We watched the recent episode of Dual Survival, “ROAD TO NOWHERE” where Dave and Cody were stuck in the Maine wilderness. They had to survive on items they found in a broken down truck. One of the items they salvaged was a can of dog food. It was mentioned that although unappetizing and gross to look at, pet food is suppose to be “fit for human consumption” and they proceeded to eat some of it and use part of it as bait. They seemed fine after eating it, except for some remarks from Dave not wanting to be downwind from Cody.
The next day I went and looked up whether pet food is “fit for human consumption” and found no definitive answer. From what I read, the EU does have this requirement and some companies in the UK actually have a human taste tester. I think it would depend on what “fit for human consumption” means. If it means “non poisonous” to humans, then sure, it is not poisonous. In the U.S. the pet food industry is regulated by the FDA, and they have some minimum requirements that are geared for the particular animal’s nutrition needs.
Years ago, I had a friend whose toddler accidentally ate a dog biscuit and liked it. I saw this article in Popular Science magazine that indicated no ill-effects would result if you tried cat food once or twice (especially the organic ones), but it is not really recommended for long term use (Can People Safely Eat Cat Food http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-02/can-people-safely-eat-cat-food-0).
However, if you were to really consider what goes into canned pet food, I doubt anyone would want to eat it: intestines, heads, hooves, possibly even diseased and cancerous animal parts. These parts are gathered and cooked in a process called “rendering” which just means thrown in a huge vat and boiled. I actually felt a big queasy after researching all this, so I will spare you the rest of the details. Suffice it to say, I do not believe it would be productive for me to eat it, even in an emergency, if I were to just “lose my lunch” in the process. But then you never know what desperation drives people to do.
I hope I never find myself in a situation where I had to eat a can of dog or cat food. I will be picking up extra dehydrated and canned foods to add to the emergency stockpile just to make sure.