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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > What Does Organic Mean And Other Faqs About Organic Pet Food

What Does Organic Mean and other FAQs About Organic Pet Food

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Considering feeding your pet an organic diet? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about organic pet foods:

 

Considering feeding your pet an organic diet? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about organic pet foods:

 

WHY SHOULD DOG AND CAT PARENTS CHOOSE ORGANIC FOOD AND TREATS?

 

REASON #1: SAFETY

 

Feeding organic takes pet food and treat safety to a whole new level. Organic pet foods and treats are certified and have gone through a regulatory certification process that non-organic products are not required to do. Organic foods are subjected to an independent third party review conducted by an organic certifying agency.

 

 

 

REASON #2: HEALTH

 

Taste tests have shown that dogs and cats love the taste and benefit from the high digestibility of organic food. That means smaller, firmer stools and a lower feeding amount than other types of food. In addition, organic pet food helps lead to healthy skin and a shinier coat.

 

 

 

WHAT DOES ORGANIC REALLY MEAN?

 

Organic products are subject to the rigorous requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). This generally results in higher quality ingredients that are handled, processed, and stored according to the NOP’s regulations. Organic pet foods contain ingredients that come from farms and fields required to operate without pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones and the like. Certified organic pet products must meet USDA requirements. The USDA’s NOP applies to all certified organic ingredients and products, regardless of their country of origin.

 

 

 

WHAT REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET TO BE CERTIFIED ORGANIC?

 

Organic farmers must follow practices laid out under the USDA’s National Organic Program, which include the humane treatment of animals and using no pesticides, no growth hormones, no synthetic fertilizers, no GMOs and no antibiotics. Once ingredients have left the farm, certified organic handling, processing and storage facilities

 

are required to house organic ingredients separately from non-organic ingredients. Every ingredient – organic or non-organic - must be reviewed and approved by the organic certifying agency for inclusion in a certified organic product.

 

 

 

The manufacturing facility itself must be certified organic too. This includes shutting down the production lines being used for organic production for up to 24 hours to undertake the cleaning regimen required under the USDA’s National Organic Program, regular and unannounced inspections, documentation and reporting procedures,

 

and ingredients usage and source data.

 

 

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF A FOOD OR TREAT IS REALLY ORGANIC?

 

To know for sure, look on the label for the name and address of the organic certifying agency. This is required to be on the packaging and assures you that the product has met the agency’s requirements.

 

 

 

The USDA’s National Organic Program includes very specific labeling requirements to help you understand the different amounts of certified organic ingredients in a product. If the label says “Made with Organic Ingredients”, the product contains 70% to 94% certified organic ingredients. The balance of the ingredients still must be submitted for review and approval by the organic certifying agency. If the label bears the USDA’s organic logo, this means the product is made with 95% to 100% certified organic ingredients. For pet food and treats, both are great choices for your dog or cat.

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SWITCH A DOG OR CAT TO ORGANIC FOOD AND TREATS?

 

When introducing any kind of new food to a dog or cat, gradually mix it with their current food. Over the course of seven to 10 days, increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of the old until you have 100% organic food in the bowl.  Always provide plenty of fresh, clean water and lots of exercise. Regular visits to your veterinarian are recommended.

 

 

 

- Information provided by Castor & Pollux, makers of Organix and Natural Ultramix dog foods

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