Pet food is plant or animal material intended for consumption by pets. Typically sold in pet stores and supermarkets, it is usually specific to the type of animal, such as dog food or cat food. Most meat used for nonhuman animals is a byproduct of the human food industry, and is not regarded as human grade.
Recommendations differ on what diet is best for dogs. Some people argue dogs have thrived on leftovers and scraps from their human owners for thousands of years, and commercial dog foods which have only been available for the past century contain poor-quality meats, additives, and other ingredients dogs should not ingest, or that commercial dog food is not nutritionally sufficient for their dogs. Most store-bought pet food comes in either dry form, also known as kibble, or wet, canned form.
Cats are obligate carnivores, though most commercial cat food contains both animal and plant material supplemented with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Cat food is formulated to address the specific nutritional requirements of cats, in particular containing the amino acid taurine, as cats cannot thrive on taurine-deficient food.
Bird foods are used both in bird feeders and to feed pet birds. It typically consist of a variety of seeds. Not all birds eat seeds. Suet beef or mutton fat is recommended for insect-eating birds such as nuthatches and woodpeckers. Nectar essentially sugar water attracts hummingbirds.
Raw feeding is the practice of feeding domestic dogs and cats a diet consisting primarily of uncooked meat and bones. Supporters of raw feeding believe the natural diet of an animal in the wild is its most ideal diet and try to mimic a similar diet for their domestic companions. They are commonly opposed to commercial pet foods, which they consider poor substitutes for raw feed. Opponents believe the risk of food-borne illnesses posed by the handling and feeding of raw meats would outweigh the purported benefits, and no scientific studies have been done to support the numerous beneficial claims.