Natural? Organic? Discover the difference between these terms and how to recognize genuinely natural pet products that won't harm your dog.
As a pet owner, how do you know which is the best natural coat care product for your dog? Natural pet products can be very confusing for dog owners to understand. Many brands use words like "organic", "non-toxic", "holistic" and "natural", but what do they ACTUALLY mean? To help you navigate the at-times-confusing space of natural pet grooming products we've put together a definitive guide to what makes a quality organic dog shampoo and conditioner and how to select the best product for your pet.
"Natural dog products are not a recent invention. For thousands of years humans have used plants and herbs for health and skincare purposes. However, many new commercial pet grooming products have been developed in recent years, claiming to be "natural, organic, and precisely what your dog needs". Here at Doglyness, we aim to dispel the myths surrounding natural pet grooming products and produce only the highest quality certified products for your pet."
— ANKA HANA SLADOLJEV
What is a natural ingredient?
A natural ingredient is quite simply one which is present in or has been produced by nature – this might be from a plant, animal, or microbial source. One of our favorite natural ingredients here at Doglyness is the Aloe Vera plant, which is excellent for soothing, healing, and hydrating skin. We also use oils such as Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil in our organic dog shampoos and conditioners to maintain hair elasticity and natural pH regulators such as Citric acid, commonly derived from lemons.
Obviously, the shampoo in your bottle looks nothing like these raw natural ingredients, so how are they produced? To be classed as "natural", these ingredients must only be processed by a limited range of simple methods. These methods include physical extraction techniques such as extrusion or filtration or microbiological or enzymatic methods. These processing methods ensure that the original ingredient properties are maintained and not synthesized into something that would be classified as "non-natural". Natural ingredients can also be the result of naturally occurring biological processes or straightforward chemical reactions.
Natural ingredients are ones that are present in or produced by nature and processed through simple physical methods or natural occurring biological processes or reactions
The principle behind these processes is to ensure that the natural ingredient can serve its purpose. Without these changes, the natural ingredients alone would not make high-quality, effective products. One excellent example of this is olive oil. Many of us use olive oil regularly as a food, and olive oil is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics. However, imagine if we used the same olive oil we put on our salad as a hair product – it would be impossible to rinse out, and the result would be greasy and unmanageable hair! Only by synthesizing olive oil with other components, we can use it as an effective natural cosmetic ingredient.
Also, just because something is natural it doesn't mean that it is of a lesser quality than organic. In nature, many things exist that may be toxic or poisonous to animals or humans. Sometimes just a mild reaction occurs, but on some occasions, the side-effects can be much worse. The manufacturers of natural pet grooming products must understand the effects of the natural ingredients they are using to create the most beneficial outcome for your pet.
The use of the word "natural" is regulated differently around the world, and in some countries, the term can be used on product packaging even if a minimal amount of natural ingredients make up the final product. Here at Doglyness, we want our dog owners to feel confident that our products are genuinely honest, which is why all of our natural dog products are certified by ECOGEA Institute.
What is an organic ingredient?
An organic ingredient is one that is derived from living organisms containing carbon-based compounds, such as plants. Organic ingredients must be produced without the use of certain chemicals such as pesticides or growth hormones. The principles of organic farming include farming methods that protect the environment, maintain biodiversity and encourage sustainability. When you choose a product that is organically developed, you are benefiting the environment and yourself.
Organic ingredients are ones that are derived from living organisms containing carbon-based compounds and produced without the use of pesticides or growth hormones
Within organic farming, the use of chemicals is also highly regulated. The use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides must be minimal, and organic products should contain low amounts of contaminants. Organic farmers have ingenious production methods without using chemicals, such as regular crop rotation and using seed varieties resistant to pests. These methods bring vast benefits to the broader environment and provide us with the highest quality organic ingredients for our natural pet grooming products.
At Doglyness, we believe that it is vital to use the best quality organic ingredients whenever possible in our natural dog shampoos and conditioners. To achieve this, we ensure that all of our organic ingredients meet the regulatory standards as set out by ECOGEA Institute.
What other ingredients are used in dog grooming products?
One of the main components used in dog grooming products such as shampoo and conditioner is water: a powerful vehicle that allows to get the products from the bottle onto your dog's coat!
Water is a natural mineral compound that doesn't contain any carbon and for this reason, cannot be called "organic". However, water used in ECOGEA certified products must meet the highest level of purity and hygiene standards, and it is classified as a natural ingredient in the product formulation. The fact that water is not an organic compound means that statements such as "100% organic dog shampoo" are false and used for greenwashing.
Water, cleansers, emulsifiers, emollients, and preservatives are among the other ingredients needed to make effective dog coat care products
Other compounds are also needed to make effective natural dog shampoo, including cleansers, emulsifiers, emollients, and preservatives. These all contribute to making shampoo with the properties we desire: a product that foams well, cleanse thoroughly, quickly spreads and rinses out, and leaves the coat hydrated and free of static electricity.
Same as with water, these compounds cannot be classed as "organic" because they do not consist of living matter, and there are no organic alternatives that can replicate their function. However, wherever possible, we aim to find the most natural way to incorporate these properties into our all-natural dog shampoos and conditioners.
How are natural and organic pet care products regulated?
The use of natural and organic terms is not regulated adequately; a manufacturer can use them in advertising a product even if it contains processed chemicals or potentially toxic ingredients. We find this very concerning – dog owners should feel safe knowing that a product classed as organic will contain only non-toxic ingredients. The best way to feel reassured that you are using the highest quality standard of the product is to look for one which has been certified by a regulatory body.
We're ECOGEA certified and proud to show it
Here at Doglyness, we are proud to have our products certified as organic and natural by ECOGEA Institute. To gain ECOGEA certification, we needed to meet the following criteria:
- Create a product that is made from a minimum of 95% natural ingredients.
- Use a minimum amount of organic ingredients, which varies according to a product category.
- Use environmentally friendly and sustainable processes in all stages of production and packaging.
- Adhere to stringent limits on the synthetic additives used when there is no natural alternative available.
We are very proud to have exceeded this criterion in many ways: our Ecogea certified Doglyness pet grooming products consist of more than 98% natural and 25% organic ingredients. Want to learn more about our ingredients? You can access the full list on this dedicated page within our website.
At Doglyness we fight greenwashing
As we have seen, some of the rules around the manufacture of organic and natural pet products can be quite vague and they also vary from country to country. Companies can label their products as natural and organic without any certification, meaning that they may contain just a tiny proportion of organic ingredients along with all the toxic chemicals you have been trying to avoid. This type of marketing is called greenwashing – false environmental claims companies make to sell a product.
One of the benefits of having our all-natural dog shampoos and conditioners certified by ECOGEA is that they have a strict policy against greenwashing. Ecogea will not allow a company to register just one or two products in their range as organic and then use this certification to greenwash the rest of their product range, which may not meet the organic requirements.
People who are interested in using natural and organic products are often looking for more than just a product and are more interested in living an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of life. Using organic ingredients, as we've already discussed, brings about benefits to the environment through the strict regulatory standards for organic farmers. But the product itself isn't the whole story – what about the bottle and packaging it comes in? Choosing to live sustainably means that we should consider our purchases' environmental aspects and all the natural benefits to our pets.
Veganbottles® follow EN13432 standards as they are made with biodegradable raw materials that are compostable
It's no secret that plastic waste is causing a tremendous amount of harm to our planet, not just as rubbish but also through the processes used to manufacture it in the first place. Here at Doglyness, we are very excited to be the first brand in the pet industry to use a patented Veganbottle®, made with 100% raw compostable materials. We have also ensured that we do not use any plastic or non-sustainable materials in the production, packaging, shipping, and storage of our products.
More on this coming soon!
Now you have a better understanding of what a natural and organic pet product is, you are probably interested to learn more about why you should choose these for your dog. Our next blog will look at the enormous benefits of using high-quality, all-natural dog shampoos and conditioners on your pet. We will also investigate the possible harmful effects of using low-quality products, such as ones that may be misleading about their organic or natural credentials. As pet owners, we all have the opportunity to choose how to provide the highest standard of care for our beloved pets and ourselves. We are here to help spread the truth and educate about what we do and how. If you have any questions or comments, you can write to us at any time.