Natural, Plant-based, Vegan? What’s the difference?

In the broadest sense, natural products include any substance produced by life.

My name is Jitka and I am the founder of Vita Canis. I am doggie mad and a happy dog mom of 5 mischievous terriers. I have been in the dog grooming industry for over 20 years and have always been interested in natural remedies. As a qualified aromatherapist and dog professional, I started Vita Canis from the simplest desire to produce natural aromatherapy products that have a useful purpose for both dogs and their owners.

My personal belief is to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. And it is a key driving force in how I run my business and this is at the core of all my product development. I believe natural products are better for us, our pets and the environment.

Natural Definition:

A natural product is a chemical compound or substance produced by a living organism that is found in nature.

In the broadest sense, natural products include any substance produced by life. It’s safe to say then that plant-based products, like oils, essential oils, butters, etc. are natural, plant-based and vegan obviously. Pretty straight forward wouldn’t you agree?

Animal Products

Animal products that are found in cosmetics and pet care products are also natural as they’re substances produced by a living organism. TAKE NOTE THOUGH… THEY ARE INDEED NATURAL BUT NOT VEGAN. Lanoline, glycerine, stearic acid, collagen elastin and keratin are a few examples. However, there are plant-based alternatives to these. This is a further topic that can be discussed in detail separately, however.

Vegan Products

A vegan product is a product without the addition of any animal products or by-products but vegan doesn’t necessarily mean natural. Some of the animal-derived ingredients are not always replaced by botanical, plant-based ingredients instead. However, they are often substituted with synthetic ingredients made in laboratories.

This is why the word ‘natural’ is the most overused word, not only in the beauty industry but also in pet care products.

Did you know that a product can be described as natural even if it contains just 1% of naturally sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients?! If you want to be sure of what you’re buying, always check the ingredients!

Check the ingredients

When you’re buying a natural product, the botanicals (substances obtained from a plant) are on the top of the ingredients list and the synthetic ones at the bottom. This list starts with the highest percentage ingredient and goes down to the lowest and the ingredients under 1% can be listed in any particular order. All of this is in accordance with the global standard of INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) and the names are also not in their common form (although you should find a clue in the name). An example of an INCI name is Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice for Aloe Vera Juice.

“A product can be described as natural even if it contains just 1% of naturally sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients!”

Unfortunately, manufactures are not required to display the full list of ingredients on their pet products (apart from dog food). I think if you’re proud of what you’re making and you know what you’re using you shouldn’t then have a problem with putting the names of your ingredients on the bottles. It seems like common sense to most of us and it’s for this reason that you can find a list of all the ingredients used on Vita Canis bottles and jars.

What do you look for?

As you can see the terminology can often be confusing and misleading and vegan is not always natural. However, you can rest assured that plant-based products are both natural and vegan.

When it comes time to buy a new cream for yourself or a new shampoo for your dog what should you be looking out for to help guide you?

My first piece of advice would always be to checking the ingredients. Secondly keep an eye out for some of the well-known logos, as shown above, showing that products are certified as cruelty-free and/or vegan.

I really hope that I’ve been able to help clear up some confusion that you might have had if you are thinking of embarking on an environmentally friendly lifestyle for you and/or your dog.

For more information on Vita Canis, click here