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Organic Food for Pets: Should you join the crowd?

Organic Food for Pets: Should you join the crowd?

If you are going organic, should your furry babies do the same?

As previously mentioned in another post, many of our foods contains toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones and chemical additives that have been linked to serious health issues.


What is the difference between “Natural” and “Organic” and Hollistic?

Many people confuse natural, organic and holistic pet food.

When a dog food is labeled as “natural,” it means that it should consist only of selective natural ingredients that have not gone through excess processing–except for necessary vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients. Natural foods should contain recognizable whole food ingredients with no additives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. “Natural” foods may contain ingredients such as grains, glutens and soy, as well as by-products that have been minimally processed. However, foods that are labeled as “all-natural” contain no artificial ingredients, synthetic chemicals or animal by-products.

There is no legal definition for “Natural” that has been generally accepted by the pet food industry, and there are no regulations for labeling dog food as “Natural.” Any pet food brand can use the term when marketing their product.

Unlike natural, organic dog foods that are labeled as “organic” must meet strict federal regulations to be USDA-certified. “Organic” has been legally defined for human foods by the USDA and refers to the way the ingredients are grown, harvested and processed.

Dog food packaging may display the official USDA organic seal using the following guidelines:

  • If the content is 100% organic, it may display the seal and the “100% organic” claim.
  • If at least 95% of the content is organic by weight (excluding salt and water), it may display the seal.
  • If at least 70% of the content is organic, the package may state that it is “made with organic ingredients” and it can list up to three of those ingredients on the front of the package, but it cannot display the seal.
  • If less than 70% of the content is organic, the package can list the organic ingredients on the information panel, but it cannot use the word organic and it cannot display the seal.

Holistic foods typically claim to contain additional ingredients that give your pet’s health system an extra boost. The belief is that an imbalance can cause a range of problems throughout the body’s systems. By targeting the whole body, holistic foods aim to promote balance between individual systems to allow for increased maximum potential for overall health and well-being. Essentially, this means that the content of these foods aim to meet the needs of your dog’s physical, mental and emotional health, not just certain systems or particular aspects of nutritional needs.



The benefits of feeding your dog or cat organic foods are less about what they will get and more about what they won’t get – toxic chemicals that have been linked to serious health issues, including neurological diseases, developmental disorders, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and cancer. Modern dogs and cats are exposed to multiple toxins on a daily basis, from vaccines and topical flea and tick products to home and lawn chemicals.When choosing the best formula of dog food for your pet, consult with your veterinarian, who can inform you of any specific needs your pet may have. Next, read the package labels so that you know what’s in your dog’s food.


IMPORTANT: When purchasing organic pet food, look for the USDA Organic seal. Pet foods displaying the USDA Organic seal are regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program and must meet the same standards as human organic foods. The National Organic Program has no legal authority to regulate “organic” claims on pet foods that do not voluntarily meet USDA Organic standards, so some pet foods claiming to be organic may lack any certification.


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