Our furry friends are more than just pets. They’re our family, and it is our duty to take care of them and provide them the best food and health that we can. But that doesn’t mean that they can have all of the same things we can – many foods we eat on a daily basis can make your pets sick, or even prove fatal.
However, that doesn’t mean that the food they can eat should be of any less quality than what we consume. Many of the common brands on the market are bulked up with fillers and have undergone heavy-duty processing which degrades the quality of the nutrients within but results in longer shelf life to maximize profit and reduce losses on expired food.
Most people would agree that they wouldn’t purchase food of this quality for themselves or their children. Why should our pets be any different?
What Defines Human Grade
Human grade pet food is – simply put – food made with ingredients that are fit for human consumption, or which you would otherwise find within a supermarket. Legally, it must follow all of the same processing, handling, and quality standards as it would if it were to be eaten by us. This focuses on quality meats and organs which are high in protein and nutritious – as well as fruits and vegetables which their bodies can digest and benefit from. Some things to keep an eye out for as highly nutritious and quality ingredients are:
The list can go on, these are some of the more commonly accessible – but still high-end ingredients you may find in a healthy and balanced human-grade diet.
What Defines Feed Grade
Most people would shy away from anything that was labeled “feed grade”, and rightfully so. Feed grade covers a wide scope of potential ingredients. Some of these are excusable for low-grade foods, such as scrap meat, the offal, eyes, cartilaginous tissues, or parts from mechanical meat extraction. Delicious!
But there are other things that lurk under that title. Unfortunately, these include animals that are diseased, died before they arrived at the slaughterhouse after hours or days of sitting in transportation, and those which had died by indeterminable means.
When these parts of animals that are considered inedible are used, you may see them discreetly listed as that animal’s “by-product”, “meal”, “by-product meal”, or “Bone meal”. Unfortunately, the use of this low-quality and considered “inedible” meat is fully legal.
Oftentimes, due to the low quality of ingredients, they will require supplementation, which is often regulated to a lesser degree than those of which we would use. In fact, contamination or improper dosing of certain vitamins has been a cause for recalls in the past. Some, such as Vitamin D, have actually proven fatal when their recalls had taken place.
With this consideration, it is worth referencing that studies into dog food brands have found the presence of euthanasia drugs and pesticides within certain commercial brand dog foods.
What To Look Out For
Unfortunately, many well-meaning diets such as the “raw-food” and grain-free trend have had unintended side effects. As it turned out, our canine companions have evolved a lot since their days as wild wolves, this includes the ability to process starches and carbohydrates. It also showed us that they rely on certain grains to remain healthy, and the removal from their diet has caused several cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes an enlarged heart which is ultimately fatal. This can be avoided by using healthy grains which they can digest, such as Quinoa.
Now that you know what human grade dog food is, and what it means for your pet, it may be time to reconsider what you put in your cart next time you buy their food. If you decide it is time to try something new, remember that abrupt changes may sometimes cause a little tummy trouble. Buy the food you will be transitioning to early so that you can slowly wean them on to a healthier and more edible diet.