Holistic dog food, all-natural dog food, premium, gourmet? With many different dog foods available all with a variety of information on their labels, it can often be confusing to know what’s best for our pets. When you see “holistic” on dog food packaging, what does this mean and is it really any healthier?
What is Holistic Dog Food?
In general terms, “holistic” means considering parts in relation to the whole. This is why we use the term “holistic medicine” when we are talking about an approach to medicine that takes into account a person’s general well-being when it comes to a specific ailment.
In the pet food world, however, “holistic dog food” means nothing at all. It’s used on packaging to imply that the food takes into account a dog’s full scope of nutritional needs, or that the food is more natural. In reality, the word “holistic” is not regulated by either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it comes to dog food or the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Pet food companies add this label to their food to convince customers to purchase their product. But don’t be fooled. “Holistic dog food” doesn’t truly mean anything more than “cool”! Check out other misleading labels here.
How to Purchase “Holistic” Dog Food
If you are a dog owner looking for holistic dog food, chances are what you’re really after is a more natural dog food that will keep your dog happy, healthy, and well-fed. A balanced diet for your dog will have benefits including...
- Stronger immune system functioning
- Improved heart health
- Healthy vision and hearing
- Regular and healthy digestion
- Healthy skin and coat
Ignore the label, and instead look for a food that has high-quality ingredients, with extra attention being paid to both the protein, fats, and calorie content. It’s critical to find a food that meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
What Else Should You Be Looking For?
- A high-quality source of animal protein
- Digestible, high-quality carbohydrates
- Healthy fats (think sunflower or fish oil)
High-quality animal protein will ensure the correct nutrients are consumed by your pet, while digestible carbohydrates preventing stomach issues, improves digestion, and provides easily-accessible energy for your dog. Healthy fats provide essential fatty acids which will aid and support your pet’s skin, coat and even the health of your dog’s brain.
The holistic dog food label won’t tell you much, but “human-grade” will. Human-grade dog food means that the food is formulated with whole foods, and that it’s legally suitable for human digestion. Want your dog to be his healthiest self? Looking for recipes like Ollie’s with fresh ingredients (think chicken, kale, lamb, and chia seeds). These are the labels that matter the most.
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.