Natural Health for Dogs: Organic Foods and Supplements

Natural health for dogs has experienced a recent rise in popularity. There are a multitude of pet foods and supplements on the market today that are labeled ‘organic', but some owners aren't sure what that means.

'Natural' Excludes Chemically Synthetic Processes

‘Natural' is defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials as "a feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources . . . not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts that might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices." As defined by the association synthetic nutrients, including vitamins are allowable.

'Organic' Excludes Pesticides, Hormones and Antibiotics

Organic, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, means, "grown, raised or produced without chemical pesticides, irradiation, genetic modification, cloning, hormones or antibiotics." Regulations also define how the organic crops and livestock may be produced and handled. For instance, regulations state that livestock must have access to the outdoors.

The USDA's National Organic Program defines the following terms related to organic foods and supplements in the following manner:

  • 100 percent organic. The product must contain only organically produced ingredients with the exception of water and salt.
  • Organic. The product must contain no less than 95 percent organically produced ingredients (water and salt excepted).
  • Made with organic. At least 70 percent organic ingredients must be contained in the product.

Products having less that 70 percent organic ingredients cannot use the term organic except to state which individual ingredient(s) is/are organic.