Human Grade Dog Food − What Is It and Is It Good for Your Pup?
Recently, the concept of “human grade” dog food has grown more popular than ever before. However, like all new trends in the pet world, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions circulating in pet parent circles and on social media − many of which aren’t always nutritionally accurate. So, what does human grade or “people-quality” dog food really mean? And is this the best diet you can be feeding your furry family member? Let’s dive in and take a closer look.
What is Human Grade Dog Food?
There’s often confusion surrounding fresh dog food brands, as some mistakenly believe that the use of fresh ingredients automatically means that the food is human grade. The reality is that it’s much more complicated for a brand to be able to claim a product’s human grade credentials.
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the following guidelines are given for pet food companies surrounding the use of human grade claims in their advertising:
- The term “human grade” can only be applied in reference to the product as a whole. Every ingredient and finished food must be stored, handled, processed and transported in a manner that is consistent with current good manufacturing processes for human edible foods.
- The definition “human grade” is false and misleading if the finished product as a whole is not human edible. Human grade claims cannot be made on individual ingredients if the finished product is not human grade.
- The manufacturing facility where the food is made must be licensed to produce human food.
In order for a kibble or wet dog food to be classed as human grade, AAFCO also states that the pet food company must have documentation that demonstrates how each ingredient is fit for human consumption, that it’s handled and stored in a manner compliant with human edible foods, and that all the appropriate facility and food licenses are obtained.
Is Human Grade Dog Food Better?
The short answer is no. Just because a food is labeled as “human grade” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthier, or of a higher quality. There are other factors which are just as, if not more, important such as the manufacturer’s quality control standards and the quality of the raw ingredients.
If you’re unsure about the best option for your dog, your veterinarian will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Feeding Your Dog Human Food
Human grade dog food is not to be confused with what is simply referred to as “human” food; food that’s come from your kitchen.
Although a pup can benefit from some human items, indiscriminately feeding your dog so-called “real food” from the family fridge should be treated with caution. Before you start making your dog’s meals with human food, or scraping leftovers into their bowl, speak with your veterinarian to confirm what they can and can’t eat. Here some examples of fresh foods that should be safe to feed your dog:
- Cottage cheese
- Green beans
- Peanut butter (must not contain xylitol)
Just as there are safe human foods, there are also many unsafe foods that you should never feed your pet. These can include but are not limited to some of the following ingredients:
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Yeast dough
- High sodium foods, such as bacon
- Heavily seasoned foods that you have prepared for yourself
- Any food containing xylitol (such as some peanut butters, sauces, etc.)
Of course, there are limitations to relying on a human food diet, namely that it can be demanding and expensive for pet owners to maintain. If you are considering preparing a home cooked diet for your dog, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary nutritionist to ensure that you have a complete and balanced recipe to follow.
Feeding Your Dog Raw Food
Advocates of the raw dog food diet claim that benefits include shinier coats, healthier skin, and increased energy levels. This raw food diet for your dog usually includes the following raw ingredients:
- Organ and muscle meat
- Whole or ground bones
- Raw eggs
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Some dairy products
However, the American Kennel Club (AKC), and other groups warn that feeding dogs raw food is a risk to their health, as these ingredients can be found to carry pathogens like E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. These pathogens have the risk of making not only your pets ill, but humans as well, and can in some cases result in loss of life. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) strongly recommends against it, as do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the risk to human health.
Finding the Right Food for Your Pet
We stress the importance of consulting your veterinarian prior to making a change to your pet’s diet. They will ensure that your dog’s health, activity level, age and size, any allergies they may suffer, and your lifestyle are all taken into account. With so many types of dog food on offer, that’s the best way to ensure that everything is considered when choosing the right diet.
Canidae’s® signature dog food line aims to bring out the best in your pet, our recipes are formulated for whole body health and made from premium and limited ingredients.
There are no fillers, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, just complete and balanced goodness, supported by probiotics, antioxidants and Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids.
Canidae’s signature line offers recipes which contain high quality ingredients: wholesome grains like barley, oatmeal and brown rice, and the number one ingredient is always real poultry, meat or fish. With plenty of grain free options for more sensitive pets too, Canidae could be the perfect option for your pet no matter their dietary requirements. Discuss with your veterinarian about transitioning your pet to a Canidae diet today!