Puppies require healthy, high-quality foods as they’re growing through this developmental stage. One of the best ways to ensure that your puppy gets clean and nutritious food is to look for dog food with the USDA Organic Label.
In truth, it’s quite challenging to find purely organic puppy food on the market these days, despite what brand labels and product names say. Some pet foods contain human-grade food, while others boast free-range, ethically-sourced ingredients.
So, to make your search easier, we’ve scoured the ingredient lists of many dog food brands and compiled a list of reviews of both completely organic puppy foods as well as those that use majority organic ingredients to source their puppy fuel.
We’ve also included additional helpful information that clears up the confusion between different food labels and keywords that pet food companies will use to describe their recipes as healthy, high-quality food.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
|Best Overall||Castor & Pollux Organix Healthy||
|Best Value||Tender & True Organic Grain-Free||
|Premium Choice||Side By Side Cooling Complete||
|Evanger’s Organics Turkey||
|Natural Planet Organics Chicken||
The 8 Best Organic Puppy Food
1. Castor & Pollux Organix Healthy Grains Puppy Food – Best Overall
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic oatmeal|
|Special Diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy, non-GMO|
Castor & Pollux is one of the only pet food companies that have a line of pet food bearing the coveted USDA Organic Label. If you look at the ingredient list for this formula, you’ll see that every ingredient has “organic” preceding it.
Along with being certified as organic, this recipe uses organic chicken and organic chicken meal as its first two ingredients, so your puppy would be consuming a good amount of protein in its diet. Since it’s a special formula for puppies, it also contains essential ingredients for developmental growth, such as DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid vital for brain development.
The carbohydrates used in this formula are also rather nutritious. However, we do have some hesitation with the number of ingredients inside the recipe. A complex recipe may be difficult for some puppies to digest. The inclusion of brown rice is also a concern because although it can be a great source of fiber, it’s also another food that can be difficult to digest.
If your puppy doesn’t have food allergies or sensitivities, this recipe can be a great option. On top of being organic, it’s also relatively affordable, making it the best overall organic puppy food in the market.
2. Tender & True Organic Grain-Free Chicken & Liver – Best Value
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, organic chicken meal, organic tapioca starch|
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy|
Although this Tender & True organic puppy recipe isn’t priced as low as Castor & Pollux recipe, it’s still a relatively affordable option compared to other organic dog food. The reason why we placed this recipe at a lower ranking than the Castor & Pollux recipe is because of the overall ingredient list.
Both recipes list organic chicken and organic chicken meal as the first two ingredients, and then the following ingredients diverge significantly. While the Castor & Pollux recipe has healthy whole grains and nutritious fruits and vegetables, the Tender & True recipe seems to contain a lot of fillers, such as tapioca starch and chickpeas.
However, this recipe is still a considerable option because it contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals that puppies need for healthy growth. Adults dogs can also enjoy this food, so if your puppy enjoys eating it, you don’t have to worry about transitioning your dog to another recipe.
Because this recipe is still cheaper than most other organic dog food, and it covers all the bases for a puppy’s nutritional needs, we consider it to be the best organic puppy food for the money you spend.
3. Side By Side Complete & Balanced Pork & Rabbit Wet Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Main Ingredients:||Pork bone broth, pork heart, whole rabbit|
|Special Diet:||Pea-free, weight control, non-GMO|
This Side By Side dog food recipe is a premium option and retails at a relatively expensive price compared to other wet dog foods. However, the preparation for this food is quite meticulous, so it’s understandable why it’s so expensive.
The food is prepared in small batches and is gently cooked over low heat to preserve nutritional value. The recipe is also packed with a ton of protein, which is essential for puppies. It doesn’t contain any animal by-products, peas, corn, wheat, or soy. All the animal proteins in the recipe are pasture-raised and hormone-free.
Another benefit is that this food is great for all life stages, so your puppy can enjoy this meal and also continue to eat it as an adult. However, it can get pretty expensive to feed this food to your dog for every meal, especially for large dog breeds. So, you can also use it as a meal topper to save on costs.
4. Evanger’s Organics Turkey with Potato & Carrots Canned Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Organic turkey, organic chicken broth, organic potatoes|
|Special Diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy, gluten-free, grain-free, pea-free, non-GMO|
This dog food contains a high-quality recipe with a very simple ingredient list that’s easy for puppies to digest. It meets the requirements for nutritional levels for dogs of all life stages, so your puppy can enjoy this food into adulthood.
Evanger’s recipe doesn’t have the USDA Organic Label, but it has received organic certification from Oregon Tilth, which is an Accredited Certifying Agent (ACA) for the USDA’s National Organic Program. It also has been certified and endorsed by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) as kosher.
The vegetables used in this recipe are vegetables that most dogs prefer to eat, so picky eaters can also enjoy this meal.
However, the biggest issue you might come across is the texture of the food. It’s a smooth pate, so it’s great for senior dogs, but it’s not the most fun texture for young dogs to eat. Some customer reviews also mentioned that the pate can be a bit dry, and they sometimes have to add additional water.
5. Natural Planet Organics Chicken & Oats Adult Dog Dry Food
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, chicken meal, organic brown rice|
|Special Diet:||No corn, no wheat, no soy|
Natural Planet Organics Chicken & Oats Adult Dog Formula Dry Food is another recipe that’s certified organic by Oregon Tilth. It contains organic chicken as its first ingredient and other nutritious foods, such as organic oats and organic flaxseed.
However, we’re concerned that organic brown rice is listed before organic oats, even though the recipe name lists oats instead of brown rice. As we’ve discussed before, brown rice can be difficult for some dogs to digest.
Overall, this dog food still provides balanced nutrition for dogs of all ages. It’s also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help support healthy joints and skin and coat.
6. Newman’s Own Dinner For Dogs Chicken Canned Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Organic chicken, salmon, ocean whitefish|
|Special Diet:||No wheat, no corn|
As we move down our list, you’ll start to see recipes that contain a mix of organic and non-organic ingredients. One of the main reasons why pet food companies have this mix is because they gather ingredients from different farms and growers, and some have certified organic food while others don’t.
Newman’s Own Dinner For Dogs Chicken Recipe Canned Dog Food uses organic chicken and organic brown rice, but the rest of the ingredients aren’t organic. However, they’re still nutritious, such as salmon and ocean whitefish.
Dogs of all ages, including puppies, can enjoy this food as a meal or meal topper. It’s fortified with essential nutrients, and it’s free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Overall, it’s a pretty safe choice, but it’s not the cheapest canned dog food considering the fact that it’s not completely organic. There are some organic canned dog foods with lower prices, but at the same time, Newman’s Own gives 100% of profits to charity. So, at the end of the day, your money is going to a good cause.
7. The Honest Kitchen Beef Recipe Grain-Free Dehydrated Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Dehydrated beef, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dehydrated potatoes|
|Special Diet:||High-protein, grain-free, gluten-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, human-grade, non-GMO, pea-free, chicken-free|
The Honest Kitchen is another pet food company that doesn’t fully utilize organic ingredients in its dog food. However, they’re slowly working towards adding more organic produce to their recipes. This particular recipe is still a high-quality recipe that uses non-GMO and hormone-free foods. It also contains organic flaxseed and dried organic coconut.
Although their recipes aren’t fully organic, The Honest Kitchen prides itself in using high-quality food prepared in human-grade facilities. The beef in this recipe is ranch-raised beef, and all the food is gently dehydrated to retain both nutrients and flavor.
The Beef Recipe is suitable for dogs of all ages, and puppies, in particular, will enjoy it because it’s relatively easy to digest. It also doesn’t contain any chicken, so it’s completely safe for puppies with chicken allergies.
8. Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken, chicken livers, organic carrots|
|Special Diet:||Grain-free, gluten-free, no corn, no wheat, no soy, raw, pea-free|
Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food doesn’t use organic meat products, but all the produce in the recipe is organic. It’s comforting to see all the organic whole foods in the ingredient list, but it’s also a little concerning because it’s a long list of ingredients.
Many of the ingredients aren’t naturally tasty to dogs, such as ground alfalfa, apple cider vinegar, and kelp. With that being said, we can’t confidently say that many puppies will enjoy eating this recipe.
However, you can rest assured in knowing that you’re still feeding your puppy high-quality ingredients. Although the chicken isn’t organic, it’s free of antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. The formula is a high-protein diet, which is what puppies generally need.
Due to the high percentage of protein, we would recommend consulting with your veterinarian first to ensure that this recipe is safe for your puppy to eat regularly.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Organic Food for Puppy’s
What Makes Food Organic?
The “organic food” label is subjective as different countries have their own set standards of what conditions and procedures qualify food as organic. Here’s a breakdown of the USDA’s requirements for organic meat, organic produce, and mixed-ingredient organic food.
The USDA acknowledges meat as organic when the animals are raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors, such as grazing and foraging. The animals must also only consume 100% organic feed and forage. Lastly, farmers cannot give the animals any antibiotics or hormones.
Organic produce has strict requirements as well. First, the produce must grow on soil that hasn’t had any USDA-prohibited substances added to it at least three years before harvesting. Also, the whole process of growing the produce must not include any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
In some cases, a grower may have to use a synthetic substance. In order to use this substance, the grower must first receive approval from the USDA before administering it to the produce.
Mixed-Ingredient Organic Food
When it comes to organic food with mixed ingredients, the food must contain 100% organic ingredients. It must also be free of artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. There are some minor exceptions if a food contains non-agricultural ingredients. For example, in baked goods, baking soda doesn’t have to be organic.
Be aware of some food packaging that has a “Made with Organic” label. This doesn’t mean that the food is 100% organic. It means that at least 70% of the food’s ingredients are organic.
Human-Grade vs. USDA Organic
Many pet foods boast the use of human-grade ingredients. While this sounds nice, human-grade food doesn’t live up to the standards of the USDA Organic certification. For example, consider all the junk food options that humans can eat. There are also many types of foods that humans can eat that make dogs sick, such as garlic, grapes, and chocolate.
It’s also important to note the term “human-grade” is unclear and doesn’t have a set definition. According to the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO), “human-grade” isn’t an official standard found in animal feed regulations.
Therefore, human-grade food is still a bit ambiguous. However, what’s clearly set is how the USDA defines “edible.” “Edible” food must be fully prepared in a manner that’s completely safe for humans to eat.
Overall, if you’re interested in buying human-grade pet food, just make sure that you read through the pet food brand’s ingredient information to get a clear understanding of how it defines its human-grade ingredients.
Non-GMO vs. USDA Organic
The difference between non-GMO food and USDA Organic food is rather simple. As we’ve mentioned earlier, USDA Organic food doesn’t contain any GMOs, antibiotics, herbicides, toxic chemicals, and other prohibited products. All animals must eat certified organic foods and feed and must live in conditions that accommodate their natural habits.
Non-GMO foods simply mean that the food doesn’t contain any GMOs. So, it doesn’t necessarily have to pass all the strict requirements as USDA Organic food to receive a non-GMO label.
Does My Puppy Need Organic Food?
Receiving the USDA Organic stamp of approval takes a lot of work, and it’s also difficult to find pet food companies that sell completely organic dog food. So, is the search worth it?
The answer is nuanced. Dog food with the USDA Organic Label will only contain organic ingredients, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients are highly nutritious for dogs. For example, the Tender & True Organic Grain-Free Chicken & Liver Recipe lists organic tapioca starch as one of its main ingredients. Even if tapioca starch is organic, it’s still not very nutritious. Non-organic freeze-dried broccoli could add more nutritional value to a recipe.
As of today, there isn’t enough research that definitively states that organic food is significantly better than other types of dog food. However, foods with the USDA Organic Label do give owners peace of mind in knowing that the food was prepared in high-quality conditions.
So, if you can afford the higher prices of organic dog food, then it’s no problem giving your beloved puppy high-quality food. Organic dog food can also be helpful for dogs with severe food allergies and sensitivities.
If you’re having trouble accessing organic puppy food or are concerned about expenses, then it’s reasonable to buy food that contains high-quality ingredients at a more affordable price. There are plenty of non-organic puppy food recipes that exceed or adequately meet nutritional requirements.
Out of our reviews, our favorite organic puppy food is Castor & Pollux Organix Healthy Grains Organic Puppy Recipe. It contains a good amount of healthy ingredients, and it’s relatively affordable. Tender & True Organic Grain-Free Chicken & Liver Recipe comes at a close second, but it contained a bit more fillers that didn’t add much nutritional value to the recipe.
Overall, organic puppy food is a great option to consider if you want to give your puppy the best. However, just make sure to check the ingredient list to ensure that it contains nutritious foods.
Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock