Increasingly more pet owners are searching for the best organic dog foods to feed their pets; foods that will provide their dog with quality nutrients without chemical additives. Some pet food companies are now meeting those needs by including high quality ingredients in their dog foods.
Buying organic dog food isn’t as easy as buying commercial dog food on the store shelves. Organic dog food (as well as organic foods for humans) cannot contain the synthetic chemicals that most commercially prepared dog foods use to preserve the food and lengthen shelf life.
If you choose to feed your pet organic food, it’s important to distinguish exactly what the labeling on the organic dog food means. To be labeled “organic,” a dog food must contain 95 percent organic ingredients. If the label reads, “Made with organic ingredients,” it must contain 70 percent organic ingredients. If every ingredient in the food is completely organic, the label will say, “100 percent organic ingredients.”
If you are as careful reading the labels on dog food as you are when reading the labels on your own food, you may notice the claim “made with human-grade ingredients.” However, there is no standard for what “human grade” means, which is an indication that the pet food can contain almost anything that could be construed as “human ingredients,” including chemicals. Any company can use this claim no matter what is in the food.
Organic standards are enforced by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), but these standards are not as strictly regulated as human organic labels are, so companies can break the rules without getting in trouble.
A good source for checking on which dog foods are truly organic, log on to Consumerreports.org and search on “organic pet foods” to find out which organic pet food products contain the best ingredients.
Several commercially available dog food brands do provide organic options. These brands are more expensive but they provide higher quality nutrients so your dog won’t be lacking in the necessary vitamins and minerals, and you can be sure you’re feeding your pet the best organic dry food available in the marketplace. Some of the best organic dog foods are listed below.
* Natural Balance provides an organic option consisting of natural chicken, oats, millet, barley, carrots, cranberry, potatoes, peas, spinach, tomato and parsley, all from organic sources. There are several varieties of this brand and my own dog’s favorite is the Synergy mix that contains salmon.
* Natura brand produces Innova, which also provides Karma organic dog food. This quality pet food is made from free-range organic chicken, organic grains such as rice, oats, barley and rye, and organic fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, broccoli and cranberries. The food is packaged compostable and biodegradable material.
* Newman’s Own manufactures several varieties of organic wet dog food, dry dog food and treats for both dogs and cats. These contain natural chicken, brown rice, peas, kelp, barley, soy meal, oats, carrots and parsley. They do not contain fertilizers, steroids or artificial flavoring.
* Castor and Pollux manufactures an organic dog food made from organic chicken, brown rice, barley, peas, carrots and apples. Their Organix pet food is made with organic turkey, chicken liver, potatoes, carrots and garlic. They also have a puppy formula for owners who want to start their new pets on organic foods from the beginning of their lives.
Like human organic foods, organic foods for pets are more expensive but there are some significant benefits to feeding a dog organic dry food. Dog’s bodies weren’t designed to remove the toxins that are used in producing most commercial dog foods, and these toxins can put a pet at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer and may also lead to liver and kidney damage.
Feeding your pet a diet of the best organic dog foods you can afford can help in reducing the risk of your pet developing one of these serious diseases.