If you have a dog and a cat, you are probably already used to the fact that your dog occasionally wants to bite the kitty’s food. Maybe you have already put the food bowl out of reach of the thief.
But how alarming is it when dogs eat cat food? You can find the answer and even more information about dog and cat food in this guide.
The most important, in brief
- many dogs love cat food because of the high protein content
- individual portions are usually harmless
- a dog should never repeat and especially only eat cat food
- if your dog only wants to eat cat food and not his food, you should visit a veterinarian
Can dogs eat cat food?
Unlike other foods, I cannot answer this question directly with yes or no. It is not dangerous for dogs to eat cat food occasionally. If your four-legged friend eats once out of your kitty’s bowl, you should first observe him and check his stool when walking, but there is usually no reason to worry. It becomes problematic if this behavior occurs repeatedly.
Especially if your dog spurns his food and only takes the cat food, you should intervene and, if necessary, drive to the vet.
There is a reason for different food for cats and dogs. Dogs are omnivores by nature, while cats are nutritionally pure carnivores. Consequently, dogs need a much more comprehensive food supply. The very high protein content in most cat foods can harm their health in the long run.
How cat food affects dog health
Of course, dogs and cats need both proteins to stay healthy. While the dog only needs the protein to renew and repair the organs, bones, and muscles, the cat needs it for something else.
It draws energy from the proteins; a dog needs carbohydrates, which they need to stay healthy. Since dogs break down proteins differently than humans, too much protein in the food can lead to digestive problems and, according to recent discussions, even damage internal organs.
The nutritional requirements of a dog can only be covered by food that has also been specially developed and produced for them. Food for other animals only confuses the body balance of the dog and burdens it in the long run, which can affect the animal’s physical and mental health.
Good to know: As pure carnivores, cats need high-quality protein. They risk severe damage if they would feed on dog food in the long term.
From what amount is the consumption of cat food dangerous for the dog?
One can say that a dog does not get sick immediately from cat food. You should not worry if your pet has nibbled from the cat’s bowl a few times. However, if cat food consumption accumulates, and the dog prefers the cat food to its food and only eats it, you should intervene immediately.
Tip: If your dog likes cat food a lot, try to find out why then you can look for a dog food equivalent.
What are the symptoms of eating cat food?
If your four-legged friend has eaten cat food, it can cause vomiting, stomach problems, and diarrhea. It is usually the case with sensitive dogs; if your dog has a full stomach, it may also be that he has no symptoms.
But even for them, eating only cat food is unhealthy in the long run because the dog is not designed for such a high-protein diet. It could permanently damage the kidneys and liver and cause skin and joint problems.
What to do if the dog has eaten cat food?
As you already know, small, one-off amounts are usually not a concern. However, if you know that your dog has eaten large quantities and especially only cat food, you should go to the vet as soon as possible to rule out possible diseases. Here you can also immediately clarify why your dog spurns his food and falls on that of the house cat.
Good to know: The doctor can also give you food recommendations or prescribe exceptional food for your dog.
Your dog should not eat cat food. If you can, it is best to place the bowls for the cat food in a place that is not accessible or difficult for your dog.
Perhaps there is also a place in the house or apartment where your four-legged friend is not allowed to stay. It also prevents cats from being disturbed when eating.
If your dog is unusually interested in cat food, try changing its dog food and see if its behavior changes. If in doubt, you should, of course, consult a veterinarian in all situations.