Can People Eat Pet Food in an Emergency?

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

One of my co-workers, a devoted mom and pet owner, told me her toddler accidentally ate a dog biscuit and liked it.  She had turned her back for a minute as the little girl grabbed a dog biscuit from the counter, placed it in her mouth and ate it.  I was a bit taken aback but she said it had all natural, organic ingredients.  And. she tasted it herself after it happened.   She did place the dog biscuits someplace unreachable after that incident.  This got me thinking about whether pet food is edible… in an extreme emergency.

Can people eat pet food safely?

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.

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

What goes into pet food?

If you were to really consider what goes into canned pet food, I doubt anyone would want to eat it.  Ingredients may include  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.  You may feel sick to your stomach or get diarrhea, which are good enough reasons not to eat pet food.  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.

Let’s never get into a situation that desperate

So to answer the original question, Can people eat pet food in an emergency?  Then yes, I suppose they can.  But is it a good idea?  No, I would say it is not a good idea. 

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.

© Apartment Prepper 2017

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  1. I would eat my cat food in a heart beat. I imagine some brands would not taste very good, but I feed my cats Fancy Feast fish and shrimp. The only ingredients are ocean fish, fish broth and shrimp. Hell a little mayo and you have tuna salad.

  2. Not sure I would want to eat pet food, but I would eat survival food from if there was an emergency in Boston again. I saw an ad for their emergency food on your site and know that would taste better!

    1. Hi Kay, Definitely would rather eat storage food like 100servings. That’s why it’s best to prep to avoid being that desperate for food. Thanks for the comment.

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