Natural Pet Food

A growing number of people are seeking out natural pet food for their dogs, cat, birds and other companion animals.

| June/July 2006

  • natural pet foods - bassett hound wearing napkin
    Natural pet food gives Fido and Fluffy better chow choices.
    Photo by Walter Chandoha
  • natural pet foods - puppy eating from plate
    Try replacing commercial dog food with natural and organic pet foods. See “Organic and Natural Cat and Dog Foods” for a list of providers.
    Walter Chandoha
  • CatEating.jpg
    Try replacing commercial cat food with natural and organic pet foods. See “Organic and Natural Cat and Dog Foods” for a list of providers.

  • natural pet foods - bassett hound wearing napkin
  • natural pet foods - puppy eating from plate
  • CatEating.jpg

We are what we eat. Now, many who have joined the Real Food Revival to find fresh, quality foods for themselves are beginning to apply that same standard to their pets. The result: More and more people are buying natural pet food for their companion animals, especially cats and dogs. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic pet food sales are growing at nearly three times the rate of organic human food.

Pet owners also are finding an increasing number of options — more than a dozen brands of natural and organic cat and dog food are now available, as well as some foods for smaller animals such as birds and ferrets. You can expect to pay up to twice as much for these premium foods compared to conventional options, but you (and your pets) get what you pay for.

Natural pet foods generally are minimally processed and are preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Whereas “natural” is an undefined and unregulated distinction, “certified organic” pet foods must meet strict standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed. These standards do not allow the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients.

Phil Brown, a veterinarian who helped develop the formulas for Newman’s Own Organics pet foods, says “natural” has come to mean that the food is free of chemical preservatives and artificial colors, but does not guarantee that the food is free of pesticides, herbicides or antibiotics.

“Natural pet foods can be good foods, but just how good is up to the company,” he says. “I like organic because it has defined parameters.”

Better Ingredients Make Better Food

Besides pesticides and hormones, natural and organic pet foods are free of other undesirable ingredients such as hair, blood, waste and “meal,” which come from the rendered carcasses of livestock animals. All of those are acceptable ingredients for commercial dog and cat food, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which regulates the U.S. pet food industry.

5/16/2007 10:14:45 AM

Very good article on natural pet food, however you did leave out Life's Abundance brand, which is a holistic veterinarian formulated food with USA human quality ingredients. Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM is very involved in the quality of Life's Abundance and they offer free samples. You can visit to read more about holistic pet food you can trust.

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