Whether you ran out of your dog’s food and had to give them cat food in a pinch, or your puppy decided to sample some of your cat’s cuisine, chances are your doggo has eaten cat food before. Dogs, especially speedy eaters, can easily sneak bites of your kitty’s food. Among the many questions we ask about our canine critters, “can you feed a dog cat food” is probably on that list! While it isn’t likely to seriously harm them if they get into it on occasion, cat food should not become a regular part of your dog’s diet.
Why is cat food bad for dogs?
While it may seem convenient for your dog and cat to share the same food, it is bad for dogs to eat cat food, and vice versa. Cats and dogs have wildly different dietary requirements. Cats are carnivores and their diet consists almost entirely of meat. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores and need a much more balanced diet to get the nutrients they require. Cat food tends to be high in fat, calories and protein that is paw-fect for cats, but it’s not ideal for dogs. Dogs with sensitive tummies may suffer vomiting and diarrhoea after eating cat food. Dogs who are fed cat food regularly are at greater risk of obesity and potentially life-threatening pancreatitis. However, in comparison to toxic foods like chocolate or grapes, a single serving of cat food isn’t likely to be life-threatening for your pup.
Tips for making sure your dog doesn't eat your cat's food
Since cat food is much higher in meat-based protein than dog food, it has a very strong meat flavor and smell. Much like the smell of freshly baked cookies are hard for humans to resist, your dog will want to nosh on that pup-ular smelly food. If your dog regularly gets into cat food, it is best to change where you keep your cat’s food or how you feed your cat. Here are some methods you can try:
- Elevate your cat’s food. Place their food bowl on a countertop or somewhere else in your home that your dog can’t access.
- Feed your cat using an interactive cat puzzle. It stimulates your cat’s mind, and your dog will not be able to access the food inside.
- Use a protective cat bowl, which covers their food and has a hole small enough for their head to fit through, keeping your pup out.
- Separate your fur children during feeding time using a pet or baby gate.
- Give them their own delicious, smelly canned food, specially formulated for dogs.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a significant amount of cat food, you should seek advice from your veterinarian.