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If you’re looking for a high-quality, healthy diet for your pup, you may be considering human-grade dog food. There’s a lot of pet food hitting the market these days that claim to be human-grade, but what does that mean? Are there standards for human-grade dog food? We shed light on these questions and more and give you our top picks for the best human-grade dog food.
At-A-Glance: Our Top Picks
What Is Human-Grade Dog Food?
More and more products are hitting the market, claiming to be human-grade dog food. This isn’t just marketing jargon, but what does it mean for dog food to be human-grade? Currently, there’s no legal definition in the U.S. of what exactly constitutes human-grade dog food, but the top dog food organizations, including the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), are developing standards. For now, there’s a consensus that “human-grade” dog food should meet all of the following requirements:
- Food must include only ingredients fit for human consumption
- All ingredients and finished food products should be stored, handled, processed, and transported in a manner that’s consistent with current good manufacturing processes (cGMPs) for edible human foods
- Food must be made in a facility that’s licensed for human food production (in many cases, this involves a USDA-certified and inspected kitchen)
Is Human-Grade Food Good For Dogs?
There’s little doubt that human-grade dog food is good for dogs — as long as it meets the AAFCO guidelines for a complete and balanced nutritional diet for dogs. The standards for pet food production aren’t nearly as strict as those for human food production, so there’s a lower risk of contamination.
So, does this mean that human-grade pet food is better than other pet food? Not necessarily. Many pet food manufacturers use higher standards that far exceed the minimum requirements for pet food production for the quality of ingredients, cooking processes, food safety practices, etc. Many of these pet foods are just as healthy for your pup as human-grade pet food.
Best Human-Grade Dog Food
We want to give you your top options based on the type of dog food you and your pup prefer, so we’ve broken these into categories to help you choose the best fit. All of the brands we review here adhere to the standards we outlined above for both human-grade claims and AAFCO-compliant nutrition.
Best Fresh Human-Grade Dog Food: The Farmer’s Dog Review
Some of the best human-grade dog food delivery you can find is from companies like our top pick for fresh food, The Farmer’s Dog. This company offers fresh, all-natural dog food, specifically personalized for your pup’s individual health needs and delivered right to your door.
You start by filling out a brief profile of your pup, including age, breed, weight, body shape, activity level, and 15+ different health issues (allergies, gluten or grain sensitivity, ear infections, digestive problems, etc.). This profile allows them to personalize your dog food’s ingredients and portion sizes.
The Farmer’s Dog offers four recipe varieties: chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. All are pre-made and pre-portioned based on your dog’s profile. Recipes come packed with fruits, vegetables, lentils, fish oil, and a blend of vitamins and minerals. And all food is made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens.
Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lexie LOVES The Farmer’s Dog! She gobbles it down fast and has had much more consistent bowel movements since switching. She’s also lost and maintained a much healthier weight since switching from kibble (and her coat is noticeably more shiny and healthy).
– Sadie C., Canine Journal
- Plans start at $2/day
- Free shipping (you can customize shipping frequency)
- See all options
Best Dry Human-Grade Dog Food: The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Review
The industry’s pioneer of human-grade dog food, The Honest Kitchen is one of the very few manufacturers that make human-grade dry dog food. Their all-natural kibble (called clusters) includes human-grade muscle meat and liver, vegetables, fruits, low-glycemic carbs, healthy fats, and probiotics. They have both grain-free and grain-inclusive options.
They make their clusters by cold pressing small batches of fresh, whole-food ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Then, they slow roast and dehydrate them to maintain the nutrients, taste, and aroma. All food is made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens. The Honest Kitchen also has a huge variety of highly-rated (and extremely popular) dehydrated and wet human-grade dog food.
Best “Canned” Human-Grade Dog Food: JustFoodForDogs PantryFresh Review
Okay, this isn’t technically canned human-grade dog food, but JustFoodForDogs’ (JFFD) Tetra Pak boxes are even more convenient than cans, have a two-year shelf life, and are recyclable. Their PantryFresh food comes in four recipes: chicken & white rice, beef & russet potato, turkey & whole wheat macaroni, and lamb & brown rice. Each recipe includes real meat, vegetables, fruits, and essential vitamins and minerals.
All of their all-natural food is formulated by veterinarians and pet nutritionists and gently cooked in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens. JFFD is perhaps better known for its fresh, frozen meals, which you can have delivered right to your home via their website. But JFFD’s PantryFresh meals are just as high quality as all of their other pet foods.
Best Dehydrated Human-Grade Dog Food: Spot & Tango Unkibble Review
While The Honest Kitchen has an excellent variety of dehydrated options, Spot & Tango takes dehydrated human-grade dog food to an even higher level by offering personalized food for your pup’s age, weight, activity level, and more. Spot & Tango’s Unkibble gives you the same 100% fresh, whole ingredients you’d find in fresh-frozen meals with a more convenient and affordable dog food product. They have three Unkibble recipes: beef & barley, chicken & brown rice, and cod & salmon.
Spot & Tango also offers high-quality customized fresh-frozen meals. All of their food is formulated by vet nutritionists, made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens, and contains no fillers or artificial ingredients. Spot & Tango is a subscription service, but you can pause, skip, or cancel any time.
Our two dogs attacked the box when it arrived, and, once opened, they ravenously gobbled up this new food. To say that UnKibble has some new fans in Barley and Lily would be an understatement! And, now, with all the food we need to keep on hand during self-isolation for COVID-19, it is a bonus that the dogs can still have healthy and wholesome food without taking up valuable freezer space!
– Michele S., Canine Journal
- Unkibble plans start at $7/week
- Fresh plans start at $15/week
- Free shipping
- View all options
Looking for a Spot & Tango promo code? Visit our dedicated Spot & Tango coupon page to check out the latest offer and save.
Best Human-Grade Dog Treats: Full Moon Natural Organics Review
If you’re looking for the best human-grade dog treats, look no further than Full Moon’s line of treats. All of their treats contain real, whole foods, like grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, blueberries, flax seed, etc. They source their all-natural ingredients from family farms.
All of their treats are made in small batches in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens through dehydration or low-temperature cooking processes. We’re big fans of their USDA-certified organic beef, chicken, and duck jerky treats — you can even share them with your pup.
What Are My Other Options?
Although these dog food brands didn’t make our top picks list, we recommend all of these options if you’re looking for the best fit for your pup and your budget for the best human-grade dog food.
Caru Daily Dish Stew Review
Caru’s shelf-stable human-grade stews make great stand-alone meals or as a tasty topper for your pup’s kibble. These gluten and grain-free stews have limited whole-food ingredients like real meat and fish, vegetables, and fruits with no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.
They have a variety of flavors: beef, chicken, turkey, beef & chicken, turkey & lamb, and turkey & salmon. They also offer human-grade broths, smoothies, and treats. Their Tetra Pak packaging is BPA-free and made from recyclable, eco-friendly renewable materials. Some customers said their pups didn’t care for the taste.
Freshpet makes affordable fresh, human-grade dog food that you can find in select grocery stores and third-party websites. Their food contains 100% farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish and locally sourced fruits and vegetables. Made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens, their food is gently steamed at low temperatures and vacuum-sealed to preserve nutrients and freshness.
With both grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes, Freshpet’s food is all-natural and non-GMO and contains other healthy ingredients like probiotics to improve digestion and fatty acids for skin and coat health. All food comes refrigerated and is never pre-frozen.
Here are some of their most popular products and pricing you can find on Chewy. You can sign up for auto-shipping with Chewy and save 5%.
- Chicken & Whole Grains Vital Roll (2-lb roll, 8 per case): $63.52
- Chicken Vital Cuts Recipe (1.5-lb bag, 4 per case): $49.96
- Chicken Vital Recipe (1.75-lb bag, 4 per case): $37.96
- View all options
Chewy often has Freshpet products discounted off of MSRP.
Ollie is another fresh, human-grade dog food delivery service that personalizes your pup’s food (similar to The Farmer’s Dog). Ollie works with specialized veterinarians to formulate their four recipes: beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb. All recipes include high-quality proteins, fresh produce, and healthy oils, vitamins, and minerals and are made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens.
Like similar services, you set up your dog’s profile (age, weight, ideal weight, breed, etc.) and can indicate if your pup has any allergies. Then they send you your pup’s customized meals. Ollie requires that you sign up for a subscription, but you can cancel, pause, or skip at any time. Ollie gets overall excellent reviews for their food and customer service.
Our readers can get 50% off their first box. Use this link to take advantage of this offer (no discount code needed).
Petplate is another subscription-based, human-grade fresh dog food delivery service. Their food is top quality and very competitively priced, and they’re one of few companies to offer a topper plan. They offer more menu options than competitors: beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, and venison. And they also carry organic, grain-free dog treats and supplements for digestive and joint health.
Petplate customizes your pup’s food for age, weight, ideal weight, breed, activity level, and any food sensitivities. Their all-natural recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists and made in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens. They offer a 100% money-back guarantee, and you can pause, skip, or cancel your subscription at any time. The one downside is that their food comes in bulky containers that take up a lot of fridge and freezer space, but they are recyclable.
At first, we tried it out to see how our dogs would react to such a treat. But, as it turned out, our dog Lily, who used to be a very picky eater, immediately gobbled her Petplate food up and ate the mixed-in kibble as well! She went from eating only one of two meals every day to a member of the clean plate club every time! We continue to feed 50/50 kibble because it makes this a more economical choice.
– Michelle S., Canine Journal
- Topper plans start at $1.11/day
- Full plans start at $2.85/day
- Free shipping
- View all options
Get 50% off your first box and a free bag of treats. No promo code is needed; just use this link to take advantage of this offer.
Sundays For Dogs Review
Looking for another shelf-stable dehydrated dog food option? Sundays For Dogs is a good alternative for human-grade air-dried dog food that you can have delivered right to your door. They only have one recipe (beef), but it includes a mix of whole-food ingredients that help promote immune, gut, joint, and coat health, like USDA beef, pumpkin, blueberries, carrots, kale, tomatoes, cranberries, wild salmon oil, flaxseed, turmeric, ginger, and more.
Pet nutritionists developed their food and make it in USDA-certified and inspected kitchens. They customize your pup’s food for age, weight, ideal weight, breed, and activity level. While you have to sign up for a subscription, which delivers every one to eight weeks, you can pause, skip, or cancel any time. They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
- Starts at $69 for one 40 oz box
- Free shipping
Get 30% off your first order of Sundays For Dogs; click here to get started.
Is Human-Grade Dog Food Worth It? (Video)
This brief video highlights one customer’s experience with human-grade dog food made by The Farmer’s Dog and explores whether human-grade dog food is worth the often higher cost.
What Are My Other Healthy Dog Food Options?
The great news is that you have more healthy dog food options than ever before, whether it’s human-grade or not. Check out our reviews of the best all-natural dog food for some high-quality options. You may also want to explore our best dog food delivery article, which includes reviews for some other top-notch food brands that will deliver right to your door.