Does organic certification make dog food better… or is the term just marketing hype? Truthfully, it can be a bit of both.
Organic ingredients are the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious option. Unfortunately, many dog food brands use misleading terms to make you think their food is more natural than it really is. But we’re here to help!
Our complete guide shows you how to sniff out the best organic dog food. Plus, you’ll learn why organic food is important and what characteristic to look for when selecting a brand. We’ve also rounded up our top five favorite organic dog food brands for 2019.
Here are five of the best organic dog food brands available today:
|Image||Product Name||Rating||Check Price|
|1. Newman’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food||3.9|
|2. Castor and Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food||4.0|
|3. Taste of the Wild Premium Dry Dog Food||4.2|
|4. Wellness Core Natural Dry Dog Food||4.3|
|5. The Honest Kitchen Organic Dog Food||4.2|
What is Organic Dog Food?
All brands of dog food claim they use fresh, wholesome ingredients. You’ll see a variety of terms like “all natural,” “100% balanced” and so on. In most cases, the terms don’t have any strict meaning.
However, “organic” is different. The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains strict requirements for the labeling of organic foods. Those same procedures used to certify organic foods for people are used to certify organic ingredients for dog food.
How is Organic Food Certified?
Federal organic ingredients are detailed, but the basics cover:
- Animal raising practices
- Soil quality for plants
- Pest and weed control
- Additive use
The main ingredient in dog food should always be meat. Certified organic meat is free from hormones and antibodies. It’s also been raised entirely on organic feed. Organic meat can be pressed into kibble or added to wet dog food.
Vegetables and fruits are also important ingredients found in dog food. Organic plant ingredients have been grown in soil which has been free from pesticide and other prohibited substances for at least three years. All organic food must also contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
Organic certification has three categories. Watch for this exact working:
- 100% Organic – All ingredients are organic
- Organic – 95% of all ingredients are organic
- Made with Organic Ingredients – 70% or more of the ingredients are organic
What are the Benefits of Organic Dog Food?
As mentioned above, the main ingredient in both wet and dry dog food should be a lean protein. But how do you differentiate between brands? For example, what makes one dog food with chicken as the main ingredient better or worse than any other?
The quality of the ingredients determines the overall nutritional value of the food. High-quality, natural meats, and vegetables are easy to digest, provide long-lasting energy and generally help keep your dog healthy at all life stages.
If you have to choose just one ingredient in your dog’s food to be certified organic, choose the protein. It’s the most important part of a dog’s diet – and organic meat is the healthiest type available.
The organic label means the meat is free from hormones, antibiotics, and other unwanted gunk. The animal was fed grass instead of other animals.
Avoid foods with rice, corn or grains. They don’t provide any particularly valuable nutrients. Vegetables and fruits are a healthier alternative which is also easier on the digestive system. Organic vegetables contain no pesticides, making them the most nutritious option overall.
Is Organic Dog Food a Real Thing?
“There’s no such thing as organic dog food.” This is a common misconception you can find online. Here’s the truth:
The USDA has no guidelines for organic pet food. As such, they can’t certify any product as “organic pet food.”
However, regulations do cover organic certification for food in general. When certified organic meat and plant material is added to dog food, it’s then considered organic. The lack of specific “pet food certification” isn’t anything to be concerned about.
Note that organic certification doesn’t mean the dog food is safe for human consumption. In order for food to be safe for people, it must be certified as “human grade” by the FDA. Some owners prefer human-grade dog food. Not because they want to eat dog food but instead because they prefer the higher quality processing required for human-grade food.
What’s the Difference between Wet and Dry Food?
Both wet and dry food can be certified organic. But otherwise, the two types of food are very different. Here’s a rundown:
Dry dog food is usually the better option. Most dog experts recommend a diet of dry food. It’s the most nutritionally dense type of food. Plus, chewing kibble helps keep teeth clean and free from plaque.
Wet food can be up to 80% water. This high water content does limit the total nutrition found in each meal. However, the soft texture of the food is easier on teeth, making it a good choice for senior dogs and dogs with tooth problems. Wet food also has tastier smells and textures. It’s a good option for finicky eaters.
When Should I Feed My Dog Organic Food?
Follow the same feeding schedule for organic food as any other type of dog food. Generally, feed one cup of dry food each day for every 10 pounds of dog. Follow the specific recommendations on the food for additional feeding guidelines.
Most experts recommended scheduled meals instead of free-range eating. Free eating is when food is left out at all times for the dog to graze on. While some dogs can self-regulate, many others simply gorge. Scheduled meal times help regulate your dog’s caloric intake.
Dogs crave consistency. Feed your dog at the same time each day. Most people schedule meal times for morning and evening.
Also, keep the type of food consistent, too. Switching foods suddenly can result in stomach and digestive problems. If you do need to switch foods, mix the new food in with the old. Slowly increase the ratio in favor of the new food. The process should take about ten days.
Is Organic Food an Effective Treatment for Food Allergies?
In many cases, yes. Around 10% of all dogs develop food allergies. They’re often caused by the protein or other ingredients in a dog’s current food. Dogs develop allergies over time to foods they’ve eaten without issue for years previously.
Treatment for food allergies involves a restricted diet to identify potential allergens. Switching to organic food is often recommended. Organic food typically only has a few simple ingredients, so you can keep track of all food products your dog is consuming.
1. Newman’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food
If you’ve had any of the Newman’s Own foods for humans, you already know about the company’s delicious commitment to organic ingredients – and their line of dog food is no exception. It’s USDA certified organic with no wheat, corn or artificial flavors.
Three flavors are available: Chicken, Chicken with Brown Rice, and Chicken and Liver. The first ingredient is always a high-quality protein. It’s a healthy choice for dogs in all life stages including senior dogs.
Proceeds from Newman’s Own products, including their dog food, support a variety of worthwhile causes including SeriousFun Child Network, the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and the Search Dog Foundation. Since 1982 the organization has raised over $500 million.
Pros & Cons
- USDA Certified Organic
- Protein is the first ingredient
- Contains no wheat or corn
- Proceeds benefit three charities (two for dogs)
- Pate texture can look unappealing
- Can don’t have a pop top
2. Castor and Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food
All Organix recipes are made with at least 95% certified organic ingredients. Certification is provided by the USDA and follows the same standards as organic food for people.
The main ingredient is USDA-certified organic, free-range chicken. It’s an easily digestible protein suitable for dogs of any age. Organic chicken contains lean protein, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and other necessary nutrients.
The food also contains a superfood blend of organic flaxseed, organic blueberries, and organic coconut oil. It’s packed with nutrients to keep your dog healthy inside and out. Plus, all ingredients are grown or raised without the use of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics.
Pros & Cons
- The main ingredient is USDA-certified organic chicken
- Superfood blend is packed with nutrients
- Made with no growth hormones, chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
- The recipe contains at least 95% certified organic ingredients
- The package can be hard to keep closed
- Returning product to the manufacturer can be difficult
3. Taste of the Wild Premium Dry Dog Food
Inside every domesticated dog is a wild animal hungry for meat. Taste of the Wild uses all-natural ingredients to create a taste similar to what dogs eat in the wild.
The nutrient-rich formula includes roasted bison (the main ingredient) along with fruits and vegetables. The bison helps develop strong muscles while the other ingredients help improve the skin and coat while also supplying antioxidants.
The ingredient list is simple with no grain, corn or wheat filler. It also contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. While your dog probably isn’t taking down any wild bison, this wholesome, nutritious dry food is the next best thing.
Pros & Cons
- The first ingredient is roasted bison
- All ingredients sourced in the U.S.
- “Exotic” meat useful for diagnosing food allergies
- Contains no grain, corn or wheat
- The manufacturer is difficult to reach
- Price recently increased
4. Wellness Core Natural Dry Dog Food
A careful balance of natural ingredients helps your dog stay healthy to the core. This food is packed with protein, containing about 80% more protein than foods with grains. Additionally, it’s 100% free from animal by-products.
It’s a great choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs and other digestive issues. Probiotics, prebiotics and fiber help soothe sensitive stomachs and promote overall digestive health.
Deboned turkey is the number one ingredient. Other ingredients include all-natural kale, carrots and other veggies. It’s made in the U.S. under the supervision of animal care experts.
Pros & Cons
- 100% grain free formula.
- The first ingredient has deboned the turkey.
- Easy on dog digestive systems.
- Contains 80% more protein than other brands.
- Switching to this food might cause temporary stomach issues.
5. The Honest Kitchen Organic Dog Food
You could eat this food yourself if you wanted. It’s human-grade, which means it’s certified safe for people to eat. But it’s more than safe — it’s also incredibly healthy.
The main ingredient is certified organic, free-range chicken. Other ingredients include organic barley, potatoes, oats, and veggies. It’s easy to digest with no harsh chemicals or artificial flavoring.
This is dehydrated dog food. It’s a powder which expands in water. A 10-pound box equals 40 pounds of food. Dehydration doesn’t just save space; it also helps retain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. The food is free from by-products, preservatives, and GMOs.
All ingredients are sourced within the US and processed in a human-grade facility. The Honest Kitchen personally approves of every supplier. They’ve been working with some suppliers since 2007.
Pros & Cons
- Certified organic and human-grade
- The main ingredient is free-range chicken
- Easy on sensitive stomachs
- Dehydrated food is packed with nutrients
- Odd smell and taste (to people, although dogs seem fine with it)
- Rehydrating food is an extra step when feeding
The Best Organic Dog Food
Selecting the best organic dog food wasn’t easy. After all, certified organic foods all have fresh, wholesome ingredients. But we crowned a winner after considering all the features such as taste, price, overall nutrition and more.
Our favorite organic dog food is Newman’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food. We were already fans of the brand’s food for people, and that same level of quality is found in their dog food. It’s USDA certified organic for both the meat and plant products.
The number one ingredient in all flavors is chicken. You’ll find no wheat, corn or artificial flavors. It’s also 100% free from antibiotics and chemical additives.
Plus, your purchase helps other dogs, too. Proceeds from Newman’s products benefit the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation and the Search Dog Foundation.
When selecting your dog’s next meal, why not choose the best organic dog food? Organic ingredients benefit dogs of all breeds and ages. Look for the organic label to help your dog stay active, healthy and happy for life!