Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Because of the recent dog food recall over the last couple of years, some people have been looking for other types of food to feed their dogs. Many people have turned to foods that were organic thinking that they were getting a better quality of food. But just how organic is your dog’s food really? Well it say’s it’s organic on the bag, so it must be so one would think.

Learning to read ingredient labels can prove to be tricky. Sometimes they can be misleading. It’s not only important that it say’s organic, but it’s how the manufacturer uses that word when explaining the content of the bag.

The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards.

In order for a manufacturer to say that their product is 100% organic, then the product ingredients must be 100% organic. This does not include the water and salt that may be added to the product. Even so, the product may not be 100% organic because of the vitamins and minerals that AAFCO requires to be put in dry dog food.

Claiming a product is “organic” means that the ingredients must be 95% organic not including the added water or salt. They must identify the organic ingredients in the ingredients list.

If you see on the bag of food “made with organic ingredients” then this product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients not including water or salt. These organic ingredients also must be listed as organic in the ingredients label. Although they can not display the USDA organic seal, they can list the agents who certified the organic ingredients in their product.

If a manufacturer wants to identify some of the ingredients in their product as organic but it has less than 70% organic ingredients total, then they may do so without the organic seal or identifying agent.

Only two types of dog food (100% organic or organic) may show on their product the “USDA” organic seal.

Because organic meat is very expensive, the consumer should be aware that the meat content may be less in the organic food than the meat content in the non-organic food. So the consumer is left with the decision of feeding an organic food with less meat or a food with more meat but not organic. How important is it that your dog’s food is free of pesticides, drugs and other synthetic substances that the organic food affords them? Or is it more important that the ingredients list more meat in their products? The decision can only be made by trial and error. You can try the organic food and add your own meat source. It’s really all about how well your animals are doing on your food of choice and also the longevity of your dogs.

First came the pet food recalls; then came the recession. First we had to worry about what was in our dog’s food and now we have to concern ourselves if we can afford to continue to feed our dog’s a higher priced food. Years ago our family’s dogs ate whatever store brand canned food momma could get her hands on. Fido’s tale never stopped wagging as he scoffed down the hash like pate, yucky smelling blob. He lived 15 or 16 years and never seen the inside of a vet’s office.

So with the demand for better quality dog food, many manufacturers are popping up all over the place trying to meet the demand for high end products. We as consumers must read and understand the labels and try to make an educated decision when it comes to what we feed our animals.

Organic Dry Dog Food: expensive – can run anywhere from $50 a 33 lb. bag and up.

My rating: quality (4), nourishment: (4), value: (3), affordability: (2)

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