Can dogs eat cat food? Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering this if your dog tried to sneak a bite of your kitty’s dinner. If cats can obviously eat cat food, can dogs also safely eat it?
The short answer is no, dogs can’t safely eat cat food. While technically cat food is very unlikely to be toxic or immediately harmful to your dog, there are significant differences between the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats that mean you really don’t want to make a habit out of letting your dog eat cat food.
Here’s what you need to know about cat food and dogs.
Why Is Cat Food Bad For Dogs?
If you check out the ingredients in both cat and dog foods, you might not notice a huge amount of difference between them on a first glance. But there’s a fundamental distinction between the eating habits and nutritional needs of dogs and cats.
While cats are obligate carnivores who require almost all of their nutrition to come from meat protein, dogs are actually omnivores, which means they require a more balanced mix of meat and vegetables.
Over a period of time, if a dog switches to a cat-based diet, there are a number of medical and health issues that might arise. Some of the most common problems that can come with a dog eating cat food include:
In the specific case of pancreatitis, this is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Cat Food?
First of all, if you notice that your dog has managed to eat some cat food, you don’t need to panic. Unless your canine experiences an immediate allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the cat food, it’s most likely that they will be fine.
In many cases, a bout of diarrhea or vomiting up the cat food could be as serious as it gets.
If you discover that your dog has been eating cat food on a regular basis — maybe by sneaking in snacks of a resident’s feline’s food or by visiting a neighbor’s house or yard — your first step should be to remove the opportunity for your dog to have access to cat food.
You might also want to call your veterinarian for a quick consultation if you notice any of the common symptoms listed above or discover that your dog seems to be shunning their usual dog food in favor of cat food.
Has your dog ever tried to eat cat food? How do you keep your pets’ food separate? Let us know in the comments below!