Can Cats Have Dog Food?
If you have a cat and a dog you may have wondered what really is the real difference between what you put in their bowls every morning. They both smell terrible. Is cat food really just fish and milk? Are dogs really just the red blooded carnivores that want all the meat like their wolf ancestors?
Whether you accidentally fed mittens Fido’s dog food or you have a cat that just loves dog food in general, there is a science behind understanding what you should and should not feed your pet.
Can you give your cat dog food?
Answer: Yes, but it is not recommended. While you cat can consume dog food without any harmful, toxic, or even fatal consequences, it is not a good source of nutrients for your precious pet. If your cat is accidentally fed your dog’s food or he just has a craving for puppy chow, it is nothing to be alarmed about as long as it only happens on the rare occasion.
If it were to become a habit and your cat were to miss out on the essential nutrients it receives from their cat food, that is when it can become serious. Whether your cat is just eating dog food or rejecting cat food because he has filled up on dog food, it is a habit that needs to be kicked. Similar to dogs eating cat food.
When it comes to a cat eating dog food, sure there will be some nutrients in there, but the benefits to a cat eating dog food over cat food is nonexistent. Cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores, so they will naturally have different diets. This means are certain nutrients in your cat’s biological makeup that are required. The Association of American Feed Control explain that 18% of a dog’s diet should be made of protein. This varies when compared to cats that require 26%. In addition, Vitamin A, B, C, taurine, fats, acids, and a ton of protein are typically present in cat food. These are not always present in dog food or they are, just not in the way a cat needs them. We go into depth below.
Since cats are carnivores and require high amounts of protein, they are going to be missing out on all that nutrients when consuming dog food. It may not show immediately, but overtime you will see changes in your cat’s behavior due the lack of specific nutrients.
Vitamin A is essential for cats but it is not always present in dog food. Especially since beta carotene is sometimes substituted in dog food because they can turn it into Vitamin A.
Cats require certain amino acids, like Taurine. Without this nutrient cats can develop a certain type of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. A similar reaction will occur when cats are fed a fish diet. Fish can come up short in amino acids, which is why it is healthy for cats to get a good variety of meats.
Without these nutrients you risk your cat becoming malnourished. This is why it is always best to keep to food that is designed for your pets body.
Things to keep in mind
If you are still thinking dog food may be a good source of nutrients for your cat, consider the consequences your cat may suffer. If you cat lacks these essential nutrients you risk harming your pets fur coat, metabolism, eyesight, kidneys, heart and reproductive system. Symptoms that may not be apparent at first but may have lasting consequences.
We often compare our pets biology to those of their ancestors, but they have changed quite a bit and that needs to be noticed. If you have an indoor cat, it is not going to obtain the same nutrients from an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats may spend their spare time hunting small animals or searching for a pesky mouse, picking up some nutrients here and there. Unfortunately, feathers and cat toys, while entertaining, do not provide the same healthy benefits. An indoor cat eating dog food can diminish their already low nutrition levels.
Lastly, dog food lacks moisture. Dogs know when they are dehydrated and thus turn to water. However, when a cat is dehydrated, it does not realize the need for water. Dry food may mean a dehydrated cat.
A cat that skips cat food for a meal and turns to the puppy chow will have no reason to worry. However, after a few mishaps you may notice your cat becoming lethargic or moody, continue to feed your pet this food and your furry friend could face even worse consequences.