Can cats eat dog food? Cats are not like dogs, and their nutritional needs are different too. In other words, while a bite of dog food is generally considered safe for cats, it doesn’t provide them with all the nutrients they need.
If your cat is constantly wondering what’s in the dog’s bowl, or when it’s dinner time and the cat food cupboard is almost empty, you’ve probably wondered if cats can eat dog food. If you live with a cat and a dog, here’s what you should know: Let your cat taste the dog’s food.
Is it Okay to Give Dog Food to Cats?
Even if the best cat food and the best dog food look identical at first glance, there are significant differences in their content. This is because cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, which is why cats should not eat dog food and vice versa.
What makes cat and dog food so different? Cats are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they cannot live without meat. The reason for this is the presence in the meat of an amino acid called taurine, which is not found in vegetables. While dogs (and humans) can synthesize taurine from other amino acids like methionine, cats cannot. Not getting enough taurine can have serious consequences. Cat food, on the other hand, always contains a sufficient amount of bioavailable taurine, while dog food either does not contain it at all or only contains traces. There are other differences: cat food often contains a higher protein content and a higher concentration of the amino acid alanine.
Because of these significant nutritional differences between cat and dog food, dog food is not safe for cats. Cats that eat wet or dry dog food are deficient in taurine, alanine, and protein. Taurine deficiency in cats leads to blindness and quickly fatal heart disease.
What Should You Do if Your Cat Eats DogFood?
In general, if your cat occasionally eats a few pieces of dog food, you don’t have to worry. Watch for weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, poor skin and coat condition, incontinence of urine or feces, or other signs of illness in your cat. Make an appointment with your vet if your cat is unwell.
Consuming dog food can be more difficult if your cat has an allergy, has a sensitive stomach, or has a specific health condition. Make a note of the food your cat has eaten and talk to your vet about any problems that may arise.
If you find that your cat is regularly consuming excessive amounts of dog food, you should consult your veterinarian. Your cat may need to be examined and lab-tested to determine its general health and rule out malnutrition.
Prevent your cat from discovering the dog food by putting it out of reach. Avoid giving all pets free food and clean up bowls with leftover food.
Differences Between Cat Food and Dog Food?
Experts don’t formulate cat and dog food the same way. Cats can eat dog food as they have different dietary needs, but it is not recommended to make this a habit.
What is the Difference Between the Two Types of Pet Food?
For example, taurine and arginine are essential amino acids for cats. Because a cat’s body lacks the enzymes to make certain amino acids, they must be supplied. Keep in mind that a taurine deficiency in cats can lead to blindness or an enlarged heart. Dogs can produce taurine themselves, so their diet does not necessarily have an adequate taurine content.
Cats also need more protein than dogs to live a happy and healthy life. So, feeding a cat dog food every day will result in a protein deficiency, which will have a negative impact on the cat’s health.
Vitamins are another important ingredient that cats and dogs need differently. In particular, vitamin A, which cats cannot produce themselves, but dogs can. Vitamin A is essential for the health of a cat’s eyes, skin and coat, so a deficiency can be detrimental. Cat food generally contains more vitamin A than dog food.
Cat food contains more calories due to its increased protein requirements, which is another reason why dog food is dangerous for cats.
Dog food can also be larger than cat food. Cat food comes in smaller quantities, so don’t overfeed them dog food.
How to Avoid Your Cat Eating Dog Food
To prevent a cat from eating dog food, you should divide up the food for your pets. Your dog can be fed in a kennel or other room with the door closed until the meal is completely consumed. Most vets do not recommend providing dog food throughout the day as it increases the likelihood of obesity. Instead, you should take out any food your dog hasn’t eaten within half an hour and put it back in later. This will also prevent your cat from eating dog food.