Human-Grade Dog Food: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

With every dog food in the US claiming to be “complete and balanced,” you’ll need to dig a little deeper to uncover possible dangers and misconceptions. How do you really know what you’re buying? Making optimal dietary choices for your pooch with human-grade dog food via air-dried, high-quality options will bring your pup good health.

Nutritional changes for complete healing are key to keeping your furry best friend healthy! This means the elimination of all unhealthy additives and opting for human-grade ingredients in everything that you feed your pooch. Here’s a breakdown of what to look for, and what human-grade really means!

To bring your furry best friend back to good health it is important to feed your pup’s natural, nutrient-dense, human-grade ingredients found in healthy dog foods like Sundays’ air-dried dog food

With all the great ingredients in it, your dog will be wagging her tail with joy every mealtime.  Remember, it is usually best to consult with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes and remember to do so gradually all the while working with your veterinarian.

What Does “Human-Grade” Mean?

Today, we’re still faced with “feed-quality” dog food formulas that are likely made from low-quality ingredients and even prepared with soy, gluten, wheat or corn—all of which may contribute to recurring health issues like itching or digestive problems in your furry friends.

Many dog foods, even the ones that call themselves natural, include by-products. These are food products that were rejected for human consumption, but permitted in dog foods. By-products can include feathers, beaks, feet, hooves, eyeballs, hair, and bones. That said, some by-products are healthy. Take organ meats for example, like the heart or liver, which are some of the most nutritious parts of an animal.

If your pup is a senior or has health issues like obesity, now may be the time to opt for a healthier dog food diet. It’s never too late to become conscious about what your furry best friend is eating. Don’t ignore added preservatives and the overabundance of grains in most commercial dog foods. Make a conscious decision to improve the quality of your pooch’s life!

Today, inexpensive fillers are still being used together with by-products. These inexpensive fillers like corn, wheat, rice, potatoes serve no nutritional purpose and are used to add bulk to your packet or can of dog food. They may not sound scary, but they have an enormously detrimental effect on your dog’s health. 

Dogs end up consuming tons of chemicals from that filler-heavy 40-pound bag of dog food. Chemicals like BHA and BHT are used to give dog food a longer shelf life. Ingredients that are often found in dog food like corn or food dyes may be difficult for dogs to digest, and they may also contribute to obesity. For example, ethoxyquin is a very inexpensive chemical that is used in numerous dog foods as a preservative... And it’s also used as a weed killer and rubber stabilizer.

If you want to take really good care of your furry best friend, you’ll need to look at your commercial dog food brand more closely. Make sure that it has the right amount of carbs, artificial flavors, by-products and additives.

If you can, embrace a natural diet for your pup with whole-named meats, natural vitamins and minerals, fruits and veggies, and other super healthy ingredients like quinoa, pumpkin, broccoli, oranges, cranberry, USDA beef, beef heart, and beef liver. This switch will go a long way in giving back to your furry family.

Is Human-Grade Food Good for My Dog?

When it comes down to optimal pooch health, purchasing an air-dried dog food or ready-to-serve dog food made with 100% human-grade ingredients is key to good quality dog food. Look for GMO-free foods with no preservatives or artificial flavoring. Poor quality dog food may also contain Bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical may disrupt your dog’s endocrine system and negatively affect your dog’s metabolism and gut microbiomes.

Dogs need phytonutrients that are found in fruits and veggies to stay healthy, to help prevent or reverse chronic disease, and to decrease health problems related to aging. By feeding your dog a healthy human-grade dog food diet, you’re allowing them to eat a variety of healthy foods with numerous food options with benefits including:

  • Maintenance of a healthy weight
  • Longer average lifespan
  • Longer focus time, especially great during puppyhood for positive dog training
  • Supports bone and joint health
  • Supports brain health in dogs
  • Helps fight inflammation, skin and coat issues and obesity
  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives such as propylene glycol
  • Meat instead of meat meal
  • A good source of calcium
  • Increased fiber and nutrients such as flavonoids

Disadvantages of a Cheap, Non-Human Grade Commercial Dog Food Diet

  • Meat by-products that may not be clean or refrigerated
  • Wheat gluten
  • Unnamed animal/protein sources
  • Sweeteners or sugars
  • Preservatives, flavors, artificial colors, and added hormones
  • High fat content
  • May be pricier
  • Water may be the first ingredient, with the second being wheat gluten (cheaper brands)
  • Vegetables may come in as the 8th or 9th ingredient, which means that there are hardly any vegetables in the formula
  • Possible recalls

Benefits of Human-Grade Dog Food

A 2018 study by Cornell University found that “glyphosate, the active herbicidal ingredient in widely used weed killers like Roundup, was present at low levels in a variety of dog and cat foods the researchers purchased at stores. The researchers purchased multiple bags of cat and dog food from various retail outlets, which they then tested.”

The study found the following: “The 18 feeds were all mixtures of vegetable and meat ingredients, and one product was certified GMO-free. Analyses conducted by postdoctoral researcher and lead author Jiang Zhao in Hay's lab, and research support specialist Steve Pacenka, found that all of the products contained glyphosate at concentrations ranging from approximately 80 to 2,000 micrograms of glyphosate per kilogram.”

The study concluded that “glyphosate is out there in our [pups’] food, and while there doesn't appear to be any immediate risk, there is still uncertainty about the chronic impact of low doses like these," Hay said. "It's hard to find a product that doesn't have glyphosate in it, so we included the exposure assessment to provide some context. 

The old adage 'dose determines the poison’ is good to keep in mind: While it's possible that these animals might respond differently than humans, the numbers are still within a range that would be deemed safe for humans."

Human-grade ingredients offer an array of health benefits to your pooch because you’re actually feeding them a meal that mimics the diet that was enjoyed by their doggy ancestors. Many cheap commercial dog food brands may instead opt for the following:

  • Meat meals
  • By-product meals
  • China-sourced ingredients
  • Rendered material like hooves and feathers
  • Deceptive marketing strategies
  • High-sodium levels

Lisa Freeman, DVM at Tufts University, recently added that “Heart disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats, affecting 10-15% of all dogs and cats (with much higher rates in certain breeds). Nutrition is a key part of these animals’ overall care, and while there are many nutritional adjustments that may be recommended for the individual dog, reducing dietary sodium plays a central role in the nutritional plan for most dogs and cats with heart disease. While diet alone is usually not the sole treatment for heart disease, nutrition tailored to your dog’s heart condition may help slow the progression of heart disease, minimize medications required, and improve quality of life. In certain forms of heart disease (diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy, for example), diet can even help reverse heart disease.”

For example, if you’re feeding an air-dried dog food diet, the benefits are the following:

  • Improved digestion
  • Healthier skin and coat
  • More energy
  • May be less prone to obesity and other health issues.
  • Raw food benefits because the ingredients are not damaged during harsh processing
  • Ingredients contain naturally-occurring nutrients and enzymes for optimal health

Dehydrated or air-dried dog food options have become really popular because they’re easy-to-feed, especially if you’re going to dog shows or dog sporting events. Even adventures like hikes are a perfect time to break out these easy-to-feed products because you don’t need to keep them frozen.

If you feed your dog a lower-quality food, very little nutrition is absorbed. In fact, most nutrients will be eliminated. It's best to drop some cash on a more expensive dog food, so you can save money by skipping trips to your vet. One simple switch can help prevent recurring skin allergies, diabetes, or even cancer. Human-grade ingredients by way of air-dried dog food recipes allow for a more palatable meal that your furry best friend will enjoy.

The inclusion of regular human-grade ingredients for dogs has also diminished the occurrence of bloating in pups. Studies from Tufts University show that dogs eating one single meal of dry kibble containing fat in the first four ingredients had a 170% higher risk of bloating.

Some ingredients in commercial dog food may not be made in the US. The vitamins and minerals you find on your labels are mostly made in China. After the largest dog food recall occurred in 2007, dog parents began examining dog food ingredients like wheat gluten used to boost protein levels and function as a filler in cheap, commercial dog food. Wheat gluten is made by washing wheat flour dough in water until only the gluten is left behind, which is then used as a cheap source of protein in commercial dog foods.

Today, it’s easier than ever to feed your furry best friend a high-quality diet with human-grade ingredients. As pup parents, we’re more educated as to what a healthy, human-grade dog food diet for pups really means, and that we should opt for high-quality proteins and fats, complex carbohydrates, and prebiotics for good gut health. Cheap commercial diets that are loaded with sugars and low in prebiotics may lead to health issues in dogs.


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