Pet Product News Editorial Blog:
May 30, 2012
Caution: Human Grade
By Elizabeth Creith
When the "human-grade" pet food trend first started, I shook my head. Why does dog food have to be fit for humans to eat? I mean, we got dogs because they were the wolves who figured out that a garbage heap was actually an all-you-can-stomach buffet.
Dogs and cats eat things that people wouldn't be able to tolerate, and digest them and thrive. Sky, who gets good-quality—yes, human-grade—dog food, will raid the garbage if she has a chance. My cat Spook would happily eat liver pâté out of a crystal dish, but he'll also eat a whole dead mouse except for the green wobbly bit, which he leaves on the floor for me to step on.
I actually saw a salesman eat a human-grade pet food once at the PIJAC trade show. It was a luxury brand cat food, packaged in little foil pouches. The display featured white china plates, each with a different flavour of the food served up. It actually looked quite attractive, especially the seafood medley of tiny whole shrimp and bay scallops. The salesman ate a forkful just to demonstrate to me that it was palatable. He even talked me into trying it. It was okay—just needed a bit of salt and maybe some lemon juice.
Now I'm officially weird, right? Well, as David and I often say, good thing we married each other and didn't ruin two normal people's lives. David, for the record, eats dog biscuits.
The first one was many years ago, from curiosity. He just wanted to see what the dogs were enjoying. (I'm so glad it was dog biscuits he was curious about, and not, say, butt-sniffing!) Now and again he's eaten a dog biscuit in the store when a customer was around, just for effect. David loves to see a reaction, and if the reaction is disbelief or astonishment, so much the better.
"At least when people ask which one is better, I can tell them," he said to me. "I know what I'm talking about."
It doesn't bother me that he checks out the pet treats, but I'm not going to be following his lead again. Once was enough.
Sky loves a certain dog treat, faintly minty in smell, purported to sweeten doggy breath. She'd turn backflips for them. One evening as we were throwing the ball for her out on the driveway, David popped one into his mouth.
"How does it taste?" I asked.
"Mm-hm," he said, and nodded, looking thoughtful. Not too bad his look said. He offered me the tin. I took one of the little treats and put it into my mouth. Then I chewed.
Then I started to spit, because the dratted thing was liver-flavoured. I hate liver and David knows it. Worse, as soon as I'd bitten into it, it had fallen to powder and stuck to every surface—my tongue, my teeth, the roof of my mouth, all were coated with the vile stuff.
What I said to David between vain attempts to spit the crap out is not recommended for marital harmony, but it didn't matter, because he was laughing so hard I'm sure he didn't hear me.
Eventually he pulled himself together and brought me a glass of water, then another as I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed that horrible liver taste out of my mouth. David giggled at intervals for the rest of the evening. Before bed, I surreptitiously looked at the tin.
"Human grade," it said. But it's still, as far as I'm concerned, unfit for human consumption.
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