For some dog owners, choosing the best organic dog food is a natural extension of choosing organic meals for themselves.
Organic dog foods are popular for ethical and wellness reasons, and sometimes veterinary reasons too.
Most important is finding a nutritionally complete and balanced diet for each dog’s life stage.
In this article we review the pros and cons of organic dog food, and take a look at some of the most popular brands available to buy.
What Nutrients do Dogs Need?
Let’s take a quick look at the nutrients your dog needs in order to stay strong and healthy:
Protein provides energy and helps your dog build muscle. Protein from meat or fish should be listed as the first ingredient in your dog’s food. Some brands also use vegetables as a source of protein, and that’s fine, as long as there’s a higher percentage of meat.
Fiber helps to keep your dog’s digestive system functioning well. Meat provides some fiber, but often dog food will include rice and vegetables as well.
Fat helps provide your dog with energy, and keeps their skin and coat in good shape. You might see oils such as flax or coconut listed, as well as meat fats.
Carbohydrates are good in moderation, as they do help keep your dog’s blood sugar stable, but they shouldn’t be used as a filler.
Bear in mind that the life stage, breed, and health of your dog can have an impact on the food you choose for them. A healthy Great Dane puppy will need different food to a senior dog with a sensitive stomach for example.
We always recommend speaking to your vet before changing your dog’s food.
The Appeal of Organic Dog Food
As we’re becoming more aware of the food we eat, this awareness naturally extends to the food we choose for our dogs.
Organic foods for dogs and people are growing in popularity and projected to keep doing so.
A recent report suggests that organic dog food only takes up a small section of the market at the moment, due to higher prices, supply chain issues, and the lack of specific regulations for the pet food industry.
As these issues are solved though, you can expect to see a wider range of options becoming available, to meet consumer demand.
AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) are the regulatory body responsible for pet food.
They use the following description from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to decide if a product can be labelled as organic or not:
Organic products are produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used.
The AAFCO state that dog food can be called organic when at least 95% of the ingredients (by weight) meet the description above. This dog food will carry the “USDA Organic” certification – and most brands place this somewhere prominent.
Additionally, a dog food can be labelled “made with organic” if 70% – 95% of the ingredients are certified organic.
The process of certifying dog food as organic is expensive and labor intensive. That’s one of the reasons many pet food companies choose not to become certified.
Pros and Cons of Organic Dog Food
Still not sure if organic dog food is right for your pet?
Here’s a quick list of some advantages and disadvantages!
- If you’re conscious about feeding your family high-quality, organic ingredients, it can be reassuring you know you can extend the same care to your dog.
- Organic commercial diets often contains less ingredients than other brands, which can be good for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
- Organic dog food may not necessarily be healthier or more nutritious than a non-organic dog food. It’s always best to speak to your vet before changing your dog’s diet.
- They’re usually a more expensive option.
- There isn’t much research into the health benefits to feeding your dog an organic diet. Ultimately, this decision is a very personal one.
What to Think About When You Buy Organic Dog Food
When it comes to selecting the best organic dog food brands, it definitely pays to do your research.
Quite a few brands use packaging and descriptions that make it seem as though their ingredients are organic.
But when you read the ingredients list, there’s no mention of any organic meat or vegetables. Often, these brands are labelled as ‘natural’ or ‘holistic’, which can sometimes be confused with organic.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing not to feed your dog an organic diet. But, if you have decided to select an organic feed, be aware of these marketing tricks.
Of course, we’ve done extensive research for you, and every option included in our review includes certified organic ingredients.
You’ll also want to make sure that any dog food you select is labelled as “complete and balanced” by the AAFCO.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the organic doggy diets available.
Best Organic Puppy Food
If you like to start as you mean to go on, you’re likely to be interested in choosing an organic dog food for puppies.
Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Dry Food includes organic, free-range chicken as the very first ingredient.
It includes 100% complete and balanced nutrition for your growing puppy. This puppy food is certified organic by the USDA.
Castor & Pollux in America’s top organic dog food brand and they also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Best Organic Puppy Treats
If you’re puppy training, it’s a great idea to carry a pocket full of treats to help your puppy learn fast!
While not specifically designed for puppies, the tiny size of the Wet Noses Little Stars Tiny Organic Training Treats is perfect for small mouths.
These treats are made and sourced in the USA, and are available in sweet potato, or peanut butter flavors.
Their limited list of ingredients mean they’re perfect for dogs with sensitive tummies.
Best Organic Dry Dog Food
Kibble is a popular choice for many dog owners. Our review into the pros and cons of kibble is well worth a read.
One of our recommendations for the best organic dog kibble is the Catered Bowl Organic Turkey Dog Food. This USDA certified kibble contains a precise blend of organic ingredients, vitamins, and antioxidants.
The balanced formula is suitable for all life stages, and is free from grain, corn, soy, and wheat. Organic turkey is listed as the first ingredient, and this kibble is suitable for all life stages, apart from large breed puppies.
The Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Food is also USDA certified, and contains organic, free-range chicken as the first ingredient.
This is combined with a blend of organic superfoods including blueberries, coconut oil, and flaxseeds. It’s available in 3 different bag sizes, as well as other flavors such as chicken and oatmeal.
Best Organic Wet Dog Food
If your dog prefers wet food, these options could be just what you’re looking for.
Natural Planet Organics Turkey Dinner is formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.
Certified organic by the USDA, this grain-free blend includes organic turkey, as well as organic flaxseed and sunflower oils.
It also meets the nutritional requirements set by the AAFCO.
This grain free blend doesn’t include any preservatives, fillers, or gluten. All ingredients are also GMO free. It’s also a great low fat choice, as it contains only 6% crude fat.
Best Organic Dog Treats
If you’ve made the decision to feed your dog an organic diet, it makes sense to extend this to the treats you feed them as well!
Castor & Pollux Chicken Flavored Dog Cookies are a great choice to provide a healthy treat for your dog.
They include organic, free-range chicken as the first ingredient, plus a blend or organic peas, rice, oats, and barley. Free from corn soy, and wheat, these cookies are also available in a cheddar cheese flavor.
Another option is the Wet Noses Grain Free Peanut Butter & Molasses Flavor Organic Dog Treats. These are certified by the USDA, and are formulated to support a healthy skin and coat.
Made with human grade ingredients, they’re available in a wide range of other flavors as well. They’re free from grain, corn, wheat, soy, and dairy. This makes them a great choice for dogs with food allergies.
Best Organic Grain Free Dog Food
Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food lists organic free-range chicken as the first ingredient. This is combined with a blend of superfoods including organic flaxseed, blueberries, and coconut oil.
The grain free formulation is free from artificial preservatives, synthetic fertilizers, and chemical pesticides. Castor & Pollux Organix is cooked in an organically certified, USA based kitchen.
Catered bowl Organic Turkey Dog Food is USDA certified, and made with cage-free, organic turkey. The balanced formula is suitable for all life stages, apart from the growth stage of large breed puppies.
The grain-free recipe doesn’t include any corn, wheat, or soy. It’s also free from artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors.
Best Organic Dog Food For Senior Dogs
Castor & Pollux Organix Grain Free Organic Senior Recipe Dry Dog Food is a great choice for your senior pup. It includes glucosamine and chondroitin to support your senior dog’s joints.
Castor & Pollux is one of the only brands which offer a USDA certified organic senior dog food. Organic chicken is listed as the first ingredient, followed be a range of vegetables and pulses including chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and sweet potatoes.
Best Organic Dog Food For Sensitive Stomach
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Limited Ingredient Chicken Recipe includes a range of some organic ingredients, although this is less than the 95% required for organic certification.
The limited ingredient list contains organic quinoa and kelp, as well as non-organic chicken, sweet potato, spinach, and parsley.
Best Organic Dog Treats for Sensitive Stomach
If you feed your dog a limited ingredient dog food, to help with their sensitive stomach or allergies, chances are you’re looking for an organic dog treat to use alongside your dog’s food.
Full Moon Natural Organics Human Grade Dog Treats are a great solution! Available using organic chicken or organic beef, these treats are USDA certified, and made with the finest ingredients only.
The limited ingredient list includes USA raised organic meat, flaxseeds, and rice.
Best Organic Dehydrated Dog Food
Dehydrated dog foods are becoming more popular, and are a great way to feed quality ingredients without worrying about your dog food spoiling once open.
Simply mix a portion with water, according to the directions. Once soaked, your dog can enjoy their dinner!
Smack Pet Food Organic Raw Dehydrated Dog Food includes organic chicken and a blend of organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
It does also include some non-organic ingredients, so although the chicken is USDA certified, this food as a whole doesn’t carry the USDA certification.
Which foods will you try?
We hope you found our round-up of the best organic dog foods interesting.
There’s certainly a wide range of choice available, and this is only going to increase over the next few years.
We’d love to hear from you if you feed your dog an organic diet, especially if you know of any organic raw dog food brands, and we’ll add them to our review!
References and Resources
- Feeding your puppy commercial dog food: the pros and cons of kibble. The Happy Puppy Site.
- Organic. AAFCO.
- Natural, Organic, and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 6th Edition. Packaged Facts.
- Oregon Tilth.
- Organic Trade Association.