If you have both a cat and a dog in the house, you might be wondering how safe it is for the cat to sample the dog’s food. This kind of behavior is probably going to happen, so you need to know whether you should try to stop it or not.
How Safe Is It?
Your immediate concern will probably be whether the dog food is going harm your cat in some way, and the short, positive answer is that it won’t cause any immediate harm.
Your cat can safely eat some dog food from time to time, and there are no toxins in dog food or ingredients that will injure your cat in any meaningful way.
petMD says that If you see your cat nibbling on the dog’s food every so often, it is not a big deal. Your cat can do that with no serious problems and it won’t make a big difference in your cat’s health or behavior.
You don’t have to chase your cat away from the dog food or keep the dog food somewhere that your cat cannot access. A lot of the same ingredients are actually in dog and cat food both, so your cat is in no danger of ingesting something that is poisonous to it.
How about Regular Feeding?
We have established that the occasional nibble is no big deal and is not something you need to stop. However, you may be wondering what kind of problems you might run into if you let your cat eat dog food as part of its regular diet.
After all, there must be a reason that the food is labeled separately for dogs and cats. Even though they share some similarities, the food must have some differences.
That’s true. And you do need to be careful about letting your cat eat dog food on the regular. It comes down to a question of whether or not your cat is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, and if you try to feed them both the same diet, then one or both of them are going to suffer as a result.
The most significant difference between the two kinds of foods is in the protein levels. Cats need more protein than dogs do, so dog food tends to contain less protein than commercial cat food would. If your cat eats dog food regularly, then the cat probably isn’t getting the protein it needs.
Dog food also tends to be harder and tougher than cat food. Dogs have more jaw strength, and their teeth are bigger and stronger. Cats have sharper, smaller teeth, so they are better at tearing than crunching.
Cat food is generally meant to be easily digestible and palatable to cats, so giving the dog food to your cat over the long term can be damaging to your cat’s teeth and digestive system and can cause behavioral changes.
What Could Happen to a Cat That Eats Too Much Dog Food?
After we have said all that, the next question to come to mind is likely what kind of side effects or results you should expect if your cat were to eat dog food regularly. This is what should really concern you and should cause you to make sure the dog and cat get their own food and don’t eat each other’s foods.
The major problem with cats eating dog food on a regular basis is that the cat will become vitamin deficient. It won’t be getting the nutrients that its body requires, and that can cause your cat to become ill.
Your cat will also have a weaker immune system and be more susceptible to disease. It will also be lethargic and not have much energy, because it isn’t getting the protein it needs.
A cat with vitamin deficiency is likely to have hair and skin problems, as those parts of tis body are not getting the nutrients required for healthy growth. Your cat can start to look sickly and act sickly. These are extreme examples, but they do serve to warn you about the very possible dangers of feeding your cat dog food too often. A little bit here and there won’t harm your cat and can give it some variety, but as a regular diet, dog food simply won’t work for your feline friend. You will need to give it the appropriate food.
Your cat may also not want to eat dog food. So if you are giving that to your cat instead of cat food, then you may end up with a fussy, temperamental and starving cat. Your cat may resort to digging through the garbage or hunting for its own food if you are trying to feed it food that is simply not palatable to it. Cats can be very picky eaters, and if you know that yours is especially picky, you need to be careful about trying to give it food that isn’t made for it. In that case, you might want to consider a homemade diet as an option.
Treat your cat well and give it the appropriate food. You don’t have to treat instances of your cat eating dog food as an emergency, but you also don’t want to make dog food a part of its regular diet.
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