Organic Dog Food

As with human organic food, organic dog food is the source of heated discussions. We will try to make sense of some of the mystery surrounding organic pet food in general and dog food in specific.

What Is Organic Dog Food?

Organic dog food comes in two varieties, 'USDA Organic', and 'Made with Organic Ingredients'. USDA Organic dog food is, as the name suggests, certified to meet USDA standards, and must consist of at least 95% organic ingredients. Any food meeting this standard and getting certified can carry the USDA Organic label. Second, we have the 'Made with Organic Ingredients' category; this term can be applied to dog food which contains at least 70% organic ingredients. These food, however, cannot carry the USDA Organic label.

It is worth noting that any nutritional additives such as vitamins are not considered organic by the USDA. These are additives which many dog food manufacturers include in their formulas, and can still be certified organic as long as the non-organic additives and ingredients do not exceed 5% by weight.

Is Organic Dog Food Better?

This question can be, and is, the source of heated arguments, but the reality is that there are certain benefits in feeding your pet an organic diet; however, keep in mind that there have not been any scientific studies done to determine whether organic dog food is more nutritious or tastes better than the traditional type of dog food.

With that said, many of us eat organic food to not only keep chemicals out of our bodies, but to also help support environmentally friendly farming. Growing food organically is certainly better for the environment, and it also helps keep chemical fertilizers and pesticides out of dog food, so organic dog food is arguably better in a certain sense.

Is 'Natural' the Same as 'Organic'?

In short, no! The word 'natural' is an ideal way for marketers to confuse the consumer. It is supposed to mean that the food which is called 'natural' is nutritious and healthy; however, there are no standards required for using the term 'natural'. Additionally, the term 'natural' is very vague as scorpion venom and poisonous mushrooms are both natural, and if a dog food manufacturer had those ingredients in their formula, they could still call their product '100% Natural'. So don?t be swayed by the term 'natural'--it really means nothing as far as dog food is concerned.