The Benefits of Switching to Organic Dog Food As a dog owner and guardian, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about your best friend’s well-being.
Are they thirsty? Hungry? Groomed? Exercised? Happy? Comfortable?
To improve the quality of a dog’s lifestyle the same consideration needs to be given to the diet. Organic dog food can improve the overall health of your pet and encourage a longer lifespan. By switching from conventional food to organic food, you will notice improvements in skin health, coat health, and higher energy levels. Filler ingredients in dog food One of the most common misconceptions amongst dog owners is that dogs can eat just about anything and thrive.
Regulatory Issues For Organic Dog Food
Unfortunately, the dog food industry is loosely regulated in the United States, meaning many conventional dog food brands are loaded with harmful fillers that are not nutritious and cause health problems for dogs. Common fillers include: Propylene glycol: Your dog isn’t a car, but propylene glycol is a primary ingredient found in anti-freeze. It is used by conventional pet food companies to prevent bacteria growth and moisture; however, dogs need healthy bacteria and moisture to promote healthy digestion.
BHA and BHT: Also known as butylated-hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), these ingredients are also found in many human food products. Both are harmful to pets and people. In dogs, BHA and BHT may lead to kidney problems and cancer. By-products: Many dog food labels contain ingredients in “by-product” form, whether it is from chicken, lamb, beef, or sometimes even simply “meat by-products.”
By-products mean that the ingredient was made from all processed animal scraps except for muscle meat. This includes feathers, feet, organs, brains, and tumors. Although these aren’t the only dangerous ingredients found in some conventional dog foods, organic dog food is free from harmful fillers and unhealthy ingredients, and it provides more nutrition for your furry friend.
What is organic dog food?
In a sea of colorful product labels written with captivating product copy promising the best for your dog, it can be difficult to figure out what dog food is the imposter versus the real deal. Words like “natural,” “holistic,” and catch phrases like “grain-free” can be confusing. “Natural” is one of the most common words used to label dog food. Natural food typically consists of wholesome ingredients that have been minimally processed and are formulated without artificial dyes, colors, and flavors. Dog foods labeled “natural” may also tailor to the individual needs of dogs by coming in specific formulations, like gluten-free dog food, limited ingredients, life stage formulas, and sensitive stomach blends.
Using the word “natural” is not regulated within the pet food industry, so it is important to read the ingredient list. Organic dog food is different from natural dog food in that it is regulated and must meet specific guidelines set by the USDA in order to carry the organic label. USDA regulations for organic dog food are the same as they are for people, and dog food manufacturers may use the label “organic” if the food meets these requirements.
This includes being free of growth hormones, genetic engineering, antibiotics, by-products, and pesticides. It should also be noted that in the United States, all poultry is required to be hormone free. An official USDA seal can be found on organic dog food if the ingredients in the dog food are 95% organic.
Reading an organic dog food label Mixed tocopherols? Lactobacillus acidophilus? These words are long and confusing, so they must be bad, right? Don’t run away from reading dog food labels. Most words on an organic dog food label will be whole foods that are easy to pronounce.
They might even look similar to your own grocery list!
While reading a dog food label, be sure to flip the bag over to the ingredient list on the backside rather than relying on what the front of the bag says. The label provides valuable information and much better insight about what is actually in your dog food. For example, here are the first ten ingredients on the label of USDA organic dog food Organix Castor & Pollux Dry Dog Food Small Breed: Organic chicken, sweet potatoes, organic sunflower seed meal, chicken meal, chickpeas, peas, organic tapioca, organic pea protein, and organic coconut oil.
These ingredients have a couple of things in common, including that they are organic ingredients, but that they are also all recognizable, whole food ingredients. When organic labels start getting into the technical terms for vitamins and minerals, the label might get a little confusing.
When you see ingredients like mixed tocopherols and lactobacillus acidophilus, these are actually beneficial nutrients that can be simplified. Mixed tocopherols are a form of Vitamin E naturally found in plants, nuts, and seeds, while lactobacillus acidophilus is probiotic that promotes the growth of good bacteria and healthy digestion.
Weighing the price of organic dog food versus conventional dog food What is more nourishing to a human: a fast food, $1 hamburger or spending $3 on a carton of organic eggs? Both provide some protein that help to stay satiated longer, but the eggs will be a higher quality protein. The eggs will provide more meals, although it may not seem like it at the time of purchase. The same logic can be said of organic dog food versus conventional dog food.
Does your dog seem hungry constantly? Okay, maybe that’s an unfair question since most dogs will never turn down a treat! But if your pup is demonstrating constant hunger combined with a dull, dry coat and low energy levels, a diet change might be in order. Organic dog foods are typically $50 and up for a twenty to thirty-pound bag. Getting a forty-pound bag for $20 might seem like a better deal; however, spending extra money on potentially lessens the frequency of future vet visits and health problems down the road.
Also, organic foods require less in one portion because they are more nutritionally dense, so depending on the dog the price may balance out. Organic dog food can also be supplemented with fresh food that is safe for pets to eat, like homemade sweet potato treats, tomatoes, pumpkin, eggs, and leafy greens. How to choose an organic dog food If you are ready to make the leap from conventional dog food to organic dog food, it’s time to figure out what your pet needs. The options can be overwhelming but you can figure it out with some basic information about your dog.
Age, breed, and size all contribute to the decision of choosing a new dog food, in addition to any health conditions that the dog may have, like allergies. It is always best to discuss the switch to an organic dog food with your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you and may even have suggestions of a brand or type they prefer. Health benefits of organic dog food Fewer allergies: Can your dog frequently be found scratching and chewing on their skin, and have you tried to relieve it with over-the-counter creams, pills, or shampoo?
Artificial ingredients can lead to dry, itchy, and red skin for dogs. Dogs that suffer from allergies may benefit from consuming an improved diet by switching to organic dog food. Better digestion: Some signs of poor digestion in dogs include diarrhea, constipation, regurgitation of food, gas, and bloating. A dull coat and dry skin are also signs of poor digestion, because the dog isn’t getting enough nourishing vitamins and minerals, or these nutrients aren’t being absorbed through digestion properly.
Conventional dog food can be difficult to digest because of low-quality grains and fillers. Organic dog food contains fruits, vegetables, and grains that promote healthy digestion for dogs. Look for easy-to-digest whole foods on the label, like barley, oats, yams, squash, and rice. Improved body composition, immunity, and longevity: The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that as of 2017, 56% of dogs in the United States suffer from obesity. Obesity can lead to many health problems for dogs, including joint problems, cancer, inflammation, kidney problems, and metabolic disorders.
For many dogs, the cause of obesity is an improper diet combined with a lack of exercise and a lack of portion control. Grains like wheat and corn are often abundant ingredients in conventional dog food that quickly lead to pups packing on the pounds. More energy: Dogs eating organic foods will have more energy to live an active lifestyle with their families. Whether the dog has a family with children or someone who loves to run marathons, increased energy leads to a happier and healthier pup!
Did you know that like people, dogs can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder as the seasons change? Healthier food that promotes efficient, natural energy helps dogs be more active, and this includes the time during those gloomy and dark slumps throughout the year. Feeding organic dog food opens up a world of health benefits that can be monitored at home and by a veterinarian. It is worth skipping that daily latte or candy bar to put a few pennies toward a higher quality food for man’s best friend.