There was a time when people would scoff at “human food” being fed to pets. It seemed like an indulgence only the rich would think up. The very idea of having pets eating at restaurants or having meals prepared for them by a cook, though, was no doubt too foolish to even begin entertaining. Giving your pets your leftovers back before pet food was a thing is one thing, but taking them out for a night of fine dining was simply unimaginable.
That has changed, and more than just giving pets the same food that they’re eating, many pet owners genuinely enjoy taking their furry friends along to restaurants that are specifically set up to cater to animals. There is also an increasing movement of companies selling top-drawer human food for pets. But are these products good for your pet? And more globally, how do they affect the planet around us when climate change is already causing such havoc on our ecosystems?
Unfortunately, human-grade food does actually create a number of problems for both your pets and the environment. Here is what you need to know.
Toxic foods for pets
It shouldn’t need to be said, but don’t let your dog eat toxic foods, check this for more info! It may sound obvious, but many pet owners are not aware of what foods are toxic for dogs. Chocolate is a big one and many people already know about that one, but there are so many seemingly harmless foods that you should absolutely not give to your pets.
Some of the foods that are toxic for dogs include:
Pitted fruits in particular are a problem. Not only can your dog choke on the pits, but even small seeds can be dangerous, as they contain trace amounts of cyanide. Grapes and raisins are also dangerous, as even small amounts can lead to kidney failure.
Even if you remove the pit from an avocado, it can still be toxic for your dog. The pit is particularly dangerous, considering it has persin which causes stomach issues in dogs. But the rest of the avocado also has small amounts of persin, so if you do give your dog avocado, keep it to a minimum.
3. Garlic and onions
While you’re not going to feed your dog garlic and onions, remember that they are part of your recipes before feeding them from the table. Garlic and onions can cause blood problems which can be fatal.
Hopefully, this is not news to you, but after a person on the reality show Love Is Blind fed her dog wine, it seems like some people need a reminder that alcohol is toxic for pets.
5. Chicken Bones
We all know how dogs love their bones but there is a world of difference between a solid pork chop or beef rib and the tiny bones of chicken and other poultry. Even the biggest bones are a major choking hazard for a dog and the really small ones can be particularly lethal.
These are some of the most alarming ones but there are a number of other human foods that are also toxic to dogs. It might be tempting to think that you’re showing love for your treasured pet by gifting them with “proper” food but often you’re doing nothing of the sort. So often, in fact, that you should preferably try not to feed them from the table at all and only give them foods specifically made for pets. Pet food isn’t supposed to be appealing to humans but they are specifically designed to provide maximum nutritional value to their intended target: your pets.
What about human-grade pet foods?
Human-grade pet foods may seem like a nice idea if you can’t give your animals human food but want them to still share in the joys of human gastronomy. However, while they are like most pet food and are not at all dangerous for your pets, they have another problem entirely: they simply are not good for the planet.
The problem is that food that humans eat is already hugely taxing on our planet. Especially when it comes to meat, rearing animals is environmentally hazardous, there is a tremendous amount of waste, and as the human population grows, the problem is only going to get worse. The amount of water needed just to raise a single cow for the slaughter is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Human-grade pet food greatly exacerbates the problem. Animal by-products that humans don’t eat are often used in regular pet food. These byproducts are very healthy for your pets. Human-grade pet food does not use these byproducts, therefore consigning them to waste and necessitating the slaughter of more animals. The waste itself is bad for the planet, considering its carbon emissions in landfills.
Humans and pets have different nutritional needs
While pets live in our homes and we love them unconditionally, it is important to remember that they are not humans. What is good for us is not necessarily good for them. And this is another issue when it comes to human-grade pet foods.
Human-grade pet foods which make it to market are in all likelihood safe for your pets, but that is not where the problem lies. The issue is that their nutritional value is perfect for humans but leaves your pet unbalanced.
Pets have specific nutritional needs that food designed for them includes. The best pet food manufacturers take all the latest scientific data into account, creating a balanced diet. It may not be as exciting in your eyes as a human dish is, but it is far more satisfying to your pet and healthier in the long run.
When feeding your pet, you need to consider what is good for them and what is good for the planet. Human-grade pet food is not toxic – leaving out common human foods that harm pets – but it is unsustainable environmentally and fails to give your pet the nutrition they need.