Society conditions us to believe that organic food is generally healthier for us to eat. But what about our pets? Are there benefits of organic pet food for our cats and dogs? We have experts Dr. Nobuki Stobaeus, PetMio Vet Advisory Panel member, and Kasra Farsad, PetMio Chief Food Scientist, to answer your questions about the benefits of organic pet food.
Organic Pet Food: What Does that Mean?
Before we dive too deep into the possible benefits of organic pet food, let’s first understand what exactly that claim means.
The USDA holds organic foods in the pet food industry to the same standards as organic human foods. Farsad asserts that certified organic pet foods will display a USDA organic seal and must be made of at least 90% organic ingredients. In order to claim a food is “made of organic ingredients,” at least 70% of the food must be organic.
Dr. Stobaeus says, “There are many pet foods that claim to be organic, but they are not, so please check for the USDA organic seal!”
Vet Disclaimer: Important Notes on the Pet Food Industry and Organic Pet Food Research
Dr. Stobaeus wants to make a few things clear about the nature of organic pet food in the pet food industry:
“The general vet consensus is that there is no difference between organic and non-organic pet foods. We tend to value the nutrient itself and not really where it comes from. An example – protein from fresh, farm raised, antibiotic-free chicken meat vs chicken by-product is equal. Now, I do believe this is due to a lack of knowledge and research in this area since we know in humans, the fresher and more organic it is, the healthier an individual generally is.”
PetMio strongly believes high quality nutrients in your pet food can only help your pet. Organic food production processes are typically considered something that increases the quality and therefore benefits of pet food. However, there is little research in the industry today that can directly support that assumption.
This is another area where PetMio will not rely on industry norms to make our pet food; we will have to set the bar high for ourselves.
The Skinny: Benefits of Organic Pet Food Other Considerations
The overall reduction in chemicals used in the making of the food is the main benefit of organic pet foods. Farsad mentions organic foods are held to very strict standards both in growth and production processes. This can limit the possibility that harmful ingredients make it to your cat or dog.
Another potential benefits of organic pet food is easing the digestive process. Dr. Stobaeus stresses that most pets will do fine absorbing nutrients from either organic or non-organic foods. Pets with sensitive intestinal tracts, however, will most likely benefit from organic foods since this could help to reduce any inflamed tissue.
While organic food can only help your pet, it is far from the only important food health consideration.
For instance, Dr. Stobaeus tries to have plenty of calories and protein for younger pets, and have plenty of fiber, antioxidants and omega fatty acids for older pets. There are several articles in the PetMio blog that can help you with specific age ranges and health concerns.
As another example, figuring out if your pet actually has an allergy to grain is more important than just getting organic pet food.
If you have the ability to buy organic pet food, Dr. Stobaeus recommends you do so. Backing him up, Farsad notes that organic foods are more than just about the way the food is grown. It is also typical for producers of organic foods to commit to ensuring their food products are handled better, exposed to minimal processing, and their livestock are raised in a humane environment.
However, pay attention to the actual nutrients in the pet food itself. The organic pet food label is not the be all, end all of what can be considered appropriate pet food.
Have More Questions?
Do you have further questions or comments about organic pet food? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.