So what does Holistic mean to your Pet?
Well, that depends. All 3 claims mean different things. Just because one food is labeled organic, holistic or natural does not mean it is better for your pet.
- The term “Natural” means a feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources that have not been produced by a chemical synthetic process.
- The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines and regulates this term.
- Organic crops must be grown on land free of pesticides for at least 3 years.
- Organic livestock is fed organic feed, is not given antibiotics or growth hormones, and has access to the outdoors.
- The US dept. of Agriculture (USDA) defines and regulates this term.
- Look for the USDA organic seal as proof of a certified organic pet food. Pet foods with this seal must contain 95%-100% organic ingredients.
- “Holistic” as it refers to pet foods is not defined or regulated by any regulatory body. Basically a pet food company can use this term on any food for any reason.
All three of these terms are frequently used on pet food marketing materials. Be a smart consumer and look for the AAFCO labels and feeding trials to help make your decisions.
Holistic dog and cat foods are foods that have been created with balance in mind. All ingredients in the food have been balanced not only to provide dogs with optimal nutrition, but also to support overall well being. Ingredients are selected with their unique purpose in mind whether it is to provide high levels of fatty acids or to include more digestible proteins. Since every individual dog has different nutritional needs, there is a significant degree of variation among types of holistic dog food blends. In contrast to holistic dog foods designed for balance, many lower quality dog food options focus on low cost production costs which result in lower quality ingredients.
Feeding Holistic Versus Feeding Low Quality Kibble
Feeding a dog a holistic food versus feeding a low quality kibble is akin to eating at a nice restaurant versus eating at a fast food chain. Dogs fed poor quality kibble may appear to have dull eyes, a flat non-shiny coat, a lack of energy, excessive defecation, flatulence and digestive complaints. These symptoms (when not caused by another mitigating factor) point to a dog that is not receiving adequate levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Excessive defecation can also point to excessive levels of fillers or an inability to process specific carbohydrates such as corn or wheat.
A dog that is being fed a high quality kibble (whether holistic or not) will appear bright eyed, alert, active, have a healthy coat, have little to no gas, will defecate one to two times daily and will have a lot less trouble with flatulence.
Here are some great superfoods for your pets diet!