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Can Humans Eat Dog Food? What You Need to Know!

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

dog food bowl

If you’ve spent any time around toddlers, you know that they will happily get into just about anything. Nothing is off the table for small children—including a bowl of dog food.

Most people know a kid who snacked on dog food at some point in their young life, but can humans actually eat dog food? Is it safe for humans to eat dog food? Should you be concerned if your kiddo eats the dog’s food? The short answer is that no, humans should not eat dog food.

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Can Humans Eat Dog Food?

Technically, yes, humans can eat dog food. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, but it’s very likely that there’s nothing to be concerned about if your toddler just ate a kibble or two off the floor, although your pediatrician would be a good resource if you’re unsure.

If you’ve found yourself in an emergency where the only option is to eat dog food, then you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. However, dog food isn’t formulated with humans in mind, and there are some major concerns when it comes to humans eating dog food.

Concerns Associated with People Eating Dog Food

Toddler with oral thermometer in bed
Image Credit: Victoria_Art, Pixabay

Although dog food contains food-grade ingredients, that doesn’t make them appropriate for human consumption. Humans don’t have the same nutritional needs as dogs, so dog food is not likely to meet the full nutritional needs of a human. For example, dog food tends to be relatively low in fiber, but people need fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Also, dog food may contain vitamin K3, which is toxic for people in large quantities.

It’s also important to keep in mind that dog food often contains by-products that are considered unfit for human consumption. This doesn’t make these ingredients nutritionally inappropriate, but it does mean that they may not have been handled or processed in the same way that human-grade food would be. This increases your risk of developing foodborne illnesses if you consume dog food.

The other big consideration is how you store your dog’s food. You wouldn’t want to eat food left sitting on the kitchen counter in the open, so you wouldn’t want to eat dog food that hadn’t been stored safely. If your dog food is left open, there’s a possibility of contamination from insects and vermin.

Consider the source of the food as well. While you may keep your dog’s food sealed tight in a container, once it’s in their bowl, the environment is different. How often do you thoroughly clean your dog’s food bowl? How long does food sit in the bowl before it is eaten or disposed of?

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In Conclusion

Overall, it’s not advisable to eat dog food. In an emergency situation, it might be understandable for a period of time, but being in an emergency doesn’t eliminate the risk of food-borne illnesses from eating dog food. Ideally, dog food should be kept properly sealed and picked up after your dog’s meal is over, whether they finished the bowl or not. It should be kept out of reach of small children who may take a taste. If you’re concerned, your child’s pediatrician is a good resource to reach out to regarding dog food eating.

Featured Image Credit: Freepik.com

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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