Organic Dog Food - What are the Pros and Cons

When it comes to dogs, cats and our pets in general, owners usually spare no expense. Most owners will only want the best for their pets when it comes to its health, diet, play and general well being. This is where organic dog food comes in. Organic dog food has been a rising trend in the dog food industry when it comes to feeding dogs. 

The question is, is organic dog food all that it is hyped up to be? Is organic dog food really better than the other commercial dog food options available in the market? In this article, we discuss all of its pros and cons! 

What is organic dog food? 

Organic dog food has to meet strict federal regulations to be USDA-certified. Legally, it actually refers to the way the ingredients in the food are grown, harvested and processed. 

The same way it is for human organic food, organic dog food has to follow the same rules when growing, harvesting and processing the dog food. 

There are several conditions that organic dog food producers have to follow before the packaging can display the official USDA organic seal which includes:

  • Content that is 100% organic
  • At least 95% of content is organic by weight (excluding salt and water)

If the content is made with at least 70% organic, the package may state that it is “made with organic ingredients” instead but cannot display the USDA organic seal. 

If the dog food content contains less than 70% of organic content, producers cannot use the word organic and cannot display the USDA organic seal. The food packaging may only list the organic ingredients on the information panel. 

To be organic, grains, fruits and vegetables are grown using techniques that ensure no synthetic chemicals are introduced into the soil. Any animals or livestock that are used in organic dog food has to be raised on a healthy diet without any use of growth hormones. 

To qualify as organic dog food, the food used must be free of pesticides, added growth hormones, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, by-products and bio-engineering.

The manufacturing process for organic dog food is also important. This is because some manufacturing processes will rob ingredients of its valuable nutrients and enzymes. For optimal temperature, low cooking temperatures are preferred so as to retain the maximum nutritional value in its ingredients. 

Natural dog food

Some people get confused between natural and organic dog food. In actual fact, when the food is natural, it just means that it consists of only natural ingredients which have not gone through extra processes. 

If you see pet food that has been labelled ‘all-natural’, it means that the food does not contain artificial ingredients, synthetic chemicals or animal by-products. 

natural dog food
Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

When you see the word “natural”, you should also see words like ‘no additives, preservatives, artificial colours of flavours’. 

There is no legal definition for ‘natural’ and no regulations when it comes to labeling the dog food as natural. Therefore, any pet food brand can legally use that word when it comes to marketing. 

Holistic dog food

Holistic dog food on the other hand, is not organic dog food. People do get confused often between holistic and organic dog food. 

Holistic dog food will typically claim to contain extra ingredients that give your dog’s health system an extra boost for immunity. The goal of holistic dog food is to bring balance to the body’s system so that the overall health and well-being of your dog is met. This basically means that holistic dog food has to eat your dog’s physical, mental and emotional health and not just certain aspects of its nutritional needs. 

Again, there is no legal definition for ‘holistic’ and no regulations when it comes to labeling the dog food as holistic. Therefore, any pet food brand can legally use that word when it comes to marketing. 

Benefits of organic dog food

There are several reasons why dog owners have jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to feeding their furry friend an organic diet. 

Among these reasons are:

1. Better overall health

As your dog receives better nutrition, health will automatically improve, sometimes by leaps and bounds. If your dog has been sickly, try switching to organic dog food for awhile and see if its health improves. 

Your dog may show improvement in the following:

    • Reduced digestive disorders 
    • Strengthened immune system
    • An increase in energy levels 
    • Elimination of allergies 

    Generally, your dog’s overall health will improve and with that, the quality of life will also improve. 

    2. Prevention of diseases

    Many sicknesses dogs face are related to their diet. Sometimes, due to the lack of nutrition and exposure to dangerous chemicals, additives and toxins, dogs can fall ill easily. 

    Among the diseases related to diet are heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. Pesticides are commonly known to cause cancer. Commercially and genetically modified food may cause hurt cancer to grow due to the damage made to the dog’s organs. 

    Highly processed dog food can cause several other minor conditions to your dog which, over time, will have lasting effects. If your dog is eating highly processed dog food, it may develop diarrhea, urinary tract infections, skin infections and tumour growths. 

    Giving your dog quality organic food can reduce the chances of your dog developing these illnesses as it avoids pesticides and highly processed dog food.

    3. Weight Control

    Nowadays, pet owners tend to spoil their dogs by feeding them all kinds of good food to the point it becomes obese. There are all kinds of conditions that are related to weight problems. These include dog diabetes, organ failure and joint problems. 

    Weight control is needPhoto by Parker Amstutz on Unsplash

    Organic dog food will ensure that your dog gets all the nutrients it needs so that you do not have to feed your dog too much. Sometimes, your furry friend may eat more than it requires because the poor quality ingredients found in processed or select commercial dog food does not satisfy its stomach. 

    Organic dog food contains less fillers so your dog is actually getting quality nutrition. 

    4. Reduces allergies

    Artificial additives, chemicals and preservatives is a major cause for many dogs’ food allergies. There are certain ingredients that are more common as triggers for your dog’s allergies such as corn. Corn is a common ingredient in many dog food types! 

    You probably do not want your dog to suffer from skin irritation, inflammation or an upset tummy - all signs of allergies. 

    Organic dog food will reduce the chances of your dog developing an allergy to a food as it contains zero artificial ingredients, additives, chemicals and preservatives.

    5. Better digestion

    Organic dog food basically means your dog can easily digest it. Your pup’s body can easily absorb the nutrients in organic dog food and therefore will poop less too!

    Organic pet food does not contain excess fillers so your dog will be able to digest and absorb what it needs from actual real food, to stay healthy. 

    6. No animal by-products

    As we have stated above, fillers such as corn do not exactly do great things for your dogs. Look for products without by-products in it so that your dog gets all the nutrition it requires. 

    Ideally, organic dog food with ingredients such as chicken, fish and other sources of protein is best. 

    Disadvantages of organic dog food

    There are also cons when it comes to organic pet food. Among them are:

    1. Cost

    The cost of organic dog food is definitely a turn off for many. It is more expensive to grow or raise the ingredients for organic food. These prices will be passed on to the consumer and reflected in the final price of the cost of your packet of food. 

    2. Availability of organic dog food

    You will have to go to a pet store, order it specifically or do your research and buy online to find legitimate organic dog food. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to find organic pet food in your local grocery store. 

    The best organic dog food replacements

    You will have to be careful when it comes to choosing and selecting organic pet food for your dog. Many will claim to be organic but is actually just ‘natural’. Read the labels properly before making any purchase. 

    If you are unable to find organic dog food or the cost is too high, fresh dog food like Superior Blend Beef, Lamb & Mackerel by Petcubes is delicious and nutritious for your dog as well. 

    Although it is not 100% made from organic ingredients, the fibre available in it is organic. It contains organic spinach, organic sea kelp and organic blueberries. This food does not contain any extra additives and preservatives and is perfectly healthy for your dog. Plus point, because it is not entirely organic, the cost is not as high.  

    Of course, if you insist on going entirely organic, you can start out with a few organic dog treats and chews instead. Ease your dog into it! 

    Conclusion

    Your dog’s health is highly dependent on the type of food it eats. Although organic dog food does have its disadvantages in terms of cost and availability, you might actually pay more if your dog does not eat well and ends up at the vet. Veterinarian bills are not cheap either! Be aware that there is a difference between organic dog food and organic wet dog food as well. The many advantages of organic dog food far outweighs its cons so you should give it a go for your dog.

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