Organix Grain Free Dog Food Review (Dry): Evidence-based Analysis

Organix Grain Free Dog Food ReviewOrganix Grain Free dog food review has evaluated this brand for an A rating. It scored 90/100 points on our scale.

Highly recommended brand.

The below NextGen Dog’s Organix Grain Free dog food review analyzes product’s ingredients and nutrition, sourcing and manufacturing, any certifications and marketing claims used.

This dog food review was hand-written by a certified veterinarian and used an evidence-based evaluation approach for accuracy.

For their original formula (with grains), please see our Organix Dog Food Review.

All Organix dog foods are manufactured in the USA in organic certified kitchens. All ingredients are sourced in the USA.

Organix dog foods come in wet and dry varieties as well as dog treats. Both canned food and dry food comes in grain and grain-free versions, with a range of different main protein sources and compositions aimed at distinctive life stages.

The following Organix grain free dog food varieties are also available:

  • Chicken and Potato Grain Free Recipe
  • Lamb and Peas Grain Free Recipe
  • Salmon and Peas Grain Free Recipe
  • Small Breed Grain Free Recipe
  • Free Range Grain Free Recipe with Raw Bites

This range of recipes means that different life stages, levels of physical activity and owner preferences and dietary needs are catered for by the company.

For this NGD Organix dog food review, company’s Organix Grain Free Salmon and Peas Recipe has been chosen to represent their line of dry dog foods.

Ingredients

Organix dog food meets AAFCO nutrient profile requirements, which ensures an appropriate nutritional value for canines.

Ingredients: Salmon, chicken meal, organic peas, organic tapioca, organic garbanzo beans, organic pea protein, organic sunflower meal, organic coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), organic potatoes, organic lentils, organic chicken, organic flaxseed, natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), organic chicken liver, organic alfalfa meal, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, salt, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, dried yeast culture, dried Bacillus Coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract.

Ingredients used in Organix grain free dog food are certified “Organic,” and they are of a high quality. But there are some ingredients that are worth looking at more closely.

Most Important Ingredients

The ingredients are listed in order of weight, starting with the heaviest first.

Salmon: Salmon is an excellent protein source. It classified as an oily fish and contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D [1, 2, 3, 4].

As with other fresh protein sources, a large percentage of the total weight is made up from water, which means total nutritional value once dried is less than it may initially appear.

Chicken Meal: A meal is produced once a meat product has been cooked down to a dry concentrated product.

This process is called rendering. The chicken used can include skin and meat and may or may not include bone, but should not include feathers, heads, feet and internal organs.

The inclusion of a meal in a dog food is beneficial as they contain much higher levels of protein (up to 4 times as much) than fresh meat [5, 6, 7, 8].

Concentrated protein from rendering is considered to be of high quality and nutrition [9].

The fact that the source of this meal is specified is an indication of a better quality ingredient.

Organic Peas: Peas are a source of protein and carbohydrates for dogs.

Peas also contain fiber and vitamins such as folic acid and Vitamin C, as well as minerals.

Fiber has many known health benefits. It contributes to bowel health and satiety [10, 11, 12, 13].

Peas have a low glycemic index and may improve insulin response in canines [14, 15, 16].

Organic Tapioca: Tapioca is produced by extracting the starch from the roots of the cassava plant.

It acts mainly as an energy source in the form of carbohydrates and is low in fat, protein and other vitamins and minerals, whilst containing no fiber.

Organic Garbanzo Beans: Garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas, are a source of energy and protein as well as fiber and some minerals such as iron and phosphorus [17, 18].

Organic Pea Protein: Pea protein is obtained from dried peas, and is a good source of protein

However, it is not a complete protein, so should be combined with other protein sources as is the case in this dog food.

It is a good source of soluble fiber, but even though it is nutritious it is not as beneficial as real peas.

Organic Sunflower Meal: Sunflower meal is formed after the extraction of oil from sunflower seeds; it is therefore a by-product of this process.

It is difficult to assess the quality of the meal without knowing the characteristics of the seeds, but since this is certified organic, it’s like of high quality.

Sunflower meal contains protein and fiber but is more often found in livestock feeds. However, it’s been shown to be safe for canines and may have several health benefits for dogs [19, 20, 21].

Organic Coconut Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols): Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of coconuts.

It is an energy source. Giving coconut oil for dogs may have several health benefits, but most of them have been exaggerated. It may improve dog’s coat and skin, however [22, 23].

Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acid (a medium chain triglyceride), which has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties [24].

The high levels of saturated fats in coconut oil mean it doesn’t oxidize quickly, making it is slow to go off.

This ingredient is also preserved with tocopherols (antioxidants formed from Vitamin E), as some form of preservation of fats is an AAFCO requirement.

Vitamin E itself has several health benefits for dogs as an antioxidant helping with absorption of free radicals and may be beneficial in cancer and cardiovascular disease [25, 26, 27, 28].

Mixed tocopherols are a Vitamin E compound derived from sources like vegetable oils, fish and nuts and used for preserving foods. They are safe to use [29, 30].

Organic Potatoes: Pototoes are a tuber plant, which provide starch a type of carbohydrate as well as vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 and minerals such as potassium and iron.

Potatoes also contribute to the fiber content of the food.

Organic Lentils: Lentils are a pulse, which are especially rich in fiber and protein.

They also contain Vitamin C and B vitamins as well as iron, phosphorus and zinc.

Organic Chicken: Chicken is a great source of protein for dogs.

However, fresh chicken contains lots of water and therefore contributes less to the overall nutritional composition of a food than one would initially think.

Organic Flaxseed: As well as being an ingredient that is especially rich in soluble fiber (mucilage), flaxseed is high in protein and is a rich source of fatty acids.

Fatty acids contribute towards a healthy coat and skin in dogs [31, 32, 33].

Flaxseed contains a favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. This ratio is beneficial, as omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects [34].

In addition, it has been shown to have a beneficial effect on glucose responses after eating and is therefore potentially beneficial as an ingredient in the diet of diabetic dogs [34, 35].

Natural Flavor: The FDA defines natural flavor as a substance obtained from a plant or animal source.

Natural flavors can also be derived from chemicals “naturally” in a laboratory setting. The term is very vague and sources of the flavoring can be varied.

The origin of the natural flavor is not specified in this dog food. However, flavors are usually added to make a food more palatable and don’t have a large effect on the nutritional value [36].

Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols): Chicken fat is extracted from chicken during the rendering process.

It is high in linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acid. Same as with coconut oil preservation, tocopherols are used and may have several health benefits to dogs.

Organic Chicken Liver: Chicken liver is high in protein, fat and vitamin A.

For humans, Vitamin A is important to keep the immune system healthy and maintain good vision.

However, research with dogs shows that while Vitamin A is safe for canines, its administration barely affects them at all [37, 38, 39, 40].

Organic Alfalfa Meal: Alfalfa meal is produced from alfalfa, which is a member of the pea family.

It is high in fiber and is a source of plant protein but is a relatively unusual ingredient to find in dog foods.

Alfalfa is more commonly fed to cows and horses where its calcium content is thought to be beneficial. In addition, it contains potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, B12, C, D, E and K [41, 42, 43, 44. 45].

Other Additives

Fermentation Products: The dry varieties of Organix contain fermentation products.

These are meant to help with gastrointestinal health and digestion in dogs, especially digestion of fiber sources [46, 47].

However, it’s possible to argue that it may be difficult to include enough probiotics in dog food and have them survive. Cooking and extruding will have a significant effect of bacteria’s survival.

Research is contradictory on this. Some studies evaluating commercial probiotic-rich pet foods show very low levels of organisms present [48, 49].

Other studies indicate that probiotics can be effectively incorporated in dog foods and successfully infest canine’s gut with healthy bacteria [50, 51].

An owner really wanting to use probiotics for dogs is better off giving a supplement directly rather than relying on diet.

Chelated Minerals: Minerals are essential for a dog to be healthy.

They are used in many processes in the body such as the nerve and enzyme function and the growth of bones and teeth.

These minerals are not always well absorbed in a dog’s digestive tract when they are in their simple form.

However, when they are combined with other molecules (chelation) this improves their absorbability and is an indication of a better quality dog food as this process is expensive [52].

Suspicious Ingredients

Organix grain free dog food does not contain any ingredients that could be harmful or unhealthy for dogs.

The Bottom Line on Ingredients

Overall, the ingredients in Organix grain free dog food are above average.

The ingredients used in Organix grain free dry foods are of high quality from specific sources with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

The ingredients are all sourced in the USA and the majority of them are organic and must therefore comply with the standards set by the USDA.

All ingredients used are appropriate to form part of a balanced diet for dogs. There is a range of quality protein sources from both animal and plant matter.

Nutrient Analysis

Below is a guaranteed nutrient analysis of Organix Salmon and Peas Grain Free Recipe.

  • Crude protein (min): 26%
  • Crude fat (min): 13.5%
  • Crude fiber (max): 5%
  • Carbohydrates: undetermined but can be estimated to be around 38%
  • Moisture (max): 10%
  • Calcium (min): 1%
  • Phosphorus (min): 0.8%
  • Vitamin E (min): 75 IU/KG
  • Glucosamine (min):800 mg/kg
  • Chondroitin Sulfate (min): 800 mg/kg
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids (min): 3.5%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (min): 0.4%

Calories: 3,545 kcal ME/kg (355 kcal ME/cup)

When looking at caloric density of Organix dry dog food, it is somewhat lower than the revised levels now recommended by the AAFCO.

Previous recommendations were 3500 kcal metabolizable energy (ME) per kilogram of dry matter (DM) and the Organix range energy densities are around this level.

However, the most recent 2014 revised guidelines have increased the recommended caloric density to 4000 kcal ME per kg of DM, so foods in this range now fall somewhat below this level.

Although for adult dogs this is probably not of great significance as for average activity levels differences in total energy intake can be made up by feeding larger quantities if necessary.

This should, however, be considered in growing puppies and reproducing females who have higher energy needs.

The puppy recipe has a caloric density of 3488 kcal ME per kg of DM which falls below the recommended caloric density.

Protein Sources

Protein is an essential part of a healthy dog’s diet [53] as it forms the building blocks of the body, such as muscle.

In growing puppies it is especially important that there are sufficient amounts to allow for proper development.

Organix grain free dog food contains a mixture of both animal and plant protein sources, such as meat and fish sources, seeds and pulses.

However, if you are trying to limit the protein source in your dog’s diet to specific individual proteins, for example in the case of an allergy, you will need to read the ingredients for each recipe closely as most of the recipes contain multiple protein sources.

When Organix is compared closely with the AAFCO nutrient profiles, the protein levels are well above the required minimum amounts, and the food contains quality protein sources, derived from both meat and plant matter.

Minimum amounts of protein recommended by the AAFCO are 22.5% for growing or reproducing dogs and 18% for adult maintenance levels.

These higher than average levels of protein (26%) are an indication of multiple quality protein sources. Although high protein diets were thought to be unhealthy in the past, this has since been proven to be untrue [54, 55, 56].

Fat Sources

Fat levels are an estimated 13.5% in this grain free dog food recipe which when compared to AAFCO nutrient profiles (8.5% for growth and reproduction, and 5.5% for adult maintenance) is higher than average.

Despite the fact that levels are higher than in the nutrient profiles, these are not levels that could be harmful to dogs.

Although often perceived to be unhealthy, fats are important for lots of different things, such as hair condition, skin, the immune system, cell membrane function and as an energy source [57, 58, 59, 60].

Higher than average levels of both fat and protein mean that the food has not just been bulked out with excessive carbohydrates or fillers. The fat to protein ratio is around 52%.

Fiber Sources

Fiber is an important component necessary for dogs to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Organix grain free dog food range contains various different beneficial fiber sources such as garbanzo beans, pea, pea protein, sunflower meal, potatoes, lentils, alfalfa meal and flaxseed.

However, total fiber content in this dog food is relatively low at 5%.

It should be taken into account that crude fiber is not that an accurate estimation of the total fiber content [61].

As noted above, it is worth repeating that flaxseed has other properties apart from being a good source of fiber.

Certifications and Claims

Dog food manufacturers can have their foods tested and certified to meet specific regulations.

Some companies often use obscure or undefined statements. Below, we analyze all certifications and claims made by the company for accuracy and definitions.

Certifications

Organix grain free dog food meet the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program regulations, so ingredients can be guaranteed to be truly organic, and don’t just claim to be so.

The fact that Organix foods comply with these regulations means that ingredients are of high quality and therefore contribute towards a healthy and nutritious diet for dogs [62].

Some of the regulation standards mean that no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics should have been used on any of the ingredients in this recipe.

There are three levels of organic certification depending on the overall percentage of organic ingredients used in a product. Organix dog food fall into the third level of products that contain 70%-94% organic ingredients.

This classification is due to the fact that some ingredients such as the chicken meal, dried egg product and salmon meal are not organic.

The company states this to be due to a lack of sources of organic producers of these ingredients and that they are working to find a better solution.

Claims

Organix claims to be grain free and not to contain any corn, wheat or soy.

These claims are fulfilled according to the ingredients listed. Since grain free recipes do not contain any grains they are a good option for feeding dogs suffering from gluten intolerance.

AAFCO Requirements

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have set nutrient profiles which pet food manufacturers must comply with and/or undergo feeding trials on real life dogs in order to be branded “complete and balanced” [63].

Ingredient Requirements: Organix dog food meets “complete and balanced” minimum requirements in accordance with AAFCO nutrient profiles.

Feeding Trials: Organix dog food have not undergone any food trials with dogs.

Although diet trials are the gold standard of pet food testing, there are in fact very few dog foods which have undergone official feeding trials.

These AAFCO standards are important to ensure that your dog is receiving all the essential nutrients he requires to lead a healthy life for the stage he is at, without developing any diseases or conditions related to malnutrition or at the other end of the spectrum, obesity [64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69].

Other Evaluations

Other factors are taken into consideration for the final assessment of this dog food brand.

“Best Use By” Date on the Label

“Best Use By” date is a useful quality control for dog food, and it can help to ensure a proper shelf life and is an indication of quality.

Organix grain free dog food includes a “Best Use By” date, and a lot number which means that batches of food can be traced more easily.

Brand and Manufacturer

Organix is a range of dog foods produced by Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks and can be bought in stores and online.

Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks also produces a variety of other dog food brands. These include:

  • Natural Ultramix
  • Natural Ultramix with Raw Bites
  • Good Buddy

All Organix pet foods are manufactured in the USA in organically certified kitchens.

Testing, Safety and Quality Control

Organix dog foods are tested before, during and after the manufacturing process to ensure that they are safe.

Recalls

At the time of writing, there have not been any recalls of the Organix range.

Price Comparison

Organix compares favorably price-wise to other brands of dog foods of a similar quality such as Acana and Origens.

At the time of writing, dry varieties of Organix ranged from $4.30 to $4.60 per lb, based on prices of the smaller bags. Canned dog food ranged from $2.99 to $3.49 per 12.7-ounce can.

Organix grain free dog food have a good price to quality ratio.

Summary of Organix Grain Free Dog Food Review

This brand has scored 90 points out of possible 100 points for an excellent A rating, according to our Dog Food Rating System.

In conclusion, Organix is a dog food produced with superior ingredients and contains above average levels of protein and fats, with minimal filler ingredients to bulk the food out.

The majority of the ingredients used are certified organic.

It also contains some ingredients that have additional health benefits to dogs, such as flaxseed, coconut oil and varied protein sources.

Organix meets AAFCO nutritional requirements, includes a “Best Use By” date and a lot number.

Relative to other brands of a similar quality, Organix grain free dog food is less expensive but still contains a good selection of ingredients and provides appropriate nutrient levels.

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