Can Dogs Eat Cat Food

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Woody Pet

In as much as dogs love to lap cats’ food, there is a reason why a cat should eat a cat’s diet, and a dog should eat a dog’s food.

There is no harm if your dog sneaks into some of the cat’s food, but it should not be consistent or allowed to develop as a habit. So, can dogs eat cat food? Yes and no.

If you are a parent of both dogs and cats in your home, you can let your dog eat cat food to keep them going for a day or two until you restock their foodstuff but get prepared in case of discomfort in your dog.

Vets recommend training every one of your pets to eat their food to avoid either sneaking into each other’s diet. 

There is a dietary difference when it comes to dog’s and cat’s food. Dogs are obligate carnies and hence must eat meat as a biological necessity while dogs are omnivores in contrary to what many believe dogs are.

So, they require varied nutrients than just meat to meet their nutritional requirements. These other nutrients are found in vegetables or grains. 

If you sample dog food and cat meat carefully, you will find that cat food has more flesh compared to the dog’s diet. That is why cat food is more appealing to dogs than dog food. However, the dog’s cravings for meat don’t mean they should rely on it.

Unless with the vet’s recommendations, as a dog parent, you should stick to dog food and do away from cat food. 

Complications related to feeding dogs with cat food

Complications will undoubtedly arise if you feed your dog consistently with cat food instead of their diet. This is because cat food does not meet dogs’ correct balance of fiber, proteins, and more, needed for dogs to stay healthy and happy.

 Dogs can survive on cats’ food, but nutrition imbalance can lead to obesity, GI upsets, or pancreatitis.

In the case of pancreatitis, immediate vet care is needed. Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis include; abdominal pain, hunched back, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and a distended stomach.

Even if you feed your dog with cat food and don’t see any immediate side effects, high protein levels can be hard on the dog’s liver and kidneys. So, to be on the safe side, let dogs eat dog food, and cats eat cat food. 

Dog vs cat food

Can Dogs Eat Cat food

Cat food is higher in meat-based proteins, while dog food has less meat-based proteins. Dogs might crave cat food, but that doesn’t warrant them to be obligate carnivores as cats. The protein level in dog food is sufficient for dogs.

The level of protein in the cat’s food is adequate for cats. Additionally, dogs being omnivores require vitamins and minerals from vegetables to complete their diet, whereas cats require lesser amounts compared to dogs. Fibre content again in cat food is higher compared to fiber in dog food.  

What to do if your dog ate cat food

Dogs will always get into cat food if you are not keeping them out of dog reach. Some dogs steal what is in the cat’s bowl while some break into safes and containers.

Dogs eating cat food might not cause severe complications other than diarrhea and vomiting, but different dogs react differently. If your dog exhibits GI upsets after eating cat food, it is safe to call your vet and raise your concerns as soon as possible.  

As a rule of thumb, feed your dog with dog food and your cat with cat food if you are a dog lover and sharing your home with cats. Note that, it is not safe for dogs to eat cat food, and cats cannot get vital nutrients like vitamin A and taurine required of them to live a healthy life if they ate dog food.

While dog food lacks the arachidonic acid cats need, the level of proteins in dog food does not meet the level cats require for healthy living. 

Why dogs love cat food

It’s without a doubt that dogs love cat food from the way they crave it. Some dogs love cat food sometimes dog owners occasionally reward them for exemplary performances. So, what is it that dogs love in cat food? It is no big deal, just that it is different from the dog’s meal, that’s why. Additionally, cat food has more meat compared to dog food. Dogs love cat food even when they are digested because they perceive kitty’s tootsies as delicacies. Cat food contains a high level of proteins attributed to the good flavor dogs love.

  • Tips to keep dogs away from your kitty’s food
  • Feed your pup on a higher surface where your dog can’t reach it. 
  • Separate their feeding areas with a small gate that your dog can’t enter or jump over.
  • Buy a crate that the dog can’t fit into without a problem.
  • Install a small door for your cat that your dog can’t fit in.

The bottom line

Feeding your dog with cat food will tend to grow obese with underlying issues like GI upsets, diarrhea, vomiting, and worst-case scenario – pancreatitis. All these results from long-term or short-term feeding your dog with cat food. Kitty’s food is always high in proteins and is less appropriate for dogs. Those with underlying conditions and older dogs may be facing adverse side effects if they are fed cat food. When you go to a pet food store, you will find dog and cat foods labeled separately for a good reason – we should not feed dogs with cat food and cats with dog food. 

It is inevitable to deter your dog from hopping into a cat’s bowl, but this should not be something allowed to be a habit. Your dog can eat cat food as a snack without causing alarm. But if the pattern is promoted to be a regular treatment, some of the issues discussed earlier may occur. Because of the potential health risks, give the dog what belongs to the dogs and let the cats eat theirs.

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