There is a reason kibbles are not just labeled "pet food". That's because each pet has its nutritional needs. It is not surprising if as a pet owner, you have ever wondered if your cat can have some of your dog's kibbles.
Although you may love your pets to pieces and they, in turn, manage a cordial relationship, you have to draw the line when it comes to feeding your dog and cat. Dogs and Cats that live in the together will be tempted to try each other's food every once in a while. But remember, while a dog is an omnivore, a cat is an obligate omnivore (meat-needing). That means they require different nutrition. So can cats safely consume dog food? Is it good for them? Will it harm them? Keep reading to find out.
Can Cats Eat Dog Food?
What Are The Differences Between Cat Food And Dog Food?
Cat food and Dog food are formulated according to the nutritional needs of the pet involved. Cats are meat-eaters and need a healthy protein diet to thrive. Dogs, on the other hand, can afford to be more flexible with their diet. Dogs can eat meat but they are not strict meat eaters. They can conveniently eat plant-based foods, unlike cats.
Here are some differences between cat food and dog food and why you should pay attention as a cat owner:
Cats require a high protein content in their diet. Even though some dog food occasionally contain protein, it is still not enough to meet your cat protein's needs. Protein is very important to your cat's overall body growth. This is one reason why dog food is not recommended for cats.
Cats, like humans, are one of the few mammals that cannot synthesize taurine in their bodies. They have to get it from sources like meat, fish, egg, and other protein sources. Taurine is important to keep your cat's heart healthy. All types of cat food contain taurine. However, dog food rarely contains taurine because dogs can produce taurine in their bodies.
Arachidonic acid cannot be synthesized by cats, either. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that is necessary to keep your cat's liver and kidneys healthy. Dogs can synthesize this acid in their bodies, hence dog food seldom contains this fatty acid. Thus, feeding dog food to your cat regularly can expose them to liver/kidney complications.
Cats need vitamin A to maintain a healthy skin and for good night vision. Dog food usually contains Vitamin A. But the vitamin A content in dog food is not enough for a cat. Note that cats cannot synthesize Vitamin A, therefore they require a balanced diet that can supply just the amount they need.
Another vitamin requirement for cats is Niacin. While plant sources contain some niacin, animal tissues supply the highest amount of niacin to cats. It is advisable to feed your cat commercially formulated cat food rather than dog food that does not contain a high animal-source content.
Finally, the taste is another thing to consider. Cats are not likely to be drawn to dog food. Dogs, on the other hand, may find cats' wet cat food desirable and delicious. Both cat food and dog food are formulated in a way to entice the pet involved.
Will Dog Food Harm My Cat?
Dog foods are not considered harmful or toxic to cats but they can pose a threat to your cat if given to them often. As a matter of emergency or last resort, cats can eat a small amount of dog food. However, it should not be used to replace cat food or be fed regularly to cats.
Cats are easily dehydrated. The commercially formulated wet cat food contains water to make up for your cat's infrequent water consumption. If your cat feeds on your dog's dry kernels regularly, it may suffer from dehydration.
Also, dog food does not contain the necessary nutrients your cat needs. Your feline may suffer from various health complications if they keep feeding on dog food.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Dog Food?
If you ever walk in on your cat eating out of your puppy's plate, you don't have to panic. A few bites of dog food is not usually a cause for worry. However, you may want to ensure that doesn't happen again. Keep a close eye on both pets to ensure they are each eating their specially formulated pet food.
If your cat eats dog food, watch out for any signs of ill health in your cat. If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss, reach out to your vet immediately.
Can I Feed Dog Food To My Kitten?
Kittens are delicate and need only a complete and balanced diet to thrive. After weaning, it is strongly recommended that only specially formulated cat food be given to your kitten so that they can grow properly.
Dog food does not contain the nutrients your kitten needs. It is not advisable to feed them dog food. Your kitten may struggle to chew through the dry kernels. This can cause choking hazards.
Another thing is that your kitten may suffer from dehydration if they feed on dog food continuously.
Cats can eat dog food but it is not advisable. Dog food lacks essential nutrients that cats require to grow properly. However, if your catch your cat eating pilfered dog food, it is not usually a cause for concern. Except they show allergic reactions. Then, you have to consult with your vet.
Also, please note that if your feline has a known health condition and you see it eating dog food, you should reach out to your vet immediately.