You want to feed your dog a better quality food with less chemical influence but this has opened up a whole new world of confusing words with mixed definitions. How do you know what you are feeding your dog ‘fits’ with your newfound desire to feed a healthier dog food?
Natural versus Organic
Most of us interchange the use of ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ but there is actually a big difference.
‘Natural’ means that the ingredients within the food were ‘produced or existing in nature; not artificial’ (Webster’s New World Dictionary). This means that anything made from plants, animals and even elements found on our planet are considered ‘natural’.
The FDA defines a natural product as ‘foods that are processed without preservatives or additives’. However, the natural ingredients could have been grown with the ‘use of pesticides or other conventional methods’.
With no laws in place or regulatory body overseeing ‘natural’ foods, the word is next to useless in shopping for a high quality dog food.
‘Organic’, on the other hand, has some teeth to it. Monitored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic foods are grown according to strict quality standards with no conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics or growth hormones used. Most organic farms only use renewable resources with a focus on soil and water conservation
What is All Natural Dog Food?
All natural dog food is food that, in theory, has been made with a minimal amount of processing – no artificial chemicals, sweeteners, colors, or general ‘over processing’ techniques commonly associated with commercial pet food production.‘
All natural dog food is not mean food is free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other drugs, or genetically modified feed crops or that animals were allowed to graze or free range. Only organic food can make those claims.
Is it worth the extra money to buy dog food that is labeled ‘natural’? Read the ingredients and decide for yourself. If there are a bunch of ingredients that you cannot pronounce, there is a good chance that the company has added natural to their marketing to bring in people who are confused about the differences between it and organic.
How does All Natural Dog Food Compare with most Commercial Dog Foods?
Comparing dog foods is a difficult and time-consuming prospect – just look at the number of manufacturers and then multiply that number by the amount of varieties produced by each manufacturer and you begin to realize the work involved!
In general terms, high quality all natural diets offer your pet a better quality product with fewer chemicals and a less processed product. Are they 100% healthy and chemical free? No, that would require the organic designation. Are they better then the average, heavily processed pet food? Yes.
Rule of Thumb for Buying All Natural Dog Food
A basic rule of thumb when buying any dog food is to first do your research and know your manufacturers and then buy the best quality food you can afford because it will have the highest quality ingredients with the least amount of fillers and garbage.
Choosing the best dog food for your pet is difficult but there are people to help you with the decision. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendations or go to a small, owner operated pet store and discuss your concerns with them.