Having worked in a kennel for quite some time, I’ve seen an incomprehensible amount of dog food come through the doors – from dry kibble, to wet food packets, and raw meat patties…even a whole turkey neck! It’s really made me wonder. What is the best diet to provide complete nutrition for your pooch? I’ve recently been given the opportunity to learn a lot more about canine nutrition after accepting a position with a natural and organic pet product company.
I’ve found that a lot of pet owners want to provide their four-legged loved ones with the best diet possible, but are unaware of the full-range of options available. There seems to be some confusion when it comes to labeling: holistic, natural, organic. What is the best choice? Allow me to take this opportunity to better explain these options.
Holistic refers to a food that nourishes the dog as a whole. It provides support to the immune system and is geared towards disease prevention in the animal.
Natural means no additives, no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, no added hormones and no antibiotics.The use of this term is not regulated as much as it should be.
Organic products provide higher quality ingredients, are handled and stored in a safer manner and are regulated more closely. As with organic foods for humans, organic pet foods come from farms and fields that operate without pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones and the like. Certified ‘organic’ products must meet USDA requirements which are rigorous and tightly regulated.
Although each of the above options are healthy for your pet, there is no question that Organic is the best choice. The first reason for this is safety; from the farm and fields to processing, handling, and storage, each step must be certified. Although natural and holistic products may be healthy, they have not been subjected to the independent third party review conducted by the organic certifying agency. Secondly, organic products provide higher quality ingredients and the method by which they are obtained is more sustainable for the environment.
If you’re interested in switching your pooch to a natural or organic pet food, I suggest gradually introducing it to their diet by mixing it with their current food. Over the course of 7-10 days, increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old until you have 100% natural or organic food in the bowl. Next month, we will discuss the ingredient panel on your pet’s food and discuss what to look for and what to avoid. ~ Jenna