Organic Dog Food

Food is fuel. The higher the quality of fuel you give a dog, the better their health. After all, you don't see professional athlete scarfing down Burger King when they are training. The natural evolution of this question then becomes whether giving your pup organic dog food is a smart choice from a health perspective while also being worth the additional costs? 
As dog owners, we've all experienced the same Godzilla versus Bambi moment at the pet store. You walk in to the store in a good mood and head to the dog food section to pick up a bag for your fur ball. 20 Organic Dog Foodminutes later, you are slowly rocking like a zombie as you look at a wall of different dog food brands with messages that would make a marketing professor weep with joy. 
Do you go with lamb or beef? 
How about rice? Wait, would a dog eat rice? Is that what they feed them in China? 
This bag has a wolf on the front. Wait, do I really want my dog to take on the characteristics of a wolf? 
This brand has natural grains, but this other brand brags it is grain free? 
At this point, you will be forgiven if drool is threatening to cascade over the corner of your lips. Who ever new the options for dog food could be so extensive and with so many contradictory claims? Let's try to bring some clarity to the situation by focusing on one topic at a time. In this article, we'll start with the question of whether organic dog food is better for your dog and worth the additional cost. 
Organic Dog Food
If we go by cost alone, then organic is the way to go with dog food. Of course, a Ferrari is very expensive as well, but I wouldn't want to drive one in rush hour traffic. Okay, I would, but you get my point. 
As with much in life, cost does not necessarily equate to quality. With dog food, the trick is to consider what organic actually means. In the case of the meat in the food, organic really refers to the food the chicken, cow, lamb or what have you was fed before being added as an ingredient to the food. 
While organic dog food sounds good, it is important to understand it often comes up short in relation to the meat percentages in the food. Why? Raising an animal organically costs a good bit of money. If the meat percentage in organic dog food was 50 to 70 percent, the cost would be twice as much as non-organic foods. Such a massive price disparity would be difficult for an organic company to pull off.
Dogs are predators and meat is their number one food of choice. With organic dog food, they are getting higher quality meat ingredients, but a smaller amount of it. It is not uncommon for the percentage to be as low as 25 percent. 
Does this mean you should automatically ignore organic options? Not at all. While there may be meat percentage issues, the fact is there are also almost no chemicals in these foods. Non-organic dog food products are packed with chemicals and nobody seems to really be clear on what impact these chemicals have on the health of the dog long term. 
How about an example? Non-organic dog food often contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene, better known as BHT. This chemical compound is banned as an additive in food for humans in most countries [although not the U.S.] because it is a carcinogen known to cause cancerous tumors in testing. Organic dog food does not contain it, which certainly suggests the organic product is better for your dog long term. Keep in mind, this is just one chemical.
Ultimately, any dog food is only valuable if your pup will actually eat it. Many dogs can be finicky when it comes to food as you undoubtedly know. If you switch to organic food or any new brand, buy a small bag on the first go around. Give your dog a few days to try it out. If they like it, you can purchase a larger bag and are good to go. If they don't, you will not be stuck with a 40 pound bag of useless dog food you continually try to pawn off on friends and co-workers. 
So, should you go organic or not? I'm of the personal opinion organic food is better for the long term health of a dog. I generally try to avoid eating food containing ingredients I can't pronounce. I apply the same rule to my dog's food. Having said this, a high quality non-organic food isn't going to harm your dog so you don't have to feel guilty if you go in that direction. 
Annie Klacks

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