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Is it More Nutritious for a Dog to Eat Natural or Manufactured Food?


A dog owner needs to know that bringing a dog into their lives requires a lot of commitment. It requires investment in terms of time, finances, and emotions. Being an empathetic animal, a dog requires immense love and attention from their owners. Whether it is a guard dog or a family pet, dogs are very loyal animals.

We often hear the statement, " we are what we eat" for humans, and the same is true for our furry mates as well. Their lifespan, health, activity levels, and development (mental and physical) depends on what they eat. Their meals need to have a complete balance of the required nutrients, which are necessary for them to have a healthy life.

At times some of our furry family members tend to be more sensitive than others when it comes to their food intake. They may have GI complications or allergic reactions from common dog food ingredients. In these circumstances, even greater care must be taken with respect to the dietary intake of our pets.

Dog food can be broken down into two broad categories:

● Natural dog food
● Manufactured dog food

What is Natural Dog Food?

Natural dog food, in the simplest terms, is food that has not undergone any processing that has resulted in the modification of its contents or nutritional value. An example would be that sweet potato is a part of your dog's food as sweet potato and not the essence of sweet potato.


Natural dog food is actual meat, real vegetables, real fruits, and natural fatty acids like OMEGA 3 necessary for their sight and cerebral development. They are free from any chemical or synthetic components like BHA and Glycol.

Any ingredient (s) that have been directly sourced from a plant or animal has not undergone any chemical modification, heat-based processing, water-based processing (hydrolysis), enzyme treatment, fermentation, or purification. Furthermore, it should not contain any artificial ingredients or artificial colors.

Unless this is what your chosen brand of dog food contains, it is not natural despite it being titled as organic or 100% preservative-free.

As a dog owner, you directly make natural food from the ingredients in your kitchen while ensuring they fulfill the nutritional requirement of your dog. Alternatively, you can look into brands like Pet Plate that provide natural meals to your pet on a regular basis.

What is Manufactured Dog Food?

Dog food will be categorized as manufactured if it has undergone chemical, hydraulic, enzymatic, or extraction based processing. The initial ingredients that are used to prepare manufactured dog food are actually natural products like meat or vegetables.

An example of how natural ingredients end up in processed form is that of meat. Meat and it's by-products ( bones and offal ) are obtained from either goat, sheep, turkey, chicken, cow, or fish. These are then separated as per the predefined criteria of fiber, protein, fat, blended bone, oils, and minerals.

Once the contents are separated, they are combined with other ingredients like processed fruits, vegetables, and grains (not in case of grain-free variants) in different proportions to create multiple variants of dog food for your pet.


There can be variants that can consist of only meat contents (single or multi-sourced protein) or ones that are combined with vegetables to create a more balanced meal for your pawt-ner. It depends on the dietary requirements of your dog, which meal is better suited for them.

Common Components in Manufactured Dog Food

There are some components that are always a part of manufactured dog food. These are listed below:

● Artificial flavor
● Artificial color
● Processed animal fat
● Processed Plant carbohydrates
● Gluten
● BHA’s
● Artificially processed minerals and vitamins

Manufactured or processed dog food can be found in different forms:

● Dog treats
● Kibble
● Dry Dog Food
● Wet food
● Freeze-dried food

How Are They Different?

The main difference between natural and manufactured dog products is their contents and their end product.

Natural food may consist of chicken, beef, turkey meat, lamb meat, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, and berries being part of your dog's meal in their original form. If you are putting together a bowl of shredded chicken with boiled peats and some sweet potatoes for your pet, then you are serving him a bowl of wholesome natural food.

However, if you have purchased a bag or can of dog food from either Pedigree or TruDog that tends to have an expiry date beyond a few days, you are serving manufactured food to your dog. In a nutshell, when you open a pack of manufactured dog food, you will see a mixture of processed and dehydrated ingredients.

As a dog owner, you will not be able to differentiate meat from vegetables or fruit in manufactured dog food. Every component of manufactured dog food has been through multiple layers of processing to reach the version you are currently feeding your dog.

One of the most significant differences between natural and manufactured dog food is its nutritional value and content. They are incomparable since no matter how high the quality of the dog food, a manufactured meal will always fall short of a natural meal.

Which Is the Best Dog Food for Your Dog?

The choice of the best dog food for your pet is highly subjective. It will depend on a number of factors that will include the following:

● The life stage of your dog - Puppy, young or aged.
● The breed of your dog - small, medium or large
● Is it a guard dog or a domestic pet
● The nutritional requirements of your pet
● Any potential allergies
● GI tract sensitivities
● Is your dog a picky eater?

At times despite knowing the benefits of natural food over manufactured food, you as dog owners may be forced to go for manufactured options. Alternatively, if your dog is severely allergic to manufactured dog food ingredients, you will have to prepare fresh natural and balanced meals for them on a daily basis.

Furthermore, sometimes it becomes necessary to have manufactured food as part of your dog's meals since the natural meals tend to miss out on some integral nutrients like salmon oil (not readily available everywhere but is important for your dog’s growth and development)


Dogs are like family members, and they often like to behave like spoiled brats. They throw tantrums when it comes to food and tend to reject healthier versions. This should be seen from the perspective of our own habits as well. We know that we should always eat healthy and natural foods, but we do spoil ourselves often with cheat meals.

The same rule tends to apply to our dogs. If we keep feeding them natural and healthy meals at all times, they are bound to revolt and protest. As dog owners, it is okay to spoil them with processed treats at times as long it balances with their overall nutritional intake.

That being said, dogs are one of the most empathetic and loyal pets anyone could have. They would die themselves rather than let any harm come near you. They deserve all your love, care, and attention. We wish you and your pets a lifetime of togetherness and happiness.

Guest Author Bio

This article is the view of  David Freudenberg | Blog Manager| Dry Dog Food Reviews

The opinions expressed by the guest author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WoofAdvisor is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in this guest post. WoofAdvisor does not have any beneficial relationship with the author, or with any of the companies referenced within the post.

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