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Is It Time to Go Organic for Your Dog's Food?

I have a confession to make. I eat a lot of kale. I own a “Kale University” T-shirt. I have even made kale brownies. (For the record, kale does not belong in brownies.) The point is that because I eat so much kale, I purchase it organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that provides research-based information about the toxins in our food supply and environment, kale and other leafy greens frequently contain hazardous pesticides that are toxic to the nervous system. I eat kale because I love the taste and the health benefits; I can do without the neurotoxins.

Many of today’s foods contain toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemical additives that have been linked to serious health issues in both people and animals. To minimize this toxic assault, I feed my family, including my four-legged son, Chase, as many organic foods as possible. Let’s take a look at why “going organic” might make sense for your canine companion.

Natural versus organic

Many people confuse “natural” foods and “organic” foods, believing the terms are interchangeable. However, there is no legal definition or regulation of natural in human or pet food, so manufacturers can use this claim without following a specific standard. As a result, the word “natural” on a label might have more to do with marketing than with the purity of the ingredients.

Unlike natural, organic is legally defined and strictly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, so foods labeled organic must meet specific standards.

By law, USDA organic products cannot contain the following:

    Toxic or synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides
    Chemical additives, such as artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
    Antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones (in food production animals)
    Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs (crops that have had their DNA artificially modified in a laboratory to obtain certain attributes, such as resistance to insects or herbicides)
    Sewage sludge
    Synthetic fertilizers

The benefits of feeding your dog organic foods are less about what he will get and more about what he won’t get — toxic chemicals that have been linked to serious health issues, including neurological diseases, developmental disorders, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, and cancer. I believe that food should nourish the body, not pile on more chemicals and increase the toxic burden.