Can Cats Eat Dog Food? Is It Dangerous?
If you have both a cat and a dog you know that they love stealing food from each other's bowl. Usually, having a bit of each others food is safe, but it shouldn't be a habit. Read on and discover is it really OK for your feline to have a bite of dog food.
Having a cat and a dog under the same roof means a lot of funny and hilarious moments. They will share the space, play together, and develop a strong and unique bond. Those are good moments.
However, there will be some difficult question that you will have to address when you are sharing a space with both canine and feline. One of the bigger issues that you will have to deal with is should you let your feline have a bite of dog’s food or not?
Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
If your feline gets a bite or two of dog’s food nothing serious will happen, it’s won’t be dangerous. Your feline shouldn’t even feel sick from eating a dog food. But, it doesn’t mean that eating dog food is necessarily healthy for your feline friend. An occasional nibble of dog’s food won’t hurt the cat, but the long-term feeding can.
To have a healthy cat, make sure to feed your cat only with proper nutrition food that is designed for cats. Cats have different nutritional needs from dogs and they can become lean if fed a diet designed for canines.
Felines are known for having unique dietary requires and unlike dogs, they are obligate carnivores meaning that they have to eat meat to survive and maintain proper health. Your cat must take essential daily nutrients, taurine and arginine, that are found only in meat.
Also, cats have a small stomach designed to receive many small meals during the day. Even in the wild cats would have 5 to even 7 meals per day. Felines need also more protein each day than dogs or even human. Overall, cats’ enzymes are constantly set for a high level of dietary protein.
Cat Food VS. Dog Food
The first and most important thing is that cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. Cats have higher needs for many essential nutrients, and their food tends to be higher in protein, vitamins, fat, and minerals. Cats food is also smaller and significantly higher in calories. Also, cats’ bodies can’t create the essential nutrients to meet their metabolic needs.
Many ingredients used in cats and dog food are similar, if not entirely the same – but the main difference lies in the amount used to balance the food. Remember, cats food is always significantly higher than dogs food. So, dogs could eat most cat food, while cats shouldn’t eat dog foods. But, some cat food nutrients are dangerous to dogs as well.
Can Cats Get Dog Food Occasionally?
It’s not common for cats to eat, or even to like commercial dog food. Overall, feeding your cat with dog food is a bad idea, especially if it happens regularly. Feeding your cat with commercial dog food should never be an exclusive diet. If your felines eat canines food its O.K., don’t panic, she will be fine, just don’t make it a habit. The main reasons why cats shouldn’t eat dog food:
- Vitamin A – this is mandatory ingredient in cat food. While some dogs may contain additional vitamin A, many won’t have the amount a cat needs for a lifetime of optimum health.
- Taurine – is an amino acid all cats require. Interestingly, dogs can make their own. Dog food may be deficient in taurine and the result result can be a cat who suffers a kind of heart disease, known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This can also occur when a feline is on a fish-only diet. Fish meat is deficient in amino acid, and that’s the main reason why people tell that fish is ‘bad’ for cats, although it’s not actually. Commercial cat food contains even more amino acid.
- Arachidonic – this acid is known as a fatty acid dog can build themselves, while felines need the real thing.
- Protein levels – protein balance is a big reason why you shouldn’t feed your cat dog food. Some dog food offers very high levels of protein, but most of them don’t reach a level of protein that carnivorous cats require. A lifetime of low protein may not kill your cat, but it’s not cats natural diet is it shouldn’t be a regular thing.
You shouldn’t feed cat dog food because of the caloric density, heavy doses of fat, and high protein levels. None of this is suited for gastrointestinal tracts.
How To Prevent A Cat From Eating Dog Food?
If eating dogs food is not extremely dangerous for your feline health should you interfere and prevent additional eating? If you don’t want your feline to develop strong health concerns such as obesity, you should think about stopping her to reach dogs food. Moreover, your canine can become stressed if the cat keeps on messing with his place and food. And you don’t want your dog to be sad as well, right? So, make sure to do what you can to prevent a cat from eating dog food.
Keeping The Food Separately
When cats and dogs share the home they often steal each other’s food. The grease is always greener on the other side philosophy. A taste now and then probably won’t upset pet’s stomach and collapse rock-solid nutrition, but it can make pets tail go in a twist.
While you probably love them both equally, you should always bear in mind that their nutritional needs are far from being the same, and eating each other’s food can make them sick or even worse. So, what you can do? There are a few things that you can do:
- Supervise feedings – this is probably the easiest solution. Just keep the food separately and supervise the feedings. Make sure that they are on opposite sides of the kitchen. Dogs are faster eaters and once he is done with eating you can spend some time with him while the cat finishes her meal. They both can finish their meals in 10-20 minutes. If your cat is not happy with this arrangement she will let you know.
- Have different bowl spots – make sure that you put bowls separately. For cats make sure that you put the bowl on elevated spots like cat trees, counter, or even washing machine, anywhere where your dog can’t reach it. Also, when the cat’s food bowl is next to a preferred sleeping or chilling spot, your cat will be likely to skip from the floor level dog dish.
- Feed them in separate rooms – if you just don’t have enough space to feed them together in one space, you can always feed pets in different rooms. Make sure that they have a ‘food place’. This will lead to less stress in you and your pets.
- Pet barrier – if you don’t have enough rooms to separate them, you can always use pet barrier or even baby gate to separate feeding areas. Baby gates are great if you are having a larger dog. Also, you can think about a cat-size opening at the bottom so only cat can access the food on the other side.
Of course, these are just some of the ideas, and you should create a routine that suits your pets and their needs. Make sure that you track their eating habits including how fast they eat, so you can act accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions On Can Cats Eat Dog Food
1. Can Cats Eat Dog Food Occasionally?
If it happens it’s OK, but you shouldn’t make it a daily habit. There is a significant difference in cats and dogs food, and dogs commercial food may be deficient in taurine, which is more than needed to cats.
2. Is It Harmful For Cats To Eat Dog Food?
Taurine is much needed in felines food, while dogs can produce it so their commercial food is without taurine. If a cat is eating dog food, she won’t get vital amino acid and there are high chances that she will become ill.
3. Can You Feed A Cat Dog Food In An Emergency?
If you run out of cats food and it’s late at night you won’t have any other choice but to feed your cat with some commercial dog food. Therefore, this is kind of an emergency, so it’s OK as long as its not a habit. Also, this should be your last option. Try to make some homemade meal for your feline first, so you can provide needed nutrients.
4. Will It Hurt A Cat To Eat Dog Food?
An occasional bite is fine and won’t hurt your cat. But, bear in mind that dog food is not a substitution for cat food. They simply don’t have the same ingredients.
5. Why Is Cat Food More Expensive Than Dog Food?
Cats eat less than dogs, but it doesn’t mean that the cost will be significantly lower. Cats food is more expensive per weight.
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