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The Difference Between “Organic” and “Natural” on Pet Food Labels

organic dog food blogWhen it comes to pet food, many pet parents are trying to make the healthiest choice possible for their four-legged companions, but understanding the wording on pet food labels can be tricky. Two commonly confused words that often appear on labels are natural and organic. While both adjectives are potentially positive when it comes to your pet food choice, it’s important to understand what you’re paying for.

What is the different between Natural and Organic?

Natural refers to the ingredients used in a particular pet food, while organic refers to the way the ingredients are grown, harvested, and processed.  Keep reading for more detailed definitions below.


Natural pet foods contain select ingredients that are minimally processed and free of artificial flavors, additives, and preservatives. However, the use of the term natural is not regulated like the term organic is. When reading the packaging on pet food labeled natural, be sure you can recognize whole foods on the ingredients list.


Pet foods labeled organic must meet the same strict regulations that people foods do. Requirements include:

  • No synthetic chemicals used in the soil or groundwater
  • Livestock must be raised on a healthy diet without the use of growth hormones
  • No bio-engineering
  • Free of pesticides, added growth hormones, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, and by-products

To make matters more complicated, foods can be labeled with different organic seals depending on their content:

100% organic: content is 100% organic
Organic: content is at least 95% organic by weight (excludes salt and water)
Made with organic ingredients: content is at least 70% organic

Don’t ever hesitate to speak with a veterinarian about choosing the right pet food for your individual animal.




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