Bringing a dog into your life is a special time for a family. Not only do you have a new friend, ally, and snuggle partner, but there is also another life you’re responsible for. This means ensuring your pets are healthy, safe, and loved. When it comes to dogs and their well-being one of the most important decisions you make is what food you provide them. Yes, it’s natural to want them to have the best food possible for healthy growth and maintenance but with all the options out there, that can be a difficult choice to make. When shopping for dog food you see lots of things on the labels. Certain dog food claims to be human-grade food but what exactly does that mean? Is it a good choice for your dog?
Human-grade dog food is made using ingredients and standards that would be deemed safe for human consumption. This changes the ingredients, the manufacturing guidelines, and the processes the dog food goes through. While this sounds great when it comes to providing your pet with the best food possible, there are still things you should watch for when it comes to choosing the right food for your pet. Let’s take a look at those below and help you better understand human-grade dog food.
What Is Human-Grade Dog Food?
Getting the human-grade label in the dog food world isn’t an easy task. That’s why you won’t find a lot of them on the market. Human-grade dog food not only includes ingredients and hormones that are suitable for humans to eat but they are also made in facilities under USDA inspection, like human foods.
You’ll find dog foods out there that say, “made in a USDA-inspected facility” or “made with human-grade ingredients” but those claims don’t make them human-grade. When human food is processed in a facility, it is done under USDA inspection. The process and food are inspected, not just the facility.
Normally, that’s not how dog food is made. The facilities are inspected, but the USDA isn’t there while the foods are being made. If dog food is allowed to wear the human-grade label, then the USDA was involved and all guidelines were followed.
What Is Feed-Grade Dog Food?
Most dog foods on the market are considered feed-grade. This means that dog food is made with ingredients deemed safe for animal consumption. Unfortunately, being safe for animal consumption doesn’t always mean great for animals.
There are instances where non-slaughtered or sick animals can become ingredients for pet foods. You may even find cases where feed-grade dog food is made using some human-grade ingredients in hopes of making a better combination for dogs to enjoy. Having human-grade ingredients doesn’t make the food human-grade. It simply means a feed-grade dog food has a higher quality of ingredients inside.
You will find a lot of dog foods on the market that mention human-grade ingredients. While using the best ingredients in dog food is beneficial for your pet, it doesn’t make the food completely human-grade. There are still things inside, perhaps certain hormones, that wouldn’t be good for people.
The facility where the food was made may not be up to human-grade standards either. This is why so many dog food manufacturers turn to using human-grade ingredients to up the quality of their foods instead of changing their entire production standards.
Is Human-Grade Dog Food a Good Choice?
Giving your dog the best foods available is a goal of most pet parents. Human-grade dog food is a great way to do this. However, simply because a dog food says human-grade on it doesn’t automatically make it good for your pet. You want food that is nutritionally balanced and complete according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or the AAFCO’s guidelines.
They are the team that develops the standards dog food, and other pet food labels and ingredients definitions must comply with. Whether dog food is human-grade or simply feed-grade, you want to find something on the label stating that the food follows AAFCO guidelines to ensure your pet is getting the nutrition they need.
You should also keep in mind that not everything humans can eat is healthy for dogs. Yes, you may find human-grade dog food out there with potatoes, supplements, and chicken as ingredients. However, if your dog’s nutritional needs are not met by the ingredients that are safe for humans to eat, it will not benefit your pet. A true human-grade dog food, that is also nutritionally balanced, will be quite expensive and not very easy to come by for pet owners. Make sure, when choosing dog food, you understand everything the label states.
Final Thoughts on Human-Grade Dog Food
Simply put, human-grade dog food uses ingredients and follows standards that would make it safe for human consumption. If knowing there are more guidelines in place during the production of your dog’s food is appealing, then by all means, go with human-grade options if they are available for you. As we’ve already mentioned, however, the most important thing is to ensure whatever dog food you give your pet is nutritionally complete and balanced. This is the best way to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need to live a long, healthy life.
Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock