The 5 Best Organic (Natural) Dog Foods
Not all dog foods are created equal. In fact, some dog foods offer much higher quality nutrition than others, so you need to be careful when shopping around.
When it comes to finding a good dog food, the quality of the ingredients matters. You should look for whole, natural sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrate to ensure optimal bioavailability. You might even consider buying an organic or natural dog food for your dog.
Keep reading to learn more about your dog’s basic dietary needs and to receive some tips for picking the best dog food to meet those needs. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best organic and natural dog food.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks
What is Organic Dog Food?
The term organic is closely regulated by the FDA, but the term “natural” is not. In order to be certified organic, a dog food must be made with organic ingredients free from antibiotics, hormones, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and preservatives.
Organic dog food is all-natural by definition, but not all natural dog food is organic.
Here are some of the top things to look for in organic dog food:
- Organic Ingredients. If a product is labeled organic, you should see organic ingredients on the list. A “100% organic” product is made with all-organic ingredients while a product made with at least 95% organic ingredients is simply labeled “organic.”
- Quality Protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog and the foundation of a quality organic dog food. Look for animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish.
- Digestible Carbohydrates. Not all organic dog foods are grain-free, but they certainly exist. Look for whole-grain carbohydrates or grain-free options like beans, legumes, peas, and vegetables.
- Supplements. Because the nutritional quality of organic ingredients is very high, organic dog food often doesn’t come with a long list of synthetic vitamins and minerals. Even so, you should look for beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best organic dog food. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Organic Dog Food
All dogs require a minimum of 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat in their diets – or 22% and 8% for puppies. Because dogs are primarily carnivorous by nature, the bulk of their nutrition should come from animal sources like organic meat, poultry, and fish.
Animal proteins are complete proteins which means that they contain all 10 essential amino acids that your dog needs. Animal fats are also easier for your dog’s body to metabolize than plant-based fats.
In addition to high-quality protein and fats, your dog needs healthy carbohydrates as well. Organic whole-grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and cracked pearled barley are all good option.
If your dog is allergic or sensitive to grains, however, you might try organic vegetables like peas and sweet potato or beans and legumes. Make sure your dog gets at least 3% dietary fiber but no more than 5%.
To ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are met, most organic dog foods will contain beneficial supplements like vitamins and minerals. Chelated minerals are the best because they have been chemically bound to protein molecules to increase absorption. Probiotics are also a benefit.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best organic dog food.
The Top 5 Best Organic Dog Foods
Finding an organic dog food is fairly easy because it will say the word “organic” right on the label. Keep in mind that there are specific requirements to use this term, so check the label for the important information discussed above to make sure the claim is accurate.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best organic dog food that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog?
The amount you feed your dog depends on its age, weight, and breed. Large-breed dogs eat more food than smaller dogs, but small dogs require more calorie-dense food to support their fast metabolism.
The best thing to do is choose an organic dog food formulated for your dog’s breed size. From there, check the feeding instructions on the label according to your dog’s age and weight. This will tell you how much to feed your dog each day, and you can divide it into two or three meals. Feed large dogs two meals a day and small dogs or puppies three meals a day.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Any dog can develop a food allergy or sensitivity, though some breeds are more highly prone than others. Low-quality grains and fillers like corn, wheat, and soy are some of the most common food allergens, as are proteins like beef and pork. Sensitivities can also be triggered by artificial additives.
Fortunately, organic dog food is usually free from artificial additives, but you still need to look out for potential allergens. If your dog has allergies, try a limited ingredient or grain-free organic dog food.
If you can afford to feed your dog organic dog food, by all means, go for it! Though you still need to shop smart, you can rest easy knowing that the quality of most organic dog foods is very high. You also need to keep your dog’s individual preferences in mind.
To make sure your dog gets the best organic dog food you can find, try one of the products we’ve reviewed above. Best of luck!