"While some foods are made with great care and high standards," Freeman told me by email, "using the term 'organic' is a marketing strategy." Freeman encourages pet-owners to buy their dog food from a well-known, reputable company that they trust and one that has undergone feeding trials with the Association of American Feed Control Officials. (Check the label for this imprimatur.)
But wait: There's more work for you to do to find high-quality pet chow (and hey, isn't that lavish greeting you get from your dog after a long day of work worth a little work?). Freeman advises that you find a company that employs at least one full-time nutritionist, has a research and development department, and conducts ongoing research on the firm's foods to continue to improve them.
"Companies should also have high-quality control standards for their ingredients, the food's shelf life, and their ability to detect and respond to a problem with their end-product," she writes. "If you can't find this information on the internet, call the company."