Natural Pet Food Options

Natural Pet Food Options

Just because a pet food is labeled as "natural," doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy (or even safe!) for your animal. We've seen many products that claim to be natural despite being made with questionable ingredients. So why are these products even allowed to be labeled as "natural?" It turns out that the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)’s interpretation of "natural" leaves a lot of room for interpretation:

Just because a pet food is labeled as "natural," doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy (or even safe!) for your animal. We've seen many products that claim to be natural despite being made with questionable ingredients. So why are these products even allowed to be labeled as "natural?" It turns out that the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)’s interpretation of "natural" leaves a lot of room for interpretation:

“A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject 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.”

Notice how nothing is mentioned about the well-being of the plants or animals involved? And yet we know for a fact that stress and poor nutrition contribute to diseases in humans and animals.

When I picture a natural beef product, I picture a cow grazing in an open pasture, happy as can be. A natural environment is part of the picture: green grass, blue skies, and the shining sun. Yet under the above definition, a cow can be fed genetically modified (GMO) corn, kept in an inhumane environment, and still be considered a "natural" ingredient even though cows can't naturally digest corn and the "naturalness" of GMOs is also questionable. The truth is that you cannot get a quality natural product if you do not raise the animal in its natural environment and feed it what it would naturally consume.

According to AAFCO's definition of "natural," companies can also process their products in any way they wish, as long as no chemically synthetic substances are involved. However, excessive heat and processing is detrimental to food and realistically, the less heat applied to the meat, the more natural the state of the meat is.

Why do you want to feed your cat or dog a “natural” pet food?

I think a better question is why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you want to feed your pet what their body biologically needs in order to thrive? Natural isn’t just a word to be placed on a package by a company. “Natural” is a lifestyle and belief system that food companies should thrive on. Many of the companies that we carry at The Pet Beastro have the same story of origin: they wanted to create a real, natural, healthy, and palatable food for their pets and yours. They also strive to be the best, which to them means finding the freshest, most sustainably harvested ingredients on the planet.

Natural food is easily recognized by your animal's digestive system. The body doesn’t have to sort through the waste that can be found in other non-natural foods, such as synthetics and antibiotics, to find its nutrition. This enables the food to do what it was meant to do, nourish your pet’s body so he can thrive.

How do you know if a pet food is “natural?”

To know if your pet food is natural, you have to know if your pet food supplier is on the same page as you are when it comes to the definition of natural. These are all important questions to ask your pet food provider to find out the truth behind your pet’s food:

How is the food sourced?

How are the animals raised: Cage-free? Free range? Hormone- and antibiotic-free?

What are the animals fed?

Are the fruit and vegetables contained in the food sourced as ethically as the meat?

Where is the meat listed in the ingredient panel? Is it the first ingredient listed or is it a few down on the list?

What does The Pet Beastro look for in “natural” pet foods for the store?

The Pet Beastro defines the word “natural” as encompassing everything from what the animal or plant is fed to how it was raised and ultimately processed into food. If the animal was raised in its natural environment, fed only what it would naturally eat, and processed minimally and humanely, then it is natural.

Champion Petfoods (maker of Orijen and Acana) is a perfect example of a company that lives up to the natural pet food reputation. The company is based in Alberta, Canada and sources many of its ingredients locally. If they are unable to source from Canada, then they source from the United Kingdom and North America. Always ethical and detail driven, they even have their own boar farm because they couldn’t source from one within their area that lived up to their high standards.

We sell a selection of Orijen products through our online market. See them here.

Raw Bistro Pet Fare is another example of a blue-ribbon company that follows their instinct on making a biologically-appropriate food for pets. Their foods contain local, grass-fed, free-range meats and organic fruits and vegetables.

Shop our selection of Raw Bistro treats here.

The Honest Kitchen has recently joined the non-GMO project certification to prove that they are committed to providing our pets with a phenomenal product that is natural and healthy.

See some of the Honest Kitchen products we sell through our online market here.

Conclusion

It's always a red flag if a company can’t answer your questions about their products. This is usually an indication that instead of being focused on creating healthy and safe products, they are driven towards another goal, like only making a profit. We believe that all pet food companies should put their sole focus on creating great products.

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