Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

Aug 12 ·

Can dogs eat cat food? It’s a question many people find themselves asking if they own both animals, because dogs have a tendency to steal everything. You can sit the food down for your cat and within seconds, it’s been snapped up by the dog. That leaves you wondering if it’s safe to eat, or if you and Fido are going to find yourselves sitting in the veterinary waiting room in an hour.

So, can dogs eat cat food? Here’s the answer.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

It doesn’t have the correct nutrients for dogs, so it’s not exactly safe for dogs to live on a cat food diet. It shouldn’t be fed to them deliberately. However, it should be safe for them to eat, so no need to rush to the veterinarian if your dog has consumed some.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? The Risks

The risk is mainly that cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores. That means cat food tends to be higher in protein that’s from meat, and it also doesn’t have the right balance of all the other nutrients dogs need. They need more than just meat to survive, whereas cats are quite happy on that alone.

If your dog eats some cat food, you may find that they have some gastrointestinal upset and may have diarrhea or even vomiting. On the other hand, you might find that nothing happens at all — it’s just not as good for them as their regular food.

What To Do If My Dog Ate Cat Food

If your dog ate cat food, it’s probably fine. Keep an eye on them and if they do show signs of an upset stomach, call your veterinarian just in case. However, monitoring them is probably the wise thing to do, and their stomach should settle back down.

If they have diarrhea, you can feed them a bland diet of chicken and rice for a few days until it settles. This should help.

Can Dogs Survive On Cat Food?

As much as cat food doesn’t do much damage to dogs, the nutritional imbalance means that dogs can’t be fed cat food. There have been stories of people feeding their small dogs cat food because it’s cheaper and doesn’t seem to be doing them harm, but it will in the long run.

Dogs and cats are different animals, omnivores and carnivores. Their bodies need different things.

How To Keep Them Separated

Dog cat

Some owners find themselves with a problem: their dog just will not stop taking the cat’s food.

There are a few potential ways to manage this.

Baby Gates

You can baby gate off sections of your house for the cat. This is a good idea in any case, as then the cat has spots to go that are away from the dog. Mainly, though, this will prevent the dog from stealing their food — and also eating out of their litter box, as dogs tend to do.

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? A Special Feeder

You can buy a cat bowl that only opens for the cat by reading their microchip! As if there weren’t enough reasons to microchip your pet.

The only issue with this is that large, destructive dogs might be able to break into it.

Teach Your Dog “Leave It”

In a pinch, having a reliable “leave it” will really help keep your dog away from cat food and all the other things they shouldn’t eat.

Start by placing a treat on the floor in front of them. When the dog moves towards it, place your hand over it and say ‘leave it’. When they voluntarily do so, give them another treat and praise them heavily.

Eventually, you can stop putting your hand over the treat and practice with other things too. You will need patience for this, as “leave it” can take a while to teach, but it’s worth it after a few weeks or months when your dog listens without fail.

Making Dog Food More Exciting

Cat food

Obviously, dogs don’t know what’s good for them, which is why they try to eat cat food! But you can make dog food more exciting by spicing it up with the following things mixed in:

Just be sure you research anything you give your dog. It’s easy to assume human food is safe for dogs, but things like grapes and cherries can be toxic to our canine friends.

So, can dogs eat cat food? You don’t need to panic if your dog gobbled up a bowl behind your back, but it shouldn’t be a deliberate choice. Dogs and cats have different needs, and cat food just isn’t as healthy for them. Keep them away from the cat food, and offer to make their own food more exciting instead!

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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