When dogs and cats live under one roof, eating each other’s food is not unusual. However, this habit should be discouraged. Continue reading to learn why dogs and cats sharing food is a bad idea.
Why Do Dogs Love Cat Food?
There are many differences between cat food and dog food. The biggest one is their taste.
Cats are known for being finicky eaters. Unlike dogs that have 1,700 taste buds, cats only possess 470. To entice felines to eat, cat food was formulated to be flavourful.
Dogs also cannot resist its aroma and taste. For this reason, they have no trouble wolfing down cat food.
Do Cats Like Dog Food?
Generally, cats are not fond of the dog’s food because they find it unappetising. But they will make an exception if the dry food emits a meaty aroma.
It is very likely for cats to eat dog food if your dog’s bowl contains wet food because it has high protein content.
4 Reasons Why Cats and Dogs Should Not Eat Each Other’s Food
Many cat and dog owners observed that their pooches and kitties often share food. Hence, questions such as “Can dogs eat cat food?” or “Can cats eat dog food?” arise.
Let us look into the explanations why the answer to both questions is no.
1. Cats and dogs have different calorie requirements.
Why is dog food bad for cats? Dogs and cats have different caloric needs. On average, a medium-sized dog weighing 13.6 kilos (30 pounds) needs about 800 calories per day. In comparison, an average cat requires around 300 calories per day.
2. Cats and dogs do not have the same nutritional requirements.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat. In contrast, dogs are omnivores, which means they must eat a mix of meats and vegetables. Both require certain essential nutrients in different quantities.
Cats require more protein, vitamin A, and taurine in their diets, whilst dogs must have protein and fibre to stay healthy. Various health issues may arise as a result of nutritional imbalance if they are fed the wrong pet food.
For instance, cats that frequently eat dog food may suffer from taurine deficiency and lack other essential nutrients such as vitamin A and arachidonic acid. Dog food has inadequate levels of these nutrients because they are not primarily needed by canines.
3. Cat food is higher in fat and protein.
Why is cat food bad for dogs? Cat food is formulated to be high in protein and fat contents, which is not suitable for dogs to eat because they cannot digest fat properly.
What happens if my dog eats cat food? Dogs eating cat food on a regular basis run the risk of unhealthy weight gain and experiencing obesity.
Gastrointestinal diseases, including life-threatening pancreatitis, are also possible negative effects that may arise if you feed cat food to dogs.
4. Cat food contains high protein levels.
Another reason why cat food is bad for dogs is it contains more protein than dog food. Dogs being fed regularly on cat food are at risk of liver and kidney damage.
The excessive protein intake triggers the release of urea, which forces the kidney to work doubly hard. Other health problems resulting from excessive protein are hypokalaemia (excess potassium), acidosis, and blood toxicity.
Can Cats Eat Dog Food Temporarily?
Yes, cats can eat dog food temporarily. Feeding a cat dog food serves as a short-term solution if a cat’s food has run out. This also applies to dogs when it comes to consuming cat food.
However, always consider looking for healthier food substitutes first. As you continue reading, we will discuss alternative food your cats and dogs can eat.
What Are Suitable Emergency Food Options for Cats and Dogs?
Meat is the best alternative to your cat’s and dog’s regular pet food. Just take note that not all meats are healthy for your furry friends to consume. Below are the certain kinds of meats that are safe for both cat and dogs:
- Fresh human-grade raw meat
- Small amounts of unspiced deli meats
- Plainly cooked lean meat
When preparing the meat, make sure to remove any fatty parts. The liver is rich in vitamin A, but do not overfeed it to your cat as it can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
Avoid processed meats like bacon and ham as they are high in salt and can damage your pet’s kidneys. Food leftovers are a no-no since they often contain harmful ingredients such as onion, garlic, and alcohol.
Be careful when feeding your dog and cat bones. Make sure that these are raw because cooked bones can easily break into splinters when chewed. These can cause mouth injuries, choking, and stomach blockage.
Once you can buy your pets’ regular food, slowly switch them back to their former complete and balanced diet to prevent malnutrition, weight loss, or obesity.
Sudden food transition must be avoided as cats and dogs have sensitive stomachs and may suffer from gastrointestinal upset.
Can I Mix Cat Food with Dog Food?
Yes, it is okay to mix cat food with dog food. However, as stated above, this should be done only when no other options are available. As much as possible, it is best to stick with feeding a regular pet food that is fit for their life stage to your furry friends.
Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food?
Yes, cats can eat wet dog food, but feeding it to them should be a last resort. Wet food cannot be a part of their long-term diet as it can cause a deficiency of amino acids and essential fatty acids.
It is important to get your cat back to her normal diet as soon as possible after she is fed with wet dog food.
Can Cats Eat Dog Treats?
No, there is no room for dog treats in a cat’s diet. Dog treats may contain ingredients such as propylene glycol, which is toxic for felines.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Treats?
Yes, dogs can eat cat treats, but it is not recommended. Cat treats are not formulated for them; thus they greatly lack certain essential nutrients that are beneficial for their health.
How Do I Stop the Dog from Eating the Cat’s Food?
Feed your cat in elevated places where your dog cannot reach. A sturdy and stable bookshelf or a high-level cat feeding station are good alternatives.
Consider using a creep feeder for your cat. This type of feeder has a small hole that allows cats to gain access to their food. The hole is too small for dogs, so they will not be able to eat from it.
How to Stop Cats from Eating Dog Food
Feed them in separate rooms to avoid food sharing. Alternatively, separate them with a baby gate. Make sure that the gate is high enough so your dog and cat cannot jump over it.
Set a time limit on their meals too. Remove your dog’s and cat’s bowls after 15–20 minutes. This prevents them from sneaking a taste of each other’s food.
A Few Parting Words
Avoid free-feeding your cat as this makes it harder to keep your pooch from eating cat food. The exposed meal can be too tempting for him to ignore.
If your dog has already developed a habit of eating your cat’s meal, correct this behaviour. You can, for example, spray water on him and utter a command as soon as you see him nibbling food from the cat’s bowl.
Do not discipline him if you have not caught him in the act so that he makes the proper association.