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Learn the difference between 'natural' and 'organic' pet food

(NC) As more and more pet parents are giving careful consideration to better nutrition, natural and organic pet foods are becoming increasingly popular choices. Amid the buzz whirling around these green diets, it can be easy to use the two terms interchangeably, so Dr. Simon Starkey, a veterinarian with PetSmart Canada, explains the difference between natural and organic pet foods and gives us the key benefits:

Natural pet foods contain no chemicals: The term 'natural' refers to feed or ingredients that come from only plant, animal or mined sources. This means that pet foods labeled 'natural' should not contain any chemically synthetic processing aids and chemically synthetic additives like artificial flavours, colouring or preservatives.

Organic pet foods have been raised without chemicals: With organic pet foods, it's not so much about the ingredients as it is about the way those ingredients were raised or grown. Organic foods are grown or raised without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or fertilizers and are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. In Canada, organic pet foods must be certified by the Standards Council of Canada or reciprocally through the USDA.

Benefits of quality: Premium foods are made with quality ingredients and are highly digestible. You'll get more value as the increased digestibility can result in less feeding.

Changing your pet's diet: If you plan to change your pet's diet to natural or organic food, make sure it's a gradual transition. Dr. Simon recommends that you feed your pet a combination of new and old food over a seven-day period to get them used to the new ingredients, texture and smell.

There is an interactive food guide selector online at PetSmart.com. It will help you to determine the right nutritional solution for your pet.

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