Natural dog food has gained popularity in recent years, as more pet owners are now concerned about the quality of ingredients in their pets' diets. In this article, we will explore what natural dog food means and how you can identify them.
Most dog foods are by definition natural as they don’t use artificial ingredients. All dog food is technically natural as it all comes from agricultural products like meat, grain, vegetables, and fruit. There is no such thing as synthetic food on the market, and the closest we have to “synthetic” food is anallergenic food (no allergens) made from chicken feather protein that is chemically broken down. Contrary to some beliefs, this is not a cost cutting measure and is actually very expensive - it is a prescription diet for dogs with severe food allergies. Natural dog foods means reduced processing
What most people mean when they mention “natural” dog food is reduced processing or ingredients that they think are recognisable. An example would be chicken breast meat as opposed to chicken meat and bone meal. Meat and bone meal is a more accurate representation of the nutritional value of a whole carcass as compared to solely muscle meat.
Fruit and superfoods are used to make a product seem more “natural”
Many “superfood” ingredients are used for the hype, but when you find them in the ingredient list, they may just be adding a sprinkle in to allow them to advertise it on the label, and they may not be included in beneficial amounts.
Natural dog foods have to contain “human-grade” ingredients
Most natural AND regular dog foods have “human-grade” ingredients that are already sourced from the human food chain. The best indication that a food doesn’t contain “human-grade” ingredients is a suspiciously cheap price.
Natural dog foods are not by-products
Last but not least, natural dog foods are considered not to have by-products of an animal. By-products are just a part of the carcass that is not in high demand as a human food product, but doesn’t mean that it is of lower quality. This may vary depending on different cultures. For instance, chicken feet are considered byproducts in the west, but are a delicacy in Asia. Common byproducts like offal (liver, kidneys), blood, and bone are valuable ingredients in balanced dog diets.
If you want to compare natural dog foods, check out Pawsitive Plan to compare across 28 different dog food brands and personalise a meal plan for your fur babies.