Is Pet Food Fit For Human Consumption?

Table of Contents (click to expand)

So basically, it’s okay to eat pet food as long as you don’t do it all the time because the proportions are different for humans and pets. Pet food can also contain harmful ingredients, such as melamine, that can make you very sick.

If you live with a pet, then this question must have surely crossed your mind at least once. I mean, aren’t you curious about pet food? What does it taste like? What is it about pet food that can instantly summon your pet, even if they’re miles away?

Most of the time, you’re left staring curiously at the bowl of food that your pet is ravenously munching on, contemplating what it might taste like. However, the wiser part of you probably just says, “Nah… maybe let’s not try to do that.” Who knows what would happen to your body if you ate it? You wouldn’t want to take the risk, right?

Well, fortunately for you, I’ll try to answer this question for you. Is it really okay for us to eat pet food?


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If you look at the contents of the pet food packet that you have, you would quickly realize that most of them contain much of your own diet! There are ingredients like meat, wheat, rice and vegetables, all of which makes you think, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to consume such a product. Moreover, the food also has added vitamins and minerals for even better health!

However, you don’t necessarily know the origin of the meat used in pet food. Most of this meat comes from food that is unsuitable for human consumption. It is usually made up of slaughterhouse rejects, such as organs and blood and offal, like the trim from hides (an indigestible but harmless filler). Trust me when I say, nothing good is going to come out of eating ground-up animal bones or organs, like the intestines.


So no, there is nothing poisonous about pet food that could put you in your death bed. The ingredients in themselves are not particularly harmful to your body, but that doesn’t mean that it would be good for your body. You have a serious chance of falling ill by eating unprocessed meat that your body isn’t accustomed to.

Also Read: Why Are Some Meats Eaten Raw And Some Are Not?

Quality Control

The main reason why you should avoid ingesting pet food is because it isn’t subject to the same level of quality control that human food goes through before it lands on your plate. The processed food that we eat goes through several levels of inspection. This ensures that it does not contain any harmful substances. Thus, the consumers are kept safe from developing any food-borne diseases, such as salmonella.

Pet food, on the other hand, does not have the same amount of quality control as human food. The safety guidelines that food usually follows are not applicable when it comes to the kibble that our pets eat.

For example, on March 16, 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a major recall on some canned pet food that caused rapid kidney failure and death in hundreds and possibly thousands of animals. This was traced back to the wheat gluten that had been used in such foods. Although wheat gluten in itself is safe to eat, the gluten used here had an ingredient called melamine in it. Melamine, a fire-retardant, plastic-causing chemical, is not really that dangerous a product. At the most, it would cause kidney stones in humans, but when this melamine was coupled with uric acid, it resulted in some serious damage, up to and including kidney failure. Melamine ended up in the pet food in the USA that had come from a Chinese manufacturer of wheat gluten. 

There are several Chinese products that change our perception of the stereotype that Chinese products turn out to be defective. This, unfortunately, is not one of those instances.

Improper Diet

Needless to say, the food proportions for humans are completely different from those required by animals. Although the ingredients in pet food – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – are much the same, their quantities differ in human food. Pets, such as dogs and cats, are largely carnivorous by nature, while our diets are designed for omnivores. We have a carbohydrate-rich diet, while they have a protein-rich diet. It would be a mistake on our part if we tried to consume only pet food for long stretches of time. It wouldn’t kill you, but it would leave you pretty unhealthy by the end of it.

regret decision

Pet food is safe if you eat just a little bit once or twice in your life. Therefore, if you have, possibly due to a drunken mistake, challenged a friend to eat pet food, don’t worry, your friend is in no immediate danger of dying. However, please don’t try to live off the stuff! It is of the wrong quality and quantity for human nutrition. It’s definitely wiser for you to stick to plain old boring people food instead!

Also Read: If Human Health Requires A Balanced Diet, How Do Animals Survive On Such Narrow Diets?

References (click to expand)
  1. Pet food - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
  2. Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Pet Foods. The Ohio State University
  3. Will eating pet food kill you? - Live Science. Live Science
  4. Is Pet Food Safe for Humans to Eat? - Today I Found Out.
About the Author

Vaishnavi has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai (India) and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Global Studies (whatever that is) from Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany). She loves to read and to sing, especially to avoid awkward situations. She claims she has learned a lot through traveling but she still ends up pulling a door marked ‘Push’, so the jury is still out on that one.

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