Which organic dog food is best?
When you treat your dog as a family member, you’ll naturally want to buy the best food you can afford. Organic dog food is made using produce free from harmful pesticides and meat raised without antibiotic use.
While your selection is significantly limited if you only want to buy organic food, you’ll still find enough choices to discover one that’s right for your dog. Evanger’s Organics Dinner for Dogs is a top choice for those who prefer wet food.
What to know before you buy organic dog food
Types of dog food
Wet and dry dog food are the most common options, but you can also find fresh, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.
- Wet: Wet dog food often contains more animal protein and fewer fillers than dry food, but it can get expensive to serve wet food only.
- Dry: Dry food is a more economical choice than wet food, but some dogs don’t find it all that palatable. You can mix in some wet food to increase the appeal.
- Fresh: Fresh dog food comes either refrigerated or vacuum-sealed. It’s similar to home-cooked food for dogs but is carefully nutritionally balanced.
- Freeze-dried or dehydrated: These foods can be cooked or raw. You add water to rehydrate them. Generally, they contain high-quality ingredients, but they’re expensive.
Dogs’ nutritional needs change at certain points in their lives. Check the recommended life stage of any food you’re considering buying.
- Puppies: Puppies need more calorie-dense food than adult dogs and require food that’s higher in protein and other nutrients to support their rapid growth.
- Adult dogs: Quality food for adult dogs is well-balanced to maintain a healthy weight and support overall health and well-being.
- Senior dogs: As dogs get older, they’re more prone to weight gain, so senior foods are often less calorie-dense. Usually, they also contain more protein to maintain muscle mass and may contain ingredients that support joint health.
- All life stages: These formulas have adequate nutrients for all canine life stages, from the puppy period to older adulthood. That said, it’s generally best to feed dogs under 12 months a dedicated puppy food.
What to look for in a quality organic dog food
You can find dog food tailored toward large or small breed dogs. Since their nutritional needs vary slightly from other dogs, it’s a good choice for those at the extreme ends of the size spectrum, such as Chihuahuas and Great Danes.
Look for certified organic foods by the United States Department of Agriculture. There are also some lesser-known organic certifications, such as one from Oregon Tilth.
Complete and balanced
Make sure your chosen dog food is complete and balanced. This means it contains all the necessary nutrients to keep your dog healthy.
How much you can expect to spend on organic dog food
Cans of wet food cost roughly $1-$4 per can, while bags of dry food can range from $20-$100, depending on size and overall quality.
Organic dog food FAQ
Do dogs need to eat organic food?
A. Feeding your dogs organic food is a personal choice. Much like humans, they can thrive on non-organic food, but there’s a chance that pesticides impact long-term health. By being organic, ingredients are often also more carefully selected, so dog food with organic certification is usually of high quality.
If you choose to eat organic food, you might see organic dog food as the obvious choice for your canine companion. That said, you can find many quality dog foods that aren’t organic, so it’s worth exploring high-end non-organic options.
Is grain-free better for dogs?
A. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, so they do not need to avoid grains in their diet. In fact, grain-containing foods may be healthier, particularly when they contain whole grains and when the grain content is kept moderate.
Recent evidence suggests some grain-free food is linked to higher rates of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. This is a heart condition that can be fatal. As such, avoid feeding your dog an exclusively grain-free diet. For instance, if you choose a grain-free wet food, mix it with a grain-containing dry food.
What’s the best organic dog food to buy?
Top organic dog food
What you need to know: Certified by the USDA and Oregon Tilth, there’s no doubt about this food’s organic credentials.
What you’ll love: You can choose from four formulas: beef, chicken, turkey and chicken and turkey. It comes in BPA-free cans. It’s free from filler ingredients, instead packed with meat, vegetables and fruit. The Chicago Rabbinical Council has endorsed it as kosher.
What you should consider: It’s pricey, especially if you intend to feed only wet food and you have a large dog.
Top organic dog food for the money
What you need to know: With free-range chicken as the first ingredient, it’s a nutritious food that goes a long way.
What you’ll love: The added superfood blend boosts its nutrient content. It doesn’t contain soy, corn, wheat, chickpeas or lentils, all of which can be used as filler ingredients. It comes in three sizes: 4, 10 and 18 pounds.
What you should consider: The chicken and sweet potato version contains minimal grains, so it’s best to opt for chicken and oatmeal.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This quality canned food is made with cage-free chicken and is USDA-certified organic.
What you’ll love: It’s a complete and balanced food for all life stages. It doesn’t contain corn, wheat or soy. The smooth pate consistency is appealing to many dogs and is easy to eat for puppies, seniors and dogs recovering from illness.
What you should consider: Some buyers find the smell overwhelming, though this may make it more appealing to dogs.
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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