Robert Belobrajdic has over 30 years experience with dogs, including breeding and showing South African Boerboel. In 2012, he co-founded Stay Loyal Dog Food with the mission to “Help you improve your dog’s health, increase life span and better your relationship with your dog!”. All of Stay Loyal’s food is tasty, highly nutritious and Grain Free and has been developed over a 30 year period of trial-and-error. An expert in dog care and nutrition, Robert appears on our blog each month with advice and tips around dog nutrition and health.
In the last decade, there have been many changes in dog food and with them came a whole new set of terminologies. Two of the most used are “natural” and “holistic.” Unfortunately, the definition of these two terms have become muddied, with many consumers believing they mean the same thing. Others don’t really understand what either word means.
The term “holistic” was actually first used in medicine. There, it was confused with “alternative medicine” by “westerners” when it first began to appear alongside western medicine.
What does Holistic Mean?
Holistic is a philosophy that believes in treating the whole – mind, body, spirit – of a person (animal). Those that practice it believe the three parts of person or animal must be treated together in order for real change or healing or occur.
So how does that translate to dog food?
Natural food simply means it doesn’t contain chemicals – such as chemical preservatives or artificial colors. Basically, if it doesn’t exist in nature, it shouldn’t be in the food. The exception being the addition of vitamins and minerals needed for health.
Organic food involves not only having natural ingredients, but that those ingredients are raised without the use of chemicals, GMOs, etc. Meat is raised humanely. There are regulations for the use of the word “organic” on human food, but not yet for dog food.
The term holistic on a dog food label is vastly different from the other two terms because it has nothing to do with how the ingredients are sourced. Instead, holistic food means the makers have taken into consideration the needs of your whole dog when choosing their ingredients. It should mean the owners of the company are believers in the holistic philosophy, and therefore encourage pet owners to address the needs of their dog’s mind, body, and spirit.
It’s important to note that when it comes to food, there is no guidelines for the use of the word holistic (like there are for organic). So, pet owners need to be diligent and research a company before believing what the label says.
How is Stay Loyal Holistic?
Now that we just told you there are no regulations on the use of the word, how do you know Stay Loyal is a holistic brand? For starters, I have been around dogs my entire life, including breeding, working and training, so I understand how dogs function. I also understand the issues their entire body, mind, spirit can have from improper nutrition. Dogs that are not being fed correctly have health (body) and behaviour (mind and spirit) issues. In fact, it was my struggles with my own dogs that led us to make a food that really did address all the needs of our dogs, so that they would be happier, healthier, and even live longer.
And since holistic is all about feeding the entire body well, there was no way it was going to be anything but natural, because chemicals and artificial anything is not good for anyone’s body. In addition, we have several key ingredients that target specific parts of your dog’s body to promote whole body health:
* Omega 3 and Omega 6 in the right ratios to promote healthy skin and coat and also decrease inflammation throughout the body.
* A high ratio of soluble fibres to stimulate good bacteria in your dog’s gut.
* Digestible animal protein to help cell repair, immunity, muscle growth and energy as well as good brain function.
* DHA and EPA to promote brain and eye development.
* Antioxidants like Rosemary, green tea, turmeric and vitamins C and E to protect against free radicals like air pollution. Rosemary also promotes calmness and helps your dog relax.