Can you eat dog food?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat dog food?”, and what are the risks associated with it?

Can you eat dog food?

Dog food is designed to be safe for dogs and humans. But this does not mean you should eat dog food as a meal replacement. Unless faced with an emergency, you should never risk your health by eating dog food. The risks of eating dog food are discussed in detail below.

Dogs and humans have different nutritional needs 

You cannot replace dog food with your regular meals. Both dogs and humans have diverse but different nutrition needs. If these needs are not fulfilled over a long time, they lead to nutritional deficiencies and the subsequent diseases that stem from it.

For example, humans need to outsource Vitamin C through food or supplements because the human body is unable to make Vitamin C on its own. Vitamin C is needed for healthy skin, nails, hair and to maintain a strong immune system. 

On the other hand, a dog’s liver makes Vitamin C and eliminates the need for including Vitamin C in dog food. Therefore, a person depending on dog food for nutrition is bound to suffer from Vitamin C deficiency among the many other deficiencies.

Is short-term consumption safe?

You can safely get away with eating dog food on a short-term basis. But regular or long-term use has toxic effects because dog food is not human grade. Dog food is a blend of animal byproducts, grains, soybeans, vitamins, and minerals to cater to the nutritional needs of your dog. 

Animal byproducts constitute meat scraps, ground bones, skin, organs, and damaged animal parts, all of which are not safe for human consumption. All of these are thoroughly cooked and processed so that your dog can safely enjoy dog food. 

One particularly risky thing about dog food is the added synthetic form of Vitamin K known as menadione. This vitamin is safe for dogs but toxic to humans in high enough doses.

What are the risks?

May cause food-borne illness 

Eating raw or undercooked dog food is not made for humans and it can result in serious health complications. Raw and undercooked meat is commonly contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, and E. coli

The common symptoms of food poisoning caused by these bacteria include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and nausea. If the dog food is contaminated, it can not only harm the dog but also result in food poisoning in humans.

Fully cooked dog food like kibble or canned wet food is a comparatively safer option but it does not mean that you can safely consume it. Because it is still highly likely to have become contaminated during handling or processing.

Keep checking the FDA’s online record of recalled commercial pet food products to avoid risking your health and your dog’s health.

Small children are at a higher risk of food poisoning 

Children are categorized as immunocompromised, which means they have a weak immune system. 

Therefore, the same contaminated food that results in mild food poisoning symptoms in human adults can wreak havoc on a child’s health.

No matter how safe dog food is claimed to be for humans, it should never be fed to children. Besides, dog food poses a major choking hazard for small children. Dry kibble is particularly notorious in this regard.

You must take precautions and keep the dog food out of the reach of children. Do not let your children anywhere near the food plate of your dog. 

If your child accidentally swallowed dog food, you need to immediately contact your pediatrician or local poison control authority. 

Top human food that you can safely feed your cat or dog 

Among fruits, banans, pumpkin, cantaloupe, blueberries, and apples can be safely fed to your pet dog or cat. Dogs and cats can also eat veggies such as spinach, green beans, broccoli, and carrots, etc.

Dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheeses like Gouda, Cheddar, and Swiss are equally safe for humans and pet dogs or cats. Other human foods like salmon, bread, turkey, chicken, eggs, and peanut butter, etc are safe for cats and dogs.

Human food you should never feed your pet dog or cat

Humans foods like coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, avocados, foods containing xylitol(gums), macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, yeast dough, and high sodium foods like bacon are not safe for dogs and cats.

Always feed a diverse diet to your pet dog or cat. When shifting from commercial pet food to human food, go slowly.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat dog food?”, and what are the risks associated with it?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.