What criteria does a Natural Organic Dog Food have to meet?
Fortunately to use the word "organic" the same as for us humans - and the good news is that there are some manufacturers out there who have embraced the organic principles, and do provide a true certified organic dog food.
So now we are going to look at what "rules" manufacturers have to abide by, so as they can use the terminology Natural Organic Dog Food.
Let's define Organic.
Here I am using the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture - National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service) website definition, and I'm guessing it would be much the same guidelines worldwide:
“What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
It is these requirements that are being met by some manufacturers in offering natural organic dog food.
Whether it be for organic human food or organic dog foods the same rules apply.
For a product to be marketed as being "100% ORGANIC" then every single ingredient used must comply with the stated definition by USDA.
If the product is marketed as ORGANIC then the requirement is for 95% of ingredients to be meeting the defined requirement.
Claiming Made With Organic Ingredients requires that the specific ingredients are listed, and that those ingredients should comprise of at least 70% of the product.
At the end of the scale comes <70% Organic Ingredients it might be easy to miss that little "<" but it is telling us that there is less than 70% inclusion. and only applies to those ingredients that are noted in the ingredient listing.
Just because the ingredients are organic it does not mean that there will be no undesirable inclusions.
I have seen one certified organic product that I would not even consider giving to my dogs!
Check the manufacturers ingredients table to see what they are saying makes their dog food organic.
The USDA will only allow two levels of Organic Food to bear the circled words "USDA ORGANIC" logo, and that is on the 100% ORGANIC and the second tier level of ORGANIC.
If the USDA logo does not appear on the label then your next choice is to look for a label that states "Made With Organic Ingredients" but to my way thinking you are far better off staying with a logo endorsed product.
For us dog owners at last we have a government authorized department that controls, and can enforce, strict standards and guidelines - which is a far cry from the non-enforceable AAFCO standards.
Without Natural Organic Dog Food brands will be premium priced, but many of us look after our dogs better than we look after ourselves!
I am sure this feeding option will be embraced by many as availability becomes more widespread.
Bending The Rules.
As demand strengthens and more manufacturers look to how they can make their dog food organic without too much disruption and effort, loopholes will be sought and applied.
Unfortunately there is a loophole in the organic regulations.
Like me you would probably expect that the animals would be running around lush green pastures?
Not necessarily so, as the regulations only require farmers to provide animals with "access" to pastures.
A barn door, or gate, could be classed as providing access, but is it ever opened?
This loophole does allow big business to establish "organic feed lots" which will see the "organic animals" live in confinement and fed organic feed which stands every chance of being just hay or grain!
Not my idea of how the system should work, and hopefully USDA will eliminate this loophole.
Try to source a product that states the meat that makes the dog food organic comes from "free ranging" or "pasture raised" animals.
My impression is that you are will be more likely to find smaller "dedicated pet food" manufacturers are going to be the ones who will not be prepared to lower the principle of what organic really means, and what we should be entitled to expect.
Best Natural Organic Dog Food.
I searched, and searched, and searched, but I could only find one manufacturer that, for me, really stood out as fully embracing organic dog food.
UNFORTUNATELY my selected Natural Organic Dog Food product is not available world-wide so to help you the best I can I have elected to comment on availability in each of the following countries; USA/Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand.
If you are not in one of those countries select USA/Canada and try to find a local manufactured, or imported, product that has a similar offering.