If you have both canine and feline friends living in your home, you’ve likely caught your pup red-handed in the process of sneaking some of your cat’s food. You’ve also probably wondered why this food is so appealing to your dog when you think it smells, well, putrid. Luckily, we have answers to do all of those questions - and then some.
While it seems like a harmless mixup, you really don’t want to make a habit of your dog getting some of your cat’s food. In fact, you’d be surprised to learn about the nutritional differences between cat and dog food, not to mention the potential impact sneaking cat food can have on your pup.
What’s the Difference Between Dog and Cat Food?
There are actually several key differences between dog and cat food. And while your pooch probably enjoys sneaking a bite of cat food every so often, there’s a reason that cat food isn’t dog food. This comes down to nutritional requirements.
In order to understand the difference between dog and cat foods, we have to first understand the fact that they have different diets that they must follow. Your feline friends are obligate carnivores, which is a fancy way of saying that they have to eat meat to survive.
On the other hand, dogs are omnivores. This means that they consume both meat and vegetables. Long story short? Dogs require a more diverse diet than meat alone, which cats do. If your pup doesn’t get enough of the correct nutrients, there could be health consequences.
The main difference between these two types of food is that cat food has to have a much higher meat-based protein content than dog food does. This could possibly explain why cat food has an appeal to dogs: an overwhelming meat smell and flavor. Nevertheless, just because your dog likes eating cat food doesn’t mean that they should. In fact, there are plenty of tastier canine foods out there (may we humbly suggest Sundays for Dogs?) that your furry friend will find delicious and healthful.
What Nutrients Do Dogs Need?
As we mentioned earlier, dogs are omnivores (side note: so are humans!). Dogs’ tooth structure and intestinal tract have both become acclimated to them eating an omnivorous diet. Therefore, it’s essential that they meet their daily dietary needs by consuming both plant-based products and also meats.
The exact source of the proteins and fats dogs consume is much less important than the quality and how digestible they are. Therefore, dogs can actually thrive on a vegetarian diet - if it’s well balanced, of course. That being said, an all-meat diet wouldn’t suit a dog. And that is part of the reason why cat food is not ideal for dogs to consume.
Luckily, there’s been plenty of research completed on canine dietary requirements, so now we know that in order for a diet to truly be well-balanced for a dog, it must also incorporate the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids (obtained from proteins), and essential fatty acids (that your dog can get from fats). These components are all necessary for your pup to properly build and maintain tissue. Healthy diet, happy dog!
At Sundays for Dogs, we know how important it is that your dog gets all those nutrients they need to keep them playful and healthy. That is exactly why we’re committed to making human-grade food that your canine that’s both healthy and tasty. It’s all part of how we make it easier to be an amazing dog parent.
So Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
You might be wondering what exactly this means for your dog eating cat food. The truth is, while your dog will likely be okay if they grab a nibble or two of your cat’s food, they shouldn’t eat it consistently.
Aside from the fact that cat food doesn’t provide your dog with the correct nutrients they need to survive and thrive, there can also be other consequences. Dogs that get cat food might throw up or even have diarrhea. Nevertheless, if your dog is showing signs that they’re in serious distress, pain, or even experiencing intestinal discomfort, you should reach out to your vet to make sure there’s not a serious problem brewing.
Overall, it’s best if you keep your cat food for your cat and your dog food for your dog. This can be easier said than done, however, as dogs often have a penchant for feline food. There are ways to reduce the chance of your dog snatching some, however. More on that later.
What To Do If Your Dog Ate Cat Food?
Say you notice that your dog ate cat food. What do you do now? We’re here to walk you through your next steps.
The first thing to know is that most of the time, your dog will be perfectly fine if they consume a tiny bit of cat food. Some dogs might throw up or have diarrhea, but this will likely be the extent of the consequences if only a little was eaten.
That being said, there could be more severe results - notably, if your dog is allergic to ingredients the cat food contains. While this is unlikely, it’s also not impossible. Therefore, if you notice that your dog is acting differently and exhibiting any symptoms such as facial swelling, diarrhea for an extended amount of time, itchiness, or even difficulty breathing, it’s time to contact your vet.
How To Avoid This
If you have both a dog and a cat, it will take a little strategizing to make sure that your dog doesn’t sink their teeth into any cat food. Still, it’s not impossible! There are several ways that you can help keep your dog away from feline grub.
First, you can make an effort to keep your cat’s food away from your dog. If you feed your two pets near each other and notice that your dog keeps snatching cat food, then it’s time to try a different space. You can either relocate your dog’s dish or cat’s, but be sure that there’s enough distance between them. Doing this will help reinforce a separation between the two different foods.
Second, you can also try to change how one of your pets is fed - or even when. Perhaps you can put your dog in a gated area when your cat enjoys their meal. This would completely eliminate any chance that your dog eats cat food.
The third option is to gate off where you keep your cat’s food. If you’re finding that your dog is very persistent, a more aggressive tactic might be necessary and this could be the solution. You can consider moving your cat dish into a separate room and putting up a gate that your dog can’t break through.
Our fourth and favorite suggestion is to get your dog food that’s tastier! If your dog is routinely choosing to eat cat food and not their own, that could suggest that they’re not enjoying their meal. Luckily, we can help with that! Sundays for Dogs crafts tasty, human-grade meals for dogs that are healthier than kibble but easier to make than a home-cooked meal. Your dog will thank you!
Why Sundays for Dogs is a Solid Choice
At Sundays for Dogs, we pride ourselves on making it easier to be a good dog parent. Our food is human-grade and hassle-free, which makes it an ideal option for people who are on-the-go but want to give their dogs a meal they’ll enjoy.
Our food is all-natural and was even created by a vet - so you can rest assured that your dog is getting everything they need. And since our food tastes like a treat, your dog will be far more concerned with getting their daily helping of Sundays for Dogs than snatching your cat’s food. It’s a win-win, if you ask us!
We call ourselves the world’s cleanest dog food, and that’s because we are. Our food is packed with ingredients you’ve heard of, not something artificial that was created in a lab. That’s our difference. We know your dog will taste and recognize it, too.
If your dog is eating cat food, they’re likely not going to be at risk for any major complications - but it still should be avoided. This is because of the differences in dietary requirements between cats and dogs. Dogs overall require a more well-balanced meal, and that’s where Sundays for Dogs steps into the picture.
If this is frequently happening, there are several steps that you can take to minimize the chances that your dog will continue to eat cat food and get sick. One of these is to make your dog’s food so appetizing they’ll forget about the cat’s. Now that’s something we can get behind!