If you have a cat, I’m sure it’s not uncommon for your dog to come over and steal their food. It might make you wonder why they do this! There are many reasons dogs eat cat food, but the most common reason is the high protein content in cat food.
Cats need higher protein levels than dogs because cats are obligate carnivores, while dogs can get all their nutrients from plant-based sources.
Dogs will often try to sneak some kibble when they think no one is looking, so don’t worry too much about it if your dog is doing this! However, you might want to keep an eye on how much he eats so he doesn’t get sick from overeating protein in one sitting!
Let’s dig deep to find out why do dogs eat cat food and what attracts them?
Our experts recently discuss what causes hyperthyroidism in cats and also list the best cat foods for hyperthyroidism that can keep your cat active and provide a healthy lifestyle.
What Makes Cat Food Different From Dog Food?
Cat food is designed to be high in protein for their predatory lifestyle, while dog food can be high in protein or carbohydrate, depending on your dog’s needs.
Dogs don’t need as much protein as cats, but it’s still possible for dogs to eat too little protein, leading to better health.
Additionally, canines require ten amino acids, whereas felines require eleven. It’s taurine, important for proper vision, heart function, digestion, and a healthy immune system.
Even though cat food is higher in protein, dog food also contains a significant amount of protein. The main benefit of feeding your dog “cat food” is that they get to enjoy the flavors and textures of their favorite foods without gaining too much weight!
But you should not make it a routine!
9 Reasons Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Food
- Dogs eat cat food because it’s high in protein.
- They love the taste of it
- The kibble looks similar to their dog food, so they want a variety
- It smells good to them
- It’s easier for them to get than their dog food
- They’re bored and looking for something to do
- They’re hungry and eat whatever they can find
- If your cat’s food is left out all day, a dog might come in and eat it while no one is watching!
- If their dog food is low quality, they might eat cat food for added nutrition.
Why is Cat Food Bad for Dogs?
Cat food tends to be high in fat, calories, and protein, which is not ideal for dogs. In addition, dogs with sensitive stomachs may suffer gastrointestinal upset, sickness, and diarrhea after eating cat food.
Those fed it regularly are at greater risk of obesity and potentially life-threatening pancreatitis, inflammation of the organ that aids the digestive process.
Unlike foods containing toxic chemicals such as chocolate, eating cat food that’s been stolen from an unsuspecting cat’s bowl is highly unlikely to kill a dog.
Can Dogs Eat Wet Cat Food?
Cat food might be a great alternative to dog foods for some pups, such as those experiencing weight loss, decreased appetite, or battling cancer. This is because, in these cases, cat food is tastier, higher in calories, and more nutrient-balanced than some home-prepared diets.
Small amounts of cat food from time to time are also unlikely to cause any harm to healthy adult dogs.
However, giving cat food for a prolonged period can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, flatulence, or even allergic reactions as wet cat food isn’t tested on canines.
Do Not Encourage the Behaviour!
The reason that your dog is eating cat food is not that he doesn’t have enough to eat. If you leave some dog food down for him all day long, chances are he will pick at it throughout the day.
You need to be a responsible pet owner and limit his access to food so that this habit does not become an ongoing issue!
In addition, you need to manage your food. For example, it’s not a good idea to leave out the cat food bowl while you eat or snack on something that might smell tasty to your dog as well. If there’s nothing else for him to eat, then yes, he will probably try and sneak some of the cat food too.
It was once thought that dogs are biologically designed to eat meat, so they should have an all-meat diet. However, this is no longer the case, as demonstrated by research on their ability to digest carbohydrates.
Dogs can easily process ingredients that are plant-based since they have an excellent digestive system.
Discourage your dog’s behavior every time he attempts.
What if My Dog Accidentally Eats Cat Food?
There’s no need to be concerned if your dog eats furkid food accidentally. Cat food is not harmful to dogs, but it might induce a GI reaction that will result in diarrhea or vomiting. That might last for the next few hours.
If the condition lasts for more than a day, then you should contact your veterinarian.
What Happens If a Dog Eats Cat Food Regularly?
If it happens once, twice, or even more than that, don’t worry. There are several reasons to ensure your dog eats only dog food.
- Upset stomach; the protein-rich diet of felines might upset dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Poor nutrition; Even if your dog’s stomach doesn’t show any symptoms, feeding cat food creates issues because it is not properly balanced in terms of fiber and protein content.
- Liver and kidney damage; An excess amount of protein may damage the kidney and liver of your dog.
- Obesity; It will increase the dog’s waistline; your dog may gain weight.
- Pancreatitis; Overweight dogs are at risk of developing pancreatitis.
Make sure that Rover is fed a diet formulated specifically for his own needs to keep him safe and healthy.
To educate new furkid parents we recently added a few new resources; is it cheaper to make your own cat food? We discuss why it remains cheap and what are protein sources which you can add.
Lastly, we make a list of 30 human food that cats can eat besides cat food so we can choose to feed when out of cat food.
Other Solutions and Considerations
- Feed your cat on a higher surface
- Get dog proof cat feeding bowl
- Serve both of your pets at the same time
- Administer your pets while they are eating
- Install a gate to secure the kitty area
- Use door strap to allow cats only entry into certain areas.