the perfect guide to natural pet food and Where Can I Get It?

There are many pet owners out there who are looking for a more natural and healthy food for their furry friends. Luckily, there are many sources of natural pet food that you can find online. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of natural pet food and where you can get it. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right type of food for your pet and how to store it properly to make sure it’s fresh and nutritious. So stay tuned – this is going to be the ultimate guide to natural pet food for pets!

Natural pet food… there is much confusion today as to just what kind of food could or should be called “natural pet food”.  Does NATURAL mean that absolutely nothing can be done to or added to a food?  Does NATURAL mean the food product was strictly organically grown or fed? (And what exactly does “organic” really mean?)   Can a NATURAL food product have other “natural” substances added such as flavor enhancers and still qualify as NATURAL?  The dictionary gives us some clues when NATURAL is defined  as …Present in or produced by nature. Conforming to the usual course of nature. etc.  You can see that even the dictionary has multiple connotations for the term NATURAL.  So… sometimes you may have to rely on your own common sense to tell you which pet food is a NATURAL product and which falls short of your concept.  There has recently been some important news for pet owners that will help to ensure some standards in the pet food industry, standards that will help us decide which foods to feed our dogs and cats. 

Natural Pet Food and Where Can I Get It


In the summer of 2001 the Pet Food Committee of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) obtained approval for suggested guidelines for manufacturers of pet foods to follow when referring to the term NATURAL.  When it comes to labeling commercial feeds, pet foods, and specialty pet foods the use of the term “natural” is only acceptable in reference to the product as a whole when all of the ingredients and components of ingredients meet the definition.  The use of the term “natural” on the label is false and misleading if any chemically synthesized ingredients are present in the product.  Prophylene Glycol and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) are two common examples of chemically synthesized ingredients found in some pet foods. The committee suggested that an exception be made for synthetic vitamin and mineral additives as long as the product is not used as a dietary supplement.  

Here is the official AAFCO definition for “natural” as the term relates to pet food:  “NATURAL…  A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subjected to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”

(If you can understand that definition, good for you.  I got an A in college English and still cannot quite get a grip on the statement’s meaning.)

Maybe we can simply use some common sense when we are trying to feed our pets as natural a food as possible. 
 Let’s use an easy example to compare two diets and choose which seems
 by common sense to be the most “NATURAL”.

Compare Two Diets-Most “NATURAL” from a practical standpoint.

DELI-CAT by Purina
for cats
Animal Food Services’ Feline Pet Patties
for cats
  
Ingredients: (Note: 4 of the first 6 ingredients are derived from GRAINS!) Brewers Rice, Soybean meal, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with BHA, ground yellow corn…Ingredients: beef, meat by-products (such as liver, kidneys, lung, heart, spleen, etc. and not including hair, horn, teeth, or hooves), poultry, finely ground bone, yeast culture, and vitamins and minerals in proper amounts.
preserved by: butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA)preserved by: flash freezing or freeze-drying
coloring agents added: Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2 and other color.coloring agents added: None
Which of these two diets approaches what common sense tells you a cat would eat if left to its natural tendencies?  Pretty obvious, isn’t it!   Your common sense tells you which is the better product for your cat because one of these two diets is closer to your sense of what would be NATURAL for your cat to eat.

Don’t be fooled by key words or gimmicks.  Carefully read the label of the food you are considering.

When you see the ingredients of Animal Food Services’ canine and feline diets your common sense will tell you that  these products are as close to a NATURAL PET FOOD as a formulated and balanced, raw, processed food can be for dogs and cats.  There are numerous pet food manufacturers in addition to Animal Food Services that strive to provide frozen, dry, or canned pet foods that meet the concept of a “natural” food for dogs and cats. 

Here is a list of a few, all of which are described (including ingredient lists) in detail at, and can even be ordered from, PetFoodDirect.com.

Ingredient Lists

Neura Wellness

Wellness is a uniquely formulated holistic pet food, made with only the finest human grade ingredients. There are no animal by-products and Wellness is the only baked holistic pet food available. Wellness does not contain any wheat, corn, soybean, egg, animal fat or dairy products. Wellness is baked, not extruded, creating a food that is more digestible and more palatable, with an aroma that pets love!  

Wysong Archetype Canine/Feline Diet

NEW! Formulated to more closely emulate the natural diet of companion animals, complete with meat, organs, bones, essential fatty acids, probioitcs, enzymes, plant nutrients and other vital micronutrients. It is not heated in any stage of production, and contains no grains, which unnaturally dilute the diet with high levels of carbohydrates. It is a lightweight, concentrated food that can be reconstituted into a nutritious gruel.  

Natural Balance Dog Food Roll Beef & Rice Formula

Natural Balance® Dog Food Rolls contain only premium ingredients: USDA inspected meats (an excellent source of protein), and kelp meal (an excellent natural source of vitamins, mineral and trace elements). The high quality animal fats (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of vitamin E, and ascorbic acid – vitamin C) helps your dog have a healthy skin and a shiny coat. Natural Balance® Dog Food Rolls are very appealing to both the owner and, more importantly, to the dog. Can be kept unopened at room temperature for up to 6 months! 

Annamaet Ultra 32% 

Annamaet Ultra is designed for very active dogs — sleddogs, hunting dogs, search and rescue, show dogs and puppies. 

Evolve Maintenance Dog Food

Evolve natural dog food, with its premium, all-natural ingredients and state-of-the-art packing (resealable bag), represents the ultimate in care and  nutrition for your dog. Evolve is comprised of the same basic food groups that humans require for a well-balanced, healthy diet. Contains lamb, yogurt, spinach, brown rice, chicken meal, green split peas, beets, fish oil, garlic, tomatoes, dried whole egg, mineral proteinates, and farmer’s cheese. 

Natural Blend Adult Health Optimization Formula by Royal Canin

As an adult dog, your dog has nutritional needs specific to its life stage. Natural Blend Adult Formula combines just the right amount of fat and protein along with natural supplements to give your adult dog truly complete nutrition. The protein level supplies your dog with the quality protein needed to maintain strong bones and muscles. The fat content will supply your dog with the energy needed for a normally active lifestyle. Vegetables and fruits combine with ingredients like chicken, rice and oatmeal to provide your dog with necessary vitamins and minerals.  

PetGuard LifeSpan Super Premium Dog Food

PetGuard Premium LifeSpan® is the first all natural premium food for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. These crunchy nuggets provide your dog with optimum nutrition in a scientific blend of real chicken, whole grains, essential vitamins and chelated minerals. No red meat; no by-products. PetGuard Premium LifeSpan is completely free of soy, wheat and yeast.  

Sensible Choice Adult Chicken Meal & Rice

Sensible Choice Chicken Meal And Rice Adult Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages. 

Azmira Classic Formula Dog Food with Organic Chinese Mushrooms

NEW! Made of only the finest USDA Beef and whole grains, our Classic formula is top nutrition for your top dog. As with all of our formulas Classic is made to Lisa’s exacting standards and is formulated for optimum nutrition. Fish meal and Canola oil are added to provide a rich source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.  

How does a customer decide what to buy?

How does the consumer know what to buy?  All you really have time for is to read the label, see the fancy packaging, and note that it says “Complete and Balanced” and you will buy with a confidence instilled by the advertising claims.  To confuse things even more, some very reputable major pet food companies make many different foods of varying quality and price levels.  Some products are high quality and some barely meet the minimum requirements for dogs and cats.  Plus… economic  principles drives the need to offer products in various price ranges to meet the demands of pet owners.  Unfortunately for some pets the “pet food” they receive may be minimally nourishing.

PET FOOD COMPANIESADVERTISING AGENCIES
If you take a close look at the pet food industry today you will note the tremendous competition among pet food companies.  There is even competition within some companies among various specialty brand divisions!  And this competition is driven by advertising… the art of persuading pet owners to buy THIS PET FOOD and pass all the others by.  So… this leads to competition among the advertising agencies and marketers of the pet food products. The advertising agency must come up with an eye-catching, attention-grabbing hook to get the pet owner’s attention.  In many cases this fierce competition for your hard-earned dollar may mislead you about exactly how nourishing your pet’s food really is.   Advertising agencies don’t care what’s IN THE BAG, their interest is to SELL THE BAG!  If the label colors and logo strike your fancy, and the short promo stating such words as High Protein or High Performance or Active Energy can make you believe you are getting a high quality product, then the advertising agency has done its job.  Unfortunately,  the dog or cat often gets the short end of the deal.

Until everyone agrees on what exactly the term NATURAL means as relating to pet food, you must be guided by your judgment based upon reading the ingredient list on the label of the pet food you are considering.  Until some brave pet food company starts selling whole rabbits, mice, chickens, squirrels, etc., as pet food we may have to accept more modern definitions of Natural Pet Food.   The foods listed above come as close as we can get at this time.

We hope that you have found this blog helpful in understanding the different types of natural pet food, where to find it, and some of the benefits of feeding your pet this way. Do you have any questions about natural pet food that we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below and we would be happy to answer them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs live longer on natural food?

A study published in Belgium called “Relation Between the Domestic Dogs: Well-Being and Life Expectancy, A Statistical Essay” found that dogs fed a high-quality, homemade diet (rather than table scraps or industrial, commercial pet food) lived 32 months longer.

What are the most important ingredients in dog food?

Cereals, such as grain, rice bran, and beet pulp, are fundamental carbohydrates.
Vegetables.
Fish, which are high in both protein and calcium, are a good source of both.
Fats and oils provide vitamins as well as the energy that dogs require to live.
Sodium and chloride are both salts.

What is natural pet food?

Natural Pet food must be manufactured without artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives in order to be branded “natural.” The ingredients in natural food can only come from plants, animals, or naturally occurring minerals, with the exception of a few vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients.

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