Lifes Abundance content relating to 'feeding trials'

What You Need to Know About Feeding Trials


woman feeding her dog food

While looking for healthy products for your furry friends, you’ve probably faced a slew of information, and we understand how overwhelming it can be - especially since you want to give them the best life possible. We want to be clear about what goes into our products because we want you to feel confident in the product you’re feeding your pets. We’re proud of our products but your trust in our company is more important.

As an employee-owned purpose-driven company, we think differently and our definition of transparency includes giving you a behind the scenes look into our decision to conduct dog food feeding trials - and why it should matter to you. 

What Are The Pet Food Standards?

Did you know that there are two ways a dog food maker can demonstrate the nutrition of their foods? These are set by the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the association that establishes nutritional standards within the pet food industry.

Nutrient Analysis

The most common of the two is through nutrient analysis. This involves laboratory testing of the finished food that measures how much of each key nutrient is present compared to the required amount. Beyond the required nutrients, additional tests can be ordered to tell a more complete story about the formula. For instance, if a brand prioritizes antioxidants they’ll want to test for that number, though it’s not required.

This additional nutrient analysis testing is the method we at Life’s Abundance have used for over two decades, and now, as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we’re engaging in the second of AAFCO’s sanctioned tests - Feeding Trials.

Feeding Trials

Simply put, feeding trials allow us to study the nutritional value a pet gets from consuming a food. So - how does it work? Eight dogs are exclusively fed the food being tested for a number of weeks (duration varies based on life stage). Periodic blood tests and the dog’s weight are tracked and recorded to demonstrate that the nutrients shown on paper actually make it into the dog’s body at life-sustaining levels. The dogs are always humanely treated and if for any reason they aren’t doing well on the food they are immediately taken off the trial. 

Why Conduct Feeding Trials?

First and foremost, we have a responsibility to the hundreds of thousands of dogs eating our food, and because of this, it’s important to know how nutrients in our formulas behave once digested by the dogs eating them. Our formulation philosophy for years, has been made up of nutritional analysis and decades of anecdotal evidence but with the addition of science-backed feeding trials, that philosophy is even stronger. 


Life's Abundance dog foods

In the veterinary world, feeding trials are the gold standard to demonstrate a food’s nutrient value. Now when your vet asks if your dog’s food has been through a trial, if you’re feeding Life’s Abundance, you can confidently say ‘yes.’ We know from all our veterinary consultants and colleagues how important feeding trials are to veterinarians as a mark of quality assurance. This is our way of showing we're absolutely serious about making the best food out there.

The decision to conduct feeding trials was a years-long process involving many levels of staff at Life’s Abundance. We’ve:

  • consulted with veterinarians,
  • consulted with insiders who have seen many sides of laboratory research,
  • looked for alternative testing protocols,
  • interviewed testing companies and toured testing facilities ourselves

It took all of this time, effort and consideration to be certain we’d found a testing company that met our standards for animal care, interaction, environmental enrichment and overall welfare. It was important for us to take this time so that we feel as good about the process as we do the results, so you can too.

What Feeding Trials Won’t Tell You

Though a feeding trial is a true scientific study, it will only tell you whether a food is adequate enough to keep a dog alive. It won’t tell you about the quality of the ingredients or if they have any health enhancing benefits. At Life’s Abundance, it’s more than formulating, making and delivering great food. It’s about getting the ultimate nutrition into your dog so they can thrive.

Feeding trials take time to complete but we’re dedicated to taking as many of our products through trials so you can have full confidence in our products. Here is our feeding trial status as of Fall 2021:

  • All Life Stage Dog Food, Lamb Meal & Brown Rice - Successfully completed Summer 2022.
  • Adult Weight Loss Dog Food - Successfully completed Spring 2020.
  • All Life Stage Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice - Successfully completed Summer 2021.
  • Grain Free All Life Stage Dog Food - In queue to start. Tests are not run concurrently which makes the timeline to complete the series quite long.

We remain dedicated to adopting certified testing methods to reassure our customers of the quality of our product. If you’re not currently feeding your pet Life’s Abundance food consider making the switch to our uniquely formulated foods that have feeding trials to back their efficacy.

If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

The Inside Scoop On Homemade Pet Food

Can Dogs Eat Superfood Too?

What’s the Big Idea Behind Feeding Trials

man giving dog food

If you’ve been brought to your knees by the vast amount of information you’ve faced in search of the best products for your dogs, we understand. Really, how much can the average person be expected to know about their dog’s products and still have a life? We’re happy to tell you all about the ins-and-outs of our products because we’re very proud of them. But we think it will be even more helpful for you to know what type of company you’re buying from.

We think and operate differently and are transparent about it. We’re private, employee-owned and purpose driven. But what does all that mean in action? Here’s a little behind the scenes insight into our decision to conduct dog food feeding trials.

Dog Food Nutrition

Did you know that there are two ways a dog food maker can demonstrate the nutrition of their foods? These are set by the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the association that establishes nutritional standards within the pet food industry.

Nutrient Analysis

The most common of the two is through nutrient analysis. This is laboratory testing of the finished food that measures the value of each of the key nutrients that are required to be present. Beyond the required nutrients, optional tests can be ordered to tell a fuller story of the nutritional value of the formula being examined. For instance, if a brand prioritizes antioxidants they’ll want to test for adequate value, though it’s not required.

This is the method we at Life’s Abundance have used for over two decades, until recently. Now, after years of internal debate, planning and an ongoing commitment to transparency, we have engaged in the second of AAFCO’s sanctioned tests - Feeding Trials.

Feeding Trials

Feeding trials provide a look at the ability of a food to convey adequate nutritional value to the dogs consuming it. Eight dogs are exclusively fed the food being tested for a number of weeks (duration varies based on life stage). Periodic blood tests and the dog’s weight are tracked and recorded to demonstrate that the nutrients shown on paper actually make it into the dog’s body at life-sustaining levels.

Why Conduct Feeding Trials?

First and foremost, we have a responsibility to the hundreds of thousands of dogs eating our food. Because of this, it is important to know how nutrients in our formulas behave once digested by the dogs eating them. Nutritional analysis, exacting care, decades of anecdotal evidence and now feeding trials bear out our formulation philosophy and the science behind it. A close second reason for these tests is to give you peace of mind as a parent to the dogs you love. Just think, without this proof, your dog will essentially be a participant in an uncontrolled feeding trial.

lineup of Life's Abundance dog food

Importantly, in the veterinary world, feeding trials are the gold standard to demonstrate a food’s worth. While there are many other measures this overlooks, now when your vet asks if your dog’s food has been through a trial, if you’re feeding Life’s Abundance, you’ll be able to say ‘yes.’ We know from all our veterinary consultants and colleagues how important feeding trials are to veterinarians as a mark of quality assurance. This is our way of showing we're absolutely serious about making the best food out there.

To be sure, the decision to conduct feeding trials was a years-long process involving many levels of staff at Life’s Abundance. We consulted with veterinarians, insiders who have seen many sides of laboratory research, sought alternative testing protocols, interviewed testing companies and personally toured testing facilities. It took all of this time, effort and consideration to be certain we’d found a testing company that met our standards for animal care, interaction, environmental enrichment and overall welfare. It was important for us to take this time so that we feel as good about the process as we do the results, so you can too.

What Feeding Trials Won’t Tell You

Though a feeding trial is a true scientific study, it only provides a baseline of whether a food is adequate or inadequate to keep a dog going. It will not tell you anything about the quality of the ingredients or if they will help your dog thrive. It won’t tell you how beautifully or shoddily orchestrated the ratios of nutrients are to one another.

To understand the true quality of the food you choose you need to understand the motives of the brand you choose. But how do you trust that a brand has your best interest at heart, abhors corner-cutting practices and always asks what’s best for the consumer (two- or four-legged) before making a decision? At Life’s Abundance, it’s more than formulating, making and delivering a great food. It’s about getting the ultimate nutrition into your dog so they can thrive.

Life’s Abundance Feeding Trial Status As Of Fall 2021:

  • Adult Weight Loss Dog Food - Successfully completed Spring 2020.
  • All Life Stage Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Brown Rice - Successfully completed Summer 2021.
  • Grain Free All Life Stage Dog Food - In queue to start. Tests are not run concurrently which makes the timeline to complete the series quite long.

Of all the research we do to be sure we’re making the best choices for our dogs, finding a definitive answer or solution can seem like a never ending journey. Understanding the brand and the people behind the products you choose just may be the best measure yet. If you’re not currently feeding Life’s Abundance, consider making the switch to our uniquely formulated foods that have feeding trials to back their efficacy. Others will tell you just how good it feels to fill your dog’s bowl with nutritious food or reward them with tasty treats knowing you’ve made the best choice for them.


If you found this interesting, check out these related stories:

Why Consumers Trust Life's Abundance Pet Food

Pet Food Super Powers