We want our dogs to be the happiest and enjoy every aspect of life. And when it comes to food, we wish we could feed them everything on our plate. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible and makes us wonder what if we provide them with something that they shouldn’t eat. On that note, I’ll tell you whether your dog can eat cat food or not in this article.
If you’re living in a multi-pet household with dogs and cats, you know it’s evident that dogs love to eat cat food. But can dogs really eat cat food? Is it safe?
How Cat Food is Different from Dog Food
The food sold for dogs and cats separately is not a marketing gimmick. They have different nutritional needs and hence the food. However, the food items safe for cats are also safe for dogs. So, a dog must be able to eat cat food and dog food interchangeably.
But wait, let’s not jump to the conclusion that it’s safe for your dog to eat cat food just yet. What does make cat food different from dog food? The simple answer to this question is the nutritional value and ingredients used.
Dog food has lesser amounts of protein, fat, and other essential nutrients like vitamin A and Taurine than cat food. Moreover, cat food is fat-laden with a rich animal protein source, making it irresistible for a dog to eat.
Dog food is of lower calorific value, has lesser protein, fats, and a higher amount of carbs compared to cat food considering their nutritional requirements.
What Happens if Dog Eats Cat Food
Cats are obligate carnivores; meaning, cats have to eat animal meat to survive and thrive. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores, can survive and thrive on grains, animal meat, and other plant food sources like fruits and vegetables.
If a dog is offered cat food, he will crave to eat up the luscious food. The smell of high protein and fat content present in it will make him want to eat cat food.
When a dog starts eating cat food, he will ingest more protein and fats and consume more calories than required. That extra protein and fat can add extra pounds to your dog’s weight.
Over an extended period, your dog can suffer from obesity. In comparison, short term effects can be stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues. And none of the short term and long term results of eating cat food suggests that eating cat food is okay.
Obesity has become such a common and growing problem in pets. It can be the reason behind a variety of medical conditions and psychological disorders in dogs. Conclusively, dogs shouldn’t eat cat food.
If your dog is always sneaking some cat food to munch on, you might never find out that he eats cat food covertly at all. The dog might be able to process a little cat food at a time. It might look cute that your dog is stealing food from your cat’s bowl, but you should immediately stop the dog’s behavior.
What to Do When You Find Out Your Dog is Eating Cat Food
Treat the behavior of your dog as a habit you have to break. Re-training will take time, but your dog with the ‘leave it command‘ will ultimately stop eating cat food. Make your cat kibble out of reach of the dog.
Feeding your dog and cat in separate rooms so that your dog can’t go to your cat’s feeding bowl after he finishes his meal can also do the trick. Moreover, do not interchange the bowls between your pets.
Dividing feeding rooms can confuse your dog, and you may unintentionally encourage them to eat cat food filled in his bowl. Consider you can also get stylish personalized cat bowls to ensure you don’t mix up your pets’ dishes.
Teaching the ‘leave it’ command not only helps you to stop your dog from eating cat food but also stops eating anything unwanted, for example, spilled medication on the floor, toxic plants at an unknown place, etc. You can also feed your cat at higher positions, for instance, at the window perch (if it’s spacious) to keep the dog out of reach of your cat’s meal.
All in all, we can conclude that a dog should not eat cat food. Both the long-term and short-term downsides can deteriorate your dog’s health. In case of confusion, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your vet.