You might have noticed that your dog sneaks the cat’s food. That seems to be an innocent trick. All in all, what may happen if a dog eats some kibbles? However, you should never give cat food to your dog constantly, and here’s why.
The difference in cats’ and dogs’ nutrition
The feline and canine diet are different. Cats are carnivores – they can eat only meat. Meanwhile, dogs can eat both meat and plant-based products (vegetables, grains, fruits). Thus, a dog’s diet should be more diverse to cover their nutritional needs.
Cat food always has a higher protein content and lower carbohydrate content than dog food. Probably, this is the main reason why cat food is so attractive for dogs – the meaty flavor is too strong. As you can guess, your dog should not be encouraged to steal cat food unless indicated by a veterinarian. Otherwise, it may experience severe problems with health.
Effects of cat food on dogs
If your canine friend eats a lot of cat meals regularly, it may start suffering from various complications. First and foremost, it’s about the wrong balance of protein, fiber, and other vital nutrients.
Of course, a dog can live on cat food for some time, but the imbalance of nutrients will lead to:
- gastrointestinal issues;
- allergic reactions and sensitivity;
The last condition requires immediate veterinary care. This disease manifests in lethargy, weakness, hunched back, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and distended abdomen. Even if you don’t notice any serious changes, a high protein level may affect the liver and kidneys in the long term.
What to do if a dog eats cat food?
If you run a multi-pet household, your dog will inevitably eat cat food while it has access to it. Some steal kibbles from the cat’s bowl; others sneak their noses into containers and food bags. Occasional eating will cause vomiting and diarrhea – nothing more. However, the reaction is different for every dog. If you notice your pet’s reaction is serious, or it experiences discomfort, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.
If your dog keeps eating feline food regularly, you should rethink how you feed your cat and where you place its bowl and containers with food.
The most evident way out is to discourage your dog from consuming cat’s food by supervising the process of cat feeding and keeping feline meals out of reach. Also, you should check the reaction of your dog to new food and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Can you serve dog food to cats?
“Why not let the cat eat canine food?” – would you ask. If your four-legged pal is ready to share his bowl with cats, you should beware of it. The rule works the opposite way, too. A cat may eat dog food, but it’s not enough for sustaining its well-being and health. Dog food lacks some vital components, such as taurine and Vitamin A, arachidonic acid, and protein (20-30% is not enough for felines).
When you have different pets, it’s crucial to ensure a well-balanced diet for all of them. Make sure that cats are served cat food, and dogs eat dog recipes. This way, you will avoid complications and maintain health. If you are not sure whether chosen products are appropriate, consult a veterinarian.
How to prevent a dog from eating cat food?
There are several life hacks to try:
- Hide the bags with cat food away from your dog. You can store it in laundry or some discreet places where pets are not allowed.
- If you cannot keep your dog in another room, consider buying a crate where a cat can eat. Closed cat boxes or pet gates can be used as an alternative.
- Buy an automatic cat feeder. It will serve food at certain time, which also allows making the schedule of feeding.
- Feed your pets together and watch their behavior. Teach your dog to eat from its bowl only. Training might take some time, but it’s the most efficient way of problem solving.
- Distract your dog. You can leave your cat to have its meal while taking the dog for a walk, or playing with it in the backyard. It’s a time consuming method which can be used as a temporary measure.
- Reward your dog with treats for not touching cat’s food. Develop a command, you can simply say ‘no’ when a dog violates the rules.
Letting your dog continue eating cat food is the biggest mistake you can make. Let cat kibbles be not more than just a treat, or totally eliminate it from the canine diet. Cat recipes are not appropriate for dogs until the opposite is indicated by your veterinarian.