What is Natural Dog Food?

by | Blog, Dog Food, Natural Dog Food


Trying to understand labeling, while choosing a proper dog food product for your dog can be daunting. Every consumer wants to buy a product that holds true to it’s claims, especially when it involves the dietary concerns of your beloved dog.

Furthermore, when it comes to a healthy diet, most—marketers and consumers—tend to gravitate towards the word “Natural”. However, what is natural dog food and how does it compare to regular dog food?

Below is a brief guide that explains the word “Natural” and how it defines the dog foods you are considering.

What Is Natural Dog Food?
Basically, dog food that is not created by a synthetic or chemical process, but found in nature.

Is Natural Dog Food FDA Regulated?
The United States Food And Drug Administration requires that all pet food is made in a clean environment, doesn’t have dangerous ingredients, is safe for consumption and is true to it’s marketing claims. However, there is no FDA regulation for the word “Natural”, when referring to pet food.

AAFCO Guidelines
The Association of American Feed Control Officials—an organization that creates the standard for agencies that oversee the business of animal feed and pet food—defines “Natural” as being 

“A feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation”

However, it can’t be chemically or synthetically processed.

When Is “All Natural” Appropriately Used
The term “Natural” is appropriately used when it refers to some ingredients in the product that adhere to the AAFCO’s guideline. “All Natural” refers to all ingredients in the product adhering to AAFCO’s guidelines. 

What Are Chemically Synthesized Ingredients?

  • Additives
  • Preservatives
  • Synthetic minerals/vitamins
  • Artificial Colors/Flavors

Typically, for dog food that is labeled natural, there will be vitamins and minerals that will be added to the product to make it more balanced. This is usually stated on the label.


Natural, Holistic and Organic Dog Food

Natural Dog Food
Natural Dog Food is a pet food product, where as some or all of it’s ingredients, are whole and obtained from nature. These ingredients are not chemically or synthetically processed.

Holistic Dog Food
Holistic refers to the whole body, rather than a specific part. In the case of dog food that marketed as holistic, it is considered to benefit a dogs entire body and his well being. The term “Holistic” is typically used for marketing. AAFCO, FDA and the USDA have no guidelines for the term “Holistic”

Organic Dog Food
In order to be considered organic, dog food products have to meet the standards set by the “National Organic Program”. The requirement is that products that want to be considered organic, must have 95% organic ingredients and must bear the seal of the USDA(United States Department of Agriculture).

In Conclusion
There is no one solution for all pets. Picking the right diet for you dog depends on the breed, size, lifestyle, stage of life and specific concerns. The best place to start when choosing a proper diet for you dog, is to consult your vet. A veterinarian can let you know whether or not a natural diet is the way to go for your pet, while considering your pet’s individual concerns. Thanks for reading “What is Natural Dog Food”.