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Natural Dog Food

Natural dog food…How many brands are you seeing that tote that label? But just what constitutes “Natural”? There is a lot of confusion in the minds of most dog owners regarding what kind of natural dog food is best for their dog. Hardly anyone agrees with the definition of natural dog food. It is often a matter of using common sense when deciding what qualifies.

It is commonly believed that among humans we are what we eat. This holds true in the case of dogs as well, so it is not surprising to learn that more dog owners are choosing to feed their dogs natural dog foods. In fact, the Organic Trade Association has determined that growth in sales of natural dog foods has grown about three times the growth rate of organic foods for human consumption.

So Just What Is Natural Dog Food?

When it comes to labeling of commercial pet food, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee sets the guidelines. As of 2001, the guidelines include this definition:

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.

In order to label a dog food as natural, all ingredients must also be natural. The only exception to this is vitamins and mineral additives not being sold as a dietary supplement. So if you see BHA as an ingredient on a bag of so-called ‘natural dog food’, it would be considered false and misleading labeling.

Recommended Natural Dog Foods

With all the brands out there advertising the fact they are all natural, it might get confusing on which natural dog foods are best for your dog. I have weeded through the list, vetted them with popular dog food review sites, and come up with a few recommendations to help you make the right decision, assuming you want to go with the natural dog food diet.

I have included ratings from three different websites for each recommended natural dog food brand. Dog Food Advisor rates dog foods after analyzing the ingredients for quality and content. Amazon and Chewy ratings are based on personal opinions of people who have bought the particular brand and reflect how their dogs reacted to that brand.

Note that I may receive compensation from Amazon should you choose to buy your dog food through my links. You can read my full Affiliate Disclosure Statement by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. If you choose not to credit me with the sale, you can simply go to the site and search for the dog food you are interested in.

Natural Dry Dog Foods

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain Free Duck, Sweet Potatoes and Whole Peas

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain Free Duck, Sweet Potatoes and Whole Peas Outside Reviews
Source Rating
Dog Food Advisor 5 stars
Amazon 4.7 stars
Chewy 4.8 stars

The Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain Free product line offers two different recipes, but the Duck Sweet Potatoes and Whole Peas had the highest rating. This does not mean the Poultry-Free should not be given a shot though, as it followed the lead only slightly!

Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain Free products have risen in price recently, and the cost is about $3.00 a pound at Amazon. Right now (January, 2016) it is much cheaper at Chewy, at just over $2.00 a pound. To buy this product from Chewy, click here (non-affiliate link).

Merrick Pet Care purchased the Castor and Pollux line of dog foods in April, 2012. All dog foods are manufactured at the company facilities in Hereford, Texas. On July 21, 2015, Nestlé Purina PetCare announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Merrick Pet Care. When completed, however, there are no plans to change operations at Merrick, as it will continue running as a separate company.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula Dry Dog Food

Nature's Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula Outside Reviews
Source Rating
Dog Food Advisor 5 stars
Amazon 4.6 stars
Chewy 4.8 stars

The Nature’s Variety Instinct product line offers five different recipes, so if duck and turkey is not appealing to your dog, you could also try recipes based on rabbit, beef and lamb, chicken, or salmon.

The Nature’s Variety Instinct products cost is similar at both Amazon and Chewy, at about $2.75 a pound at Amazon.

Nature’s Variety first appeared in 2001, and was founded in Lincoln, Nebraska. The company is now owned by Catterton Partners and Agrolimen, which maintains its offices in St. Louis, Missouri. They also provide canned dog food and raw dog food products. Dry dog food bearing the name Nature’s Variety is actually manufactured by either Hagen Pet Foods at its facility in Waverly, New York or by C.J. Foods at its facilities in Burn, Kansas and Pawnee City, Nebraska.

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