What is natural pet dog food?

What does ‘natural’ indicate on pet dog food labels?

In this post:

What is the meaning of “natural” as well as other terms for our own food labels?

Do these definitions modification when we’re referring to pet food?

What must pet dog owners do to make sure the pet food they’re getting is high quality?

What is the meaning of ‘natural’ for human-grade food labels?

I believe it assists to have some concept of what specific terms indicate for our own food labels. Obviously, if you’re feeding your pet dog a raw diet plan with store-bought meat, these labels impact your dog, too.

I’ve selected a number of phrases as well as looked at what they indicate for our own food in addition to what they indicate for industrial pet food – raw pet dog food, dry or canned. I’d likewise like to hear your thoughts on exactly how you figure out if a pet food is high quality.

“Natural” or “all natural”

In our food:

This label doesn’t indicate much.

“Natural” has nothing to make with exactly how the animals were raised, however it’s about exactly how the meat is handled after slaughter, according to David Maren. Maren is the general manager of Tendergrass Farms, a group devoted to sustaining grass-fed household farmers. He composed a blog publish on what you must understand about beef production claims.

The USDA defines “natural” as a food product that has been minimally processed as well as consists of no chemical preservatives or man-made ingredients, according to Molly Watson, a guide for About.com’s “Local Foods.” [1] Under that definition, quite much any type of meat would pass as “all natural” as long as it’s not artificially flavored or preserved.

Note that under this definition, “natural” meat can come from animals that were provided growth hormones as well as subtherapeutic antibiotics.

In pet food:

The AAFCO has established a “feed term definition” for which components can be thought about “natural” in pet foods, according to the FDA’s web site [2]. utilizing that definition, “natural” indicates the product does not include artificial flavors, man-made colors or man-made preservatives.

While the word “natural” can suggest the food is complimentary of man-made ingredients, it’s a lot more of a advertising tool than an indicator of a food’s quality, according to Steve Pelletier, CEO of Slimdoggy.com, a web site that supplies information as well as tools on exactly how to appropriately feed as well as exercise dogs.

“Raised without added hormones”

In our food: 

The phrase is considerable for beef as well as lamb, however meaningless in poultry as well as pork.

“Nearly all beef in the U.S. is increased with both man-made hormones as well as subtherapeutic antibiotics,” according to Maren. Feedlot cattle are normally implanted with a pellet consisting of either estrogen or androgen hormones to maximize their growth. Artificial hormones as well as subtherapeutic antibiotics are likewise legal in U.S. lamb production.

However, he composed that federal guidelines have never permitted the utilize of hormones or steroids in poultry.

Claiming your poultry was increased without added hormones is “comparable to somebody declaring that their bottled water is ‘fat free,’” he wrote.

The “raised without added hormones” label is also meaningless in pork, Maren wrote. This is because artificial hormones are not enabled in pigs, however a lot of pigs are instead provided a chemical feed additive called Paylean to artificially promote leanness.

I keep all of this in mind when I’m getting meat for myself in addition to when I’m getting components for Ace’s homemade raw pet dog food.

In pet food:

There are no companies that control a pet food company’s declares to utilize protein from animals increased “without added hormones,” according to Brad Kriser, CEO of the pet retailer, Kriser’s. “So we just have to trust.”

He stated the FDA screens the food’s safety, “but it does not supply a seal that supports these claims.”

These kinds of labels would of program be meaningless anyway if the protein source is U.S. poultry or pork, based off the info from Maren.

“Antibiotic free”

In our food:

This phrase has relevance since the majority of beef, pork as well as poultry increased in this country is fed subtherapeutic antibiotics, according to Maren.

For example, instead of being utilized after a certain veterinary diagnosis, these antibiotics are “added to a cow’s everyday ration to maximize its ‘performance’ when packed into feedlots with tens of countless other potentially ill cows,” he wrote.

In pet food:

Some pet food business insurance claim they utilize protein sources that were increased without antibiotics, as well as all we can do is depend on those claims. presuming they are being honest, this has relevance considering that the majority of animal protein that ends up on our own plates (let alone in pet foods) comes from animals that were on a regular basis fed antibiotics.


In our food:

This label brings a great deal of significance.

Organically created components can’t be created with any type of antibiotics, added hormones, pesticides, petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers, bioengineering or ionizing radiation, according to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute [3].

“To insurance claim a product is ‘100% organic,’ it need to consist of 100 percent organically created ingredients, not counting added water as well as salt,” according to Pelletier. Companies can insurance claim a product is “organic” if it consists of at least 95 percent organic ingredients, not including added water or salt. in that case, the business need to determine the organic components as “organic” in the component list.

“Only products that autumn into these two groups may utilize the ‘USDA Organic’ seal,” he said. However, business can insurance claim a product is “made with organic ingredients” or “made with some organic ingredients.” They just wouldn’t be able to utilize the seal.

In pet food:

According to the FDA’s web site, “There are no official policies governing the labeling of organic foods for family pets at this time.” [2]

Dog food business Hill’s science diet plan states on its web site that “Pet food business can currently utilize the term ‘organic’ if they comply with the exact same policies as used to human foods.” However, “final policies have not yet been made.” [4]

I believe we’re headed in the ideal direction however it’s still a bit wishy-washy. I like seeing “made with organic ingredients” on pet food labels, as well as I depend on that these business are undoubtedly complying with the exact same requirements for “organic” that we expect from our own food.

If getting organic food for your pet dog is crucial to you, Pelletier suggests you look for the USDA seal on the pet food.

“Pet foods keeping that seal need to consist of 95% to 100% organic ingredients,” he said.

What about other terms like ‘holistic’ or ‘premium’ in pet foods?

Labels like “holistic” as well as “premium” are meaningless on pet food labels. There’s nothing necessarily poor about these labels, however they can be misleading.

“Holistic” or “premium” pet foods are not needed to consist of any type of different or higher-quality components than any type of other total as well as balanced pet foods, according to the FDA’s web site [2].

These kinds of words “can be utilized as the brand wishes for advertising purposes,” according to Pelletier.

Kriser likewise said, “Any business can utilize these terms.”

So what must pet dog owners make with this information?

1. look beyond advertising terms such as “natural,” “premium” as well as “holistic.”

You don’t have to prevent pet foods that utilize these terms, however make sure to look beyond their advertising techniques if getting a specific type of food is crucial to you. You would hope business that utilize terms such as “natural” or “holistic” are really putting out a higher-quality product, however that’s not always the case.

2. checked out the components on the pet food label.

Pelletier believes dogs are omnivores, however considering that they are descendants of wolves they must be fed food that includes:

meat as the very first ingredient

real, named protein sources like beef or chicken

no by-products.

high-quality fats

high-quality carbs like oats or peas

no man-made components (for example “red 40” or Propylene Glycol)

little or no fillers – be wary of foods that listing corn as one of the very first few ingredients

“Real animal proteins, whole grains as well as fiber must be the crucial ingredients,” stated Dr. Preston Buff, the chief natural nutrition policeman at The Nutro Company, a maker of pet food products. This means “they must be the very first few components listed.”

3. When in doubt, get in touch with the business as well as ask questions.

Possible concerns to ask might include:

Which components in your product are organic?

Does the animal protein come from animals increased in the United States? If not, why?

Where are your chickens raised? as well as exactly how are they raised?

Where does your business acquire its fruits/veggies/oats, etc.?

Great business putting out top notch products must be delighted to response your certain concerns or concerns.

How about the rest of you? exactly how do you figure out if a pet food is high quality?

Citations1. About.com: http://localfoods.about.com/od/meatpoultry/tp/meatlabels.htm

2. FDA’s web site under “Other claims” http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047113.htm

3. GCBL is a sustainability center of The Cleveland museum of natural History. “What do food labels truly mean?” http://www.gcbl.org/live/food/healthy-diet/what-do-food-labels-really-mean

4. Under “What is indicated by a ‘natural, organic, holistic or human grade’ pet food?” http://www.hillspet.com/faq-ingredients-and-myths.html

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