Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Cat Food
Having grown up in a household that never had less than eight cats, and always at least one dog, our dogs were always taking advantage of the ever-present feline food items no matter how hard we tried to keep them from the cat fare. .
Ounce for ounce, most cat food is typically more expensive than most dog food and so most dog owners for economic reasons alone would rather feed their dog his own food. But maybe you are having the same problem as I had, where my dogs always found a way to get their paws on the cats cuisine. You might be left wondering if its OK for your dog to always be chowing down on Kittys food. In short, the answer is no.
Different Kinds Of Dog And Cat Food
Dog and cat foods come in a variety of different packages and formulations. Wet or canned food, moist pouches, freeze dried, refrigerated fresh, dry kibble, and even dehydrated foods are all available for your pets. Within these different types of foods are then also certain kinds of diets such as grain-free, high protein, limited ingredient, hydrolyzed proteins, and other special formulations to meet the needs of sensitive or allergic pets. The number of options can be daunting to pet owners.
The Difference Between Dog And Cat Food
At a first glimpse, dog and cat food appear strikingly similar. They are both dry kibble that come in similar shapes and looks. They come in bags and they may even have a similar smell. But they are quite different when it comes to ingredients.
Cats are obligate carnivores and as such, their diets are very rich in protein. Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, DACVB and professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, suggests that it’s this high protein content that has a major impact on flavor.
The fact Rover loves Fluffy’s food is a no-brainer, but the real question is: Will eating cat food harm my dog in the long term? Below, we will take a look at the health implications and side effects of eating cat food as a habit.
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My Dog Ate Cat Food: What Should I Do
It’s unlikely that your dog will experience any negative effects from eating cat food once or twice. He’ll probably love the way it tastes and want more, even if it causes mild gastrointestinal distress. Don’t worry too much if your dog eats some, but do take precautions to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Cat food isn’t good for dogs, and kitten food is even worse.
Are Table Scraps And Other People Foods Bad For Your Dog And Cat
Most holistically trained veterinarians encourage the practice of feeding “people food” to our pets. Healthy leftovers are an excellent supplement to your companion’s regular fare. There are only two rules with people food for pets:
It’s important to note that not all healthy foods for us are healthy for our pets: onions, grapes and raisins can all be toxic to dogs and cats. If you’re not positive it’s safe, don’t feed it.
If you want to feed meat from the grocery store, there are a number of homemade pre-mixes available where you just need to add is meat and an appropriate oil for healthy fat content.
Pre-mixes contain vegetables, vitamins and minerals, and sometimes grains to make the meal complete. You don’t have to cook every meal for your companion to benefit from fresher food: even the occasional homemade dinner is a wonderful healthy treat!
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Does Dry Pet Food Clean Your Dog’s And Cat’s Teeth
This one is very common, even among some veterinarians, but it is most definitely not true. Dogs and cats have very pointed teeth; even their molars are sharp edged, not flat. These teeth are designed to bite, tear, and chew raw meat, so when a dog or cat eats kibble, they either swallow it whole or shatter it.
Kibble does not scrape down onto the lower parts of the teeth or near the gums, which is where dental problems start. In fact, kibble can contribute to dental problems when the shattered bits lodge between the teeth, promoting bacterial growth. Just like with your diet, carbohydrate food debris breaks down into sugar, which dental bacteria feeds upon.
However, kibble isn’t going to help. Healthy teeth start with a natural diet, healthy chews, and regular brushing.
The Difference Between Cat And Dog Nutrition
Dogs and cats have different nutrition needs. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they consume meat and vegetables, whereas cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need to eat a diet that is mainly meat. In other words, dogs need a more varied diet than cats.
In addition, canines require ten amino acids, while felines require eleven. The additional amino acid they need is taurine, which is vital for normal vision, heart function, digestion, and a healthy immune system.
In order to satisfy feline dietary requirements, cat food is higher in meat-based protein, taurine, calories, and fat than dog food. This may be one of the reasons why dogs find cat food so irresistible. The higher fat and protein levels in cat food make it more fragrant and tasty.
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How To Train Your Dog To Stop Eating Cat Food
Start by making bowls of food distinguishable.To be fair to your dog, it may be hard to tell the difference between a bowl full of kibble that theyre supposed to eat, and a bowl full of kibble thats off-limits. Help your dog out by making the bowls of kibble look very different from each other. Try different bowl sizes and colors, and if you have a placemat under your pets bowls, make sure theyre different too.
Teach your dog the Leave It command. Once your dog knows Leave It, introduce cat food and repeat until they can successfully ignore the food. It can take daily practice for a few weeks, but stay consistent with your training and youll get it together!
Remove the opportunity for your dog to eat cat food.The best way to keep your dog from eating cat food is to separate your pets when food is out. Start by moving your cats bowl to another room one your dog cant get to. If your dog never has access to the cats food, theyll never get the opportunity to steal it! Here are some options:
The bottom line: Dont leave cat food out when your dog has plenty of opportunities to sneak over and grab a few bites. If youre used to leaving food out throughout the day, it may take a while to get your pets used to eating their meals in full on a schedule. However, the benefits of a feeding schedule and removing any food that isn’t eaten in 10-20 minutes is worth it.
How To Handle Feeding Time
Weve established that a dog shouldnt eat cat food, and a cat shouldnt eat dog food, but in a busy, multi-pet household, how the heck can you keep them apart?
Separate feeding areas are a start. In my house, I feed the cats on a tall, sturdy cat tree where the dogs cant reach. Raised surfaces are ideal for cat feeding, but if your cat is older or has mobility issues, instead of moving their food up, just move it to a closed-off area in your home. Heres a list of DIY cat feeding station ideas;to get you started:
- A stable bookshelf
- A dedicated cat shelf like the one shown here
- A laundry room or walk-in closet with a cat door installed
- A dog-proof feeding station;
Just make sure your cat-feeding surface is secure in case your dog tests the limits. You dont want a broken door, or a bookshelf toppling over on top of your eager pup!
As for keeping the cat out of the dog bowl, closed doors are the cheapest and easiest solution. Simply feed your dog in a separate room, and dont open the door until all the food is gone! If you dont have extra doors to close, a raised dog feeder can help keep your cat from getting into the bowl. You can also try hand-feeding your dog , or simply feed both species at the same time so they stay busy with their own food.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food: Conclusion
It really isnt, Can dogs eat cat food? but rather, Should they? In a PURRfect world, wed all have the willpower to resist foods that arent good for us, but dogs dont realize that what tastes yummy, may make them sick. Cat food might be tempting, but it wont give your dog a nutritious diet, and over time, could have detrimental effects on his health.
Have you come up with an ingenious way to keep your dog away from cat food? Your solution could help other dog moms and dads who are struggling with this issue. Please share in the comments below!
DENISE FLECK is an award-winning author, animal care instructor and radio show host. She was named one of Pet Age Magazines Women of Influence for 2018, a Most Inspiring Story in 2017 by Voyage Atlanta Magazine and has been nominated for 6 Dog Writers Awards to be announced in early 2019.
Can You Mix Dog Food With Cat Food
So lets say youre scraping the bottom of the dog food bag. Should you mix in some cat food? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the answer is no. The proportions between nutrients are important when it comes to pet food formulations, and this mixture would disrupt the balance.
According to veterinarian Megan Keller, dog foods should contain 8-26% protein. For cats she recommended a protein percentage of 30-34% and even more for canned food. Will you be able to strike the perfect ratio yourself? Dont take that chance!
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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 dog’s 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.
A History Of Customer Complaints
Thanks to blogging, social media, and sites like ConsumerAffairs, customers have a louder voice than ever before. A web search will give you the consumer pulse in moments.
The worst cat food brands earn thousands of complaints. Youll know if people have found pieces of bone or metal in the food, noticed their cats getting sick after a meal, or have other negative experiences with the brand.
Sometimes things go wrong. When your company is huge and sells to millions of customers each year, the likelihood that youll have complaints increases. In this sense, numerous customer complaints arent always indicative of a bad company. Look at the consistency of the complaints and pay attention to the brands response to them.
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Isn’t Feeding Raw Food Dangerous Due To The Risk Of Salmonella And E Coli
The digestive tracts of dogs and cats are very different than those of humans. The human digestive tract is approximately 25 to 28 feet long with a stomach acidity between 1.5 and 2.5, whereas dogs and cats have a much shorter digestive system at an average of 10 to 13 feet for dogs with an acidity of less than 1.
This means that raw food moves through your pet’s system in less than half the time it would through a human’s system, and the high acidity kills most bacteria. Even if the food was contaminated, it is unlikely that the microbes would enter the animal’s bloodstream.
Commercially prepared raw food manufacturers take measures to control against the presence of unwanted organisms such as salmonella and e. coli, so if you’re concerned about contamination, frozen raw diets are a good option.
If you eat meat, then you are aware of the precautions to take when handling raw meat. The same precautions apply to raw pet food: wash bowls, utensils and your hands after feeding and handling the meat. Keep the meat frozen until two to four days before feeding, and thaw in the refrigerator. Don’t leave the food down for your pet for more than 30-40 minutes, and throw any leftovers away after this time.
If you use common sense, feeding raw food is no more difficult or dangerous than any other pet food, and the health benefits are unparalleled.
Why Cat Food Is Different Than Dog Food
Cat f ood and dog food have different formulations because cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements. Cats are obligate carnivoresthey must eat meat in order to maintain their healthwhile dogs are omnivores, which means they eat both meat-based foods and plant-based foods to fulfill their nutritional requirements.
In addition to the dietary meat requirements a cat has, she also needs certain B-complex vitamins and amino acids such as taurine that dog food doesnt contain. If a cat doesnt receive these vitamins and amino acids from her diet, she could develop serious heart problems such as cardiomyopathy, or she could become blind .
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Can’t Dogs And Cats Only Eat Food Labeled As Complete And Balanced
Pet food companies have a pretty big interest in perpetuating this myth. Is every meal you eat complete and balanced?
Even the most health conscious among us don’t worry about meeting the proper balance of nutrients at every meal. We know that over the course of the day or week our diet will be fairly complete, so we don’t have to worry about eating exactly are recommended intakes on daily basis.
Many of us take vitamins and supplements to fill in any gaps, because even eating a very healthy diet of whole foods may not provide all the vitamins and minerals our body needs to stay healthy.
Variety is the key to a healthy diet for dogs and cats as well. If you’re feeding at least 50-60% commercially prepared foods that are designed to be “complete,” then you are well on your way to providing a majority of the balance of nutrients. Adding healthy toppers, people food, fresh vegetables or other non-formulated foods to your pet’s meals will boost the overall nutrition of the diet as long as it is not overdone.
Providing a daily multi-vitamin adds extra nutrients to fill in the gaps. One caveat here: meat is higher in phosphorus and lower in calcium, so when adding more than 15-20% extra meat to your companion’s diet on a regular basis, keep the calcium and phosphorus ratio balanced over time by including raw bones or adding a calcium supplement.
Is It Dangerous For Your Dog To Eat Cat Food
When it comes to their diet, cats and dogs have very different needs. Dogs are omnivores and need plenty of fibre in their diet, while cats are natural carnivores and need lots of protein . Cat food therefore contains more protein and fats than dog food, which can be problematic if it is eaten for dogs. Ironically, it is thought to be these ingredients that make many dogs prefer it to their own food. However, your dogs body is not designed to eat a protein-rich diet and this will have a negative impact in the long term.
Gastrointestinal problems can occur as a result of the higher protein and fat content. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea and is relatively common in dogs that have sensitive stomachs. In rarer cases, it can result in other health problems.
Even if your dog seems to be tolerating cat food without experiencing digestive problems, it is not advisable to allow your dog to eat it in the long term. Kidney problems can develop if your dogs body is not able to get rid of the excess protein that is being consumed. If your dog already has kidney problems or diabetes, eating cat food can make these conditions a lot worse.
The fat and protein content in cat food can also make your dog put on weight, especially if they are eating it in addition to their own food. Obesity can lead to a wide range of health problems including high blood pressure, joint problems and breathing problems.
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What Can Happen If Dogs Eat Cat Food
As we already mentioned, nothing will happen if your dog occasionally eats cat food. However, he may suffer from diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems if he has a sensitive stomach.
On the other hand, if you feed your dog cat food on a regular basis, he may eventually suffer from more serious health problems. For example, dogs that eat cat food regularly have a greater risk of obesity, as well as pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Additionally, too much protein can be hard on the dog’s liver and kidneys.