When we see the words natural and clean in dog food, we associate it with wholesomeness and safety. However, those marketing buzzwords are being overused in the pet food industry and don’t always mean what we think.
The word natural by definition means “present in or produced by nature”. The official AAFCO definition for “natural” related to pet food, states that NATURAL is 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, 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. This lengthy definition is subject to interpretation. The word “natural” appears all over processed dog food packages and labels, ignoring the fact that processed food cannot be natural food.
A real, natural dog food contains all whole-food ingredients and minimally cooking process, with no synthetic additives including vitamins.
Clean, is the new marketing trend for dog food. It means the food that is made of real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients. The term “clean eating” has become trendy, however it is another buzzword meant to make the consumer believe that clean is equivalent of healthy and trustworthy, when it is not always so. Therefore, when selecting a dog food, beware of labels with formulas that contain a long list of ingredients (that you cannot pronounce) and synthetic vitamins and minerals that are mainly sourced in China. Clean should also be a synonym for whole food ingredients that are minimally processed.
More than ever, dog owners are looking for healthier, more wholesome solutions to feed their pets. With a plethora of products inundating the market, it is oftentimes confusing to select the best option. Our advice is to look for recipes with few ingredients, no synthetic vitamins or nutrients, potato free, and minimally cooking processes involved.
Case in point, Frenchie’s Kitchen recipes contain only 11 simple ingredients, all human-grade and cooked in a USDA inspected plant that manufactures human food. Furthermore, all our vitamins and minerals are USA sourced from whole-food ingredients such as eggshells for calcium and organic kelp powder. If dogs could cook, this is what they’d serve!