What If My Cat Accidentally Eats Dog Food
If your cat accidentally eats your dogs dinner, dont fret.
Dog food isnt dangerous to cats, but it shouldnt be eaten in place of cat food on a regular basis. A cat can eat some dog food without illness even though its not the best nutrition for them.
If you are in an emergency situation where you forgot to stop by the store to pick up more cat food and all you have is dog food, feeding it your cat will be fine, Dr. Ochoa says. And if your cat takes a few pieces of food out of your dogs bowl, theres nothing to worry about, she adds.
But cats cannot survive on dog food alone for their long term diet. Without the right amount of protein, cats lose muscle mass and become lethargic. When it comes to taurine, VCA Animal Hospitals explains that the amino acid is critical for vision, digestion, heart function, fetal development, and a healthy immune system in cats.
Search For The Cause Of The Illnesses
Unable to locate the source of the kidney failure exhibited by test subjects that consumed some of their wet food products, Menu Foods sent food samples to Cornell University between 13 March and 15 March for chemical analysis. They too, were not immediately able to pinpoint the cause of the sicknesses, so they sent samples to the New York State Food Laboratory, a part of the federally funded Food Emergency Response Network.
Best For Dogs With Food Sensitivities: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet
Made with 10 ingredients or less
Available in several flavors
For dogs with specific food sensitivities, Merrick Limited Ingredient dog foods are made with 10 ingredients or less, yet they still deliver complete, balanced nutrition to your pet. This line of food is available in both wet and dry formulas, and it comes in a variety of flavors, all of which have deboned meat, fish, or poultry as the first ingredient.
Merrick is part of Nestlé Purina, meaning they use the same team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and behaviorists when creating their dog food formulas. The brand also has its own Ph.D. nutritionists on staff. Merrick dog foods dont contain any fillers, additives, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives, and theyre made in the companys Texas-based kitchen.
No matter what type of dog you own, Purina Pro Plan is a top choice for its dog food. This highly trusted brand is extremely transparent about its processes, and it offers a wide range of formulas for dogs of all sizes, ages, and lifestyles. If youre looking for a less-expensive dog food, Pedigree offers complete and balanced formulas for dogs of all ages.
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Later Findings Change Focus To Melamine
Sometime in mid-March, an “unnamed pet food company” reported to Cornell they had discovered an industrial chemical used in plastics manufacture, melamine, in internal testing of wheat gluten samples. By 21 March, it became clear the common factor was in the wheat gluten used to thicken the gravy in the “cuts and gravy” style wet foods. By 27 March, Cornell had confirmed the presence of melamine in the originally recalled pet foods, the wheat gluten used in their manufacture, the cells of the dead pets, and in the urine samples from dead and sick pets. On 30 March, both Cornell and the FDA announced the presence of melamine had been confirmed. The chemical was found in the suspected wheat gluten in raw concentrations as high as 6.6%. Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s chief veterinarian said, “There was a sizable amount of melamine. You could see crystals in the wheat gluten.”
In addition to wheat gluten, products containing rice protein have also been contaminated with melamine. Natural Balance Pet Foods recalled two products on 16 April due to kidney damage associated with melamine contamination despite the products not containing wheat gluten. Melamine has also been implicated in corn gluten in South Africa.
Despite the presence of the industrial chemical in both the food and in the animals, the FDA has made it clear they are still in the middle of an extensive investigation, and “not yet fully certain that melamine is the causative agent.”
Keep Your Pooch Happy And Healthy
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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong
Choosing dog food for your pet is one of the biggest decisions you have to make as an owner, but it can be quite tricky, as there are so many brands and products available out there today.
There are numerous aspects to consider when evaluating dog foods, explains Dr. Jennifer Frione, DVM, owner of Lakeside Animal Hospital. Factors to look at include the pet food label, ingredients and guaranteed analysis, the pet’s age and the pet’s medical state or conditions. She also recommends looking for a dog food brand that meets Association of American Feed Control Officers guidelines and has a veterinary nutritionist on staff.
If you’re looking for reputable companies whose products are generally well-regarded across the board, the following are the best dog food brands according to our research and veterinarians.
Wide range of formulas for all life stages
Brand employs team of nutritionists and vets
Products made in USA
Can be pricey
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Homemade Cat Food Diets
Many pet owners feed cats homemade diets. These diets generally consist of some form of cooked or raw meat, bone, vegetables, and supplements, such as taurine and multivitamins. Homemade diets either follow a recipe, such as the BARF diet which provides a series of options for the pet owner to make, or rely on the constant rotation of ingredients to meet nutrient requirements. A study was conducted that analyzed 95 homemade BARF diets and found that 60% of these were nutritionally imbalanced in either one or a combination of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, iodine, zinc, copper, or vitamin A content.
Another 2019 study on a range of homemade diet recipes found online and in books has also found nutritional inadequacies. The authors mention that vegetarianism and support for organics food are common reasons for trying such a diet, but does not specifically address the adaquacy of vegetarian or organic diets.
Numbers Of Affected Animals
In a potentially related incident in China, on 22 February 2006, Xinhua reported at least 38 cats dying shortly after being fed with Xiduoyu, a brand of a “Tianjin-based cat food manufacturer”. A veterinarian referred to in the story said “test results from Beijing Animal Hospital showed the dead cats had suffered from kidney exhaustion and that the sick ones have kidney damage.” Suspicions at that time focused on lead poisoning though Gu Junhua, a chief engineer from China’s “national feedstuff quality check centre under the Ministry of Agriculture”, was reported as saying: “But at present, he said it was difficult to draw any conclusions because the country has not drafted any food safety criteria for pets in terms of the quality and quantity of each element of the ingredients.” No mention of melamine was made.
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No Fillers Just Function
Making a complete and balanced pet food that provides all the nutrition needed by a cat or dog is a complex task. Veterinarians have identified between 42 and 48 essential nutrients for cats and dogs. Ensuring that a pet food product provides the required nutrition means that three to four dozen ingredients regularly are used. Adding to the complexity of ingredients is the formal process by which these materials are defined.
For 100 years, ingredients used in animal feed, which includes pet food, have been defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . AAFCO has developed very specific ingredient definitions that pet food companies must use on their product labels. In addition to describing the source of an ingredient , often these definitions describe how the ingredient was processed .
Pet food makers must use the AAFCO ingredient name on product labels. The result is consistent ingredient labeling requirements across the country and in many cases, the world. It is because of the AAFCO ingredient definition process that the pet food ingredient list includes components names like wheat gluten, poultry by-product meal and sodium selenite.
Pet food ingredients â including those with funny sounding namesâ all serve at least one specific function in a product whether it be adding nutrients, providing texture, causing the food to hold its shape, preserving freshness, or performing in another capacity. Many ingredients serve multiple functions.
Pet Food Manufacturers: In Summary
Overall, the pet food manufacturers topping the game own cheaper brands available in most supermarkets and pet stores not just across the United States, but globally. Pedigree, Cesar and Bakers are among the brands owned by the top two manufacturers in the US and are considered dog food that is widely available and affordable.
Pet food manufacturers that are still in the top 15 dog food company but further away from Mars Petcare Inc, tend to be more specialized foods, leaning towards raw, natural and organic ingredients. Overall, just looking at the top 15 and how their pet feeder factories have grown, pet food manufacturing business is an exciting industry bringing in new pet food products which are innovative and on a mission to become more eco-friendly and healthy.
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Industry And Government Response
American and Chinese authorities investigated the source of the contamination linked to pet deaths, and Chinese authorities closed down Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd., the two companies linked to the contaminated products.
Best Dry: Royal Canin
Formulated by scientists and nutritionists
Highly palatable to most dogs
Some formulas can be expensive
Dry dog food is a popular choice for many pet owners thanks to its convenience and shelf stability, and one of the best dry dog food brands is Royal Canin, which offers more than 80 dry formulas. In addition to dry food for adults, puppies, and senior dogs, Royal Canin has a unique line of breed-specific foods, each of which is tailored to that dog breeds traits and common problems. Even the kibble shape is selected based on the breeds jaw structure and biting pattern.
Royal Canin is another brand that Dr. Frione personally recommends, and the company employs nutritional and research teams that help create its products. The brand takes a nutrient-focused approach to pet food, evaluating the specific nutritional needs of dogs and creating optimal diet profiles based on scientific findings.
Offers both regular and prescription wet foods
Multiple can sizes available
Brand focus on quality and safety
Formulated by team of nutritionists and vets
Hills Science Diet is another brand that gets the seal of approval from Dr. Frione, and its especially popular for those who prefer to feed their dog wet food. This brand offers an impressive selection of wet dog foods, including formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors, and it also has a highly regarded line of prescription foods for dogs with specific medical problems.
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Dog Food For Allergies & Sensitivities
Food allergies? No problem! Allergies, intolerances, and skin issues in dogs can often be helped with a food crafted for sensitivities, and we have options for just that. Whether your dog has a food allergy or just a dog food intolerance, finding a food with limited ingredients to help with dog food allergy symptoms can be tricky. Learn more about all of our options for allergies and sensitivities!
Best For Puppies: Purina One
More affordable than Purina Pro Plan
Brand employs team of nutritionists and vets
Products made in USA
Limited number of products
The brands above all offer high-quality puppy food, but another top choice for puppies is Purina One. Similar to Purina Pro Plan, Purina One is a science-based food that offers premium nutrition for growing dogs. This brand offers three puppy-specific foods, including a regular dry food, large breed puppy dry food, and wet food option, and you can typically find these products at big name retail and grocery storesnot just specialty pet stores.
Like other Purina brands, Purina One formulas are created by the companys team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists, and they provide balanced and complete nutrition for growing puppies. The food follows AAFCO guidelines, and its made without any unnecessary filler ingredients.
Unclear whether brand employs veterinary nutritionist
While there are no official regulations that dictate what human-grade dog food entails, the term is most often used to mean that the food is stored, handled, processed, and transported in the same way as human edible foods. The Honest Kitchen is one of the top brands that offers human-grade dog food, and its products are made without any “feed grade” ingredients or meat meals, fillers, feed grade by-products, corn, wheat, or soy.
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Training Shows Differences Between Dogs And Cats
It’s a misconception that cats aren’t trainable. Many are! However, cats often express their opinion. Remember, dogs are pack animals who closely and willingly follow their master’s orders. Cats don’t share that same obedience. Cats are independent. It’s important to keep all feline training sessions very short, but be consistent and keep trying, as their memory lasts much longer than a dog’s. Unlike cats, dogs can be trained in a group. They can also endure longer sessions to help them remember everything they’ve learned.
You may need to approach training differently with dogs and cats, but both species enjoy treats as a form of praise for their hard work.
While dogs and cats are very different, of course, they both are great companions. All they need is love and care from their pet parents to be happy, healthy animals.
How Wet Pet Food Is Made
Pet food companies are required to follow the same federal regulations for making wet pet food products that human food companies must follow for low acid foods . The diagram Making Wet Pet Food illustrates the process by which products sold in cans, pouches, trays and similar containers are made:
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Eating High Off The Hog
You may have heard the saying “eating high off the hog.” Americans have grown accustomed to doing just that. Yet how many understand the meaning of this saying these days? It refers to the habit of eating what many consider choice cuts of meat, those found to be high on the body of an animal . This tendency is different from the past, when it was said that many Americans ate every part of the pig except the squeal.
Over the last few decades most Americans have become very particular about exactly what they’ll eat off of animals raised for human consumption. Parts that are nutritious, and not too long ago were viewed as delicious, now are widely shunned. The list includes livers, kidneys, sweatbreads, tripe, chitterlings and feet.
In many places around the globe, these parts of the animal are still considered to be delicacies as illustrated in the list of recipes to the right. In the United States we often refer to these nutritious parts that we choose not to eat as byproducts. In reality they are co-products of the steaks, chicken breasts and hams that we prefer.
Animal co-products are important sources of good quality protein, vitamins, minerals and essential amino and fatty acids for pet food products that do not detract from the human food supply.
With respect to food crops, plant co-products similarly are used to make pet food.
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The History Of Commercial Pet Food: A Great American Marketing Story
For as long as most of us can remember, pet food has lived in a bag. But before they became domesticated in the mid-1800s, dogs primarily lived outside and ate raw meat or table scraps. It was only after the Industrial Revolution that the growth of a more affluent middle class led to cats and dogs becoming house pets who were considered more civilized companions than their outdoor, working counterparts. Lets take a look back at how the commercial pet food industry got its start.
1800s: The Early Years
The worlds first commercial pet food was developed in 1860 by an electrician named James Spratt. After journeying from Ohio to the United Kingdom to sell lightning rods, Spratt noticed dogs along the riverbanks in Northern London eating leftover hardtack, the dry biscuit sailors ate on long trips. Made of flour, water, and occasionally salt, these inexpensive crackers were used by sailors in need of long lasting, imperishable food during lengthy sea journeys. Spratt reasoned that dog owners were similarly in need of a shelf-stable option for their pets, so he ditched the electrician gig and set out on a new career path, creating the first biscuit for dogs.
1900s: A New Market
2000s today: The Next Frontier