Things to Consider About Natural Dog Food
If you have been to a pet store recently, you may have noticed an amazing number of different types of dog food available for your four-legged family members. One type, which has seen enormous growth in recent years, is natural dog food.
In the same way that people are looking for whole, natural ingredients in their own diets, many dog owners are also looking for the same natural ingredients in their pet's food. If you're looking to switch up your dog's diet, this may be an option for you to consider.
What Is Natural Dog Food?
Some owners and manufacturers consider that for a food to be called natural, there should be minimal processing of the ingredients. This then means feeding a diet that is mainly made up of raw meats. However, there are no legal requirements as to when the term “natural” can be used when describing a pet food. Instead, there are recommendations from the Pet Food Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that there should be no man-made ingredients included in the food. The only exceptions to this being synthetic vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients.
Generally, natural foods will be free of by-products, preservatives and other unnecessary chemicals. Do remember, though, that it does not necessarily guarantee the quality of the products used, so you will still need to do some investigative work before deciding on the right food for your dog.
Pros of Natural Dog Food
There are many claims for the advantages of natural dog food. From coat health to bowel health, there are some great benefits of natural dog food.
Improved Skin and Coat
It's thought that many skin problems can be caused by the large amounts of filler ingredients and additives in processed, dry dog food. Fresh, nutrient-rich natural diets are full of essential fatty acids that can improve skin health and leave coats silky soft.
No Artificial Food Colorings
We know that artificial food dyes can cause a host of health problems for us humans and they are just as bad for our pets, yet they are in many processed pet foods. So, you might be wondering why they would use them; it’s usually to make the food appear more appealing to the consumer.
These include chunks with red food dye that are made to look like meat and the little round ones colored with green to seem like vegetables. All are very unnecessary from our dog's perspective but are added so that owners can feel that their dog has had a proper meal.
Fewer Digestive Disorders
When you select a dog food that only contains ingredients that have not been processed, you may find that dogs with sensitive digestive systems have fewer upset stomachs. Some brands actually use fermented by-products of human food and drink manufacturing as a filler in their dog foods. Make sure to do your research to see which type of food is best for your pup.
Cons of Natural Dog Food
While there are several benefits of natural dog food, there are also some cons. From pricing to health, there are certain aspects to look out for.
Some of the natural dog foods can come at a very high price and that can place them out of reach for many families. Now, there is an argument that you will have to spend less on vet bills when feeding a high-quality food, but there are no guarantees that that will be the case.
Grain-free natural dog foods have been associated with an increased risk of heart failure. While some vets still believe that grain has no place in our dog's diet, others have stated that there is no science to back up the claimed benefits of leaving it out.
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Some of the Best Natural Dog Foods
Now that we have covered the pros and cons of natural dog food, it is good to know about the best brands to look into.
Merrick Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Recipe
Made in the U.S., this range of dog foods is free of by-products, corn, soy and artificial ingredients. It comes in a variety of flavors, including fish, poultry and beef. It is available in a small dog version too.
If your dog prefers a wet diet, Whole Earth Farms has also introduced a canned food formula that lists chicken, blueberries, rosemary, sage and thyme in the ingredients.
Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
We love this food for its quality ingredients, along with a pretty reasonable price. Also made in the U.S., Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food has avoided using many of the foods that can cause health problems, including wheat and corn.
There is a lot of variety, depending on your dog's age and energy level. The large dog variety includes glucosamine hydrochloride to support their joints, which can often be a problem in the larger breeds. Then, there is one with a lower fat content, perfect for those pets who may need to shed a few pounds.
Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Wellness Core provides a full range of products from wet and dry foods, to treats and toppers to tempt picky eaters.
If you are looking for something to relieve your dog's boredom from the same old flavors, the Wild Game variety includes duck, lamb, wild boar and rabbit. They've also packed in antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins and minerals for this to be a totally complete diet.
Fromm Gold Holistic Senior Dog Food
If you are looking for natural food for your senior dog, then this could be a great choice. As our dogs get older, their activity level reduces, and so this food with its lower fat content means a reduced calorie intake. This is a good solution for keeping your pet at a healthy weight. Made with duck, cheese, eggs and lamb, it also contains chicken cartilage, which can help with inflammation and probiotics to improve digestion.