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Can dogs eat cat food? You may have wondered if your dog was trying to get a bite out of your kitten’s dinner. If cats can obviously eat cat food, can dogs eat it safely?
The short answer is noDogs cannot safely eat cat food. While cat food is technically very unlikely to be toxic or directly harmful to your dog, there are significant differences between dog and cat nutritional needs that mean you really don’t want to make it a habit of letting your dog eat cat food .
Here’s what you need to know about cat food and dogs.
Why is cat food bad for dogs?
When you look at the ingredients in cat and dog food, at first glance you might not see that much of a difference between them. However, there is a fundamental difference between the eating habits and nutritional needs of dogs and cats.
While cats are obligatory carnivores who need to get almost all of their diet from meat proteins, dogs are actually omnivores, which means they need a more balanced mix of meat and vegetables.
A number of medical and health problems can arise when a dog switches to a cat-based diet over time. Some of the most common problems that can be associated with a dog eating cat food include:
In the specific case of pancreatitis, this is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
What should I do if my dog eats cat food?
If you find that your dog has managed to eat cat food, there is no need to panic at first. If your dog doesn’t get allergic to any of the ingredients in cat food right away, chances are they’re fine.
In many cases, a bout of diarrhea or vomiting cat food can be as serious as it gets.
If you find that your dog has eaten cat food on a regular basis – perhaps by sneaking into a resident’s cat food snacks or visiting a neighbor’s house or yard – the first step should be to rule out the possibility for your dog to have access to cat food.
You may also want to call your veterinarian for quick advice if you notice any of the common symptoms listed above, or if you notice that your dog appears to be shunning their regular dog foods in favor of cat foods.
Has your dog ever tried to eat cat food? How do you keep your pets’ food separate? Let us know in the comments below!