As we learn more about the benefits of integrating organic foods into our own diet, it makes sense that you’d want to see if it’s good for your dog, too. After all, they share a capacity for anxiety, stress, achy muscles, and the common cold, just like us.
But organic dog food is more expensive, right? What’s it actually going to do?
These are important questions to ask, and oftentimes the information we find is confusing, even conflicting. We hope the following guide makes it easier to determine the best approach to helping your pup live their best life.
What is Organic Dog Food?
True to its word, organic means no pesticides or fertilizers. Generally speaking, food that is grown organically is grown outside, in natural soil. Indoor farming operations quickly lose their advantage without chemical nutrient systems.
Well, there’s just nothing like good soil and air to grow a vegetable, or raise a chicken. An organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients.
What’s this have to do with dog food?
Well, if it’s organic, then all the ingredients used to craft it are going to be free of chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Dogs are as sensitive as we are to what we put in our bodies, and like us, their health and well-being has a lot to do with their diet.
Next time you’re in the pet food aisle at your store or browsing the interwebs, check if the food you’re feeding your dog has a Certified Organic seal. Chances are it doesn’t.
Plain and simple, food that isn’t organic is cheaper to grow. It’s why you see so much stuff at the grocery store that doesn’t have that USDA Organic label. Plain and simple, food that isn’t organic is cheaper to grow. And that’s not all due to pesticides and fertilizers.
What are GMOs?
The story of genetically modified food starts further back than you might imagine. Humans have been domesticating plants since 12,000 BC, using selective breeding, essentially targeting their favorite benefits.
This modification of our environment is what allowed us to build more comfortable lifestyles than our other hominid ancestors.
When you think of GMOs today, though, the term refers to a more aggressive form of genetic modification. That started in 1973 when a chemist and future biotech billionaire Herbert Boyer figured out how to make bacteria make the stuff he wanted it to.
All of a sudden, we were able to enhance the nutritional value of crops, increase their yields and enhance their ability to fight disease. It was an incredibly science-y leap into the future, and opened the door to all sorts of food sources to be adjusted.
As more scientific studies come in on what tampering with food does to the animals (like us and our doggos) who eat it, some studies have linked the abundance of Genetically Modified food in our diets to increased allergies and food intolerance.
Like we do with our own diet, when it comes to choosing what our dogs eat, it’s our opinion that feeding them organic non GMO dog food is the safest bet you can make when it comes to their mental and physical wellbeing.
Is Organic Dog Food Better?
Well, yes. Most likely it is. The absence of harmful chemicals alone are a boon for anybody in the business of eating.
But the fact of the matter is, overwhelming scientific evidence, collected over a very long time, is the only way to be able to say that organic dog food health benefits are going to work for everyone the same.
Truthfully, the kind of GMOs we’re seeing just haven’t been around long enough for their effects to be fully understood.
But there are benefits, right?
Benefits of Using Organic Food
- No antibiotics or synthetic hormones. Traces of these synthetic growth hormones can make their way to consumers. This residue is believed to contribute to widespread antibiotic resistance, and organic foods—which are produced without antibiotics—are intrinsically safer in this respect.
- More healthy fats. This is especially important if the dog food you choose has any animal protein, like from chicken, beef, or fish. When it comes to meat, organic products can have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated healthy fat, than conventionally produced products, according to one study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Organic milk tested in the study also had less saturated fat than non-organic.
- More antioxidants (in some cases). A recent study found that onions grown organically have a 20% higher antioxidant content than those grown conventionally. While this takes just one aspect of phytochemicals and shows they can be improved under organic conditions, we’re excited to see what future studies reveal on the subject.
Our Favorite Organic Dog Food Brands
We used to feed our Frenchy regular, non-organic food, but when she developed a degenerative disc disease at a very early age, as well as anxiety and the early signs of arthritis, we knew we had to change something.
Integrating non-GMO, organic CBD oil into Penelope’s diet was the first step. Making sure that diet consisted of the best ingredients we could give her was the next. We can’t recommend it enough (these days, Penelope is one of the most stoked-dudes around).
When you’re trying to find the best organic dog food brands, there are a lot of factors to take into account. We chose our favorite three, taking into consideration best cost-value balance, best flavor, and best custom-diet option. Let us know if you’d add any!
- Organix Organic Canned Adult Dog Food – if cost isn’t a huge consideration for you, this is our top recommendation. Certified USDA organic, non-GMO, and simple on ingredients. Just meat (either chicken or turkey), veggies and/or rice, and some superfoods that depend on which flavor of theirs you choose.
- Newman’s Own Adult Dog Food Formula – this dry food is made with organic grains and veggies, as well as real chicken as the first ingredient, to achieve the optimal protein-fat balance that adult dogs need. At only $.14 per ounce, this makes it our favorite organic dog food if you’re working on a budget.
- JustFoodForDogs – this company offers a range of fresh food options for your pet, including a Pantry Fresh line of wet dog foods, treats, and supplements, all made with organic, whole foods. What truly sets them apart is their ability to design custom diets, depending on your pet’s specific health and dietary needs.
See anything we missed? Have any questions, or want to share your favorite organic dog food? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We love to keep the conversation going.