Can humans eat dog food in an emergency? ( How safe is it? )

People will do anything possible to stay alive in an emergency situation, while some people will eat almost anything they can get their hands on, but others will rather go hungry than eat something which is not made for human consumption.

Yes, humans can eat dog food in an emergency, as long as the dog food hasn’t gone bad or otherwise been contaminated by dangerous bacteria. In an emergency situation, eating dog food should probably be one of your last options, although eating dog food might increase the chances of your survival but it comes with a lot of risks. The regulations for dog food and human food are very different and oftentimes dog food might contain anything from plastic to other euthanized dogs.

There are some dog food brands that actually follow the same regulations from the FDA which is meant for human food, meaning that they are good to be eaten by humans Click here to check it out on

During an emergency, you might end up eating dog food, although this is not the healthiest food but still it is better than nothing. The problem with dog food is that it isn’t made for human consumption, and if you thought that junk food is bad due to all the fat, sugar, and chemicals in it, just think for a second about what might be in dog food. Dogs will almost eat anything and it doesn’t even have to taste good, let alone be healthy.

During the past decade, there has been an increasing number of dogs with cancer, either because these dogs have been fed human food or because the dog food which they ate was extremely unhealthy. The contents of most dog foods will be some kind of mystery meat, they might say it’s chicken or beef, but how would you know if you never tasted it. In some cases, you might even find that the dog food will literally contain dog meat from euthanized dogs, and this comes from directly the FDA, dog food recall: FDA finds deadly pet euthanasia in several common brands.

In an emergency situation, you will be able to survive for long periods of time just by eating dog food, and believe it or not, but there are people who actually eat dogfood voluntarily as a “life choice”. If you look at some of the dog food brands you will find that the dry and even the wet dog food has a fairly long shelf life, but this shelf life isn’t the same as the shelf life for human food. Dog food that is pumped full of chemicals and preservatives will have a longer shelf life.

Some people might even think that it is a good idea to hoard dog food for an emergency situation as some of the bands are fairly cheap, DO NOT do this. The needs of a dog in terms of nutrition are very different from the needs of a human. If you want to know what food you could live off forever then check my recent article Best single food to live on ( Top 11 ).

What does dog food contain?

The contents of dog food will vary from brand to brand, although you can rest assured that they do not contain lean beef or some high-quality meat. Dog food is basically made out of scrap meat that can not be sold to humans like, hoves, intestines, skin and as I have mentioned above it may even contain meat from other dogs. Animals that die of cancer or other diseases also frequently end up being sold as dog food.

Now I don’t know about you but the last thing which I would want to eat is a cancerous tumor from some animal. The scrap meat from these animals is boiled in large wats to a point where they are unrecognizable, after this, they either dehydrate them and color them, or can them. If you are wondering if you can eat cockroaches in a survival situation then check out my recent article Can you eat cockroaches? ( Superfood ? ).

Can you get sick from eating dog food in an emergency?

Yes, you can get sick from eating dog food either because the dog food is low quality or because during the canning process it might have been contaminated with dangerous bacteria. Human and dog food is also tested by several organizations so that they can label them accordingly and keep the company in check. The problem is that some companies will and have tried to cheat on these tests, both with human and dog food alike.

For example, in order to boost the protein count of the dog food during these tests, some companies have added melamine, which alters the test results and shows a higher protein count than the dog food actually contains. The problem is that melamine is a type of plastic that will lead to serious health issues and complications, in some cases it might even end up in death. Some companies even added melamine to baby formula in China, companies caught doing this had their executives tried and sentenced to death, although they would probably only get a slap on their wrists in the Western world.

People who eat dog food voluntarily stick to one brand, and usually these dog foods are fairly high quality and their price is comparable to human food, so I really wonder why they are doing it. On the other hand, people who eat low-quality dog food might get salmonella, or have diarrhea. Although the contents of dog food might not sound so appetizing or nutritious, it is still better than eating grass, for more information check out my recent article Can you eat grass to survive? ( Not so Fast ! ).

Dangers of eating dog food in an emergency

People who will have to eat dog food in order to survive will do it out of sheer desperation. A healthy human would probably feel no ill effects if they eat dog food, but this is not the same for a person who is already weakened by a lack of nourishment. Canned wet dog food has to be kept in a dry and cool room, out of the sun, but if you have a dog and you are feeding them canned dog food then you probably keep the dog food in the kitchen.

The kitchen is probably one of the worst places to keep dog food as the kitchen is fairly hot when compared to the other rooms in your house or apartment. In addition to this, if you cook often then you will lower the shelf life of the canned dog food. Although you will probably not spoil the canned dog food as you will feed it to your dog sooner than it gets bad. On the other hand, if you have hundreds of canned dog food, you might find that several of them are well past their expiration date and they have gone bad.

The last thing you would want in a survival situation is to eat dog food that has been gone bad. Even something as common as diarrhea could end up being fatal as your body will get weaker and weaker, to a point where you will no longer be able to even stand on your feet.

Dry dog food has a lot longer shelf life, the problem with dry dog food is that it needs a lot of water in order to be digested. So if you are in a situation where you only have dog food, but you do not have any water, then you should eat only small amounts of dry dog food, this will allow you to keep on going for a longer period of time till you find water. In case you are dehydrated, and you eat as much dry dog food as you can, then you will do more harm than good, as the dog food will dehydrate you even more.

Sometimes, small bugs like weevils will start eating dry dog food, especially if it has started to crumble and form a powder, these weevils can also be found in flour, for more information check out my recent article Weevils in flour safe to eat? ( 3 Step Removal ).

Things to know before eating dog food in an emergency

No matter what kind of emergency you find yourself in, never eat spoiled dog food. Generally, speaking canned dog food will spoil a lot faster than dry dog food. If the actual can looks like it has been leaking, then it is not fit for consumption, as bacteria is growing inside and as they are feeding off the dog food they will produce gas, which will make the can deteriorate after a while to release the pressure.

If you find a canned dog food that has its top bulging then this is also not good to eat, as the same forces as I have mentioned above have made the dog food unsafe to eat. People often can tell by the smell of the food if it has gone bad or if it is still good, the problem with dog food is that even if the canned dog food isn’t spoiled it will still smell and taste bad. After eating dog food if you have the urge to vomit then do not try to keep the food down, vomit all of it out.

This is a response mechanism of your body and it identified that the dog food is full of bacteria or dangerous toxins and it will try to eliminate ita s fast as possible, thus the vomit. On the other hand, dry dog food is fairly safe to eat as it has a longer shelf life unless it comes in contact or it has some kind of mold growing on it. If you are wondering if you can eat pine needles then check out my recent article Can you eat pine needles? ( Top 4 Edible Pine Needles ).

In conclusion

During an emergency situation, you can eat dog food, but there are several risks of eating dog food, especially if you are malnourished or otherwise weakened. While some would think that dog food can be great for an emergency situation, but I do not recommend it. There are plenty of other food types that are actually made for human consumption, have a longer shelf life and actually taste a lot better than dog food.