Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
Have you ever run out of dog food and wondered if you can just give your dog some of your cat’s food until you get to the store? Or does your dog like to snack on the cat’s food?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Lots of pet owners wonder “can dogs eat cat food?” and you might be surprised to find out that the answer is no, not really. Dogs really shouldn’t eat cat food and you should avoid allowing your dog to eat food meant for cats.
Why shouldn’t dogs eat cat food?
Cats are carnivores and meat should be their main food source, while dogs are omnivores who eat meat and plant-based foods to meet all of their nutritional requirements. Furthermore, cat food tends to be much higher in calories and fat than dog food which can lead to obesity in dogs.
Dogs also need more fiber than cats and their overall nutritional needs are more balanced than cats. Mainly, cat food is formulated for cats and dog food is formulated for dogs!
They love each other – but, they shouldn’t eat each other’s food!
What’s the difference between dog food and cat food?
The main difference between dog and cat food is what it consists of. Cats need more protein, fats and calories, so their food contains more protein and often has higher amounts of fat. Since cat food is also higher in calories and fat many dogs are unable to digest it properly.
Cat food also has the vitamins and nutrients that cats need, not dogs, which might result in deficiencies of certain vitamins in your dog if you feed them cat food. Dog food typically has more vitamin E and zinc than cat food, so if they are consistently eating cat food, they may experience deficiencies in these nutrients.
What happens if my dog eats cat food?
If your dog sneaks a few bites of cat food, it’s not the end of the world. However, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, they may experience diarrhea, vomiting, or upset stomach after eating cat food.
If they are regularly eating cat food, though, they could face pancreatitis, which can be a life-threatening illness. The higher fat and calorie content of cat food may also contribute to an increased risk of obesity in your dog as well.
How to get your dog to stop eating cat food
The easiest way to get your dog to stop eating cat food is to remove the opportunity. Move the cat food to an area or room that your dog doesn’t have access. You can block it with a baby gate, set up a cat door to give your cat access to where the food is, or put the cat food up high on a counter or other spot that your cat can jump.
You can also separate your dog and cat when you feed them and then remove any uneaten cat food after the cat is done. Make sure the cat and dog food bowls are distinguishable, so your dog knows what food is theirs. Incorporating the “leave it” command into your dog’s training will also help!