Can humans eat dog food or cat food? Health facts

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Tuesday, 28/06/2016 09:06

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? Here in this article, we will find out can humans eat dog food or cat food. Food facts.

Can humans eat dog food or cat food? Is it safe to eat pet food?

Can humans eat dog food or cat food

While it certainly doesn’t look appetizing, nor (probably) taste any good, the answer is, for the most part, yes, humans can safely eat their pet food. However, there are some important caveats which we’ll get into. For the long answer, let’s look at a brief history of pets and their food and what manufacturers put in it today and why.

The combination of many dry cat foods primarily being based on plant-based protein and lacking much in the way of moisture is generally thought to be why many house cats ultimately develop diabetes and kidney problems, among other related issues, later in life. That’s not to say all dry cat foods are inherently bad (some are made of very high quality meat-based proteins and the like, and simply suffer from a lack of moisture) nor all wet cat foods are inherently good for your cat (some are packed with unhealthy amounts of fats and the like). In either case, the order of the ingredients is key here, with the first item on the list being the primary ingredient and on down. Cats also need more thiamine, Vitamin A and Vitamin C than dogs and humans as in dog facts. Without food that specifically has these elements, cats will be undernourished. You can also check out to get more information and interesting cat facts for kids.

This brings us back to humans. In theory, given the human body’s ability to adapt to a wide variety of food sources, humans are able to eat both dog and cat food, whether wet or dry, high quality or not in a limited quantity. 

Can humans eat dog food or cat food

For instance, regular high intake of animal based Vitamin A (which, as mentioned, pet foods tend to have a relatively high amount of) in humans can cause a myriad of serious, even fatal, complications. For this reason, good quality vitamin supplements (which are harder to find than you might think) generally use plant based Vitamin A via carotenoids, like beta-carotene.  In this case, if your body needs more Vitamin A, it will convert the beta-carotene to Vitamin A; if it doesn’t need it, it won’t. In contrast, a meat-based Vitamin A source is already in the form your body needs, meaning you can potentially get too much of it in your system. This is particularly a concern for pregnant women. 

So, in the end, while it is possible for a human to subsist for a time on dog and cat food, there is the general caveat that these animal foods are specifically formulated for the particular animal and not meant to meet the dietary requirements of humans, though irregular consumption of these foods shouldn’t hurt you. In other words, cat food shouldn’t be your breakfast every day. Of course, this hasn’t stopped other writers and publications from attempting this very thing as a stunt. Nor did it stop a pet store owner from eating dog treats for thirty days as a way to promote her store.

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Ryan Carter

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