Unquestionably, USDA certified organic pet foods are healthier than pet foods made from conventionally produced ingredients. Unlike cheaper conventional pet foods, USDA certified organic pet foods contain no residues from pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or chemicals accumulated during manufacturing that may include a number of the toxic chemicals that are associated with conventional pet food processing.
Organic pet foods contain more nutrients – such as vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals – than non-organic pet food. This is especially important, considering the depletion of nutrients that comes with heavy processing and the consequent need to supplement pet foods with mostly synthetic, low-grade nutrients in order to provide some level of nutrition to dogs, cats, or other pets. So, USDA certified organic pet foods are a great way to provide your animal friend with safe, nutrient-rich food staples. But beware: currently in the USA, only organic certification is regulated by law and any claim of organic status other than that of '(USDA) certified organic' is not substantiated by an unbiased third party.
Organic dog foods are great if done right. The best organic dog food is, of course, prepared fresh at home. However, this may be challenging, given the time constraints of the modern world. Although USDA certified organic dog foods are a great choice, there are large differences in quality among the many available choices. Most of these differences stem from the quality of the ingredients used. Although no low-grade ingredients, such as byproducts or other indefinable ingredients, can be included in USDA certified organic dog foods, a number of important nutritional distinctions arise from manufacturers' choices of ingredients. Some of these distinctions are highlighted below.
Organic dog food should not contain grains or flours as first, or primary, ingredients. Dogs did not evolve to eat grains, whether raw or cooked. Although cooking will render grains digestible by the dog's gastrointestinal tract, cooking also destroys many constituent nutrients; often, the only thing left are empty calories with little or no substantial nutritional value.
The first ingredient in organic dog food should always be a clearly defined source of animal protein. Do not choose dog foods that contain ingredients listed as 'chicken meals' or 'animal protein,' as these can not be reliably traced to their origin. Absent any known origin, it's easy for manufacturers to use low quality sources of animal protein. Moreover – and tragicly, as recent history has taught us – if any contamination or tainting of unsourcable ingredients occurs, it becomes difficult to mount a quick and effective pet food recall to save animal lives if one can not trace the ingredient in question to its source. In the case of USDA certified organic dog foods, one need not worry because the USDA organic standards prohibit the use of obscure and unsourceable low quality ingredients.
Any choice of organic dog food should contain some fruits and / or vegetables. However, plant matter should never make up more than 50% of the total contents of a given dog food product. The percentage of plant matter in a given dog food should be more in the range of 30-40% of the content by weight. And it goes without saying that these ingredients should be organic as well, both to avoid contamination with toxins and increase the nutritional value and health benefits of any given USDA certified organic dog food.
The great thing about feeding your animal with whole food-based USDA certified organic products is that you should not have to worry about routinely adding whole foods with isolated nutrients because organic foods are generally much more nutrient-less than conventional – or non- organic – pet foods. In the case of a truly organic diet, you can supplement with nutrients simply on the basis of your own animal's particular individual needs, and only when necessary. Such occasional supplement makes it possible for you to choose high-quality supplements for your dog instead of the typically low-grade vitamin-and-mineral mixes added by conventional pet food manufacturers to enable them legally to call their foods' balanced 'or' complete . '
Although choosing USDA certified organic pet foods over conventional varieties is just a first step towards better health and well being for your animal, it's a very important first step. So, be good to your animal; take that first step today!