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Best Organic Dog Food

Updated June 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
Castor & Pollux
Organix Organic Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

Leading organic option that’s grain-free and made with high-quality ingredients to ensure pet health.

Pros

Contains superfoods with no harmful chemicals or preservatives. Premium ingredients promote overall digestive and heart health, giving your pet a longer, healthier life.

Cons

Is more expensive per pound than other brands.

Best Bang for the Buck
Tender & True 20 lb. Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food
Tender & True Pet Nutrition
20 lb. Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Dog Food
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Best for Everyday Use
Bottom Line

Premium ingredients make this a great choice for daily feeding.

Pros

All-natural, organic product that is made without wheat, grain, corn, or soy. Includes healthy minerals and vitamins vital to your pets’ health and well-being.

Cons

Not recommended for large breeds.

Evanger’s Organics Canned Dinner for Dogs
Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc.
Canned Dinner for Dogs
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Most Flavor Variety
Bottom Line

Created for better pet nutrition for all stages, from puppies to nursing females to senior dogs.

Pros

Manufactured in the U.S. Made with raw ingredients, including natural juices. Available in other flavors to meet your pet's nutritional needs or wants. Can be mixed with dry food to enhance digestion and flavor.

Cons

Pickier dogs seem to have trouble eating this.

Instinct Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Dog Food
Instinct
Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Dog Food
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Fun Flavors
Bottom Line

This formula of raw ingredients and no fillers ensures that your dog gets a number of important vitamins and proteins.

Pros

Unique mix is crafted from natural brown rice and real salmon. Contains no added minerals or additives that may trigger allergic reactions. Kibble is freeze-dried for optimum longevity. Contains several important nutrients and minerals for pet health.

Cons

May not be the best choice for dogs who prefer chicken.

Open Farm Beef Grain-Free Dog Food
Open Farm
Beef Grain-Free Dog Food
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Most Eco-friendly
Bottom Line

This is an ethically sourced bag of dry food that offers high-quality ingredients without sacrificing flavor.

Pros

Made from grass-fed Wagyu beef, ensuring no additives in the formula. Features a variety of nutrient-rich vegetables and lentils for both flavor and health. Dry kibble won't make a mess and is easy to consume.

Cons

Kibble size is quite small, so may not be the best pick for larger dogs.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best organic dog food

One of the most important decisions to make as a dog owner is what to feed your pup. Food should match their needs, providing them with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support their age, breed, and lifestyle. With a wide range of options available, some owners are turning to organic meals for their dog as a means to keep them healthy and happy.

Organic dog food gives owners peace of mind when it comes to what’s included in the formulas, as well as what is not included. Organic dog food is free of certain synthetics that some people want to shy away from while featuring whole foods made under more sustainable circumstances.

As it's such a significant decision, it’s useful to understand what specifically defines organic dog food and how it stacks up against formulas that don’t fall under the organic headline. Organic dog food takes a lot of different forms, and with so many options available, finding the right type takes time. 

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Just like humans, dogs enjoy a clean plate to eat off of. Be sure to wash dog food bowls after every meal to avoid the buildup of any bacteria and to keep the food tasting fresh.

How to buy the best organic dog food

What is organic dog food?

Organic dog food is free of hormones, preservatives, antibiotics, and other banned synthetics. There are no official U.S. guidelines for pet-specific organic food, and instead pet food suppliers in the U.S. must adhere to the organic guidelines set for humans. 

That means that plants included in the ingredients must not be made from genetically modified seeds and the farm in which they’re grown must not use GMOs. Concerning meat ingredients, animals must be raised in what’s considered humane, natural environments and must be given organic feed. 

In order to have a seal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the formula must have at least 95% organic ingredients; those with 100% organic ingredients will likely proudly display it. Those that aren’t exclusively organic but still include some notable organic ingredients may be certified with 70% designation.

Organic dog food benefits and drawbacks

The main benefit of organic dog food is that it foregoes ingredients that are common allergens and others that have been linked with health concerns. However, it’s worth noting that there are plenty of formulas that aren’t organic but still free of gluten, egg, corn, soy, and other ingredients that may cause allergies and reactions.

Organic food comes at a significantly higher price than other options, though it does come with assurances about what’s included and what’s not, so dog owners can serve food with peace of mind. Most dogs react well to organic food — it may eliminate or lessen allergic reactions and associated behavior, such as shedding, and may boost digestive and immune processes as well.

Food type

Organic dog food comes in a few different types, from complete meals to toppings and treats.

  • Dry dog food: Often referred to as kibble, dry dog food is the go-to choice for many dog owners, organic or otherwise. The shape and texture of the food helps keep teeth clean, while it tends to be easy to store and preserve for long periods of time. What’s more, it’s often more cost-effective than alternatives.
  • Wet food: This option is ideal for smaller dogs, pickier eaters and those with teeth, gum, and mouth sensitivities. Wet food is more aromatic, enticing those dogs who may be particular, although the odor may not be appealing to humans. Wet food isn’t as cost-effective or easy to store as dry food, so feeding larger dogs with it isn’t practical. However, it doesn’t require as much strength to consume, so dogs with mouth issues will be better served by wet food.
  • Raw food: Some owners prefer a raw food diet, but this comes at a high price and requires special care. Raw food needs to be handled and stored safely to avoid contamination.
  • Freeze-dried food: Another option is freeze-dried food, in which raw food stays frozen before eating. This option is a little less time-consuming than preparing and serving raw food since it’s frozen to start; however, it still requires careful administration. Once thawed, freeze-dried food should be consumed immediately and not placed back into the fridge or freezer.
  • Toppers: These are additions or supplements to main meals that may be more enticing or nutritious than the base meal. Toppers may be wet or dry and include spices or sauces. Toppers are added in small amounts to dogs’ meals and offer a welcome middle ground for those who want to introduce some organic ingredients into their dog’s food.
  • Treats: Organic dog treats are also available for those seeking to reward their pups with something tasty and healthy.

Size

Organic dry dog food comes in various sized bags, with smaller options around four or five pounds and larger selections running up to 20 or 30 pounds. Larger options offer a better deal, but it’s important to have room to store bigger bags, and your dog will also need to consume it within a reasonable time so it doesn’t go bad. Smaller options may be best if you’re introducing your dog to a new formula to see if they enjoy it.

Most wet food comes in 13-ounce cans, while toppers, treats, and freeze-dried food tend to be relatively small in size as well.

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Staff Tip
Always provide your dog with a bowl of clean, fresh water at hand. Get into the habit of regularly washing the bowl as well — not just when it’s empty.
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Features of organic dog food

Ingredients

Ingredients are listed in descending order of prevalence, with the most featured ingredient posted first. The first two ingredients typically are a combination of meat and vegetables. Chicken is the most common meat ingredient, while beef, salmon, and turkey are also easy to find. Some organic options may also feature lamb, rabbit, or other fish.

Organic formulas feature an ingredient list that’s easier to read, as there will be no preservatives or synthetics. 

Sustainability

One of the appeals of organic food is that it’s often made sustainably, limiting any harmful effect the process may have on the environment, while also employing humane practices with animals. Some companies are proud of their efforts and showcase and explain their sustainable processes in detail in order to appeal to eco-conscious consumers, which may include sustainable packaging as well. For those interested in making a positive environmental impact, seek out dog food made with sustainability in mind.

Lifestyle

While some dog food formulas are made for all lifestyles and stages, there are others that are more focused, with ingredients that cater to certain ages and activity levels. Some boast more protein for those dogs who are particularly adventurous, while others may cut the fat or calorie count for older dogs.

Some companies advertise “holistic” food, but that phrase doesn’t have a specific definition or health standard. Instead it implies that the food takes a comprehensive approach to health, but the claim may be dubious and hard to prove.

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Accessories

Dog food bowl

For eager eaters, a slow feeder is a smart way to help them enjoy their meal and consume it safely. The Fun Feeder Slo Bowl is an inexpensive option by Outward Hound that challenges excited dogs to take their time.

Dog food storage container

For those wanting dry food, it’s important to have a sealed container that protects from light, air, and moisture to preserve the quality. The Simplehuman 25-Liter Stainless Steel Pet Food Container is durable and effective at keeping food fresh.

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Staff Tip
While dry dog food should be stored in an airtight container, it doesn’t mean you need to pour it out of the bag. Some brands advise placing the bag directly into the container if possible for more effective preservation.
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Cost of organic dog food

Inexpensive: Smaller bags of food, including toppers and treats, cost $20 or less.

Mid-range: Most organic dog food costs between $20 and $40, which includes small and medium-size bags of meals, including freeze-dried options.

Expensive: The largest bags of organic dog food cost $40 and up.

Tips

  • Transition slowly. When introducing a new formula, transition over 10 to 14 days by adding a little to the old food and then slowly increasing the amount. This will help your dog’s stomach adjust and avoid any potential upset.
  • Monitor for changes. In the first few weeks when introducing a new formula, keep a close eye on your dog to note any changes. Any excessive shedding, itching, or panting, as well as any irregularity, may be a sign that the formula isn’t working.
  • Create a budget. Organic dog food costs more than traditional options, so it’s important to consider how much you’ll go through over time. Make a budget and plan accordingly.
  • Talk to your vet. When in doubt, it’s best to seek out advice from a professional. Your veterinarian can instruct you on what your specific dog needs from a diet, and that advice may change throughout their life.
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Dogs love adhering to a schedule. Try to feed your dog at the same time each day so they can get into a healthy and comfortable routine when it comes to resting, digesting, and being active.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between “organic” and “natural” when used in dog food?

A. “Natural” is a commonly used term when it comes to dog food, but it doesn’t quite have an exact definition and is often used to convey a sense that the food is wholesome and free of any man-made extras. The Association of American Feed Control Officials sets guidelines for what constitutes “natural” ingredients and meals: food must be free of any chemical synthetic processes. Natural food should not include any artificial preservatives, additives, or coloring.

However, in some cases, specific ingredients may be labeled as natural but the formula will include disclaimers about any extras that may be included. While “organic” has a more exact definition, it’s worth investigating further when you see the word “natural” on a formula.

Q. Are grains healthy or harmful to dogs?

A. Grain-free dog food formulas have become increasingly popular in the last five to 10 years as consumers speculated that grains may be harmful to consume. However, there’s little to suggest that grain-free options are indeed the better choice, with some vets and experts positing instead a link between grain-free formulas and heart disease. Despite their popularity, it’s best to talk to your vet before deciding on a grain-free option.

Q. Is organic dog food better than non-organic dog food?

A. There’s no conclusive evidence that organic food is healthier or better than non-organic food. However, ingredients and processes matter, so there’s a difference among brands and formulas depending on what’s included and how the food is made. Formulas may add vitamins, minerals, and other positive components that don’t fall under the umbrella of “organic” while still incorporating whole fruits and vegetables along with real meat. Most importantly, dogs need a balanced diet filled with nutrients that match the needs of their age, breed, and activity level. There are organic meals that don’t effectively support dogs with specific needs and there may be non-organic options that will help a dog live happily and healthily. Talk to your vet and monitor your dog to determine the best course of action.

 

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