Is Pet Food Safe for Humans to Eat?

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Nearly 80 million American households have a pet, with a majority being a cat or dog. Additionally, 42% of homes have more than one pet. A lot of food is needed to feed all of these animals, so it should come as no surprise that pet food is a 21 billion dollar industry. While this food is specially made for our four-legged pals, the question many have (including this researcher) is- in a post-apocalyptic world where human food was scarce, could I eat my cat’s wet food? Would I get sick from eating my dog’s milk bones?

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59 comments

    1. @Zookeeper25 They can (I don’t condone silly diets for animals either), it can be tough to do but you can supplement the vitamins they need. Not getting it right will result in poor health and possibly death.

  1. Kinda wish there were a low-priced human chow, that would address our full nutritional requirements, cost as little as possible, and last a long time in the original packaging. I suppose wheat and dry beans would be a start.

  2. My health-nut mother never kept any snacks in the house, so I’ve stolen a few milkbones in my day. The orange ones taste a bit like stale goldfish crackers.

    1. There was a girl I knew when I was a kid who occasionally are milk bones and I never understood why. You may have answered that for me…

  3. So, in an apocalypse scenario eat your dog first, then the cat before you start on their food.
    Alternatively keep guinea pigs. They’re tasty and they can’t make vitamin C either, so their food mix should be pretty good for us. In fact it ought to be an ideal base for a guinea pig hotpot 😀

    1. I’d keep the dog and cat with me in an apocalypse. Dog can be for protection, and both can help hunt whatever other animals are left alive. Plus all 3 of us can huddle together for warmth.

  4. If i brought home a mcdonalds my siamese cat would beg for some burger and fries and would not touch the food in the bowl, which made me wonder what he really thought of the crap i put in his bowl. mcdonalds fries was one of his favorite things. Siamese cats are weird though they behave like dogs but instead of barking they attempt to mimic the sound of a human baby crying.

    1. When people eat fast food, they know it’s not very healthy and usually can force themselves to stop if they think they had enough, no matter how nice it tastes.

      With the cat, for once it is even more unhealthy than to us, plus they pretty much can’t stop, they’ll never know when it is enough… so you as the owner will have to strictly regulate how much they get of such “treats”… occasionally it’s fine, but their main diet should not be “human food”

    1. Randy Lunn Am I the only one who has bought those speciality dog treats that look likr cookies from petco just to see what they taste like? They actually taste pretty good.

  5. Dry dog food was previously stocked as survival food on life rafts. Long shelf life, low cost, rather close to what humans need, and unlikely to be consumed outside of an emergency.

    1. Lately it has become more expensive than human food. I can buy different kind of biscuits for half the price of dry dog food. Dog biscuits are 3-4X the price. Very greedy basterds in pet-food marketing..

    2. @Danny THE Dog WTF? lol our biscuits are not a complete food, they are a snack. I’d also be very surprised if you could buy a 20kg bag of digestives for a little over £20 and make them last a couple of months or so.

    1. @Amanda Torres Yes fibers are generally easy to ingest.
      Edit: You do mean books right? Because concepts are not physical.

  6. “Pet food is not optimized to human dietary requirements.”
    Neither is the average American diet.

    1. Thomas Raahauge, The average American diet is actually the average European diet, mostly the German one, if you know what Americans actually are.

    2. @Paul Googol No one in the middle ages drank water by choice. It was too likely contaminated, beer or mead was more likely as the production process removes most pathogens.

    3. interestingly, and i wish i could find the source again, but in a nutrition class i took some years ago, it was stated that a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato is near perfect nutrition….for someone who does not get enough to eat.
      if you are starving. a cheese burger is easily digestible, and provides the most essential items needed for human life…..but few if Americans are actually starving.
      Few foods are inherently unhealthy. too much food over long periods of time is. coincidentally, vegetables are not necessarily more healthy than other food types, but they provide fewer calories per gram than most other types of food in their natural state, such that when you live in a society where calories are in excess, eating far more unprocessed vegetables makes it harder to over consume calories.

    1. @J Paterson Or the time the Chinese were adding deadly melamine to cheaply boost the protein readings… V___v

    2. I agree with another commenter here. You focused on nutritional value rather than food safety and the standards of food manufacturing facilities vs other product manufacturing facilities as far as what can make it into the end product, both as additives as dyes and as contaminants. Next is the difference between human food safety regulations and pet food safety regulations and what food bourne illnesses, outside of not fulfillling human nutruent needs, may be at risk. For example bacteria or toxins that dogs can break down or otherwise that humans are not able to safely consume and are allowed to bs present in pet foods.
      I really appreciate that you focused on dog and cat food as there are so many factors and those are more widely available and have more potential of being eaten by the desperate or curious. You do a good amount of research and I can appreciate that this topic may have been overwhelming from that perspective, but I’d also very much appreciate if you’d please give an effort with the current team and going and giving this topic a second look.

  7. Quick thing to note if you are gonna prepare food for cats and dogs yourself: Meat does not mean steak. You shouldn’t keep your pets on an exclusive muscle meat diet just as you shouldn’t try to keep them vegan. Just think of it: If a predator feeds in the wild it will not only devour some choice cuts but also entrails and fat as well as try to break open some bones to get to the marrow. Speaking of bones: Don’t give them chicken bones to chew on. They are thin and brittle and can splinter into pointy shards that will hurt your pet.

  8. The bonus fact… whyyyy 😭😭😭 I didn’t need to see those pictures 😭😭😭😭😭

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