You want your dog to be happy and healthy, and you want them around for as long as possible. Much like you watch what you eat, you should watch what your favorite playmate eats, too. That’s why there’s a growing trend among pet owners to feed their animals the best organic dog food.
While there is some debate over whether organic dog food is actually better for your dog than traditional feed, we can all agree that cleaner, sustainably sourced ingredients can’t be a bad thing. That’s especially considering the fact that the production of organic dog food is easier on the environment.
But, before we dive into our favorite organic dog food brands, there are a few things we should cover. First, we’ll discuss what qualifies as organic dog food and what doesn’t. Then, we’ll go over the various labels awarded by the USDA and some ingredients to avoid in all dog foods. Read on to learn all about the best organic dog food.
What is Organic Dog Food?
First and foremost, we should establish exactly what organic dog food is. Much like organic food, organic dog food is regulated by the USDA in the United States. To qualify as an organic ingredient, any fruits, vegetables or grains must be grown without:
- Synthetic fertilizers
- Sewage sludge
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Ionizing radiation
In addition, any animals that are used in the production of organic ingredients must be raised without the use of antibiotics or artificial growth hormones.
Once the above has been verified, dog food can be certified as organic. However, there are several different levels of organic dog food, which we will explore below.
Three Types of Organic Dog Food
Because dog food usually includes dozens of ingredients, the USDA has developed different labels for the percentage of organic ingredients included in the recipe. There are three main certification levels:
- 1.) 100% Organic – This means that the food is made with 100% organic ingredients. Unfortunately, this type of dog food is the hardest to find.
- 2.) Organic – This certification is given to dog foods with a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
- 3.) Made with Organic Ingredients – Dog foods with at least 70% organic ingredients can use this label on the front of the packaging. However, there are restrictions on what the other 30% of ingredients can be. Namely, those ingredients must be non-GMO.
Dog foods with less than 70% organic ingredients may make organic claims on the label, but they cannot list an organic certification on the front of the packaging or include ‘organic ‘in the name of the product.
Ingredients to Avoid in All Dog Food
Whenever you’re buying dog food, be it organic or otherwise, there are some ingredients you should watch out for. Some potentially harmful ingredients that you should never feed your dog yet still appear on dog food ingredient lists are:
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Generic ‘meat’
- Sodium Hexametaphosphate
- Artificial dyes
- Propylene glycol (PG)
- Corn and wheat gluten
- Rendered fat
These could be dangerous to your dog in both the short and the long run, so be sure to check the label online or in-store.
Below, you’ll find the eight best organic dog foods on the market today, so you can buy the best for your pooch.
1. Castor & Pollux Organix Canned Wet Dog Food
Organix claims to be America’s number one organic dog food brand, and they’re certainly one of the most popular. But, the real reason this brand tops our list is their quality ingredients, their grain-free recipes and the fact that all their food is made in a USDA organically certified kitchen. The first ingredient in this dog food is organic, free-range chicken. And, if you don’t like serving your dog wet food, the brand also produces a range of kibble.
2. Purina Beyond Organic High Protein Dry Dog Food
Purina is one of the few household dog food brands that is trying to break into the organic market. And, their Beyond Organic High Protein Dry Dog Food is a definite contender. It is made with organic chicken, eggs and sweet potatoes and is certified organic by the USDA. As an added benefit, Purina uses no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers when producing this antioxidant-rich dry dog food. The brand also makes organic wet dog food if that’s more your dog’s style.
3. Primal Beef Formula Nuggets Dog Food
Crafted with certified organic produce and organic minerals, the Primal Beef Formula Nuggets Dog Food offers a raw diet for your favorite pooch without all the hassle. Each of the nuggets is made with steroid-free beef organs and arrives at your door freeze-dried. All you have to do is add water. There’s no grain or gluten in the mix, and the dog food is made in the USA using sustainably sourced ingredients.
4. Newmann’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food
Newmann’s Own has long been a brand of choice for ethical shoppers. Now, you can enjoy the brand ethos when you buy dog food, too. Newman’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food contains ingredients that are at least 70% organic. In addition, this blend of proteins, whole grains, vitamins and minerals helps dogs of all ages with digestion and nutrient assimilation. As an added benefit, 100% of the profits from this dog food are donated to charity.
5. Evanger’s Organics Dinner for Dogs
BEST CANNED FOOD
Evanger’s pet food company was started way back in 1935, and since then, it has produced pure meat dog food. The company was originally started because Mr. Evanger thought his champion Great Danes needed a more nutritious product than any that was on the market at that time. Today, your pet can enjoy this same superior nutrition in the form of Evanger’s Organics Dinner for Dogs. The first ingredient on this label is organic beef.
6. Party Animal California Chicken & Oats Recipe Dry Dog Food
BEST DRY FOOD
Fairly new to the dog food market (the company was founded in 2006), you may not have heard of Party Animal, but their dry dog food is one of the best organic options on the market. Each of their products is made with real, organic meat, sunflower oil and organic fruits and vegetables. They add in vitamins and minerals but ensure all their recipes contain at least 70% organic ingredients. In addition, Party Animal never adds grains or soy to their products, ensuring a healthy and holistic meal for your pooch.
7. Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food
BEST FOR ALL AGES
One of the most challenging things about organic dog food is finding one that’s appropriate for your pet as he or she ages. There are different nutritional requirements for puppies, adults and senior dogs, and if you’re trying to feed an allergy-prone dog organic dog food, this can be a logistical nightmare. Luckily, the Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food is specifically formulated for dogs of all ages, except for large breeds that are still growing. The dog food is certified as USDA Organic, and it lists organic humanely raised chicken as the first ingredient on the label.
8. Gather Free Acres Organic Free-Run Chicken Dry Dog Food
While Gather Free Acres Organic Dry Dog Food doesn’t show any organic labeling on the front of its package because it’s not 70% organic, this dog food does deserve a spot on our list thanks to its sustainably sourced ingredients. The recipe is made with organic, free-range chicken, non-GMO vegetables and sustainably harvested krill for fatty acids that heart and brain function as well as a healthy coat. In addition, this dry dog food may seem expensive, but the 16-pound bag is sure to last a while.