Most pet foods that claim to be “natural” or “holistic” are indeed not! All you need to do is look at the official definitions of these terms to understand what I’m saying.
The standards for pet food labels are set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO’s definition of natural is:
“a feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis 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.”
I don’t know about you but that does not sound very natural. Besides, AAFCO only addresses the naturalness of ingredient processing. The statement says nothing about how natural it is for a pet to consume specific ingredients.
For example, it is totally unnatural for dogs and cats to consume grains. However, if the grains are processed according to AAFCO’s definition of natural, a pet food containing them can call itself natural.
My definition of natural nutrition is:
“A diet consisting of ingredients that a particular species has evolutionarily adapted to eat with the macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbs) and micronutrient (vitamins and phyto-nutrients) balance that is ideal for their health.”
Such a diet is by definition a balanced, raw food diet. No dog or cat evolved eating kibble or canned food.
The concept of a “holistic” pet food makes no sense whatsoever. The term holistic means that it addresses body, mind, and spirit. All pet foods address the body. I suppose some might have ingredients that affect the brain and thus could be said to address the mind. However, no pet food addresses spirit.
AAFCO has no definition for the word holistic so any pet food company can use it as they wish. Basically, if you see a pet food labeled as holistic it means that the pet food manufacturer thinks that they can sell more food by slapping that word on the label.
Don’t be fooled by pet food labels with their trendy words. Now that holistic medicine is starting to catch on, everyone is trying to cash in. The only natural pet food is a balanced, raw diet.
Do you feed a truly natural diet?