Canines are beautiful animals that understand the human race, impeccably. They are empathetic, loving, and smarter than we give them credit for.

As we create relationships with our pets, we begin to better understand their hearts and the way they interact with the world we live in. It is important that our dogs receive the proper nutrition that is suited for their body type, so they may continue to prosper and flourish through their every day adventures.

As pet owners, understanding organic, natural, and holistic foods can help us better care for our dogs so they may lead healthier and happier lives.

Organic Dog Food

Humans have begun to realize the difference between organic and non – organic food items. In fact, our grocery stores are filled with signs and stamps that label our own nutrition as organic or non – organic. Yet, with dogs, we don’t seem to apply that idea to their food as often.

You may be asking, well, why not

That is a wonderful question that has no valid answer. As owners, we should provide our canines with the proper nutrients for their bodies because their bodies need healthy food just as much as our bodies do.

What Does “Organic” Mean?

When we hear the word organic, we somehow think that it is better for us.

Yet, what does organic even mean?

We hear about it all of the time and we even demand that our food is organic, but do we truly even understand the meaning of it? Probably not. If your food is considered organic, most of the ingredients are naturally found and used from the earth.

There should not be any:

  • additives
  • dyes
  • chemical fertilizers
  • or processing added to your food in any way.

Your body will be able to tell the difference between food that is organic over non-organic. Organic food items will provide you with what your body needs because the food you are eating is in its proper state and your body can utilize it to its full potential.

When choosing organic food, you will notice that there are different labels of “organic” food. The USDA has categorized the term “organic” into four categories, which you will see on food items everywhere (1).

The 4 USDA Categories of Organic explained

When you are looking for food, seeing four different types of organic can be quite confusing. Yet in the long run it is helpful, in trusting the products that you are eating (2).

100% Organic” is the first organic category. This means exactly what it says, which is that the product being sold was produced using all organic products, excluding salt and water. (The USDA considers water and salt to be organic and natural products of the earth).

Organic” is the second classification under the USDA.  This means that the product you are purchasing has 95% organic ingredients, at least. Up to five percent of the product may be non-organic agricultural products that are not available in an organic state.

Made with organic____” is the third category. This means that the product you are purchasing was made with at least 70% organic products. There are constraints involving the remaining non-organic ingredients that are allowed in this classification, but if a product is classified as “Made with organic___,” then you will know that this product’s ingredient list passed the USDA’s qualifications to have this specificity.

Organic ingredient list” is the last category that the USDA has added to the organic classification. This list will contain the organic ingredients in the product as well as the percentage of each ingredient within the product. The non-organic ingredients in the same product will follow after on the ingredient list and do not need to provide any percentage or detailed information.

What’s the Difference Between “Natural” and “Organic?”

As previously stated, the word organic means that the food you are purchasing has ingredients that are healthy, simple, and beneficial for the body, but you may get confused when you see the word “natural” listed on food packages. Although this may seem enticing, it does not mean the same thing as organic (3).

The word natural means that the food you are purchasing is made from plants, animals, or mined ingredients and it can be delivered and sold to consumers in an unprocessed or processed state.

The natural food will not be processed with synthetic chemicals and it will also not have abnormal amounts of synthetic aids and additives. This is the main red flag with seeing and relying on the word “natural” because it is not specific or classified like “organic” is.

It is possible that you apply this general knowledge to your dog’s food options, just as you would to your own.

Benefits of Organic Dog Food

Depending on the type of dog you have as well as your dog’s age, their body may be sensitive. You want to understand your dog’s body type in the best way that you can, so you may properly supply them with prosperous food. You may notice how organic food affects your own body over food that is considered non-organic. Most times, if not all times, it makes an impeccable difference. You may have more energy, feel happier, and your body is in a state of rejoice.

Dogs are no different – in fact, your dog’s body may be more sensitive than yours.

There are many benefits to supplying your dog with food that is organic. Organic food provides the highest quality of proteins and grains and will also provide your dog with the proper nutrition that is needed to function, healthily.

You may notice when you switch your dog over to organic dog food that:

  • their immune system increases
  • their allergies and health issues decrease
  • they lose weight in a healthy manner
  • their energy levels increase
  • they produce firmer and regular bowel movements
  • and they are just happier animals!

Your dog will express their happiness and positive energy from this change, and you should easily be able to tell the difference.

Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Organic Dog Food

When you go to the store to purchase organic dog food, you may become overwhelmed with the many options that are available. Here’s what you should know:

Look for the basic ingredients in your dog’s food and make sure they are specifically listed. You don’t want to have a large amount of ingredients that do not benefit your dog’s healthy and simplistic diet. When you pick out your dog’s food, evaluate the ingredients. Check to see that the food contains protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and a fat source.

Watch out for anything you see that seems abnormal from the organic meal plan you are searching for. Keep in mind that simplicity may be better if the extra additives are not in support of your dog’s energy and health (4).

Organic Dog Food Recommendation

There are many brands available to choose from when you are looking for dog food that qualifies as organic.

A few popular brands are Castor and Pollux Organix Dry Dog Food, Kirkland Nature’s Domain Organic Dry Dog Food, and TruDog Feed Me: Freeze Dried Raw Organic Dog Food. These three brands contain simple, healthy, and organic ingredients that are exactly what your dog needs.

That being said, here’s our top pick: Organix Dog Food


Notable Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, organic blueberries, organic coconut oil, and organic flaxseed

Flavors: Chicken and oatmeal, chicken and sweet potato, and chicken and brown rice

Packaging: 4 lb, 10 lb, 18 lb

Value: $4.11/lb

Calorie content (ME): 3689 kcal/kg or 369 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein (min) 26%, crude fat (min) 15%, crude fiber (max) 5.00%, moisture (max) 11%, omega-6 fatty acid* (min) 3%, omega-3 fatty acid* (min) .30%, glucosamine* (min) 800 mg/kg, Chondroitin Sulfate* (min) 800 mg/kg

Why we like it: This brand of dog food contains all of the organic ingredients your dog needs for a healthy and balanced diet. You will find Organix provides no corn, wheat, or soy and all of their ingredients are free of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, added growth hormones, and antibiotics.

Along with providing only the simplest and organic ingredients, this dog food brand will also add probiotics, prebiotics, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for beneficial health. When you are looking for a dog food brand that stays true to the source, Organix is the best organic pick and it is exactly why we like it.

>> Check Price on Amazon

Natural Dog Food

Although organic food is a highly held option when looking at different food options for your dog, you may also want to check out natural dog food. Natural dog food runs close to organic and can be an excellent food option for your dog’s diet.

Yet, what exactly is natural dog food?

What Makes a Dog Food “Natural”?

Natural dog food is defined, by AAFCO, as food ingredients that come from plant, animal, and mined sources. These ingredients are unprocessed or processed through heat, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, or fermentation. Food that has this natural classification has not been chemically synthesized and does not contain additives or processed aids, unless they are appropriate for production.

In fact, you may have heard of raw and homemade dog food diets. These diets take the natural concept deeper because owners will truly feed their dog ingredients that come from the earth in their natural state, even though their food is really only coming from the kitchen inches away. This can give your dog the appearance that his food is truly coming from the wild.

Do you make your own dog food? Be sure to check out our super useful Dog Food Calculator.

Although natural food is not organically classified, it is still a positive option for your dog’s meal plan and can make a huge difference in your dog’s energy and health levels because of where it comes from (6).

Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting an All-Natural Dog Food

If you choose to purchase natural dog food for your dog’s diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most times, you are wanting to feed your dog food that resembles something close and familiar to what they would eat in the wild. Yet, just as humans struggle to find the proper ingredients in grocery stores, it is no different with dogs.

As a smart owner, stick to the important basics and find food that is simple and exactly what your dog needs. You want to make sure your dog is receiving the proper nutrition, so they may flourish.

Secondly, decide what you like about the natural diet and stick to it. It is easy to get lost in the different types of natural meal plans that are advertised. Find what your dog’s body type needs and search for a brand that has exactly that with limited amounts of unnecessary ingredients for your dog.

As you may have noticed, sometimes the advertised ingredients on the packaging can be misconstrued. Always check the ingredients on the back of the packaging before continuing forward with your choice. You want the natural food you give your dog to actually be naturally made to your liking.

Natural Dog Food Recommendation

A few natural brands that truly embody cleanliness in a nature state are Avoderm Natural Revolving Recipe, Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food, and Merrick Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe.

These dog foods have been proven to provide nutrition and aid to our furry friends in large ways: from supporting joints to assisting the digestive system.

Out of the many options, here’s our top pick: Whole Earth Farms


Notable Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, turkey, duck, salmon, whitefish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, peas, alfalfa

Flavors: Chicken-turkey, pork-beef-lamb, turkey-duck, salmon-whitefish

Packaging: 4 lb, 12 lb, 25 lb

Value: $1.60/lb

Calorie content (ME): 3478 kcal/kg – 1 cup (100 grams)

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein (min) 26%, crude fat (min) 13%, crude fiber (max) 4.5%, moisture (max) 12%

Why we like it: This dog food option is great because it is clean and natural. The first ingredient in this dog food is always a high quality protein, their food is grain-free for easy digestion, has a poultry-free recipe, and is made locally with great ingredients. More importantly, we like Whole Earth Farms dog food because it aids better health for dogs, especially with their coat and skin.

>> Check Price on Amazon

Holistic Dog Food

When we talk of food, there are many terms that define what your food actually is. You may be asking yourself the question…

 Why can’t all types of food be defined as healthy and nutritional for all canines at all times?

It should be that way and at one point in time, it was. Yet, society has become complex which means our food has turned into an opportunity for investment. Now we must check and educate ourselves on every label and type of food we can purchase and how it changes our health, which leads us to the next type of food – holistic.

This term may seem a bit peculiar, but it encompasses certain nutrients for your dog in the form of a meal plan. In fact, if holistic draws your attention, it may be because your dog is in need of something a bit particular (7).

Is ‘Holistic Dog Food’ a Real Thing or Marketing Hype?

When choosing a holistic dog food, you want to weigh your options because there are diets that can specifically aid your dog’s health.  For instance, if your dog needs a holistic brand that supports their joints, you might want to search for a dog food that enhances certain nutrients that aid joint reparation. This can help balance out your dog’s overall health.

Because of this, holistic dog food does exist (as a description) and can be helpful for your dog, if they are in a position of needing dog food that supports their individual health issues.

Is There a Legal Definition of “Holistic” in the Pet Food Industry?

Holistic does not have a legal term within the dog food industry. If you see this word on a brand of food you are considering for your dog, you should know that it is only a description of the food that is being advertised, and cannot provide you with approved testing.

What Are the Accepted Dietary Standards For Dogs?

When talking about the different types of dog food, you may be wondering what the accepted dietary standards for dogs are at this point in time.

According to the FDA, dog food must be safe and appropriate in its nutritional content.

Dog food is supposed to aid your pet in receiving the necessary food their bodies need. There are two categories that dog food falls under. The first category is for puppies in their growth period and the second category is for adults that are maintaining proper nutrition. Depending on the age of your dog and which group they classify under, you will be able to determine the dietary standards that your dog should follow.

AAFCO has determined the correct nutritional value that your dog should receive in their food, depending on their size and age. This calculated scale is specifically so you do not overfeed or underfeed your dog.

Need help finding dog food based on your dogs size? Here it is:

What Makes a Dog Food “Holistic?”

When you are choosing dog food, you will always hear about the many organic and natural options. Yet, you may also hear people talking about holistic dog food.

This term “holistic” simply means that your dog’s food is balanced.

Most times, this will include the benefits that you would find in food that is organic and natural. Yet, holistic dog food strives to include the proper amounts of each nutritional ingredient that supports your dog’s overall health. There is not a huge difference when it comes to organic, natural, and holistic dog food.

All three types of food are looking to provide dogs with healthy, clean, and proper nutrition, so your canine can flourish.

  • If you want a specific diet that resembles food in its natural state, you may reach for natural food.
  • If you want organic food that has been approved as organic, you will most likely search for the right meal plan of organic dog food that suits your dog’s body.
  • If you want a balanced diet for your dog that may aid certain health concerns, you may reach for holistic.

Yet, it is important to know that they all are similar in one way or another and sometimes, each type of food will contain similar attributes as the next (9).

Things to keep in mind when feeding your dog a holistic diet

If you are interested in a holistic diet for your dog, it is suggested to pay attention to the nutrients that are included in their diet. Holistic diets are often balanced in the proper nutrition for the type of dog they are selling to. It is recommended to refer to the nutritional table, so you may better understand the standard diet your dog should be on.

Holistic diets are supposed to aid your dog’s health in all areas that need balance.

When you head to the store to purchase your dog’s food, you want to look at the nutritional value as well as the ingredients that are included in the food. Ask yourself if these ingredients are ingredients that support your dog’s health. If this specific brand has what you are looking for, then you want to make sure that the diet is balanced.

People will usually choose a holistic diet because they want or need their dog to be on a standard diet that supports their health and growth or they want help in healing something within their dog, which is when specific diets will come in hand. If you find a dog food that provides the simple ingredients that support the percentage of each nutritional value, then it is suggested to pursue that holistic brand.

Holistic Dog Food Recommendation

There are a few holistic dog foods that are beneficial: Earthborn Holistic Dog Food, Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, and Fromm Gold Adult Holistic Dog Food. These three dog foods are known to help the digestive system in their own ways and each brand provide high quality ingredients.

That being said, here is our top pick: Earthborn Holistic Dog Food


Notable Ingredients: Herring, salmon, whitefish, potatoes, peas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, carrots, and spinach

Flavors: Herring, salmon, and whitefish

Packaging: 5 lb, 14 lb, 28 lb

Value: $1.86/lb

Calorie content (ME): 3,725 kcal/kg, 435 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein (min) 32%, crude fat (min) 18%, crude fiber (max) 4%, moisture (max) 10%, calcium (min) 1.2%, phosphorus (min) 1%, Vitamin E (min) 250 IU/kg, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C [min]) 100 mg/kg, L-Carnitine (min) 50 mg/kg, Taurine (min) .05%, omega-6 fatty acids (min) 2.6%, omega-3 fatty acids (min) 2%, Docosahexaenoic Acid (min) .20%

Why we like it: This dog food pick is great if you are interested in a holistic meal plan. It is grain-free, gluten-free, supports healthy skin for your dog, and contains wholesome antioxidants. Specifically, this brand balances out natural ingredients that support a wholesome diet. If you are looking for a holistic brand, you want to stick with what you desire for your dog and this diet will keep things simple.

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Wrapping Up

Canines are wonderful animals who need great health to sustain their high energy levels. As a caring pet owner, it is important to craft a diet that is specific to your dog’s body type. Organic, natural, and holistic dog foods will provide your dog with support, balance, and overall health – regardless of which diet you choose.

All canines need are simple and pure ingredients. From here, your dog’s body will do its job and your dog will be happy, healthy, and strong in all that they do.

Summarizing the Differences

Chart describing differences between Organic, Natural, and Holistic Dog Food


Holistic, natural, and organic dog food all provide balanced health because they will give canines food from the earth that is in its simple and pure state. It is important to educate yourself on the many types of diets and the necessities that support the body of a canine.

Fun Fact: Some owners feed their dogs a Vegetarian Dog Diet.

About the Author


A respected pet writer, lover of dogs, the outdoors, traveling, and multi-cultural adventures. Throughout her world travels, she has met many, many dogs. But none of them compare to her Welsh Corgi, Juno. The love for whom has fueled a passion of hers for writing science-backed, informative, and eye-opening articles on responsible pet nutrition.

Read More Posts By: Erika