Is it Safe for a Dog to Eat Cat Food?

May 18, 2016 at 2:53 PM by Nikki Wardle

Dog with Cat Food

If you have pets of the canine and feline variety, you might notice a fascination that your dogs have with cat food. Whether the dog likes to eat cat's food to show them who's boss or just because it's a new flavor, you may be wondering if it's safe for your dog to be chowing down on Mr. Whisker's morning meal. Here's the scoop.

Dogs Like Cat Food Because...

Cat foods tend to have a higher protein and fat content than dog food, leading to an appealing snack for your dog. Cats are also less likely to finish their meal right away, so when your dog's bowl is empty, there may still be some kitty chow available to scarf down.

Why Dogs Should Avoid Cat Food

The bottom line: cat food is different than dog food, and for good reason. Cat food is formulated for obligate carnivores—animals that must eat meat to survive. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores, much like people, and should maintain a diet of both meat- and plant-based foods to stay healthy. These different nutritional requirements mean that your cat's food just isn't suited for your dog to eat on a regular basis.

If your dog is chowing down on the occasional mouthful of cat food before you notice, don't despair: small amounts won't hurt him or her. But for the dog that is filling up on this tasty morsel and rejecting his or her own food, health issues can arise. The higher fat content could give your dog a stomachache, as well as diarrhea and vomiting—an unpleasant experience for you and your dog.

Over time, an exclusive cat-food eating dog could develop more serious problems like kidney issues due to the high protein content. In general, it's much healthier for your dog to eat his or her own food. To keep your cat's food away from your dog, put it up on a higher level where your cat can jump up but your dog can't access it.

For more pet health tips from your local holistic veterinarians, contact us or if you have any concerns about your pet's well-being.

Topics: Holistic Vererinarians

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.