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Is Cat Food Safe for Dogs? Is it bad for dogs to eat cat food?

Growing up in a family with at least eight cats and at least one dog, our dogs were constantly taking advantage of the ever-present feline food items – no matter how hard we tried to keep them away from the cat food. (However, in the end, I'll declare that all of our pets ate their own species-specific food.)

Most cat food is often more costly than most dog food ounce for ounce, thus most dog owners would prefer give their dog his own food for economic reasons alone. However, you may be experiencing the same issue as I had, in which my dogs always found a way to get their paws on the cats' food. You may be wondering whether it's okay for your dog to constantly eat Kitty's food. In a nutshell, the answer is no.

Cat and dog looking for each other

Dietary Distinctions

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must consume meat as their primary source of nutrition. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores who consume both meat and plant-based diets to meet their nutritional needs.

In general, the canine diet has more fiber than a fully carnivorous diet.

Though dog and cat meals may seem to be identical at first look, there are several key distinctions. Cat food often contains more protein than dog food, as well as greater fat levels. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends a minimum of 5% fat in dog food and 9% fat in cat food (FDA).

The nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are different. While dogs eat a variety of foods, cats are strictly carnivores, necessitating a diet of meat and other animal products as their primary source of nutrition. That is to say, dogs need a wider variety of foods in their diets than do cats.

Cats require the consumption of twelve amino acids, but dogs need just 10. Taurine, an essential amino acid for good eyesight, heart and stomach as well as a strong immune system, is the last missing piece.

Cat food has more meat-based protein, taurine, calories, and fat than dog food to meet the nutritional needs of cats. There is a good chance that this is why dogs find cat food so appealing. Increased quantities of fat and protein in cat food contribute to the dish's distinct aroma and flavor.

The Dangers of Dogs Eating Cat Food

Though these dietary variations may not seem to be substantial, greater protein and fat ratios indicate more calories for your dog for the same sized quantity of cat food. If fed over a lengthy period of time, these higher feline diets may cause weight gain and even obesity.

Furthermore, since a dog's digestive system was not meant to absorb regularly high-fat diets, cat food might upset the stomach, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Too much fat may harm a dog's pancreas, resulting in pancreatitis, which can impair digestion at best and have catastrophic health repercussions at worst.

Some of the newest cat meals have an unbalanced mix of vitamins and minerals for your dog, which might result in deficiency or excess of these elements. Cat food, for example, often includes less zinc and vitamin E than dog food. Cat food is also often fortified with taurine, which dogs do not need in their diet. These nutritional differences can have a long-term impact on your dog's overall health.

Dogs need more carbs than cats and will frequently go without the energy they require if these nutrients are not present in their meal. Dogs may acquire their energy from a diet that contains over 50% carbs, but cats get the bulk of their energy from fats.

The greater protein level of most cat meals may be dangerous to an elderly dog's metabolism, particularly if the dog has renal illness, liver disease, or diabetes. Older dogs should be given a dog-specific senior diet, and dogs with medical issues should be provided a particular prescription dog food.

"Is it terrible for my dog if it sometimes takes some cat food as a snack?" is a frequently asked question. This should not be any worse than if your cat eats a doggy treat every now and then. However, for maximum pet health, I would avoid integrating the other pet's food into your pet's diet and instead do everything possible to provide each type of pet its species-specific diet. So, in terms of dogs, I propose that you give your pup dog chow to prevent health problems.

Can Cats Consume Dog Food?

Cat eating

It should be noted that feeding a feline dog food is not recommended. Dog meals have been and continue to be lacking in taurine - an important amino acid necessary for cats that is either not included in certain dog foods or is not present at acceptable levels for felines. Arachidonic acid, a fatty acid required for cats, is also often lacking in dog kibble. Cats cannot produce enough niacin, arginine, and vitamin A, as well as arachidonic acid or taurine, and they need five times the amount of thiamine that dogs do. In addition, your dog's diet has more fiber, which might disturb a cat's gastrointestinal system.

How to Prevent Your Pets from Eating Each Other's Food

Your dog may find it difficult to resist the lure of your cat's food at times. To keep your dog from eating your cat's food, do the following:

Feed your cat in an area that your dog cannot reach, for example, feed the dog in the kitchen and the cat in the laundry room.

Make a barrier between the cat's eating place and the rest of the home by installing a gate that the dog cannot leap over or crawl beneath.

Place your cat's food on a high shelf or counter.

If these methods fail to keep the dog away, try buying a cat-sized cage or box that the dog cannot fit into, and feeding your cat in the crate/box. Finally, if all else fails, construct a pet door to a different area, such as the laundry room, that is either too tiny for your dog to use or is operated by a remote attached to your cat's collar. Close the door to prevent your dog from accessing the cat food, and keep an eye on feedings to ensure that each creature gets its own food.


You can keep your dog from eating cat food by keeping them apart while food is available. The first step is to relocate your cat's food dish to a place where your dog can't get it. If you have a large dog, consider installing a baby gate or a cat flap at the entryway with a tiny entrance for your cat. Small dogs may easily climb over a baby gate, so if you have one, make sure it's secure.

Feeding your cat on an elevated place that your dog cannot reach, such as a counter, washing machine, tree for your cat or even the refrigerator works.

The "Leave It" command should also be taught to your dog. Introduce cat food and repeat until they are able to effectively ignore the food.

Is it possible for dogs to consume cat food that is completely dry?

When compared to typical human meals like chicken, peanut butter, and cheese, cat kibble and cat biscuits might be a far healthier alternative to treats or incentives.

Dry cat food, on the other hand, is made to meet the dietary needs of cats, not dogs. Meat is the primary source of carbohydrates in this cuisine, and there are few, if any, components derived from plants. In addition, because cats' teeth are sharper and thinner than those of dogs, dry cat food is not as effective at cleaning a dog's teeth as dry dog food.

When is cat food detrimental for a dog's health?

Over time, a dog's health might be harmed by a variety of medical disorders if they eat just cat food. There are a number of typical problems that may emerge in dogs that consume cat food often, such as:

Discomfort in the digestive system. Dogs are prone to diarrhea if they suddenly switch to a food made for an entirely different species.

Pancreatitis. It's possible that foods high in fat, like cat food, lead to the development of this life-threatening illness.

Dentist's office. A dog's ability to properly chew cat kibble and biscuits is hampered because they are too tiny.

Small quantities of cat food may pose a risk to dogs with certain health issues, even if consumed just occasionally. Cat food may induce diarrhea or vomiting in dogs with a sensitive gastrointestinal system, for example.

Cat food should be avoided by dogs who have liver or renal illness because of the high protein content. Overweight dogs and Schnauzers who are prone to pancreatitis need to eat low-fat diets in order to avoid pancreatic inflammation or stimulate weight reduction.

Cat food can pups eat, right?

It's not a big deal if your dog eats a little cat chow every now and again. It's a different issue if you give them cat chow on a daily basis instead of quality puppy food. Puppies in the early stages of development need a diet rich in nutrients to support their rapid growth. Puppies and cats who are fed cat food may soon become obese, which can lead to skeletal issues.

In conclusion

Again, cat-food-eating dogs are more likely to be overweight, and they may suffer from more gastrointestinal issues as a result of consuming the richer cat food. Diarrhea, vomiting, and potentially fatal pancreatitis are all possible effects of either short-term or long-term feeding of cat food to dogs. Kitten food, which has greater protein and fat levels, is even less suitable for dogs. Again, older dogs and those with pre-existing medical issues may be harmed much more by the greater protein and fat levels of cat and kitten food.

Commercial dog meals and cat feeds are branded and sold separately in many locations where pet foods are offered for a reason. We should not give cat food to our dogs, and we certainly should not feed cat food to your cat. It is feasible for a dog to eat some cat food as a snack or even steal a meal from the cat on occasion, but this is not something you want to encourage on a regular basis due to the potential health risks outlined.

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