Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Food
While cats are obligate carnivores, meaning theyre obligated to eat meat and would in fact die without it, dogs are opportunistic omnivores meaning they can make use of many nutrient types found in their environment. Being relatives of wolves, people think of dogs as keen hunters, but ancient dogs began to rely on foraging scraps off nearby humans as they developed the bond we cherish today.
Being opportunistic, dogs will eat practically anything, which can certainly pose a problem at times. Its like their ancestral instincts have come up against a human-centered world. On par with sniffing something to see what it could be, dogs often try eating things simply out of curiosity. If you own a dog, you probably have more than one story of pet shenanigans.
Not only does cat food smell novel to the pet kibble theyre accustomed to, a dogs strong senses draw them to its high protein and fat content.
Is It Ok To Give Dogs Cat Food
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What If A Dog Accidentally Eats Cat Food
If a dog accidentally eats cat food then there is no immediate cause for concern. Cat food is not toxic to dogs, but it is likely to cause a little diarrhea or even vomiting. Anytime something new is suddenly introduced into a pet’s diet, this gastrointestinal upset is expected but usually short lived. Most dogs don’t even need to go to the veterinarian, but if the vomiting and diarrhea continue for more than a day or so, you should contact your veterinarian.
If your dog eats an exceptionally large amount of cat food, bloat is the biggest concern. Dog’s stomachs can fill with air and food and cause bloat, which can be fatal. A bloated and hard abdomen and vomiting without anything coming out are signs that your dog may be experiencing bloat. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if this is suspected.
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Complications Of Feeding Cat Food To Dogs
If your dog eats a lot of cat food on a regular basis, or if you are feeding your dog a diet of cat food instead of dog food, complications may arise, as it does not have the correct balance of protein, fiber, and all of the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy.
Dogs can certainly survive on cat food in a tough spot, but the nutrient imbalance can lead to gastrointestinal upset, obesity, and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis requires immediate veterinary care. Symptoms include abdominal pain and a hunched back, lethargy and weakness, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, a distended abdomen, and fever. Even if your dog eats cat food and suffers no obvious ill effects, the high protein levels can be hard on his liver and kidney.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food Once Or An Emergency
In an emergency where dog food is not available, you may be wondering if it is safe to give your dog a little bit of cat food instead. The occasional use of cat food is not toxic to dogs, but as previously mentioned, it is not ideal. As with any abrupt change in diet, you should expect some mild stomach upset. A better alternative in these situations is to feed a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice.
Another common scenario where owners consider using cat food is when their dog is not interested in the dog food. Since dogs usually find cat food appetizing, some owners will try to mix a little cat food in with dog food. Although this poses less of a health risk than feeding only cat food, it is still not recommended. Nutritional imbalances can still occur with the mixing of food. Some dogs are just picky eaters, but a poor appetite can indicate that your dog has an underlying health condition. If you notice your dogs appetite has changed, get them checked out by your veterinarian and discuss your concerns before making any major changes to your pets diet.
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Can You Feed A Dog Cat Food
You can, its your prerogative, but you should have an understanding about what you are feeding your dog. Cat food does not equal dog food, it doesnt even equal cat food. What I mean by this is that cat food isnt the same across the board.
Unlike dry cat food, canned cat food could contain 40% to 50% protein. Thats close to triple the amount a dog needs for minimal maintenance.
This could definitely impact your dogs health. Before you start feeding your dog the cats food, you may want to consider the side effects that a high protein diet of cat food could have on him.
Construct A Feeding Chamber For Your Cat
If you are the DIY type, you can make your cat a secure feeding chamber that allows him to eat in peace and prevents your dog from stealing his food.
You can make such a feeding chamber in several different ways, but the simplest way is to just purchase a large plastic storage box and cut a door in the side that is big enough for your cat, yet too small for your dog. Serve up dinner inside the container and voila! Canine-free cat food consumption.
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Protein And Fat Content
Dog food is not that different from your food. Its made with some of the same proteins, carbs, fruits, veggies, and supplements that comprise your daily diet. In fact, many typical homemade dog foods are quite similar to the chicken-and-rice dishes you may make for your family.
Cat foods, on the other hand, are more like Atkins-inspired recipes. Theyre primarily comprised of proteins and fats, and they typically lack the assortment of fruits and vegetables that are often found in dog foods.
The AAFCO guidelines call for 18% protein content for adult dog foods, while adult cat foods must contain 26% protein content .
Nevertheless, some authorities consider these figures too low for cats and recommend protein content in the 30% to 45% range.
The AAFCOs guidelines for fat content differ less, but they still recommend that cat foods contain 9% fat content, while dog foods only require 8.5%.
Keep in mind that these are minimum guidelines, and many cat foods have protein and fat content that exceed these recommendations sometimes significantly so. In fact, the high protein and fat content of cat foods is probably the reason dogs find cat foods so tasty.
Yes Dogs Can Have Catnip
Luckily, you have nothing to worry about if youre concerned about your dogs eating catnip from your garden or stealing it from your cats. Catnip wont hurt your dogs and it actually has many health benefits for them. If you choose to give your dogs catnip on a regular-basis, you can grow your own catnip at home or in your garden to ensure that you always have a steady supply available.
How To Prevent Dogs From Eating Cat Food
If your dog has made a habit out of stealing a few bites from your cats food bowl, there are a few tricks you can try to discourage this behaviour.
Feeding your cat and your dog in separate rooms will help put some distance between the dog and their newfound love for cat food. Consider placing your cats food bowl higher up and out of your dogs reach. Adult cats can usually reach higher surfaces with ease, so the difference in placement wont be a problem for your feline, but it will help keep their food out of the dogs sight. However, this is not appropriate for older cats, or those with arthritis. Installing a crate for your cat can also help them have some peace and quiet during their meal while keeping canine house mates at distance.
Can My Cat Eat The Dogs Food
Its not a good idea. As cat food is too high in fat and protein for your dog, the opposite is also true. Dog food does not contain adequate fat or protein for your cat. Additionally, cats require more vitamin A and taurine then dogs so dog food will not provide the correct nutritional balance for your cat.
While a bite or two of cat food probably wont do any long term damage, it is important to feed your dog food that was especially intended for them. Consider your dogs age, breed, activity level, and any food allergies or sensitivities when selecting a food for them to enjoy. You might even consider a fresh pet food like Ollie. A healthy diet is a big part of your dogs overall health. Do your research and choose a food that not only tastes great but will also keep your best friend happy and healthy for many years to come.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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Q: Do You Have Any Tips For Keeping My Dog Out Of My Cat’s Food And Vice Versa
Dr. Leslie: Cat food is very tasty to dogs. They can be obsessed trying to get into Fluffy’s bowl. A “creep feeder” is a feeder that the cat can get into, but the hole is too small for the dog. This is one way to keep Fido from Fluffy’s food.
While you’re keeping your pets’ food separated, treat them to their own special snacks, too. Try Meow Mix® Irresistibles® for your cat.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Treats
Feeding cat food to your dog on a regular basis is not recommended, but what about popular cat treats? The long-term nutritional concerns associated with feeding your dog cat food are not as big a concern when it comes to cat treats. As long as your dog is getting a proper diet that is meeting their nutritional needs, the occasional use of cat treats is safe. There are not any ingredients in cat treats that are safe for cats but toxic to dogs. Like any treat, moderation is key.
When using cat treats, one thing to keep in mind is that they typically contain a large number of calories. As a general rule, treats should make up approximately 10% of your pets daily calorie requirement. Consuming a large number of calories from treats can lead to problems with obesity. When using cat treats, you may need to reduce the number of treats and how frequently you give them. If weight is an issue in your dog, it is best to look for lower-calorie treat options. When in doubt, it is always best to stick to treats specifically formulated for your dog.
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Preventing A Dog From Eating Cat Food
If you have both dogs and cats and you’re concerned about your dog eating cat food, move the cat food to an area where your dog can’t reachit. Cats are more agile and can typically access areas that are off limits to your dog. Place the food on a counter or on the other side of ababy gate that your cat can jump but your dog can’t.
In addition, teach your dog a leave it command around cat food. First, teach leave it with items that are less desirable. Then, practicearound cat food, only on leash. When your dog looks away from the cat food and back at you, reward with a special treat. Occasionally, you caneven reward with cat food.
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Cat Food
Training your dog to stay away from the cats food is important in keeping both of your pets healthy. Dogs can be stubborn, thoughespecially when it comes to food and treats. Free feeding your cat can make the problem even more difficult to control.
Luckily, there are ways to keep your dog from eating cat food. Follow these training tips to teach your pets to respect each others food bowls.
- Hide bags of cat food from your dog
The simplest solution is to hide the cat food from your dog. This means hiding the cats bowl as well as the bags of food. Some dogs learn that they can open a bag of cat food or spill an unsealed bag onto the floor. If your dog has picked up this clever skill, youll have to hide the bags of food in a cabinet or a high place that she cant reach.
Cats are experts at climbing and reaching high places. Dogs, on the other hand, dont usually venture much higher than a couch. If you have a small dog, its easy to put your cats food out of reach.
You can feed your cat on his cat tree, if its large enough. Or, put his bowl on top of a shelf or table. Window sills and washing machines can also act as feeding stations that are easy for your cat to reach but too high for your dog.
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Why Is Cat Food Bad For Dogs 4 Side Effects Explained
While dogs and cats can coexist peacefully in your home, its fine for them to share the couch but there is some sharing that can be dangerous for your dog. Your cats toys and food should not be shared with your dog. You might be wondering why your dog should avoid cat food, heres everything you need to know.
Why Do Dogs Love Cat Food So Much
There’s no doubt that dogs love cat food. Some dogs love it so much that their owners use cat food as a high-value treat to reward them for exceptional performances. Dogs love cat food so much that many cat owners are forced to feed their cats in separate areas that are out of the dog’s reach. Dogs even enjoy eating cat food after it has been digested: There’s no denying that many dogs perceive kitty’s “Tootsie rolls” as a pure delicacy.
So what makes cat food so appealing to dogs? Is it just the fact that it’s different? Does Rover get an adrenaline rush when he steals it? Is it more appealing because it’s left out longer ? Or does it actually taste better?
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How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Cat Food
Experts agree: Keep cat food out of your dogs reach. Put cat bowls up highsuch as on counters or cat treesthat Rover cant reach. Or feed your dog and cat in separate locations, even if that means using a baby gate or pet barrier to segregate hallways.
Another suggestion is to schedule your dogs and cats mealtimes 10 minutes apart so you can supervise and keep your fur babies from swiping food from each others bowls.
Open to high-tech solutions? Get each of your pets a feeder programmed with his or her microchip or RFID collar tag. These types of feeders only open when the registered pet approaches. That means your cat can access her food at any time without the fear of it being stolen.
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Can I Mix Canned Cat Food With Dog Food
While mixing a little canned cat food in with your dogs food might seem like a good compromise, its still not a good idea.
When you mix cat food and dog food, it throws off the nutritional balance. The cat food adds a disproportionate amount of protein to your dogs meal, and doing this on a regular basis, even if its not every day, can cause health issues.
The only case where you would want to mix cat food into your dogs food is if you are weaning him off of cat food.
If your pup has exclusively been dining on cat kibble or wet cat food, you need to switch him to dog food gradually, just as you would switch him between two different kinds of dog food.
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