Did you know the dog food you're feeding your loved pet could be harming his health? Here are some reasons why you should be using organic dog food.
In recent years, the hype and popularity of organic food has increased significantly. Almost every supermarket features an organic food section full of people looking to be as healthy as possible. So naturally, you’d start to think that organic dog food is also more nutritious than traditional dog food.
However, is that the case? Most people aren’t even sure of what exactly makes dog food organic. Even then, they might assume that organic dog food is healthier without considering all the facts!
That’s where we come in to make it easier for dog owners to understand what exactly is organic dog food and what benefits it provides dogs.
What Does Organic Mean?
Organic is a term that describes food ingredients grown, raised, or produced according to a specific set of guidelines created by the United States Department of Agriculture. These guidelines cover a wide variety of different food products.
For multi-ingredient processed foods, which dog food likely falls under, the guidelines indicate that there should be no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. However, there are a few approved nonagricultural ingredients.
What Makes Dog Food Organic?
Currently, the USDA has no set guidelines that specify what dog food qualifies as organic. There is no approved list of ingredients for pet food. However, the USDA’s National Organic Program, pet foods that claim to be organic must meet human food regulations.
The FDA also states that there are no official rules governing organic foods for pets. However, they’re currently developing guidelines that dictate what types of synthetic additives may be acceptable in organic pet food.
Until these guidelines are established, many brands will continue to label themselves as organic pet food under the same standards that organic human food needs to follow.
What Are The Different Types Of Organic Dog Foods On The Market?
When you’re looking to buy organic dog food, it’s essential to know that there are several different types on the market. These are the main types of dog foods you’ll get to choose between.
These are typically the most premium-grade organic dog foods available in the market. However, for a product to boast the 100% organic label, they need to use ingredients that are 100% USDA certified.
The products will also typically feature the name of the certifying agent and could potentially bear the USDA organic certification seal as well.
95% Organic Ingredients
The majority of organic dog foods in the market fall into this category. For a dog food to fall in this category, at least 95% of the ingredients must be USDA certified organic. In addition, no more than 5% of the components can fall under the non-organic category.
These products may also bear the USDA-certified organic seal.
The last category is 70% organic. These dog foods will also contain the term ‘made with organic’ on the label. As the name suggests, a ''made with organic' product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
In this scenario, the product won’t receive the organic label, and you won’t find a USDA certifying seal. However, the name of another organic certifier needs to be on the label.
These dog food products only have the option to list three ingredients as organic.
Do Organic Foods Contain More Nutrients Than Non-Organic?
Looking at the general nutrient labels on common organic and non-organic dog foods, the difference in nutrition is minimal. Multiple studies on the matter indicate that in comparison to non-organic foods, organic foods will feature; a slight increase in antioxidants, a small increase in phosphorus, greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in organic meat and milk.
Even though these all seem like good features and reasons to buy organic dog food, the difference in nutrient level is almost negligible. Therefore, switching your dog over organic dog foods is unlikely to result in any particular health benefits.
The nutrient levels in organic foods can differ significantly depending on the season, soil, type, temperature, growing method, and various other factors. That essentially means that organic dog food doesn’t necessarily always offer better nutrition for your dog.
On top of that, if a particular food is already meeting the dog’s nutrition requirements, there’s no point in providing the dog with more of said nutrient. Most pet food on the market is already marketed as containing all of the essential nutrients that a dog requires.
Essentially, all of this points towards the fact that there’s no significant evidence that organic dog food contains additional nutritional benefits for your pet.
Do Organic Foods Use Less Pesticide?
A large number of dog owners purchase organic dog food in an attempt to reduce pesticide exposure. However, it’s a common misconception that growing organic foods doesn’t involve using any pesticides.
In most cases, organic foods are also treated with pesticides, but the pesticide used is of a different kind than the ones allowed in standard food production. However, just because they’re using different pesticides, it doesn’t mean that organic food will be safer.
Is Organic Dog Food Better For The Environment?
Another common reason why many dog owners use organic food is that it’s better for the environment. However, that also depends on the particular ingredient. In addition, there are certain organic foods that require the use of more natural resources for production, which can be detrimental to the environment.
Organic dog food is starting to become increasingly popular. However, it’s still too early to claim that there are significant benefits of feeding your dog organic food over conventional. Many of the standard dog food brands on the market already boast products that are designed to meet all the nutritional requirements of dogs.
While organic food may contain a few extra nutrients, the difference isn’t enough to suggest that they will make a radical difference in dog health. Ultimately, if you want to switch up your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to consult with your vet so you can get the best possible answer for your furry friend!