Dog owners who are savvy about the by-products and chemicals in dog food may be thinking of making a change. Most large, brand name dog food companies work closely with slaughterhouses for scraps and leftovers from meat factories that process human-grade meat. But, there are some that don't.
A Word About Chemical-Free Foods
When purchasing fresh, organic foods, keep in mind that since preservatives and chemicals are not used, the food does not have as long of a shelf life as those made with preservatives and should be used within the time listed on the package.
Dr. Harvey's All-Natural Dog Food
Dr. Harvey's manufactures dog food with all-natural ingredients and avoids the chemical preservatives, dyes and faux-flavoring products. They believe these artificial ingredients are detrimental to your dog's health. They offer both dry and canned foods, as well as treats and supplements. Many of their products are compatible with raw diets that some people have adopted to avoid the chemicals in commercial dog food.
Darwin's Natural Pet Products
The bones and raw food, or BARF diet, is another option for people who are trying to avoid chemicals in their dog's food. Some people prefer to purchase human-grade meats and bones from the butcher and prepare their dog's meals themselves. Others turn to companies that offer ready-made raw diet foods. One such company is Darwin's Natural Pet Products. They claim their foods are made from human-quality meats, fresh, organic vegetables, and minerals and vitamins which vary according to the source. Some of the foods offered are plant-based and can stand alone for those who are transitioning their dogs to a vegetarian diet. These foods can also be combined with raw meats for a more balanced diet. BARF also sometimes stands for biologically approved raw foods.
Canyon Creek Ranch
Canyon Creek Ranch offers a variety of natural products such as beef and barley, chicken and brown rice, salmon and brown rice, and turkey and barley. Not only do they avoid chemicals in their food, but also many of the ingredients that are known to trigger allergies in sensitive dogs. These ingredients include corn, wheat and soy. They offer both dry and canned food. The canned food includes carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and blueberries. The company also sells treats, but at the time of this writing in 2013, there has been a recall on the treat products due to the presence of antibiotics.
Natural Pet Market
Natural Pet Market does not make its own dog food, but offers a diverse variety of organic, chemical-free canned dog foods such as Evo, Nature's Logic, Evanger's, Homestyle, Instinct, Wellness, Tiki and Tripett. Their dry foods include Fromm and Nature's Variety Prairie. Included in their list of offerings is a product line that is not only chemical-free, but grain free too, which is good for dogs on a hypoallergenic diet. There are a number of other products offered for all stages of the dog's growth and for individual dietary needs.
While these companies purport to produce chemical-free foods, keep in mind that the ingredients they use may come from another source where chemicals and unwanted additives were used prior to shipment to the manufacturer. For example, chickens and other animals are frequently given antibiotics and other substances prior to slaughter as in the case of the Canyon Creek treats which were recalled when antibiotics were found in the chicken meat used in the treats. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and there are other companies in addition to those listed.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.