If you have both a cat and a dog you may wonder if it’s okay to give your dog cat food sometimes. It could also be the case that they’ve helped themselves to some, either confusing it for their own, or they’re just greedy.
There is much difference between manufactured cat food and dog food. Rest assured they aren’t made in the same factory and aren’t of the same ingredients. They don’t just change the labels on the packaging!
These commercial foods are specifically formulated for the two types of pets, respectively. They are designed to meet the needs according to each animal. Your dog should not only always eat dog food, but they should also eat the same type and brand daily.
Can I Give My Dog Cat Food? Answer: Not Recommended
As a common rule, it’s not a good idea to give your dog any cat food.
It’s not a good source of balanced nutrition nor is cat food a substitute for properly formulated dog food. Dogs and cats may seem similar, seeing how they’re both four legged and furry, but the two species don’t share much in common as far as digestion goes.
Differences Between Dogs & Cats
Since they’ve both evolved in different ways, cats and dogs require certain levels of vitamins and minerals. Specifically dogs require a right balance of proteins and carbohydrates. It’s in their DNA!
House cats are meat eaters, just like their big cat counterparts out on the African wilderness. Since they can’t necessarily run around chasing down mini Antelope, today’s cat foods contain a sufficient amount of protein they need. This is typically too much protein for what dogs require. Most cat food also contains too much fat.
Dogs are not omnivores but they also aren’t as carnivorous as cats. While they usually eat anything and everything that’s presented to them, their natural calling is primarily meat. As such, they do require lots of protein but likely not as much as what’s contained in cat food.
So dogs seek to consume meat just like cats. However, owners may wish to supplement that protein by providing a more balanced food. While it may seem like cat food can work for them, dogs need a smartly formulated food regiment tailored to their evolutionary makeup. Simply put, cat food is for a cat.
If you compare the body structure of a dog to that of a cat, it’s clear that cats are more predatory. Canine paws are nothing to fear and while their teeth are sharp, they’re rarely in attack mode the way cats can be.
Appreciating the difference between cats and dogs, and realizing that there’s millions of years of evolutionary variation going on, provides for greater knowledge about your dog and their needs.
No Cat Food & Less Filler
We’ve established that dogs do need a good amount of protein, just not at the levels that cats do. Still, the dog food you select should list a meat source as the most plentiful ingredient. It should be first on the list. What some companies do, and what you’ll notice with cheaper varieties, is put lots of fillers and other questionable ingredients in the product.
Skip brands that list things like corn and other grains as major dog food ingredients. While these aren’t necessarily detrimental to your dog, in fact should be in there, they shouldn’t be the mainstay of your dog’s diet. Such contents should just compliment their meals, not dominate them.Try to avoid dog foods containing too much filler, while also avoiding all cat foods.
Cat Food Last Resort
If you’ve run out of dog food and they’re looking at you with their hungry puppy dog eyes, you can give them some cat food to hold them over while you run to the store. Just don’t make it a habit, and definitely don’t rely on cat food as a regular diet for your dog. Even if you find a great deal at the store on cat food and are thinking about providing it for economic reasons, please don’t.
Cat food served once or accidentally consumed by your dog will not kill them. It is, however, important not to make that a regular occurrence or believe that it’s a legit food source.