"What are the benefits of organic dog food?
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"What are the benefits of organic dog food?

Dogs
Health & Safety

Up until around a quarter of a century ago, dog food used to be something that most dog owners didn’t pay much attention to! There were limited options available in terms of what was on sale, the ingredients and nutritional makeup of dog food was not well understood or publicised, and there were virtually no regulations and laws in place to mandate what could and could not be used as ingredients in dog food.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, it is fair to say that the whole dog food industry has changed significantly! Not only are there a huge number of different options on the market today in terms of breed-specific foods, age-appropriate foods and foods designed to support different concerns and health conditions, but what dog owners expect from their dog’s commercial foods has risen exponentially too.

Today, only human food-grade ingredients are permitted in dog food, all of the ingredients and nutritional makeup of foods must be clearly displayed on the packaging, and what would have been considered the best possible dog food brands 25 years ago are now relegated firmly towards the low middle of the rankings of supermarket pet food brands.

As dog owners have become more discerning about what they feed to their dogs and also, have begun to develop their own dietary preferences, pet food manufacturers have adapted accordingly-and this means that many of the different dog food options on the market today mirror those available for people!

One of the most important factors when choosing food for ourselves for many people is buying organic produce and ingredients-and understandably, this is something that many people aspire to when it comes to feeding their dogs as well.

Organic dog foods tend to be pricier than standard offerings, due to the demand and additional cost of production-but are they really worth the price tag, and do they provide any tangible benefits for dogs?

In this article, we will look at some of the benefits and limitations. Read on to learn more.

Ingredients

If a dog food is advertised as totally organic, that means that everything in it is grown, raised or produced organically, from start to finish. The preparation of organic foods for dog food must be managed in a certain way too, which means that companies that make organic dog food usually offer only organic produce, or have a separate factory to produce it to avoid contamination by non-organic produce.

This means that the ingredients within organic dog food tends to be of a higher quality than that of normal or non-organic dog foods, and will contain less bulk, filler and unnecessary additives such as colours and flavouring agents.

Sustainability

There are a lot of regulations surrounding organic products, to ensure the integrity of the products that go into them. Companies and farmers that produce organic ingredients for larger companies such as pet food manufacturers are often independent and work on a smaller scale than corporate and commercial operations, and the nature of organic production means that sustainability and the impact that production causes on the environment is generally superior in organic products.

Traceable origins

Compared to the dog food market as a whole, the organic corner is a small one, partially due to the price of production and the availability of organic produce as a whole.

This means that all dog foods that are completely organic will be traceable to the producer and ultimately, the farm and growers that provided the ingredients, and so if buying home-grown is important to you or you want to know exactly where your dog’s food was made and produced, organic options provide an extra level of accountability.

Cost

Organic dog food is invariably more expensive than equivalent products that are not organic, because the cost of producing and selling organic food is higher than that of large-scale farming and production.

The additional regulations required to achieve and maintain organic sustainability also cost money, and so feeding organic dog food is not always possible for people who are on a budget.

Making an informed purchase

Understanding how to read ingredient listings and manufacturer and marketing-speak is important when it comes to organic dog food, in order to understand exactly what is on offer from the various different brands and ensure that what you think you are buying matches the reality!

  • For a product to be labelled as “organic” with no other caveats, it must be over 95% organic in nature. These labels also contain code that identifies the origins of the produce, and the individual code number issues to the producer.
  • Companies that produce and retail organic produce must be certified by one of the controlling authorities, and will show a logo or statement to this effect on their packaging.
  • It is possible to buy dog food (and other products) that contain some organic ingredients but not others; this is why it is important to read labels carefully. For instance, if a label states in large letters that it is “made with organic ingredients” this may not mean that all of the ingredients are organic, so check carefully!
  • The regulations on organic certification outside of the EU are rather different, so if you buy pet food from a non-EU website or company, refer to the rules in place in the country of origin.
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