While it’s generally uncommon for cats to be interested in eating dog food, it has been known for some cats to help themselves to a nibble – but is it safe for cats to eat dog food?

The nutritional requirements of cats are quite different to that of dogs, so while it won’t hurt if your cat steals a morsel of dog food, it is not good for them to eat it routinely. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their diet requires nutrients that are only found in animal flesh, and make sure to watch out for specific animal proteins if your cat has food allergies. However, dogs are omnivores, which means their diet benefits from nutrients found in plant matter too, meaning dog food contains more than just meat.

What’s wrong with dog food?

Dog food is not as high in protein as cat food. This means cats can develop a protein deficiency if they eat it regularly. A lack of protein is likely to lead to muscle loss, abnormal skin pigmentation and loss of hair in cats.

Certain amino acids, such as taurine, are essential for good health in cats. These must be added to their diet. Unlike cats, dogs can make taurine from other amino acids so don't need the same quantities in their food. A taurine deficiency in a cat can lead to serious health problems, including blindness or an enlarged heart, so it is very important that they eat cat food that contains enough of it.

In addition to protein and taurine, cats require other vitamins and minerals that are not present in sufficient amounts in dog food. For example, cats need more vitamin A in their diet than dogs do. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and immune function. A deficiency can cause a range of health problems, including skin and coat issues, respiratory infections, and poor growth.

Also, dog food can contain higher levels of salt compared to cat food. Feeding your cat a diet that is high in salt can lead to dehydration and other health problems. Cats are not as good as dogs at regulating their salt intake, and too much salt in their diet can cause a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, and urinary tract problems.

It’s not just food either – pet treats are designed for cats and dogs with their unique nutritional balances in mind. While the occasional dropped dog treat is unlikely to do any harm to your cat, it’s safer in the long term to stick to giving them cat treats.

How to stop your cat eating dog food

If your cat happens to be attracted to the contents of your dog’s food bowl, you may need to take steps to prevent them from eating from it. Feed your pets in separate rooms so that your cat is not tempted by the contents of your dog’s bowl. Or consider staggering your pets’ feeding times so that you can monitor them individually. And remember to read your pet food labels if you're unsure and to store their food in the right place.

Make sure to be a responsible cat owner!


If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in:

Allergy Symptoms In Cats

Reading Pet Food Labels

How To Be a Responsible Cat Owner

Storing your pet food