Organic kibble? All-natural chow? Organic bedding, shampoos, toys even clothing… Fido and Fluffy don’t know it, but their owners want them to live better–and they are forking over big bucks to make it happen. Marketed as a healthier, more nutritious alternative, some premium dog and cat cuisine as well as products have gone the Whole Foods route.
Organic living is basically a lifestyle that improves one’s physical health as well as promotes a cleaner environment and it typically entails eating and buying natural products. Some proponents of this lifestyle believe that making the decision to purchase and use organic products plays a key role in preserving the balance in the natural pet life cycle. Ultimately, this balance ensures that the world is healthy and environmentally safe. Owners that adhere to an organic way of life serve petfoods grown and processed without the use of chemicals or growth hormones. Most people regard chemical-free foods for their pets and themselves as more healthy than other non-organic foods because the former do not contain chemicals such as pesticide and fertilizers that generally have a negative impact on health when consumed.
Because of this, organic gardening has grown rapidly and more farmers are now using only natural compost to boost the levels of nutrients in soil. However, it is also important to point out that at times, it is difficult to practice an organic lifestyle especially for individuals who have busy schedules and cannot grow their own foods organically or spend time sifting through foods during their shopping trips to determine which foods are organic and which ones are not. As such, some individuals opt to include organic supplements in their daily diet to ensure that even though they consume processed foods, they can still get some of the benefits of organic food.
“People are trying to live healthier with less processed, simpler foods and products marked “green” or “organic”. And it seems they are first applying that logic when they’re making pet food decisions,” said a manufacture of organic pet food. And major manufacturers are capitalizing on consumers’ willingness to spend more on food they perceive to be better for their furry friends.
‘Even through the Great Recession, premium dog and cat food–the latest iteration of which is advertised as “natural” and “organic”–has been claiming an ever-bigger share of the market. Sales of the more expensive brands jumped 68 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 19 percent for mid-priced brands and just 8 percent for economy brands.
Marketing experts say manufacturers are tapping into a number of powerful trends and emotions: Americans’ interest in healthy eating, the rising popularity of organic food, the tendency to humanize pets.
Eating organically helps build resistance and power, enhances the immune system and fights allergies. As this food is free of chemicals, preservatives, harmful additives and artificial colors, it does not cause allergies and pets do not suffer from many of the skin problems vets see in their exam rooms. If your pet suffers from allergies and skin problems and is not active, wholesome food could very well be the answer.
As we know people think of their pets not as pets, but as members of their family, and they want to treat the members of their family with the same respect as they treat themselves. And it shows as higher consumer spending on more premium pet products including food continue to drive market expansion.
However and surprisingly there is really little to no scientific research supporting the potential benefits of organic pet food! Many organic pet food feeders have chosen these foods with hopes of improving their pets’ health. They believe that feeding organic pet food diets which lack synthetic additives may prolong a pet’s life and even help eliminate existing health problems.
But do NOT begin an organic pet food without consulting your veterinarian first. Present your veterinarian with information regarding the pet food’s contents so they can determine whether it provides sufficient nutrition, and if it is appropriate for your pet’s health.
A widespread pet food recall in early 2007–which followed U.S. dog and cat deaths linked to tainted ingredients from China–jolted consumers and got them thinking about what they were feeding their pets.
But the jury’s still out on whether food marketed as “fresh,” “organic” or “natural” helps pets lead longer or healthier lives.
Theoretically, it’s hard to argue with the idea that minimally processed and preservative-free food would be better for dogs and cats, said Amy Farcas, a veterinary clinical nutritionist at the University of Pennsylvania. But she said the research to prove it is lacking.
Farcas routinely advises her clients that as long as their dog is the appropriate weight, healthy and energetic, they probably don’t need a diet change.
“Nutritionally, most adult dog foods would be considered appropriate for most adult healthy dogs, though there are differences in ingredients, quality control, and other factors among products,” she said.
Amy Eagle, 43, stopped at an Organic display case at Target recently to pick up chow for her chocolate lab. She said the dog turns up her nose at anything else.
“It feels like it’s closer to the farm,” Eagle said. “I don’t think I would go to the length of making fresh chicken or beef for her, but it feels like I’m almost doing that.”
Though many people associate the organic lifestyle with the consumption of natural foods, there are other elements in this lifestyle besides food. For instance, most individuals who adhere to this lifestyle also use organic cleaning products to ensure that their living and working spaces are chemical-free. These products also ensure that the environment remains clean as well. Some common organic cleaning agents include vinegar and baking soda. These are just to name a few of the abundant natural and organic elements that you can use to replace some of the harsh chemicals that are used on daily basis.
Pretty much every area in your life can be made green from your home, your lawn & garden, to your food, cleaning supplies and pet care supplies. Not only will all of these benefit from the healthy natural components, but with all of these things you are creative a massive conservation effort on the environment on your part personally. It’s a great feeling knowing that not only are you reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle but that fact that you are making such a positive impact globally is very rewarding.
Though your dog or cat cannot tell the difference between an organic chew toy and any other, you can be sure that they are playing with materials raised in a natural environment. For instance, the Tasman’s Buffalo Rawhide Bones are a chew toy for dogs. The bones that are left over from farm-raised bison meat are collected and treated naturally so that your dog can chew to their heart’s content through the bone and get the nutrients they need while keeping their teeth healthy. Since these bison are raised on massive ranches in the open west, their upbringing is humane and organic. And the Pet Boutique Peacock Feather Toy is exactly what it sounds like–a single feather taken from an organically-raised peacock. This toy can be used to tickle a cat’s nose or lead a feline about the house on an adventure. These beautiful two-foot-long feathers are sure to draw the attention of any cat, and the all-natural peacock raising process ensures no harm can come to any cat that decides to chew on them for a spell.
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