Tuesday, April 8, 2014

So what exactly does "natural" mean anyway? #PawNatural

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to sit in on an interview about a new and exclusive brand of all natural pet products.

Kersten Lee has been with Only Natural Pet for a little over 3 years, and is the head of Product Development for the company. You can hear the enthusiasm in her voice as she speaks.

http://www.pet360.com/shop/brand/only-natural-petI was especially curious about how the company began, and why.

She told me their founder had noticed a trend in healthcare - an increased focus on wellness in the human sector.

He's correct: emphasis on healthy living as a preventive measure has never been higher.

And the number of companies producing more healthful alternatives for us humans has been on the rise for several years now.

But not so much for our pets. And he asked himself – why not?
Then he partnered with a holistic veterinarian to do just that.

Kersten says their products are specifically formulated to be biologically appropriate for either dogs or cats, and that they use only natural, quality ingredients.

As you know, companies use – and misuse – the word natural constantly. You can’t walk down an aisle in your local grocer without being bombarded by packaging that claims to have “natural flavoring” or is “100% natural.”

What does this mean on a
package, anyway?
And when you pick them up, you can find everything from chemicals to corn syrup in them.

(if you saw yesterday’s post - well, I rest my case ;-)

In part, that’s because the FDA has no laws in place that regulate what “natural” means.

As 77% of consumers polled say they are positively influenced to buy when they see the word "natural" on their packaging, it's concerning to say the least.

So – pardon the pun – but it was only natural that I’d want to know what this company meant when they said their pet products were “Only Natural”!

Kersten explained that they only sourced ingredients from companies who could provide certificates of analysis on where their ingredients came from and how they were sourced.

Do you believe feeding quality food impacts your pet's health?
Let us know in comments!

She went on to say that they follow the standards set out by Whole Foods Markets and that most of their suppliers are also sources for human food manufacturers.

All foods meet AAFCO standards, and Only Natural Pet is also an audited member of the National Animal Supplement Council.

I went hunting for Whole Foods' standards, and here's what I found:

"We feature foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.
We are passionate about great tasting food and the pleasure of sharing it with others.
We are committed to foods that are fresh, wholesome and safe to eat.
We seek out and promote organically grown foods.
We provide food and nutritional products that support health and well-being."

Sounds like a pretty good measuring stick for a baseline.

They’ve offered me the opportunity to test these new products out on our Herd of Three, and I’m looking forward to sharing my impressions with you.

Allie takes her food VERY seriously.

Oh, and Faraday, Maxwell and Allie’s impressions, as well.



FTC Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Only Natural Pet on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Only Natural Pet, but A Tonk's Tail only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Only Natural Pet is not responsible for the content of this article.


  1. I just saw, on a popular Canadian talk show here (Steven & Chris) a piece about what's in our food (human food). One of their regular guests, an MD, covered obscure things in junk food. For instance, in certain flavours of ice cream, "natural flavour" means the flavour came from the scent glands of a beaver (i.e. from the poor beaver's butt).

    Yeah, that's natural, true enough, but it would take some serious research by the average person to get to the root of what "natural" meant.

    Of course I'm digressing from your post (sorry), but the point is we do need to do our research for our pet food and for our own. It's good to see that there ARE companies out there that are doing better, ingredient-wise.

    1. No, we agree completely! You could call a lot of hazardous things "natural". And even if it doesn't appear to be hazardous, if it's an ingredient that's not beneficial to your species (but in many cases, is cheaper and thus makes the company a better profit margin), then that's just as bad.
      We're very curious to see how the kitties like this stuff (food, litter, supplements). We selected what we wanted to test yesterday, so it should be arriving soon.

    2. Oh, and YES. It's really nice to see a company concerned about best quality ingredients specifically for a cat or a dog!

  2. We think it is frightening what companies call natural to try and dupe us into buying their products. Not a word we trust now. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. I'm very interested to see what Maxwell, Faraday, and Allie think of the food! All natural sometimes tastes good (in human food) and sometimes not so much. I hope they like it :)

  4. I got on the 'what do you mean when you say natural' bandwagon when 7up (or was it Sprite) put out an all natural version of their soda, showed commercials of them harvesting cans of soda from the ground, etc, and they still had HFCS in it.

    When I find a can of cat food that doesn't have fruits and starch vegetables in it I'll start believing that they are caring about the ingredients for a cat.. Since a cat is an obligate carnivore and lack the digestive enzymes to extract nutrients out of plant based material.

    1. You know what I found interesting? They do not make dry kibble for dogs or cats. At ALL. And they also don't offer canned food. Check out the ingredients list here and let me know what you think: http://www.pet360.com/product/55688/only-natural-pet-grain-free-maxmeat-air-dried-chicken-cat-food#product_ingredientstab

  5. I do believe that the food we feed our pets make a huge difference to their health. But then again, I have seen some pets who live on supermarket brand pet food where the first ingredient is corn but yet, they remain healthy right till their teens. While pets put on "premium, holistic, natural food" have dental issues, cancer, arthritis....It's baffling.

  6. we can't wait to hear your opinions.....

  7. We look forward to your review. I think we all want to provide the best food we can.

  8. Pawsome guys! Can't wait to see which products you'll be reviewing. One thing that discourages me from buying more natural products is price. I try to when the price is reasonable though. Thankfully, our local grocery store chain has a lot of healthy natural options.

  9. This is great. I can't wait to read more about their products. "Natural" products really are a problem - well, the problem is that everybody seems to claim that their products are natural. This isn't related to pet food, but last year when we got fleas pretty bad, I went to the pet store in search of "all natural" ways to get rid of the fleas. I didn't want to go the chemical route with bug bombs and all of that nasty stuff. So I bought some spray that claimed to be all natural that I could use on the carpets, furniture, etc. Well I got home and used it, but it gave me a terrible headache and sore throat. I can only imagine what it must have done to the poor kitties. Yeah, the ingredients might have been "all natural," but they certainly weren't GOOD! Pet food is the same way. I started making my own food for my cats, and I have seen a difference in them for sure!

  10. We'll be interested in finding out how the taste tests go. After all, it only matters if it is good for us if you can get us to eat it. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  11. Bring on the taste testing!!!
    : )

  12. Sorry we are all behind with blogging, we had intruders. Yeah bring on the tasting MOL xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  13. I'm so confused by Natural and Holistic. I used to love these terms, but now when I see them, I slow down and read the package to make sure I understand what the brand means. It's nice to learn about Only Natural Pet :)

    Thanks for this great post.

    1. We agree totallly!! And we're excited that ONP is taking the title "natural" so seriously.


Coolio! A comment? For US?