If you’re wondering ‘can dogs eat cat food?’ then this guide is for you. Many dogs are known to eat the leftover from a cat’s bowl and that can get owners wondering if it is safe. In some cases, dogs with sensitive stomachs could suffer from some health issues including abdominal pain and vomiting after eating cat food.
A little bit of cat food won’t do any harm but you must not feed your dog too much cat food on a regular basis. Let us find out what could happen if you feed your dog cat food continuously.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? (The Short Answer)
Ideally, dogs should not eat cat food and vice versa. Commercially prepared cat food is not nutritionally balanced for dogs. This means that if you constantly feed cat food every day to your dog, it might suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Moreover, eating cat food can also result in health issues for your dog.
So, you must avoid feeding your dog or cat food in excess and ensure that dogs eat dog food only.
What Happens if Dogs Eat Cat Food?
According to the AKC, here are some issues dogs may face if they eat cat food on a daily basis:
Sensitive dogs that even lick a cat’s food bowl may suffer from a host of gastrointestinal issues including vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Sometimes, the cat food bad may be contaminated with bacteria which can result in food poisoning symptoms in your dog.
So, always keep the cat’s bowl or cat’s dinner out of your dog’s reach, particularly for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Worry not: if your pet has only eaten cat food occasionally and only a few bites, your dog should be fine. But if you notice the above symptoms and the vomiting persists, then please see your vet right away.
Inflammation of the Pancreas
If your dog happens to be eating cat food every day, over time, it could suffer from pancreatic inflammation. It might also suffer from liver damage. Obesity, kidney failure, and other health issues can also be seen in the long run.
Abdominal Pain and Intestinal Discomfort
Often, if a dog eats cat food, it could suffer from stomach pain and intestinal discomfort. It might also have an upset stomach causing it to retch, vomit, or refuse food. They may have a completely decreased appetite.
Some dogs even hide or tuck their tails between their legs. Again, a few morsels of cat’s dinner won’t harm your buddy but in excess, this could be the result. Mostly, your dog should be fine in a couple of days but, if the symptoms persist, please take your pet to the emergency vet.
This is another issue that could arise if your dogs eat cat food every day. Cats are obligate carnivores. Their cat kibble and wet cat food contain ingredients that are healthy for cats. These mainly include meat-based protein. Also, vets suggest that the best cat food is fortified with taurine and additional amino acid, especially for cats’ eyes and heart health.
Dogs, on the other hand, need a more varied diet. Healthy adult dogs need protein, healthy fats, as well as complex carbs from grains, fruits, and vegetables. Good dog foods contain a correct balance of nutrients tailored for your dog’s health.
So, for the sake of your dog’s health, it is best to only feed a vet-recommended dog diet to your dog. This is very important to meet all of its nutritional requirements.
Another major health issue due to feeding your canine companion its feline companion diet is unhealthy weight gain.
Cat food is often enhanced with ingredients like fats and more protein to make picky cats appreciate its taste. This can result in your dog packing on the pounds if it eats only cat food. Obesity in dogs can cause a host of health issues including diabetes and arthritis.
Furthermore, you’d need to take a lot of effort to promote weight loss once your dog has become obese.
Why Do Dogs Love Cat Food?
Cat food is fortified with more protein and extra fats because they are obligate carnivores. They also contain salmon or fish oil to enhance their taste.
This makes the food alluring to dogs and makes most dogs want cat food badly. For dogs, cat food is like a drug! They cannot resist it!
The moment they smell cat food, they might leave their dog food and come running to get some. That is why it may be best not to introduce cat food to your dog! Otherwise, they will be begging for it all the time and it may not always be possible to successfully ignore that.
While you can feed one or two kibble pieces of cat food to your dog as a treat, please encourage it to eat its own meal.
How to Stop Dog From Eating Cat Food?
Here are some steps to take to prevent your dog from eating out of your cat’s food bowl to ensure it stays healthy and avoids health problems.
- Use a sturdy baby gate – a tall baby gate will help you limit your dog’s access to the area where your cat has its dinner.
- Keep the cats food safely out of your dog’s reach by using locked cabinets.
- Keep your cat’s food bowl out on the porch where your cat can access it through the small cat flap but the dog cannot.
FAQs – Dog Food Versus Cat Food
Is it OK for dogs to eat cat food and cats to eat dog food?
If you give home prepared diets to your dog and cat, then you may occasionally sneak in a couple of bites of each meal to the other pet. But this should not be done if you’re feeding your pets commercially prepared foods that have a lot of taurine and other amino acids that cats need..
What food is good for both dogs and cats?
The good news is: there are some common human foods that are safe to feed both cats and dogs. These are salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, spinach, and broccoli.
Also read: Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken?
Can my dog eat cat food for a day?
If your dog is not sensitive to the ingredients in cat food, then you may feed it some morsels of cat food if you have run out of dog food. But please do not make it a habit of feeding cat food to your dog on a day-to-day basis.
Conclusion – How Long Can a Dog Eat Cat Food?
Now that you know the answer to ‘can dogs eat cat food?’ please note that you may only feed your pet feline food as an occasional treat. Do not make it a habit of dogs eating cat food daily.
So, if you have run out of dog food, then you may feed a small portion of cat food along with some homemade meals like boiled chicken, eggs, brown rice, etc. to your hungry dog. Avoid feeding anything more than that and especially not every day.