.L. Voith, T.L. Young, J.L Hawke, J. Centrone, A.L. McDowell, F. Linden and G.M. Davenport. 2002a. Exploring human interaction and diet effects on the behavior of dogs in a public animal shelter. J. Appl. Welf. Sci. 4:253-273. Hennessy, M.B., V.L. Voith, J.L. Hawke, T.L. Yound, J. Centrone, A.L. McDowell, F. Linden and G.M. Davenport. 2002b. Effects of a program of human interaction and alterations in diet composition on activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in dogs housed in a public animal shelter. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 221:65-71.

Sheppard, G. and D.S. Mills. 2003. Evaluation of dogappeasing pheromone as a potential treatment for dogs fearful of fireworks. Vet. Rec. 152:432-436.

Simpson, J.W. 1998. Diet and large intestinal disease in dogs and cats. J utr. 128:2717S-2722S.

Takeda, E., J. Terao, Y. Nakaya, K. Miyamoto, Y. Baba, H. Chuman, R. Kaji, T. Ohmori and K. Rokutan. 2004. Stress control and human nutrition. J. Med. Invest. 51:139-45.

Kim, YM, Lee JK, Abd el-aty AM, Hwang SH, Lee JH, Lee SM. Efficacy of dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) for ameliorating separation-related behavioral signs in hospitalized dogs. Can Vet J. 2010 Apr; 51(4):380-4.