For many of us, there is one imperative to keeping our furred friends: ensuring that they’re in the best health possible. If you know the first thing about canine health, you know that it all starts in one place: with the food that they eat.
So why not spend a little bit of time learning about some premium dog foods to see if they’re right for your precious pup.
Let’s get right to it, there’s a wide world of different dog foods out there that might just be the perfect thing to put your dog’s health on the next level.
What is Organic Dog Food?
When it comes to dog food, many of us have found that the regulations are much more lax than human food.
While the benefits of truly organic food are somewhat debatable, there is one thing in place that makes them superior when it comes to canine chow time: if a product is USDA certified organic then you know that there are quality controls in place.
Basically, buying certified organic dog food is a way to ensure that your dog receives only good ingredients in their diet.
It still may not be perfect, and there’s no one-stop solution we can really point to in order to say, “that’s the one, perfect for all dogs” but it’s a lot better than some of the manufacturers who use low quality ingredients when they’re producing their food.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that just because something says “organic” doesn’t necessarily make it so. Without the USDA certification it’s just another marketing term.
That’s not to say that all non-organic foods are bad stuff, far from it, but if something has the correct certifications it’s certainly a lot better than simply wading in and hoping that you picked correctly.
Why Go With Organic Food?
One simple reason: as long as it’s certified you know that you’re getting what’s on the label.
This can make all the difference in your dog’s health over time.
The truth of the matter is this: poor quality food is going to lead to health problems as time goes on. Even from a strictly cost-efficient point, those vet visits are likely to make up more than the difference in food costs over time.
They also lead to a lower quality of living for your friend, which isn’t good for anyone.
Since there are certain regulations in place around organic foods, as long as they have a qualification you’ll know that there’s some good stuff in there. That doesn’t necessarily mean better, but there’s a lot more leeway in what manufacturers can do with dog food as opposed to human food.
Basically, making sure there’s no corners cut in the sourcing of ingredients will give your dog better health and will save money in the long run since the costs are likely to equal or exceed the difference if you end up having to make multiple trips to the vet.
A Crash Course in Dog Nutrition
There is no one “perfect” solution to dog nutrition.
Dogs, while commonly considered carnivores, are actually fairly omnivorous. Think about how happy your mutt is when they receive some table scraps, and the truth of the matter is that most dogs are only a little bit more discerning than raccoons when it comes to their diets.
They still have a carnivorous streak, of course, but they can obviously handle a far wider range of foods than their lupine ancestors.
When it comes down to it, a lot of factors will effect what the “ideal” food for your dog is. Take the following into account:
- Size: Foods which are more calorie dense will generally be better for smaller dogs. They simply require more energy per pound of body weight in order to maintain their body mass and since organic foods are a bit more expensive you’ll find it’s more cost efficient this way.
- Activity Level: Most foods, when properly formulated, are designed for dogs who have an average level of activity. This generally means the run of the backyard and a walk every day or every other day. Working dogs, on the other hand, will probably want something which is higher in fat levels since dogs primarily burn fat due to cellular differences.
- Allergies: Like people, some dogs have allergies. This means that you’re going to want to take a look over the ingredients contained within your dog food before you decide on it.
As a general rule, high protein and moderate amounts of fat and carbohydrates are good for most dogs.
You might have seen people feed their dogs “energy packets” while on a run, and other things of that nature. This isn’t the right way to do things, working dogs and dogs on hikes need more fat not more carbohydrates. They process the nutrients differently and it’s one of the biggest differences in our metabolisms.
A balanced diet will have macronutrients which are higher in fat and proteins than carbohydrates for this reason. While the exact “proper” levels are up for debate, the truth of the matter is that most foods simply have too high of carbohydrate levels.
For training and hiking, try to find foods which are higher in fat… but don’t feed this on a constant basis as it can lead to health problems in and of itself.
Our Picks for the Top 5 Best Organic Dog Foods
Of course, with so many products on the market eager to snag up their share of the dog chow market, there are inevitably going to be some that are just marketing. Through a careful selection process, we’ve made sure to bring you only the best.
Most of these tend to be pretty expensive, however, so at the bottom of the article we’ll have some alternatives for you which are a little bit lower in price. You really don’t have to spend a fortune to ensure your dog gets good food, but the best are going to run a little bit high in price.
The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Minimalist Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Dehydrated foods are a great way to get a lot of food in a small bag, and the Honest Kitchen has outdone themselves with their range of organic dog foods.
The make-up of this food is quite a bit better than you’ll find in most brands:
- Protein 26%
- Fat 16%
- Carbohydrates 39%
While the carbohydrates could probably stand to be a little bit lower, and the protein and fat a bit higher, it makes for a much more nutritious meal than your average dog food. Most canines will be just fine if you opt to go with this brand.
For those who are fond of reading their labels before they let their chowhounds indulge, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised:
- Ingredients: Free-range chicken, organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, spinach, parsley and organic kelp, plus vitamin and mineral premix
The mineral premix is a nice addition, but most people are going to be more interested in the fact that you can easily name all of the primary ingredients which make up this high-quality food.
The manufacturer’s also claim that it’s human-grade, which is pretty cool if you ask us.
Unfortunately, it’s also quite expensive and the end result of the mixture is a mush that some people found oddly. The company itself seems quite honest, however, and most people find that their dogs take to it readily.
For those who are mainly interested in making sure that they know exactly what is in their dog food, this is a great option. There’s a variety of flavors as well, so there’s sure to be something that suits every dog out there.
- High quality ingredients
- Dehydrated and easy to transport
- Good nutrient balance
- Transparent marketing makes it easy to trust
- Mushy consistency bothers some owners
Castor & Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for a great kibble, and we all know that some canines prefer it, then Castor & Pollux may have supplied exactly the solution that you’re looking for.
This high-quality kibble comes with a good nutritional profile:
- Protein 26%
- Fat 15%
- Fiber 5%
- Moisture 10%(Max)
It’s still pretty high in carbohydrates, but all of the ingredients contained within are comprised of USDA-certified organic products. A quick look at the ingredients reveals there’s some good stuff in this dry food, however:
- Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Chickpeas, Organic Peas, Organic Tapioca, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Sunflower Seed Meal, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Organic Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Blueberries, Organic Alfalfa Meal, Organic Sunflower Oil, Salt, Salmon Oil, Vitamins, Choline Chloride, Minerals, Potassium Chloride, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Organic Rosemary Extract
All of this means that you have a humanely produced product which is virtually guaranteed to be high-quality. While the nutritional profile is only a bit better than many of the “regular” brands, quality does make a difference and whole ingredients are always better than partial.
Pretty much everything but the price makes this one of the best kibble options around, but as we noted above: splurging on your pet’s food can actually save you money in the long run.
Of course, there’s one more upside: virtually no one has found that their dog won’t readily take to this high-end kibble which makes investing in a bag less of a gamble than with many organic foods.
If you want a high-quality, truly organic kibble in order to ensure that your dog gets only the best then you might seriously want to consider adding Organix to your pet’s diet.
- USDA certified organic ingredients
- Wide array of nutrients
- Most dogs take it readily
- Well packaged
- Nutrient profile is only above average
TruDog’s Real Meat Organic Dog Food
TruDog has released this raw organic dog food, which seems to be the absolute best for taste.
More than that, it’s considered something of a “superfood” due to the extremely different nutrient profile contained within. In fact, if you’re looking to mimic an “ancestral” diet then you could hardly do better with commercial foods.
Look for yourself:
- Protein 41.0% (min)
- Fat 28.0% (min)
- Fiber 4.0% (max)
- Moisture 5.00% (max)
As you can see, the protein and fat ratios are much, much better than you’ll find in most foods. This is because the food is made almost entirely of Wisconsin beef, with only a few vital additives:
- Ingredients: Beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver, beef heart, beef kidney, beef blood, beef fat, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol
Then the meat is freeze dried, and all you need to do is add a little bit of water to give your dog a super tasty meal. There is also a turkey based variety available.
Truth of the matter is that all but the pickiest dogs will take readily to this food, but with such a vastly different nutrient profile you’re going to have to transition rather slowly in order to make sure that your pup doesn’t end up with gastrointestinal issues.
For a great, natural food TruDog delivers with their Real Meat Organic Dog Food. Another expensive option, but it stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to a high-energy food for a working dog.
- Made of real beef
- Most dogs take to it readily
- Superior nutrient profile for energy
- Easy to serve
- Super expensive
- You’ll need to transition slowly
Newman’s Own Grain-Free for Dogs
Newman’s Own produces this great organic wet dog food. With a great nutrient profile, a fair price, and USDA certified meat contained within the can you can get something that your dog will love and should take to rather easily.
The nutrient profile is pretty impressive, keep in mind that wet foods have a lot of moisture so the numbers are going to look different than dry foods or kibble:
- Protein 12.0%
- Fat 4.5%
- Fiber 1.0%
- Moisture 82.0%
All of that adds up to one thing: a lot of energy for your dog and a lack of the high amounts of carbs which can be found in lesser brands.
There’s a wide variety of different flavors, and the main ingredients are good. There’s one issue, though, see if you can spot it:
- Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Pea Flour, Dicalcium Phosphate, Organic Alfalfa, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Chloride, Organic Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate.
There are quite a few additives and fillers in this when you compare it to more expensive brands.
Now, a lot of the odder sounding things in that list are actually vitamin supplements, but there are definitely some preservatives in there which some people feel aren’t optimal for health.
That said, Newman’s Own’s line of organic dog foods is fairly priced and consists of top notch ingredients for the most part, but if you’re looking to go fully organic and natural you may be better off elsewhere.
- Fairly priced
- Great macronutrient profile
- Most dogs take readily to it
- Comes in a wide variety of flavors
- Does contain preservatives
- Not for fussy eaters
Castor & Pollux Organix Butcher & Bushel Grain Free Organic Canned Dog Food
Castor & Pollux makes our list again, this time with a superb wet food which most dogs will take to readily.
Like their kibble, this food is fairly close to the standard dog foods in its nutrient profile, which means that you’ll be able to switch a dog to it quite quickly but it may not be the best if you’re looking for optimal doggie performance.
- Protein 8%
- Fat 4%
- Fiber 1.4%
- Moisture 81%
That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. Dog food companies may cut corners on occasion, but many a mutt has been raised to be a handsome adult on the standard varieties of foods available.
What really sells us on this one, however, is the contents:
- Ingredients: Organic Turkey, Organic Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing, Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Pea Protein, Organic Peas, Organic Dried Egg Product, Organic Coconut Flour, Organic Potatoes, Organic Blueberries, Organic Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Organic Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Organic Guar Gum, Minerals, Vitamins, Sodium Alginate, Organic Rosemary, Organic Sage, Xanthan Gum
Everything is pretty much top notch here, meaning less things transferred up the food chain to your dog. There are still a couple of preservatives contained within but that’s pretty much standard across all wet foods and everything here is fairly natural.
Like their other foods, this one is USDA certified so you know that you’re actually getting what you pay for as well.
For a top notch wet food, you could do a lot worse than going with one of the great flavors which are sold by Castor & Pollux in their Organix line. Give it a shot, you and your dog won’t be disappointed.
- USDA certified ingredients
- Natural preservatives as opposed to synthetic
- Vitamin and mineral supplements included
- Made in the United States
- Comes as a mush rather than chunks
- Some dogs just don’t like it
If none of the above seem to appeal to you or your dog, then there are a number of other great foods on the market as well. Below are five of our favorites that we couldn’t quite give top billing to.
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Dog Food
- Protein 24.5%
- Fat 15.3.0%
- Fiber 3.4%
- Moisture 6.4%
While many people like their dog foods without grains, some dogs just love the stuff. Going with The Honest Kitchen’s Whole Grain flavors might just be a great idea in that case.
Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- Protein 38.0%
- Fat 15.0%
- Fiber 3.5%
- Moisture 11.0%
With a great nutrient profile, Merrick’s Grain Free Dry Dog Food is also made of real meat. Great for picky dogs, but transition slowly
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain USDA Organic Chicken & Pea Formula
- Protein 22.0%
- Fat 12.0%
- Fiber 5.5%
- Moisture 10.0%
Kirkland produces this organic kibble with a good nutrient profile and a great price. It’s one of the best budget organic dog food around.
Natural Ultramix Adult Dry Dog Food
- Protein 25.0%
- Fat 15.0%
- Fiber 3.0%
- Moisture 10.0%
In our opinion, Natural Ultramix is the best budget priced organic dog food around. It’s got a great nutrient profile, but not quite as much fiber as some of our other favorite cheap brands.
Natural Planet Organics Chicken & Oats Adult Dog Formula Dry Food
- Protein 23%
- Fat 14%
- Fiber 6%
- Moisture 10%
While it’s pretty expensive, Natural Planet Organics makes this great dog food. The nutrient profile is pretty awesome, it’s got a ton of fiber, and most dogs take to it readily which makes it worth a shot if you don’t mind paying a premium.
If you’re looking to improve the health of your dog, then you really might want to try switching to an organic dog food. Even though the entire “organic” thing is somewhat debatable in most circles, it does lend itself to high-quality ingredients and it’s a great way to get the superior nutrient profile that your favorite furry friend deserves. Give it a shot, the cost will be well worth it.