Is Cat Food Bad For Dogs? Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

By admin / March 15, 2017
is cat food bad for dogs

If you have always wondered why your dog keeps trying to sneak his way into your cat’s food bowl, you are not alone. Most dogs seem to have a special affinity for cat food. You may even be tempted to just let your pooch indulge in cat food now and then. However, experts recommend against giving cat food to dogs primarily for health reasons. Even if the dog does not show any adverse reaction to the food, it’s still a good idea to keep the cat’s food bowl away.

Why is cat food bad for dogs?

The answer lies in the difference between the two pets.

Different Diet Requirements

Cats and dogs have varying diet requirements. Dogs are omnivores. Their diet consists of different types of foods including proteins, stages and even vegetables and fruits. Most importantly, their diet has higher fiber content.

Cats on the other hand are obligate carnivores. While they can eat vegetables and starches, their main source of nutrients has to be meat. It is a biological necessity.

So while on the surface dog and cat food may look similar, there are big differences in composition. Cat food is, by necessity, protein-dense. Dog food still has meat in it but in less concentration. Additionally, dog food contains more fiber.

Feeding dogs cat food goes against their natural diet requirements. Their digestive system is not meant to handle that much protein. The liver and kidneys can be especially at risk when there is an excess of protein in the diet.

The reduced fiber content can also wreak havoc and result in a number of serious side effects. Furthermore, feeding your dog cat food deprives him of certain essential nutrients that are not present in cat food.

Experts say that an occasional break-in into the cat’s bowl is harmless. You can even give your dog cat treats now and then. But day after day of gobbling down cat food isn’t going to end well.

So is cat food good for dogs?

The simple and clear answer is no. In fact, it can be downright dangerous.

Risks and Side Effects

Worst case scenario: your dog eats cat food just once and immediately experiences diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. If this happens to your dog, then even occasional treats are out of the question. The dog has a sensitive gut that cannot handle cat’s food.

can dogs eat cat food

If your dog does not show any signs of a stomach upset after eating cat’s food, it is still not a good idea to feed him that food often. In dogs with less sensitive digestive systems, a prolonged diet of cat food can still be deadly.

For one, it could lead to kidney or liver damage as the body is unable to handle the elevated levels of protein. Secondly, it could easily cause obesity. Cat food is high in fat and low in fiber. That’s a recipe for unhealthy weight gain in dogs. With obesity, a myriad of other health problems follow suit.

Considering these risks, can dog eat cat food under any circumstances?

As I mentioned, experts consider the occasional treat to be harmless. The exception is if your dog reacts to even little amounts of cat food.

Generally, do not mix up the two pets’ diets. No matter how much your pooch seems to crave your cat’s food, do not give in.

Why do Dogs Love Cat Food Anyway?

Now that the question 'can you feed dogs cat food?’ has been answered, you may still be wondering why your dog keeps going after the cat’s bowl.

There is a mix of factors that could be prompting this behavior. On a basic level, many dogs simply love the enhanced flavor of the protein-dense cat food. It certainly tastes meatier than they own food.

Your dog could also be enjoying the game. Maybe it feels fun to hunt down the car’s food bowl, maybe he feels a bit jealous that the cat’s bowl is always left out and never lacks food, maybe he just likes annoying your cat.

But for most dogs, the primary factor driving their habit is taste.


Is cat food bad for dogs? Yes.

What do I do if he eats it? Observe the dog for any reactions. If he does not show any symptoms, there is no problem; just remember to hide the cat food well enough. If he shows persistent symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, see your vet.

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