When it comes to the furry companion in your life, you want to make sure you are feeding your pal the very best. So when you are shopping for dog foods, you might be wondering if it is worth it to feed your pooch a natural diet, and if so, what the best organic dog food brands are.
To help answer some of your questions so that you can make informed decisions, we’ve put together a 101 guide explaining what organic dog food is, what to look for in an organic dog food product, and what some of the top brands are to consider.
What is Organic Dog Food?
First of all, what does it mean for a pet food product to be “organic?”
Let’s discuss basic definitions because this is one of the most common misconceptions we encounter.
“Organic” is not the same thing as “natural” (something we will get into in just a bit).
It is a broader term which encompasses more than just the ingredients contained in a food.
For a food to be organic, Mayo Clinic says it needs to accomplish the following goals:
“Enhance soil and water quality
Provide safe, healthy livestock habitats
Enable natural livestock behavior
Promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on a farm.”
Furthermore, you can be assured that organic food was not made using certain practices. For example, organic farmers cannot use synthetic pesticides, nor can they inject their livestock with growth hormones or antibiotics.
There are four USDA-approved ways to label products legally as “organic.”
Each tier has different requirements:
“Organic ingredients“: A product with this label is not fully organic, but may contain up to 69% organic ingredients.
“Made with organic“: This phrase indicates that anywhere from 70% to 94% of the ingredients contained in a product are organic. But the product itself is still not fully organic.
“Organic”: Believe it or not, even this label does not indicate a product is 100% organic. Instead, this label is used when 95% or more of the ingredients are certified organic. There are restrictions on what types of non-organic ingredients can be included.
“100 percent organic”: This phrase means that every ingredient aside from salt and water contained in the product is certified organic.
If you see a USDA seal on dog food or any other product, that product must be either organic or 100% organic. It cannot simply contain “organic ingredients” or be “made with organic” ingredients.
Should You Look For “Organic” or “Natural” Dog Food?
As mentioned before, “organic” and “natural” are not the same thing. If you find dog food labeled as “natural,” with no mention of “organic,” that product is not organic.
“A feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources…not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic.”
You can see that this incorporates nothing regarding actual farming practices.
Natural is preferable to synthetic, but you cannot disregard the fact that “natural” doesn’t always equal “safe and healthy” where your dog is concerned.
So just make sure any dog food you buy, whether “natural,” “organic,” or both, contains only ingredients that your dog can consume.
Is Feeding Your Dog Organic Ingredients Important?
It does seem like on the whole, organic foods may be healthier than their non-organic counterparts. The link previously referenced at Mayo Clinic reports that research suggests that organic foods may be more nutritious, higher in omega-3 fatty acids, and less likely to be contaminated by toxic metals like cadmium or trace amounts of pesticides.
There are a few situations though where certified “organic” isn’t really important. For example, CBD manufacturers have a very hard time getting USDA-certified for regulatory reasons. But they do manufacture dog treats, and many of them follow organic farming practices, even though they cannot obtain the USDA label.
So in general, does it make sense to shop for organic dog food? If you want your pet to have the most nutritious food, then yes.
What to Look for When Shopping For Organic Dog Food
One great thing about shopping for USDA-certified dog food is that it removes a fair degree of guesswork from the process.
Still, not all organic dog foods are equal.
Here are some top considerations when comparing products:
USDA labeling. Again, not every product with the word “organic” on it is technically “organic” or “100% organic.” Look for the USDA label, not just a phrase like “organic ingredients.”
Clearly listed ingredients. You should be able to see exactly what your dog is eating, and not just vague allusions to “animal by-products” or so forth.
Free of allergens. If your dog has any known allergies, make sure that they are not included in the ingredients.
Gluten-free. If your dog cannot eat gluten, look for a product which doesn’t contain any.
Grain-free. If your dog cannot eat grains, make sure there are no grains whatsoever—not just that a product says “gluten-free.”
Cost. You should expect to spend more on USDA-certified organic dog food than you would on dog food which is not organic. But you do not need to break the bank to feed your dog high-quality food either, so look for a price that is reasonable.
Ingredients geared toward your dog’s nutritional needs and tastes. You know your dog best, and know what he’ll like.
Our Top Brands
Having discussed what is important to consider when shopping for organic dog foods, let’s take a look at some of the top products on the market today.
Castor & Pollux Organix
What is the best grain free dog food?
It may just be Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food. Below is the full list of ingredients.
Your dog can get a wide spectrum of nutrition from this healthy organic dog food. It is packed with natural ingredients.
There are no chemical additives or antibiotics present in this product.
There is no grain of any kind including wheat or corn.
When you purchase this product, 100% of the profits go to charity! Supported charities include SeriousFun Children’s Network, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and The Search Dog Foundation.
This food may be a bit watery at times, so you might need to give it a good stir before you feed it to your pet.
To learn about Newman’s Own Dog Food Organics Turkey Dinner in more depth or to order it now, click below.
Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health Miracle Dog Food
If you are looking for human-grade, organic dog food with real non-GMO ingredients you can see, you will want to check out Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health Miracle Dog Food. Note that this is not a grain-free dog food. In fact, there are six different types of organic grains included along with nine types of dehydrated vegetables.