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Why Do Cats Eat Dog Food

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Dog food is not a long term dietary solution for cats, because it doesnt contain enough of the nutrition, which is largely protein and some healthy fats found in meat, they need to stay strong and healthy. Dog food contains other nutrition, including more carbohydrates, that dogs need but arent necessary, and may actually be harmful in large quantities or for sustained periods of time for cats. Bottom line: Cats can eat dog food for a short period of time, but not forever. The truth is, there is no real concern when your pets swap food for a short period of time. That said, while an occasional nibble of your dogs food wont hurt your cat, long-term feeding of dog food can lead your cat to become malnourished.

For proper nutrition, feed your kitty healthy food specifically labeled for cats.

Cat And Dog Eat Each Others Food

Outside of an emergency, you may find that your cat routinely snacks on your dogs food. After hearing all the possible health risks above, you may be worried that it will harm the cat.

Luckily, dog food wont harm your feline outright. Its body will use cat food as the primary source of energy and nutrients. Everything else is just a treat. The cat may experience an upset stomach, but it wont suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Can Cats Be Addicted To Food

Yes, cats can get addicted to food and even to the shape of the kibble. Interestingly, cats can also imprint on certain brands, and according to Mikel Delgado, kitten will show preferences for foods that their moms ate when the kitten was in the womb!

Food obsession in cats often results from an underlying health problem a physical or psychological one. And it can turn feeding times or preparing meals into something you dread

Fortunately, you can curb the behavior with some small adjustments in how you feed your cat and help from professional cat behaviorists.

What do you think about this topic? Is your cat obsessed with food, and how do you deal with it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


Is your cat obsessed with food? How did you handle it? Please let us know in the comments below!

Ive grown up surrounded by animals dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat . Ive got two female cats Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors cats when they come for a visit. I just cant say no to them.

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Life Stage Is Also Important

There is an organization called the Association of American Feed Control Officials that closely monitors and regulates the pet food industry.

The pet foods that follow AAFCOs nationally agreed upon nutritional levels will have a label stating: formulated to meet the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile for .

Life stages fall into three main groups in the pet food industry:

  • Growth

  • Maintenance

  • All-life stages

Not only do cats have specific overall protein, vitamin, and nutritional needs, but these vary throughout their life stages as well.

Fast-growing kittens need more nutrients and energy sources, while older, healthy cats need more protein to help maintain their muscles as they age.

Dog foodwith its lower percentages of proteins and other nutrientscannot possibly sustain a cat long-term at any one of their life stages.

Tips To Stop Your Cat From Stealing Dog Food

Cats are carnivores, so why do they eat grass? We discuss ...

Posted May 28, 2020

As a pet lover, you know that cats are fussy eaters. And yet, most of them eat dog food from time to time, grabbing some extra bites from your dogs bowl. Often, it happens because stealing is typical behavior for felines. And while occasional quick meals arent that dangerous, its better to stop cats from eating dog food.


The first and foremost reason is that dogs and cats have different nutrition needs. As obligate carnivores, cats will miss tons of essential amino acids and lack taurine and arginine if they eat dog food. Plus, most dog food recipes contain cereal, which is not useful for cats to eat.

Cats who steal dog food risk getting fat and suffering from obesity and many companion health problems such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart problems, urinary stones, or even cancer.

The only way to stop cats from eating dog food is to control the cats access to it.

Here are five tips to stop cats from eating dog food.

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Lack Of Some Digestive Enzymes

You also shouldnt allow your cat to eat dog food because dogs can easily digest both animal food and plant food.

However, for cats, it is different because they lack the digestive enzymes in their bodies that help to break the nutrients into a usable form.

This makes cat food to have more supplements than dog food.

This is why it is recommended for cats to eat their food.

Why Cats Need Canned Food

Cats are true carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet for optimal health. Their natural diet is prey, such as rodents, rabbits, lizards, insects, and birds. These prey consist primarily of water, protein and fat, with less than 10% carbohydrate content.

Cats are exquisitely adapted to utilize protein and fat for energy. Cats lack the metabolic pathway that humans and dogs use for processing carbohydrates. While cats can digest and utilize a small amount of carbs, cats, the excess gets turned into body fat. Given that more than 53% of U.S. cats are now overweight or obese, the most commonly fed dietsdry kibbleare clearly not doing cats much good! Add to that a rising rate of feline diabetes also considered by experts to be caused by dry foodand its clear that we need to take a different approach to feline nutrition!

Dry foods typically contain 30-40% carbohydrate or more, mostly as starch . Grain-free foods may contain just as much carbohydrate in the form of starchy vegetables. Low carb dry foods may be as little as 20% carbohydrate, but the higher protein and fat make them higher in calories, and even more dehydrating. Some carbs are necessary because the machinery requires a particular texture of dough for proper processing. Cereal grains and vegetable starches also provide an inexpensive and plentiful source of calories, which allows manufacturers to produce foods containing adequate calories at an affordable price.

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What Is Cat Food Made Of

According to Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, a small animal and exotic veterinarian in east Texas and a veterinary consultant for, cats absolutely need food with taurine in it. Taurine is an amino acid that is important for normal heart function, vision and reproduction. Since taurine is found only in animal-based protein, all cats need meat-based diets to meet their nutritional requirements.

Cat foods are very high protein, calories, fat, and contain the necessary amount of taurine. More specifically, Patrick Mahaney, DVM explains on PetSafe that healthy cat food looks like:

  • Natural, whole-food ingredients
  • Essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids
  • No by-products, fillers, or artificial additives

What Food Should Cats Eat

Why Can’t Cats Eat Dog Food?

There are several different types of commercial cat food available for purchase, including dry, canned, and raw. These are markedly different in composition to dry, canned, or raw dog foods.

Many experts now recommend feeding some or all wet cat food to help maintain hydration, minimize carbohydrate intake, and promote a healthy urinary tract. Cats do not need carbohydrates to thrive and cat food is generally considerably lower in this macronutrient than dog food.

In fact, a high carbohydrate intake in cats is associated with diabetes and obesity. In addition, cats don’t tend to drink enough water to stay well-hydrated, This can lead to problems with the urinary tract and kidneys.

Despite the reported benefits of wet food, some cats prefer dry food and will not eat enough wet food to stay healthy. Some cats even become addicted to dry food and need to be gradually transitioned to wet food for health benefits. Your veterinarian can help you decide if your cat needs to begin eating wet food rather than dry kibble.

Raw food has become increasingly popular among many cat owners. Those who support raw food for cats claim that the diet mimics the way cats eat in the wild. Many cats enjoy raw food and can thrive on it. However, there are always safety risks when feeding raw meat. Many cats will be able to digest and tolerate food-borne pathogens in raw food, but cross-contamination can expose humans in the home to these dangerous pathogens.

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I: Can Cats Safely Eat Dog Food Daily As Their Main Diet

Going to dive into the answer right at the start here: Cats cannot safely eat dog food exclusively, as their main diet.

It may not be the answer you were hoping for, but its rue cats cannot live on dog food alone. Its unhealthy. To reiterate: Dog food is dangerous for cats to eat as their daily, main meal.

Branding men and womens deodorants differently to make more money on womens deodorants may be a sly trick that marketing departments play, but when it comes to cat and dog food these are branded differently for very good reason. Cat food and dog food are different, theyre composed of different things, and feeding a cat dog food is dangerous because the composition of dog food is not sufficient enough to help a cat maintain good health.

Over time, feeding your cat dog food is not only possibly going to make your cat sick, its almost certain to. Especially if you have an indoor cat who is not at all supplementing his or her diet with any prey he or she has killed to eat from the outdoors.

Im not sure how long it would take for a cat to be sick off of eating only dog food, but its not something you should risk or try testing out. Again not a marketing ploy or gimmick cat and dog foods are different, which is why theyre labelled differently. And your cat needs to be eating cat food to stay healthy.

What Can Cats Not Eat

There are many foods cats cannot eat. Raw or undercooked eggs, meat or fish all pose a risk of foodborne illnesses or parasites, so those should be avoided.

Cats shouldnt have milk unless they have been raised on it and have adequate lactase enzymes, as these can cause digestive upset. Foods with bones are also a no because the bones can cause serious injury to a cats mouth, throat or intestines.

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The Pfma Suggest Feeding A Species

If your cat will eat dog food it is fine to replace the odd meal when you run out of cat food but only as a temporary measure. Dog food is not toxic or unsafe it is just nutritionally inadequate. Your dog will probably confirm the higher value of cat food by attempting to steal it at any available opportunity!

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Taurine Deficiency Causes Serious Disease

Should Cats Eat Dog Food?

Without taurine cats develop a disease of their heart wall which causes heart failure. The disease is called dilated cardiomyopathy, this occurs when the heart wall stretches so it cannot pump effectively. Taurine deficiency can also cause absorption problems in the digestive tract and loss of vision. All commercially prepared cat diets are tested for adequate taurine and supplemented if the levels are not high enough.

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Bottom Line: Stop Cats From Eating Dog Food

The most effective method to stop cats from eating dog food is to limit their access. Feed your pets at the same time in different rooms, try automatic pet feeders so they could anticipate the routine and forget each others bowls, or consider feeding the dog from an elevated platform so the feline cant reach it.

Ensure your cat is not hungry, and she likes the food you give her. Ask a vet for feeding recommendations to satisfy your felines nutritional needs so that she wouldnt seek them in your dogs food.

Jimmie OChutt is an experienced cat owner who cant imagine his life without his black feline friend Ronnie. Jimmie is CEO of, an online magazine that provides high-quality guides and tips about cat nutrition and wellbeing.

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  • Dog and cat: Use training, planned separations and supervision to

Problems With Pets Sharing Foods

It may seem easy to simply fill a big bowl with one food and let all your pets munch and crunch as they desire throughout the day, but there are several reasons why this isn’t recommended. For starters, you have no idea how much food each pet is consuming. Are they overeating? Not eating enough?

Let’s say you do feed each pet individually, but you have a sneaky pup who likes to eat the cat’s dinner for dessert. Your dog may be ingesting too many calories for the day, which could lead to obesity and other related health issues. Also, when a dog eats cat food, they’re not getting the proper ratio of protein, fiber and other nutrients needed to maintain their healthy lifestyle. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, strain on the liver and kidneys, pancreatitis, or a number of other issues. The same can be true if your cat is sneaking your dog’s food. Not to mention, cats require a few nutrients, like taurine and arachidonic acid that are not required by dogs, and therefore, not always monitored in dog food. In the long run, a cat eating dog food may experience nutrient deficiencies whereas a dog eating cat food is more likely to experience problems associated with excess energy or nutrients.

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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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Why Do Cats Suddenly Go Off Their Food?

Dogs and cats have unique nutritional needs. High quality foods are specifically tailored to the dietary requirements of the intended species. Therefore, it is not wise to feed an exclusive diet of dog food to cats, nor cat food to dogs.

Cats most definitely cannot subsist on dog food alone. Their dietary needs are harder to meet than those of dogs. For instance, cats must consume an amino acid called taurine to prevent heart problems. Dogs do not need to consume taurinethey can synthesize it internally. Therefore, cat foods are supplemented with taurine. Dog foods generally are not.

Because dogs are natural scavengers , their dietary requirements are less stringent than those of cats. Some cat foods may, in fact, be nutritionally replete for dogs. Others are not. However, cat foods are generally richer and more fattening than dog foods. Dogs that eat cat food may gain weight or suffer upset stomachs, even if they dont develop nutritional deficiencies.

The moral of the story is that your dog should eat dog food, and your cats should eat cat food. The simplest way to make that happen could be to end the feeding free-for-all and offer meals to your pets in separate rooms. For more information on keeping your pets from eating each others foods, .

Finally, please note that most cats and dogs can tolerate an occasional nibble of each others foods. However, serious problems may occur if cats eat only dog food, or vice-versa.

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Schedule The Cats And Dogs Meal Times Separately

  • This is the most effective method you can try to keep your cat from eating the dog food.
  • Keep them in different rooms while you feed one.
  • Make sure your dog finishes its food so the cat cannot just wander into the room with the dogs leftovers and eat them.
  • Wash the dogs bowl immediately after so the cat does not go snooping there to check the smell.
  • This will help both animals stay satiated at all times and lessen the possibility of either one stealing the others food.
  • Try distracting the dog while the cat is eating by playing with it, and vice versa.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Much

Their kibble may look similar, but there are differences between dog food and cat food. Thats because dogs and cats differ wildly. Sure, both animals are mammals and both eat meat, but thats about where their similarities stop.

Dogs evolved to take advantage of a variety of nutrients, including the fiber found in plants. Theyre scrappier they make do with what they come across. For this reason, dogs can fast for longer, too. This ability means they require less protein and fats, and more plant content than found in cat food.

Cat food not only lacks crucial nutrients dogs require, its also overabundant in nutrients they do need. You could think of cat food as a cheat meal or junk food for dogs. But while some turn to cat food as a treat in a pinch, dog specific treats are better for their health in the long run.

So, whats the worst that could happen if your dog gets into some cat chow? While many dogs can tolerate the occasional sneak meal, some dogs may overeat the already rich food and vomit or suffer diarrhea. If thats the case, the pooch will probably stabilize on its own, but be prepared for a visit to the vet if symptoms worsen.

In the long term, the high protein content of cat food can tax a dogs liver and kidneys. And the high fat content can lead to pancreatitis, which gives them digestion issues, among other dreadful symptoms like diarrhea.

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