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I can sum up the answer to the question posed in the title of this post simply: NOTHING! There is zero criteria in the pet food industry that constitutes a diet being labeled as “holistic.” It is simply a BS marketing tactic. Look no further than the dictionary definition of holistic:
- PHILOSOPHY characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
- MEDICINE characterized by the treatment of the whole patient, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
Ask yourself, how could either of these definitions be applied to a pet food. Another gem is “All Natural.” Really? How is that bag of kibble natural? Were the kibbles picked from an organic bush or tree?
Then there is my all time favorite: “Home Made.” Wow, what a talent that pet food maker has to cook food into kibble right in his kitchen!
Do yourself and your pet a favor and do not fall for this clever marketing that is nothing short of meaningless. Instead, be VERY WARY of a pet that calls itself All Natural, Holistic, Home Made, etc. Avoid them like the plague because those labels will reel you into feeding your pet a big bag of garbage.
Want to feed your pet a good quality pet food? That’s easy! When selecting a pet food, make certain it fulfills three tangible criteria:
The pet food is certified by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials).
The pet food has at least one veterinary clinical nutritionist on staff.
The pet food brand engages is actual feeding trials with data that prove its label claims.
Of all of the ridiculous amounts of pet foods that bombard pet owners as they enter a pet store, want to know how many pet food brands fulfill these criteria? 3! I know which ones they are but I will not share at risk of being accused of being in the pocket of pet food companies the all time worst of veterinarian conspiracy theories. I leave it to you to do your own research now armed with the knowledge of what comprises minimum standards to be a good quality food. And always remember, calling it holistic is not one of them!
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. He is the author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian’s Tail Of Love. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , general partner of Grant Animal Clinic, and runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care. Dr. Welton fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.