Can I Feed Dog Food to My Cat? What You Need to Know!
As a responsible cat owner, it is important that you feed the right food to your cat. After all, the right nutrition is vital for your cat’s health and well-being and can make a whole lot of difference to its quality of life.
Often, cat owners wonder whether they can feed dog food or kibble for dogs to their cats. The two varieties of food look remarkably similar so it is natural to feel that it is okay to feed one species the food formulated for the other.
In this guide, we answer the question: can I feed dog food to my cat, and, if yes, what are the repercussions of doing so?
Can I Feed Dog Food to My Cat? (The Short Answer)
No, you must not feed dog food to cats and vice-versa. Dog food is not nutritionally balanced for a cat. Some varieties of dog food could even make your cat sick. It can also result in nutritional deficiencies which can harm your cat in more than one way. It is best to feed your cat vet-approved wet cat food or dry cat food.
Can I Feed Dog Food to My Cat? 4 Reasons Why You Should Not!
Here are the main reasons why dog food is not the best diet for cats:
1. Dog Food is Not Nutritionally Balanced for Your Cat
According to experts, adult cats need at least 52% protein, 36% healthy fats, and 12% complex carbs.
Dog food may not provide them with these nutrients in a balanced way. Moreover, cats also need omega-essential fatty acids, amino acids, Vitamin A, and taurine to keep their heart and eyes healthy. Dog food is often devoid of these nutrients. Cat food, on the other hand, contains these nutrients and is formulated specifically to meet a cat’s nutritional needs.
2. Dog Food Might Not Be Appropriate for Your Cat’s Age
Another reason why dog food is not the best diet for cats is that it may not be formulated for your cat’s life stage.
A young kitten needs DHA and other essential fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus in its diet. On the other hand, an adult cat needs a maintenance diet with taurine and protein. Likewise, a senior cat with kidney disease might benefit from a special prescription diet to manage its condition. Thus, your cat’s age is a very important factor to consider when selecting its diet.
If you choose to feed any random dog food to your kitty, its nutritional needs will not be met. This can result in many health issues in your cat.
Therefore, although your cat will survive eating dog food, it won’t thrive. Furthermore, it could also not get the balanced nutrition it needs at a particular stage of life.
3. It Could Result in Nutritional Deficiencies
Cats that do not receive balanced nutrition are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. These could, over time, result in health issues and sickness.
Dog food simply cannot provide your cat with what it needs. Most importantly, dog food is devoid of sufficient quantities of Vitamin A and taurine which cats need to maintain healthy vision and heart health.
If a cat is consistently fed a diet deficient in these essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. it will not thrive. The result could be that your cat could suffer from a dull coat, hair loss, lethargy, etc. On the other hand, a cat that receives all the nutrition it needs will display a luxurious coat, bright eyes, and a cheerful and alert disposition.
4. Feeding Dog Food to Cats Could Result in Health Issues
A cat might survive on dog food but, over time, it could result in health issues like digestive upsets, etc.
Some poor-quality dog food, in excess, could result in health issues like obesity or pancreatitis in cats. In cats having food sensitivities, dog food can result in itchy skin, loose or watery stools, and other allergy symptoms.
Some types of dog food can also result in vomiting or diarrhea in cats. In some cats, there could be severe constipation resulting from eating large quantities of puppy food or adult dog food. Some varieties of kibble for dogs contain exceedingly high protein levels that can make an elderly cat quite sick - even resulting in kidney and liver failure.
Can You Feed Cat Food to a Dog?
No, for the same reasons, it is best not to let your dog eat your cat’s food. Dog food is specifically formulated for cats just as cat food is specially formulated for dogs.
While your dog will not get sick from eating cat food, it may not be the best thing for its health.
Most cat foods are rich in protein and these high levels of protein can be harmful to dogs.
Also, most cat foods are also high in taurine. While dogs will not get sick due to the excess taurine in cat food, they do not need this high amount since their body can easily make taurine on their own using meat in their food. In excess, taurine could result in symptoms such as vomiting in your dog.
Therefore, unless a vet prescribes it specifically, it is best to avoid feeding cat food to your dog.
What To Do if Your Cat Eats Dog Food?
If your cat accidentally ate a small quantity of dog food, worry not, it should be fine. In small quantities, dog food or puppy food will not hurt your cat in most cases,
Nevertheless, it is important that you observe your pet over the next few hours. Watch out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, etc.
Mostly, your naughty kitty should be fine. However, if you notice the symptoms above and they persist over 24 hours, it is best to take your cat to the vet.
How To Stop Cats from Eating Dog Food?
There are several steps you can take to prevent your kitty from eating Fido’s food:
- Separate your dog and cat during mealtimes and feed them in separate parts of the house.
- Make sure you keep the dog food container/bag out of your cat’s reach. Keep it in a sealed container and place the container where your cat cannot access it.
- Train your cat in basic obedience commands such as ‘drop it’ or ‘No’ or ‘recall’ - each time it starts eating dog food.
What is the Best Diet for a Cat?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to selecting the best diet for your cat. The right diet will depend on your cat’s age, overall health, and life stage. It will also depend on your cat’s weight and calorie needs and whether it is an indoor/outdoor cat.
As mentioned before, cats are obligate carnivores and need a diet rich in animal protein. Their diet should also contain healthy fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, taurine, and omega fatty acids. If you have an energetic kitten, it will need kitten-specific food that can meet your pet’s growing needs.
You can always consult your vet to select the right diet for your pet. In general, you have options like feeding wet cat food or dry cat food. If you buy cat food online, you can check out Cat Food Dubai where we have several options for your pet.
FAQs - Can I Feed Dog Food to My Cat?
Is dog food bad for cats?
Dog food won’t kill your cat, but it might not provide it with all the nourishment it needs. Also, many dog foods are devoid of taurine and Vitamin A and that can be harmful to your cat in the long run. Dog food is not nutritionally balanced for a cat’s well-being.
Is cat food bad for dogs?
Eating cat food will not kill your dog, but its high protein and taurine content could cause some side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, etc. in some dogs. Also, cat food is not nutritionally balanced for a dog, and it is best to avoid feeding it for prolonged periods.
Can cats eat canned dog food?
In small quantities, canned dog food will not harm your cat but, at the same time, it may not provide it with all the nourishment it needs.
Why is my cat suddenly eating dog food?
Chances are that your cat is very hungry and that could trigger it to eat the dog’s food. A picky cat might also eat dog food if it does not like the taste of the cat food you are feeding it.
Conclusion - Can I Feed Dog Food to My Cat?
A small quantity of dog food is okay for a cat. But you must not make it a part of your cat’s daily diet. A cat needs a diet that is rich in protein, amino acids, taurine, and vitamin A.
Dog food might not be able to provide these nutrients to your feline friend. Over time, this can be detrimental to its health. Some varieties of dog food can also trigger food allergies or make your cat sick.