Can Cats Eat Dog Food?-the difference between cat and dog food

can cats eat dog food?

Not so long ago, cats were often given no other food than what humans had leftover: remnants of human lunch or half eaten dinners were on cats menu day in, day out, day in, day out.

Luckily for all the house tigers of the present day, word has got around that cats should be given specially prepared food, meant for their unique dietary needs to stay fit and healthy for a long time.

But what if the local house cat seems to have a preference for dog food?

First of all, dog food is not harmful or even dangerous for cats in small amounts – provided that it is enjoyed is the really the exception.

It is also completely harmless if the cat eats dog treats (by mistake).

A healthy animal usually copes with such a culinary excuses very well and cats really are no exception as they are resilient and strong beings.

It is different, however, if cats are regularly provided with dog food – and the other way around as well.

Every pet owner probably knows the feeling of standing in front of the shelf for pet food in the supermarket, and then you notice that the cat food is available for an unusually low promotional price.

One wonders if it would harm the dog to try cat food for once…

It differs from those who own both a dog and a cat: For some pet owners, only one product is bought, which both animals have to feed on, and pet owners who do this may be trying to save money by doing this.

But is it advisable? What can the consequences be? can cats eat dog food?

Let’s find out…

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What is the difference between dog and cat food?

Cat and dog food are as different as dogs and cats.

And that makes sense because the two animal species have very different needs.

Unlike dogs, cats are natural carnivores. (1.)

In comparison, you need more proteins and fats, as well as other minerals and vitamins for your cat food.

And dogs have to eat more carbohydrates than cats.

But can cats eat dog food and should they?

While it won’t hurt a cat to have dog food occasionally, cats have different dietary needs than dogs and the food meant for dogs is not enough for cats to eat on a regular basis. Cats need special cat food which is rich in protein, fats and taurine acid as they are carnivores.

If a cat is mainly fed dog food, sooner or later, there will be deficiency symptoms on the one hand and digestive problems such as diarrhea on the other. (2.)

To optimize the carbohydrate balance of dogs, a lot of grain is often added to their food and food for dog tends to be focused on the dietary needs of dogs, instead of cats who have different needs than dogs.

Another aspect that cats often suffer from, regarding dog food is an upset stomach, because their gastrointestinal tract is often especially sensitive to grain.

In addition to a sensitive stomach and diabetes, grain intolerance or allergies is not for nothing known to be one of the most common cat diseases.(3.)

Only cat food also contains taurine, which is very important for the house tiger and our beloved cats.

The average cat can only produce this incredibly important amino acid to a small extent on it’s own, and it is of utmost important that cats get enough of this from their diet.

If taurine is missing in their diet and they end up not getting enough of it, they can suffer from heart problems, metabolism issues, and have problems with their eyes as well even.

In the worst case, the latter so much that the cat goes blind.

This is one reason why it is important to give your cat good and nutritious high quality cat food meant for it especially, and with it’s needs in mind.

Eating friends: cat and dog under one roof

In some cases, cat and dog live so closely together that occasional food exchange can occur and is almost inevitable.

As already mentioned, this is not bad in exceptional circumstances.

But it shouldn’t come to the point that you accidentally feed your animals in the wrong manner, so that they may even become sick because of it.

So if you have the pleasure of living with both cats and dogs, you can use a few tricks to keep them from stealing food from each other:

• Let them eat in peace: Often, cats suffer from dogs swallowing their food quickly and then taking on the cat food as well.

Cats take longer to digest food completely. It is best not to serve parallel feeding and it is best to serve the menu for the cat out of sight and reach of the dog. (3.)

•A dog often gets large portions that he can eat in one piece.

Cats prefer to share their food and it needs several small meals a day.

The dog does not eat the cat food for dessert if it can’t get to it, so it should best be somewhere where only the cat can get to it.

• Set strict rules that the dog and cat are not allowed to share the bowl.

They should not even be fed in the same room – at least if they are supplied at the same time.

A well defined separation for feeding makes it easier for both animals.

• The requirements for food and nutrition differ in cats and dogs.

It is not a concern if cats eat dog food a few times, but this should not be permanent, as there are health risks in this case.

can cats eat dog food? cat and dog food differences. cat eating from bowl of food. cat eating cat food on table.
can cats eat dog food?

High taurine content in cat food

Cats need a protein-rich food with a high percentage of taurine in it, as cats can not make it on their own completely.

On the other hand, dogs can produce this amino acid themselves, they tolerate protein less well, and receive food with a lot of carbohydrates because it is what dogs need more of.

• Dog food is even healthier for cats than vice versa. They are pure carnivores and have very sensitive digestion.

The dog food contains too few calories, too little fat, and insufficient protein, which is why the cat does not get enough energy and nutrients with such a diet. So make sure you remember:

Always feed your pet the right food! The fact that you can buy cat food separately from dog food is not a marketing strategy! It is for a good reason!

Also read: What are Maine Coon Cats?

Deficiency symptoms when cats eat dog food only

• Mainly due to the lack of the amino acid taurine in dog food, deficiency symptoms can occur in cats with dog food when they have too much of it.

The consequences could include blunt fur or diseases of the retina that can lead to blindness, and heart problems eventually if it goes on long enough.

Don’t gamble with your pet’s health and always get the right food meant for it.

How do I keep the cat away from the dog bowl?

To prevent the cat from using the dog bowl regularly, owners should have the dog eat separately in a room and quickly dispose of any leftovers.

If the opposite is the case – the dog always wants cat food – there are two other options: Either owner can practice behavioral changes and discipline with the dog.

The dog then learns that cat food is taboo for him and will slowly learn to stay away from the food that is not meant for him and the problem will be solved.

Or they feed the cat in a high place that the dog cannot reach. This way, the cat will not feed on the dog’s food or the dog on the cat’s diet.

This solution is brilliant and it works well for many people, and it is very simple to do this as there are many places that a cat(and you) could reach, but not a dog.

If the dog and the cat are left feeding without such precautions chances are that one may feed on the others food, and this is not good in the long run at all.

So, it is not difficult to feed cats appropriately and, therefore, balance things – even if a dog is part of a household with entirely different needs.

Pet owners should consequently buy cat and dog food for each, respectively as there is a good reason why you can buy both cat and dog food in stores, but not one for both.

The cat gets all the nutrients from the cat food it needs, and there is no risk of deficiency if the pet owner lives by this rule.

Now that you have read all about “can cats eat dog food?”, and the differences between cat and dog food, you may also enjoy reading our article about Catnip.

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Author: Cathour

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