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Can Cats Eat Dog Food? The Truth About Cats and Dog Food

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Many cat owners to take care of dogs, too. If you are one of those people , then you likely have thought of giving dog food to your cats. But can cats eat dog food? Or should you never attempt to give your feline friend food intended for your canine pal?

Pet lovers who own dogs and cats know very well that both animals are fond of stealing food from each other’s plates, especially if given the opportunity. Thus, it is very likely that cats eat dog food, and vice versa.

So should you let your cat eat dog food? The answer is no— dog food should not be part of your cat’s diet.

Sure, your cat may feed on dog food on a few occasions, but you should make sure it doesn’t become a habit. Dog food won’t give your cat the nutrients she needs for optimal health.

Why Is Dog Food Bad for Cats?

Cat and dog playing together

Most veterinarians agree that dog food lacks the essential nutrients for good feline health. Thus feeding your cat with dog food can lead to numerous health problems for your furry friend.

A veterinarian, Dr. Patty Khuly, maintains that feeding cats with dog food isn’t bad as long as it is not done repeatedly.

She offers the following reasons why you should not give your cat with dog food:

1. Dog food lacks vitamin A

Most dog food lacks vitamin A which is essential in feline health. Dogs, after all, are able to get this essential vitamin not just from animal food sources but also from plant based sources such as sweet potatoes and squash.

Cats, on the other hand, rely on cat food for their needed supply of vitamin A. Our feline friends need the said vitamin for superior night vision and healthy skin. It also supports their immune system.

Cat eating food on bag

2. Dog food lacks taurine

The reason is simple– unlike cats,most dogs don’t need taurine in their diet. The amino acid, though, is needed in certain dog breeds such as Labrador, Golden Retriever, and Cocker Spaniels.

Cats, on the other hand, badly need taurine in their diet. Taurine deficiency can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease. This explains why said amino acid is present in all commercial cat foods.

A Cute cat

3. Dog food lacks protein

As mentioned earlier, dogs can get nutrients from both animal and plant based sources. So they don’t really need to depend on dog food for their protein requirements.

Cats, meanwhile, rely solely on animal based food sources for their daily protein requirement. This explains why cat food has a higher minimum amount of protein requirement at 26 percent that dog food which only has 18 percent.



Aside from protein, taurine, and vitamin A, there are other nutrients that are lacking in dog food. Arachidonic fatty acid which is essential in the proper functioning of a cat’s kidneys is not present in dog food.

The B vitamins such as niacin and thiamin are also lacking in dog food, as dogs don’t only need small amount of these nutrients.

As you can see, dog food lacks many nutrients that cats need. Thus, it really is not advisable for you to give cats with dog food.

Your cat won’t only feel lethargic if you feed her with dog food. She could also be at risk of certain diseases. For example, lack of taurine can lead to heart problems. It can also cause blindness and deafness.

Lack of vitamins in a cat’s diet can also lead to seizures, impaired production, and poor posture. Worse, your cat may even die due to the lack of vitamins she gets from eating dog food.

Sure, snacking dog food occasionally should not have any impact on her health. But if she gets used to it, then it could have serious long-term repercussions.

How to Stop Cats from Eating Dog Food

Cat with apples

But how can you control your cat from eating dog food, if and when she develops a fondness for it?

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep twice-a-day feeding schedule for your dog. Your cat should be inside your house while your canine pal is eating.
  • Once the dog is done, remove any uneaten food to prevent the cat from getting at it.
  • You can also try to feed both animals at the same time. Dogs can finish their food in less than a minute, while cats tend to take a longer time.
  • Store dog food in a secure container to keep your canine pal out of it.


Dog food is specifically formulated to satisfy a canine’s daily nutritional requirement. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. It is for this reason that cats should not be given dog food unless you want to expose them to many health problems.

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