Life’s Abundance is a multi-level marketing company started by Dennis and Carol Berardi in 1998. It began in their home in Palm City, FL by offering products for people and pets. In 1999, they began partnering with product formulators including a holistic veterinarian who formulates the line of pet foods.
Today the home office is located in Stuart, FL. The pet products are made by Ohio Pet Foods in Lisbon, OH. Life’s Abundance dog food and pet products are offered alongside other lines of unrelated products through direct sales marketing or through the website.
For our Life’s Abundance dog food review, we’ll look at the food ingredient quality and safety. Our dog food review is based on these criteria.
Life’s Abundance Dog Food Review
Package Ingredients Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe: Lamb meal, egg product, ground brown rice, oat groats, pearled barley, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whitefish meal, flaxseed meal, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, natural flavor, miscanthus grass, dried tomato pomace, yeast culture, fish oil, sunflower lecithin, salt, potassium chloride, yeast extract, inulin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), taurine, vitamin E supplement, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin meal, blueberries, cranberries, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, pomegranate extract, choline chloride, selenium yeast, copper proteinate, inositol, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, manganese sulfate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, manganese proteinate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product
Based on our evaluation criteria, Life’s Abundance is considered a high risk dog food. Here are our concerns:
High In Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates in this line average 35% as calculated, which is excessive, even in a dry dog food. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is required for extrusion in dry foods like these. Excessive carbohydrates are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance. High carbohydrate diets also lead to a lower protein diet which holds true here with 21% average protein.
Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals
This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.
Added Amino Acids
Protein from animals is more complete in amino acids than protein from plants – plus it’s more expensive. Foods with lower amounts of animal protein often need to add amino acids to compensate, so 2 or more added amino acids can be a marker of cheap, lower quality ingredients.
Unnamed Animal Ingredients
Unnamed animal ingredients are a sign of low quality. These foods contain fish oil that can be made from any type of fish. Unnamed animal ingredients are often a less expensive, low quality ingredient that can be made from rendered waste of many proteins.
Contains Seed Oil
Some of these recipes contain sunflower oil, which is a highly processed and inflammatory oil. It’s an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils.
Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Life’s Abundance line:
On the ingredient safety side, this line loses significant points for being an ultra-processed dog food. The individual ingredients in dry dog foods are heated several times during processing, which can cause a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species.
High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
These recipes contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue. Unless organic, when crops are spray-dried with Roundup, it leaves them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases.
GMO Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients
Recipes in this line contain known GMO crops in the top 5 ingredients that include potatoes. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off.
The use of rice in several recipes costs food safety points because of potential arsenic contamination. Arsenic contamination is a significant concern with rice since it naturally absorbs arsenic which can contaminate the water it’s grown in. Arsenic is linked to chronic health issues.
Recipes in this line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.
Here are some noteworthy benefits of these foods:
It’s good to see that these recipes contain probiotics and that they guarantee the colony forming units (CFUs). This measure determines the number of bacterial cells in a probiotic.
IS LIFE’S ABUNDANCE A GOOD DOG FOOD?
Life’s Abundance offers a line of dry dog food with 3 adult recipes, 2 puppy recipes and an adult weight loss recipe. Overall, these recipes are low in protein and high in carbohydrates, which is standard for most dry dog foods, but still disappointing.
The company notes that it uses a holistic veterinarian to formulate its dog food recipes, and yet they all have excessive amounts of added vitamins and minerals, and some amino acids, to balance them to AAFCO standards. This usually implies ingredients of poor nutritional value or excessive processing. When vitamins, minerals and amino acids come from whole food sources, they include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable to dogs.
The ingredients don’t differ between recipes but protein, carbohydrate and fat content vary slightly between the weight loss recipe and the other adult recipes. Although formulated for weight loss, carbohydrates remain high at 37%, but protein is a little higher than other recipes, and fat is also lower at 11%.
On a positive note, these recipes include probiotics and they have guaranteed the amount of colony forming units (CFUs).
There are additional concerns with the food and marketing. These don’t affect the Life’s Abundance dog food reviews score, but they’re worth mentioning:
Several recipes contain glam ingredients. These are expensive or desirable ingredients like blueberries, kale or apples often added to appeal to consumers but may be in minuscule amounts. They contribute little or no nutritional value to your dog.
Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio
It’s also worth noting that Life’s Abundance does not state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation and disease.
Does Not State Farmed Vs Wild Caught Fish
These foods don’t specify whether the fish is farmed or wild caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious than wild caught fish and does not contain the same healthy fatty acid balance.
LIFE’S ABUNDANCE DOG FOOD RECALLS
Life’s Abundance has had no dog food recalls.
We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:
Are the Ingredients High Quality?
Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:
- Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
- Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
- Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
- Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
- Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
- Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?
How Safe Are the Ingredients?
Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:
- How processed is the food?
- Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
- Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
- Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
- Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?
Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. Dogs Naturally has partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.