'Human-grade' dog food is on the rise, as pet owners ditch traditional kibble in favor of high-end brands promising health benefits

  • Pet owners are giving up typical kibble for food that more closely matches a human diet.

  • High-end brands have taken off since dog ownership skyrocketed during the pandemic.

  • But some experts say it might not be healthier than traditional options.

After pet adoption skyrocketed during the pandemic, cat and dog owners are setting a new tone for pet food as many opt for more expensive fare that claims to be less processed and healthier than traditional kibble.

According to a new report from The New York Times, pet owners are giving up dry food, and in many cases even canned food, in favor of nourishment that more closely resembles a human diet. Companies like The Farmer's Dog and Ollie have led the charge, marketing high-end dog food to pet owners and calling it "human-grade," according to the Times.

"They don't like it; they love it," Patrick Cunningham, a Chicago-based physician, told the New York Times regarding her dogs' recent enthusiasm for The Farmer's Dog.

But in the eyes of some pet experts, the new trend is little more than a gimmick looking to disrupt an industry where pet food has been tested by decades of use and research.

"Many are pushing natural or healthy, and people look at the ingredient list and assume because they recognize everything that the diet has to be healthier," Dr. Cailin Heinze, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, told the Times. "It's giving these companies a health halo, even if there is no science behind it, and the other diet has 40 years of research."

Some experts who helped develop human-grade dog foods told the Times that they can be good options for healthy dogs, but may not be suitable for pets with certain conditions.

One area of concern, the Times reported, is food that labels itself "grain-free," as those foods tend to contain high levels of peas and legumes, which may be linked to heart disease in dogs.

Still, for many pet owners, human-grade food seems like a strong option to keep their dogs healthy, and show that they care about their pets' health and diet.

"There are many different ways to provide good nutrition for a dog," Jonathan Regev, who co-founded The Farmer's Dog in 2014, told the Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider