What Is the Human Version of Dog Food? (there are many)

While there are several equivalents to dog food, the particular “human version” will depend on the quality of the Kibble and other foods dogs usually eat.

The closest human version to dog food is cookies (because cheap Kibble isn’t very nutritious) or breakfast cereal. If we’re talking about a complete replacement food with all the essential nutrients, then Soylent, Ensure, and Huel products. Finally, we have pemmican and the combination of potatoes and milk.

These replace human food comparable to dry dog food or a complete dog food product. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

bowl of breakfast cereal with nuts and almond

Which Human Food Is Comparable to Dog Food?

People like different kinds of food. Dogs don’t generally care. Good dog food is well-balanced to fulfill basic nutritional demands, but balanced human Kibble wouldn’t sell well because humans prefer variety. Even dogs will get bored with dry food.

However, there are still many foods comparable to dog food:

  • Cookies (in the case of low-quality kibble)
  • Fortified breakfast cereal (in case of high-quality kibble)
  • Soylent
  • Ensure
  • Huel
  • Pemmican
  • Nutraloaf
  • Potatoes+milk

Most dry dog food does not meet daily dietary requirements. Some go closer than others, but dogs do not metabolize carbs as we do. They are an unnecessary and (in the long run) damaging addition to pet food. So, if you’re seeking a comparable low-quality Kibble, the answer to the question is cookies.

cookies with chocolate on a plate

Dogs who eat raw food with added vitamins and minerals are generally considered healthier (and less likely to be overweight) than dogs who eat Kibble.

In the case of higher-quality kibble, a close “human version” of the food would be breakfast cereal, mainly if it contains fortified wheat flour and a good quantity of fiber. You may need to add protein and fat supplements.

bowl of breakfast cereal with nuts and almonds

If we assume that dog food provides everything a dog needs, there are a few products out there.

Soylent is one of the products that can be called “human kibble.” Overall, it is a food replacement and is known as the “lazy man’s diet.” It provides all your nourishment for a meal in a drink that isn’t particularly pleasant. They are low in carbohydrates and heavy in fat. 

Soylent Mint Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake

However, Soylent is not a supplement but provides your body with the perfect amount of everything and nothing more. You should not rely on it to survive. Simply use it to replace the times you usually go out for fast food.

Ensure” is another complete nutritional supplement. My friend lived for a month on this when he was in the hospital.  In a 300 ml container, Ensure COMPLETE has 350 kcal, 30 g of protein, 42 g of carbs, and 8 g of fat. It is aimed at folks who cannot eat properly and do not want to waste their food. I wouldn’t eat it every day but I wouldn’t mind trying it.

Ensure COMPLETE Nutrition Shake

Huel is similar to the previous two products. In principle, it’s a food substitute. Nutrition is generally good, concentrating on high protein, low carbs, and sugars.

Huel complete food balanced

Pemmican is a calorie-rich food that can be consumed raw or cooked. Compared to others, it is meat-based. You should still boil and fry things for maximum nutritional content. It’s a mixture of dried meat and sometimes dried berries. It was formerly a key part of indigenous cuisine in some parts of North America and is still prepared today.

Pemmican (pemican) calorie rich food
Source: Jen Arrr – Pemmican Ball, under (CC BY 2.0), cropped

There is also Nutraloaf, which is used as a punishment in prison and is disgusting, but it matches the USDA standards for calorie and vitamin intake. It looks like ground meat mixed with vegetables, beans, and bread crumbs.

nutraloaf brown fibrous matter on an orange tray
By Scott Veg, under (CC BY 2.0)

Regarding particular food sources, potatoes and milk are the closest to a universal food. Potatoes provide plenty of calories and many other vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that the human body needs, though not all of them. Milk contains several vital nutrients that potatoes lack. 

fried potatoes on a plate_glass of milk

A combination diet of potatoes and milk comes very close to delivering all the nutrients people require. 

However, neither potatoes nor milk has enough fiber, plus we need a variety of foods to survive. Don’t think you can survive on milk and potatoes for long and stay healthy, even if you took vitamins. Still, these two foods offer a lot.

Is Dog Food Edible for Humans?

Humans can consume dog food, but it’s not especially tasty or healthy. Cheap dog food contains a lot of barely digestible filler ingredients. Simply said, you’ll poop more and not get the nutrients you need.

It is also not governed by the same rules as human food. It frequently comprises ground-up animal pieces such as chicken beaks, bones, feathers, etc. 

These problems would only exist in affordable dog food manufactured with high-quality ingredients. However, even though you can survive on pricey dog food for a short period, depending on the type, you will develop health problems if you do so for an extended period.

If you want to save money on food, try rice, beans, or potatoes. These foods can replace many dog foods varieties and go a long way. They will taste much better than dog food and be more nutritious than Kibble.

What Does “Human Grade” Dog Food Mean?

All pet foods are classified as either human grade or feed grade. According to the legal definition of human-grade pet food, every component, and the finished product are kept, handled, processed, and transported by requirements for good manufacturing procedures (GMPs) for human edible foods.

However, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the word “human-grade” has no legal definition. To be called “human-grade” dog food, all ingredients must be safe for humans to eat, and the food must be made and packaged according to federal rules.

However, feeding human-grade pet food to your pet does not guarantee healthier or higher-quality food. Try to focus on things that more objectively identify pet meals with high-quality components and good quality control standards and those produced by companies with significant nutritional competence.


What should I feed my dog if I don’t have any dog food?

Unless your dog suffers from a medical condition, skipping a meal isn’t that bad. So I would simply forgo the morning meal, not giving more at the next meal to compensate. Otherwise, boiling chicken, rice, spaghetti with scrambled eggs, and extra vegetables like peas/carrots are fine substitutes.

Would dogs live longer if they ate human food?

Most unprocessed human food and some human food is safe for dogs in moderation. Cooked meat, fruits and vegetables, scrambled eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, and so forth are examples. Chocolate, onions, garlic, and grapes are all toxic to dogs. Both humans and dogs should avoid fast food and processed foods.

Can humans eat cat food?

Because of the various nutritional requirements, most cat food is unsuitable for human consumption. Cat food will probably not kill you, but most cat foods aren’t “human grade.” They are “feed grade,” which means they’re not good for humans. The only cat food that people can eat is “human-grade” cat food.

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