Are human-grade pet food labels to be trusted?

IZMIR, TURKIYE - JANUARY 21: Dermatology Professor at Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) Dr. Emel Erdal Calikoglu feeds dogs eco-friendly Black Soldier Fly (BSF), which was used to produce cosmetic raw materials, in Izmir, Turkiye on January 21, 2023. (Photo by Mehmet Emin Menguarslan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
IZMIR, TURKIYE - JANUARY 21: Dermatology Professor at Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) Dr. Emel Erdal Calikoglu feeds dogs eco-friendly Black Soldier Fly (BSF), which was used to produce cosmetic raw materials, in Izmir, Turkiye on January 21, 2023. (Photo by Mehmet Emin Menguarslan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

You want what’s best for your dog, so you’re likely always looking for the best, most nutritious food on the market that’s still within your budget. You want your dog to have a well-balanced meal, but is human-grade dog food really necessary? Here’s everything you need to know about this type of food on the market.

What Does Human-Grade Even Mean?

Most pet food is technically feed-grade food, even though the packaging may not say so. The opposite of feed-grade would be human-grade dog food, which is technically okay for humans to eat because it has high-quality ingredients. The law does not require feed-grade pet foods to be manufactured according to human food safety laws, but human-grade pet food follows every regulation typical human food would.

Unfortunately, some companies may work around these stipulations and create human-grade dog treats and food that aren’t genuinely human-grade. Before buying something under the pretense that it’s human-grade, you should also consider why you’re buying it.

If it’s just for the label, you should remember that the food may go through processing like any other dog food, so it may lose some of its quality over time. Ultimately, what human-grade dog treats and food mean for your dog is up to you. You should always research certain brands before you buy from them.

Why You May Opt for Human-Grade Dog Treats

Spoiling your dog with human-grade treats might be more affordable for your budget than buying their everyday food. You can easily create treats in your home with just a few ingredients. You may save even more money if you choose to make your own human-grade dog treats.

Try to include dog-friendly foods, such as:

  • Peanut butter (without xylitol)
  • Blueberries (can fight cancer)
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (source of probiotics and calcium, without xylitol)

If you can’t make your own treats, buying them is perfectly fine. Food is a bit more challenging to create on your own. Feed-grade dog food might be made with “meal” rather than fresh ingredients, so you should always check your kibble’s ingredients list to see the primary components.

Fortunately, kibble can stay good for around 18 months before it spoils, which can’t be said about human-grade dog food. Plus, you can use dry kibble as just one part of your pup’s meal and supplement their dinnertimes with other wholesome ingredients.

Pros and Cons of Human-Grade Dog Food

Like any kind of pet chow, human-grade dog food definitely has its ups and downs. What you choose to feed your dog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for their health and longevity. Human-grade food may be outside your budget now, but you might choose high-quality kibble instead.

What matters most is that you do the research and have the best intentions in mind for your pup. Always consult your veterinarian if you need help to know where to begin.

Pro: Your Dog Gets Higher Quality Ingredients

Human-grade dog food always results in more nutrients for your pup. Because the food is usually fresher and cooked like human food, your dog will consume more nutrients and be extra hydrated from the contents of their food. They might also have better digestion, thanks to the added water.

Just like humans, dogs benefit from eating a balanced diet that includes fiber — both soluble and insoluble. Human-friendly foods like fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber that can increase stool bulk, while insoluble fibers help digestion. The best nutrition for your dog should consider their health and breed, so consult with your vet to find the best food for your best friend.

Con: It Could Be a Marketing Ploy

Because authorities may not pay attention to the claims certain brands make on their websites, certain dog food brands might get away with claiming that they’re human-grade while actually only providing feed-grade food.

By advertising that their food is human-grade, brands can likely see more customers opting for it, thinking they’re doing what’s best for their pets. Unfortunately, the only real way to prevent being deceived is to ensure the brand is what it says it is and that its food contains everything you want your dog to consume.

Pro: No Unsafe Ingredients

The best part of human-grade food is you won’t find anything that could cause your dog harm in it. Feed-grade food often contains fillers and animal by-products you wouldn’t feed yourself, so why would you want to give it to your dog? Human-grade food prioritizes quality over quantity, so you’ll know exactly what’s in your dog’s meal with no second-guessing.

Con: It Costs Extra

As you might expect, human-grade dog food will cost you more than feed-grade due to the higher quality of the ingredients and additional procedures followed. You also need to be wary — new food also means potentially encountering new allergies.

Pro: It’s Great for Picky Eaters

Last on the list of pros and cons of human-grade dog food, you’ll find your dog may like this food better. It’s typically wetter due to the extra hydration, and the taste of real meat and other high-quality ingredients can draw even the pickiest eater to their bowl.

However, you may also be able to draw in your pup with wet food, which is often just a little more expensive than kibble. Wet food likely draws dogs in because it smells and tastes stronger than its kibble counterpart. If you’re handling a picky eater, give quality wet food a try.

Human-Grade Dog Food: Is It Necessary for Your Pup?

It’s up to you to decide whether something fits into your budget and household. You may want to try some human-grade dog food to see if your dog likes it before buying it in batches. If your dog doesn’t usually eat wet food, you can offer that to them as well. As long as your pup receives the balanced nutrition they need and deserve, they’ll likely enjoy anything you give them.

Next. Why a sustainable diet is important for your pet. dark