A 100% natural pet food is made without the use of any manmade, chemically synthesized ingredients. An organic food is natural. Unfortunately, this label is often misleading and doesn’t always mean the pet food is truly naturally made. How do you tell the difference, and what should you look for in your natural pet food?
Vegetarian Pet Diets
Though both cats and dogs are classified scientifically as carnivores and need specific amino acids found most in animal meats but hard to find in plant proteins (vegetables, etc.), dogs can still get all they need to live a healthy life off of a very carefully designed vegetarian diet. Homemade vegetarian diets for dogs usually require the assistance of a certified veterinary nutritionist.
As much as you might want your cat to live your vegan lifestyle, cats are strictly carnivores and absolutely need to eat at least some animal meats in order to be healthy. Cats must eat meat in their diets; it’s an absolute biological necessity.
What to Look For in Natural Pet Food
Not all pet foods are created equal (though they may look similar), and not everything labeled as organic or natural pet food is actually organic or naturally made. It’s important to actually examine the nutritional label on your pet food container to be sure!
Meat Meal: A ’meal’ is a product left over after rendering. Ingredients are ground together and cooked at high temperatures in large industrial vats in order to remove all the moisture and fat. Leftover you have a protein rich product, up to 300% more protein than the original.
Normally this is a good thing, in the case of specific meals like Chicken meal or Beef meal. Generic ‘meat meals’, on the other hand, can come from nearly any source and should be avoided. You might often see ‘Meat and bone meal’, which is another unwanted pet food product because bone can be difficult on an animal’s digestion.
Corn, Grains, and Other Fillers: Though our domestic pets adjusted somewhat to our way of life over the past few thousand years, both dogs and cats are still classified as carnivores and their bodies evolved to thrive off a diet rich in animal products (animal meat, animal proteins). On the other hand, it costs pet food manufacturers much more to raise and process animals on a massive scale, as opposed to simply growing a never ending source of vegetables.
Having very little to do with actual nutrition and very much to do with saving money on a cheap product, countless manufacturers today produce plant based pet foods packed full of low quality ‘fillers’ like corn and grains. Always avoid feeding your pets corn, grains and other starchy fillers.
Organic Pet Food: Organic ingredients are produced without the use of manmade GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), manmade pesticides and chemicals, or other man made additives. Organic animal products come from animals that weren’t fed any of these manmade hormones or other substances.
- Does your natural pet food container display the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) stamp of approval?
- Are the ingredients listed within the nutritional label on the back of your pet food package listed as organic?