What is a “natural” pet food?
Does it mean the food is unprocessed, derived from natural sources, or organically grown;
Many questions have been asked about this very topic by many consumers.
When I go to buy pet food for my dogs, I really question in my mind if the natural pet food solutions that are on the market today are just a fancy marketing ploy to charge more money or is there something to the “natural” ingredients of these foods.
Who came up with this thing called “natural”
In the summer of 2001 the Pet Food Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) obtained approval for suggested guidelines for manufacturers of natural pet food solutions to follow when referring to the term natural.
Here is the official AAFCO definition for “natural” as the term relates to pet food:
“A feed/ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subjected to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”
It’s a Big market
The pet food industry and natural pet food solutions manufacturers is a big business. In 2017, the pet food industry was a whopping 30 billion dollar industry growing from 20 billion in 2011; depending on the statistical source you might research.
Either way, it’s Hugh!
As with any market that is booming, there can be growing pains and issues. This is why is important to do our research because it may reveal issues you want to be aware of, such as food recalls.
The company with the highest number of recalls may not be abiding as closely as they should to the regulations that in place today to protect the consumer.
These could be indicators that you as the consumer will want to be aware of. Most of my research of the brands that are in good health (as to say) with the market are making a good choices for your pets.
Brands for Natural Pet Food Solutions
When I was researching the brand of natural pet food for my dogs, many things had to be considered, such age, weight, and even the breed of my dog.
Knowing that not all brands are equal, you need to decide what is best for your companion. My dogs suffer from allergies and that was one of the criteria that I was looking for in a dog food.
When picking a brand, it is important to review breed specific brands because that will be a better choice for your pet.
Below is a partial list of natural pet food solutions that vary in what your needs are for your pets.
- Wellness Natural Pet Food, has 80 percent more protein than other brands so that your pet gets what they need to build more lean muscle with no added fillers, and has zero artificial colors and flavors and no by-products.
- Taste of the Wild, is one of the easiest dog foods to digest with lots of antioxidants.
- Nature’s Variety, is great for owners who still want standard dry pet food but are looking to introduce freeze-dried options to their pets, as well.
- Natural Balance, is the best option for pets with food allergies. Lamb and brown rice are the main ingredients.
- Organix, is gluten-free with added flax seed oil.
- Hill’s Science Diet, is great for large pets who eat large quantities. The brand is easy to digest and great for bone and joint support.
- Purina Pro Plan, is full of beneficial omega-3s for dogs with skin allergies and problems.
- Blue Buffalo, grain free. It includes added vitamins and minerals in its “Life Source Bits” that are vegetable flavored.
- Fromm, features duck, quail and pheasant as main protein sources.
As you can see, each brand can be specific to your pet’s need. So if you pet has digestive issues, there is a brand for that; and so on.
Most dogs in general are more allergic to beef that anything else. So if your dogs have these allergies, it is best to pick food that has chicken or lamb such as most brands will offer these alternatives.
What does”grain free” mean
Just what is says, grain free natural pet food is free of grain in the manufacturing process.
Most people think that grains are corn and wheat, but less common grains such as oats, barley, and rice can be in the “grain free” food. When you are looking for this type of food, you should always look at the ingredients to see is these do contain some form of grains.
Being grain free does not necessarily mean that this diet is healthier than products with grains. They are not necessarily low in carbohydrates either. And as I said earlier, most pets are allergic to beef with a close second to dairy products.
It is important to know that our pets, such as dogs and cats, have evolved over years with their human counterparts. And so have their diets.
Dogs in particular can process grains and other ingredients just as can the human. This doesn’t mean you pets can eat table scraps.
You should stay with the foods that are designed for the betterment of their health to make sure they are getting the nutrients that are in the natural pet food solutions brands (as mentioned above).
What I buy and why
Every individual and their pets have different needs for the natural pet food solutions.
This article is not meant to be all-inclusive, but maybe a thought provocative to helping point you in the right direction for you pet needs in your research.
I fully support that everyone do their own research in providing the healthier life-style for their pets.
I have a Pomerania (Lotus) that tends to have watering eyes and I have a Maltese mix (Izzy) that suffers from yearly allergies.
The brand that I chose for my natural pet food solutions is Blue Buffalo Grain Free as is suits my dogs needs and conditions the best.
I highly recommend eveyone do their own research as all pets are not all alike.
Good Researching for your Natural Pet Food Solutions!!