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Can a dog eat cat food?

This is a question that people who own both a dog and a cat ask themselves, as each animal may be tempted to share its meal with its companion, or even to indulge in an act of pilfering when its little friend's back is turned. For a dog, eating cat food on an occasional basis will not affect its health. Things get more serious if the dog is a habitual eater, which happens quite often when the cat is a sharer and the dog is greedy. So what are the risks for the dog with cat food?

Dogs and cats: very different nutritional needs


It is logical to feed your dog and cat differently since they do not have the same needs. Cats should be fed foods that are rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, since their diet should be higher in energy than that of dogs.

On the other hand, it is important that the dog's diet contains a little starch, little fat (around 5 to 6%), and less protein than the cat's. In addition, the dog's body must have access to proteins of animal origin and proteins of vegetable origin, for a daily total of about 18% of the food ration. The dog also needs carbohydrates from which his body draws the energy it needs to function.

Cat food is therefore not at all intended for a dog, and vice versa.

Unsuitable food: what are the risks for the dog's health?


The general health of the dog is largely related to its diet. If the animal is used to eating cat food, it will not stay in good shape for very long. He may even develop health problems in the long run. Indeed, for him, risks of harmfulness really exist, which can lead to:
  • Digestion problems,
  • An attack on the pancreas such as pancreatitis: a very serious problem due to excess fat in the diet,
  • A preponderance of obesity caused by an excess of proteins,
  • An overload of the emunctory organs such as the kidneys and the liver which can lead to :
    • A renal insufficiency,
    • A hepatic insufficiency.
All these risks to which the dog is exposed are due to the fact that cat food is too fatty and too rich in proteins. They are elaborated to meet the essential needs of the cat but certainly not those of the dog. If the dog eats from his little feline friend's bowl every day, he can also suffer from serious nutrient deficiencies. Trace elements, minerals and vitamins should be dosed according to the needs of each individual.

How to avoid that the dog eats cat food?


It is really necessary to take all possible precautions to avoid that the dog and the cat share their respective bowls. To each his own dish! So to each his own meal corner. It is indeed fundamental to feed the dog and the cat in two different rooms. This is the best solution to avoid pilfering... and health problems in pets of different species that share the same living space.

As soon as the animals seem to have eaten enough but have not emptied their food bowls, it is necessary not to leave the food remains on the spot. The food bowls are therefore removed, except for those containing water, as they must remain freely accessible. This principle also allows pets to get used to eating at regular times.

Ideally, the owner of a greedy dog or a sharing cat can offer to each of his little companions an automatic kibble dispenser (or other food) that opens only if it recognizes the animal for which it is intended, thanks to a microchip. The must for a budget between 60 and 100 € per device. It's much less expensive than having to pay for veterinary fees and treatments if the dog gets sick from eating unsuitable food. And then the good balance of his little animal deserves a financial effort, no?