Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? Your Questions Answered

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? Your Questions Answered

When browsing pet foods available for purchase, dog owners sometimes pause and wonder, “Can dogs eat cat food?”

After all, cat food comes in smaller sizes, different flavors, and can be the cheaper option. A tin of wet cat food costs far less than a big bag of dry canine kibble and smells irresistibly delicious to most doggy noses.

But does that mean we should feed our four-legged friends interchangeably?

According to veterinarians…no!

Why not? Well, Cats and Dogs Have Different Dietary Needs

Cats and dogs are both members of the mammal family, however that doesn’t necessarily mean their bodies require the same proteins, nutrients, and minerals. Scientifically speaking, felines are categorized as being strictly carnivores. Just like their cousins the lion and tiger, domesticated cats eat meat only. To function in a healthy way, they must consume large amounts of animal protein and a special amino acid called “taurine.” PetMD explains that taurine is essential for a cat’s immune system, vision, digestion, and more.

For these reasons, cat foods will contain:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Meat fats and oils

On the other hand, dogs are omnivores – they eat meat and plants. Unlike cats, dogs benefit greatly from a mix of vegetables in their diet. This is why commercial dog food brands will often list fruits and vegetables in their dry kibble, such as:

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale

So, can dogs eat cat food?

Sure, technically speaking there is nothing stopping a dog from gobbling down a plate of yummy cat food. The real question however isn’t can they eat it, but should they?

Risks Associated with Feeding Too Much Cat Food to Dogs

Risks Associated with Feeding Too Much Cat Food to Dogs

Dogs who sneak over to the cat’s bowl and lick it clean will be okay, for the most part. Having multiple pets living in the same household means at some point, one of them will likely get a taste of the other’s meal – no surprise there! Still, eating fatty, protein-rich cat food can lead to health problems.

The American Kennel Club warns of:

  • Stomach upsets
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Liver and kidney issues, if fed long-term

The best way to avoid a messy cleanup or scary trip to the vet’s office is simply this: feed your dog a food that has been specially made for their breed, size, and age.

Is It Ever Okay to Feed a Dog Cat Food?

Occasionally, yes.

Dog owners should only ever feed their dog cat food upon receiving advice to do so from their veterinarian. A vet may suggest adding cat food to a dog’s diet for any number of reasons. For instance, a dog who is struggling with maintaining a healthy weight may benefit from the super high calories found in cat food. Also, because the wet meat in cat food smells so strongly, dogs with poor appetites can be encouraged to finish their bowl when a bit of cat food is mixed in.

But remember! There is dog food made specifically for these purposes, too.

The most vital thing is to feed your dog a balanced diet. Always be sure to talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your pup’s food!

By buddy

The role of pets is to teach us to love, not to replace love!