Dear Labby: Why Is Cat Food Dangerous For My Dog?

Cat and dog eat together.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Dear Labby,

My little Yorkshire Terrier came with me over the holidays to my aunt’s house out of state. My aunt has a cat and usually leaves cat food out for him during the day, but we were careful to put it up high out of my Yorkie’s reach since cat food is dangerous for dogs to eat. We know to keep the dog food and cat food separate when we visit, but I was wondering something–why exactly is cat food so dangerous for dogs?


Fearful Of Our Dog Ingesting Everything

Little dog maltese and black and white cat eating natural, organic food from a bowl at home

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Dear Fearful Of Our Dog Ingesting Everything:

It’s definitely a good idea to keep the cat food away from your pup during the feast, as well as a lot of common holiday human foods that are toxic to dogs. Cat food can pose a big problem for canines, and a dog food diet is similarly dangerous for cats.

One of the main things that makes cat food a danger to pups is that it is so appealing. Cats are obligate carnivores. They have to have meat in their diet, so their food is formulated to be very high in fat and protein, which are very attractive and yummy for your pup. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores and eat a variety of foods to get the nutrients they need. They aren’t able to handle the high fat and protein content present in cat food, just as cats are not equipped to take in the nutrients in dog food. 

Dog And Cat Eat

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

For dogs with weaker stomachs, one serving of cat food can cause a bad upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. For the pups who can eat almost anything and still keep it down, cat food is still not good in the long term. The high protein levels put strain on the liver and kidneys. The high fat content can lead to pancreatitis, gastrointestinal ailments, and obesity. Kitten food is even worse because of its higher fat and protein content.

This is especially a problem with owners who use cat food as a treat for dogs or don’t pay attention to whether or not their dog is sticking to the right food bowl. Cat food is not a substitute for dog food, even if your dog is finicky and prefers it.

cat and dog eating together. isolated on white background

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

So, F.O.O.D.I.E., even though your dog isn’t likely to be seriously harmed by getting into cat food one time, it can lead to some pretty messy tummy troubles. Over the long term, cat food can wreak havoc on your pup’s health. It’s best to stick to the diet that is specifically formulated for your pet’s needs.

Got a question for Dear Labby? Let us know in the comments below!