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"Human-grade" is all the dog-food rage right now. You see it everywhere, with companies pushing it as a major selling point, especially when it comes to ads for fresh and frozen dog food brands.
But what does that term even mean? Is it something as important as companies will have you believe? We break it all down by comparing it to biologically appropriate raw dog food, highlighting how human-grade is intentionally misleading.
While there’s no standard definition, dog food labeled as “human-grade” is that in which all ingredients are edible for humans. The food must also meet manufacturing and packaging regulations.
The movement towards biologically appropriate raw food has been growing and for good reason. You may have seen the unfortunate acronym “BARF” – we didn’t make up the name! Put simply, it's a diet in line with what the ancestors of our dogs ate, primarily consisting of uncooked, whole animals – meat, organs, bones, and all! It’s a special combination of ingredients that are the most beneficial and appropriate for a canine.
Dogs are descendants of wolves, and their dietary needs are still rooted in that carnivorous, predator, scavenger nature. They thrive on whole animal-based diets that closely resemble what their ancestors consumed. As carnivores, a raw, meat-based diet offers the greatest nutritional value to a dog, as it’s what they would naturally eat.
Dog food classified as human-grade refers only to meat. The moment bones enter the picture, that classification no longer applies. Therefore, human-grade dog food cannot also be biologically appropriate because it does not include bones and raw organs. In fact, companies that use this label typically have very little animal content in their recipes – usually less than 10%!
So what does make up their recipes? Grain and starch fillers (like rice and potatoes) for cheap calories, and protein fillers (like soy, peas, and legumes) to boost the protein. Finally, to get the meal as passable under AAFCO nutritional guidelines, it’s topped off with synthetic vitamins.
Chances are if you’re feeding your pup food labeled “human-grade,” they’re getting a diet low on meat, full of fillers, and zero of the essential, natural nutrients a dog’s stomach is meant to digest from whole-animal parts.
Biologically appropriate raw food, on the other hand, is food that's made primarily from whole-animal, including meat, organs, and ground bones. Here at Little Hunter, our freeze-dried meals are 90% whole animals, with USDA-quality meat, no fillers added!
Cooking dog food may seem beneficial, but it actually leads to nutrient loss. Unlike humans, dogs have highly acidic stomachs that can handle raw meat without the risk of pathogens.
Food that's "gently," "lightly," "air-dried" or any other fancy marketing lingo, has much of its nutritional value destroyed in that process. In addition to lost nutrients, your dog's ability to digest that food is also reduced.
Think of cooked food like tv dinners for dogs. Edible? Sure. Nutritious? Far from it.
Uncooked, raw recipes, like Little Hunter, preserve 100% of the essential nutrients that pups need to thrive.
It's important to check not only the listed ingredients but where those ingredients are sourced from.
What sets Little Hunter apart here? We use only the highest quality, humanely- and American-sourced animal ingredients. Additionally, our recipes are limited-ingredient ones, ensuring we're using only what pups need – no fillers, added antibiotics, artificial flavors, or anything of the like. That also means there’s less chance for allergens, helping more pups stay nourished and itch-free.
When it comes to protein, “human-grade” falls short, with most well under 10% and typically dropping to 5% once you eliminate the filler protein sources. That leaves you with about 5% protein from an animal source.
Little Hunter recipes, however, contain a whopping 40% - 50% (depending on the recipe) or about 5-7x the protein compared to fresh and kibble recipes, all without protein fillers.
More of a gimmick than a quality claim, it's time to ditch "human-grade" dog food once and for all.
Make the switch to raw for a nutrient-dense diet that promotes health, well-being, and longevity. Give Little Hunter a try to feed your pup biologically appropriate raw food, just as nature intended.