Is Organic Dog Food Healthier?

. 3 min read

Is organic dog food a better option or our pets? When it comes to dog food, what do terms like “organic” and “all natural” really mean? As health-conscious humans, we're constantly sifting through the research about whether organic food is better for ourselves and our families. And as pet parents, we always try our best to put healthy, balanced meals our pups' bowls. But does organic food matter as much for dogs, or is it just another dog food marketing ploy? The bottom line: Organic dog food is often not all it's cracked up to be for pups.

Here are the top problems with organic dog food and everything you need to know before buying.

#1 Organic dog food is not well regulated.

One of the biggest issues with buying your pup organic food is that, unlike for human food, there aren't great standards in place: the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to define "organic" as it applies to pet foods, so the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets the standards for the National Organic Program (NOP), and the individual states are supposed to regulate them.

#2 An "organic dog food" label can be misleading.

Technically, the NOP regulations mandate that if companies want the coveted organic seal on dog food, at least 95 percent of the food must be organic by weight. Labels can say they're "made with organic ingredients" if at least 70 percent of the ingredients in the dog food are organic. Here's where it gets tricky: Pet food companies can say they're organic even when their food doesn't contain organic ingredients because no agency requires proof of the pet food health claims.

#3 It may be organic, but still not healthy for dogs.

Unfortunately, being "organic" does not guarantee that the dog food is good for your pup: Even if what you buy does contain organic ingredients, they may have been heavily processed in order to make the food shelf stable (thus stripping them of their nutritional value.) Plus, according to Greg Aldrich, PhD, research associate professor and pet food program coordinator at Kansas State University, it's difficult to secure the raw ingredients to produce a truly organic pet food within the framework of the AAFCO guidelines. So the food may be organic, but not nutritionally complete.

#4 Organic dog food is expensive and you may be paying more unnecessarily.

The word "organic" is often used to increase the seeming value of the dog food (and to charge you more!). But because the commercial dog food category is still lacking in strict regulations, there are some organic brands that are using chemicals and preservatives in their food. Others will slap on an organic label without being completely honest about their ingredients. So you might be paying more for food that isn't worth it.

Ollie dog food, on the other hand, is always 100-percent transparent about the whole, fresh ingredients we use and every recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.

#5 Organic ingredients aren't necessarily better for dogs

When it comes to dog food, "there is no documented positive nutritional, health, or safety benefits to organic," Aldrich says. There have been studies about the pros and cons of grains, raw food, and specific ingredients, but research on organic ingredients in a dog's diet is surprisingly lacking. So we really don't know—organic dog food could be healthier for pups or it could be exactly the same.

What we do know? The most important thing is that your dog eat a healthy diet made with real, high-quality ingredients that are nutritionally balanced. Think about it: Would you rather eat organic gummy bears or a fresh salad with ingredients that aren't all organic? Exactly.

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.