In today’s Ask The Jug Dog, we have a question with a bit of a feline slant. It goes:
I live in a house with cats and dogs. Sometimes when I run out of dog food I am tempted to just feed them my cat’s wet and dry food just until I can get my hands on more. So my question is – can dogs eat cat food and is it safe even if it’s just for a day?
First of all, thank you for the question. This sort of question is not uncommon as it would be logical to assume that if dogs can eat human food and dog food that there won’t be much difference with cat food, right? Well, today we are going to delve into the subject of feeding dogs cat food and the implications of doing so.
Can dogs eat cat food?
There are two ways to answer this question – literally and then with common sense. If you’re wondering if dogs can literally eat cat food then yes they can. If you’re using common sense to answer the question to genuinely help dog owners then no, you shouldn’t feed cat food to dogs. Here’s why:
Although dogs can eat cat food they shouldn’t because cat food has been made specifically for a feline digestive system and metabolism. Cats are pure carnivores so their foods are made up of almost exclusively meat – this would restrict the nutrition your dog would be getting massively which could cause health problems later down the line if your dog was fed cat food over a significant period of time.
So as you can see, we are not saying your dog CAN’T eat cat food just that they SHOULDN’T. One thing to keep in mind if you keep dogs and cats under one roof is that dogs are a greedy bunch and if you leave cat food out in the open they may wander off and eat it! Dogs are a little bit stupid and unfortunately they do not know what’s bad for them until it’s too late so it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on what they eat!
Is cat food bad for dogs?
The nutritional spread in cat food is uneven when compared to dogs with cat food favouring high fat with more protein and calories than they need with a lot fewer carbohydrates and minerals from foods such as vegetables. This means that your dog will miss out on important nutrients over a length of time which can lead to digestive problems such as lethargy, diarrhoea, malnourishment, nausea and vomiting. Eating cat food won’t kill your dog but it certainly won’t make him feel great.
Having said that, is cat food bad for dogs? We would say yes it is, in the same way, eating McDonald’s is bad for us humans.
Can Dogs Eat Dry Cat Food?
Dry cat food, much like wet cat food, will still be geared towards a cat’s nutritional needs rather than a dog’s. Dry cat food tends to be loaded with carbs from meat sources without much mention of vegetables as they do not need them as much as dogs do.
The kibble in which the dry cat food takes it form is also designed to be chewed up by thinner, sharper teeth that cats posses which may not clean a dogs teeth as well as actual dog dry food or dry puppy food would. Canine dry dog food is formulated to provide them with what they need for a healthy mind, body and soul. Dry cat food is not tested on dogs so allergic reactions are possible!
Whether or not dogs can eat dry cat food has the same answer as for whether or not dogs should eat any type of cat munch – it’s not a case that they can’t it’s a case of that they shouldn’t.
Can Dogs Eat Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food is perhaps the biggest problem when it comes to cross-species feeding because of the difference in dietary requirements. Cats are carnivores whereas dogs are omnivores which means cats eat just meat and dogs eat meat and roughage such as vegetables and grains much more efficiently and are important in the normal function of their being.
Dogs eating cat food would be fine in the extreme short term – we are talking one-day maximum here. Any longer than that and a dog may start to experience some unpleasant gastrointestinal problems such as flatulence and diarrhoea. They may also experience other unpleasant effects such as allergic reactions and so on as wet cat food is not tested on dogs! As always, make sure to buy dog specific wet dog food, we have a page dedicated to the best wet dog food on our website.
The question really isn’t if the dog can eat cat food but rather should a dog eat cat food and the answer to that question from our point of view is a definite no.
Can a dog go blind from eating cat food
While researching this topic we noticed an alarming amount of online searches about whether a dog can go blind if they eat cat food. We’re here to totally debunk this myth and say no, your dog will definitely not go blind if they eat cat food. I wonder what caused this myth to even exist in the first place? If anyone has any clue please let us know in the comments down below.
Can dogs eat cat food biscuits
In the same vein as the wet and dry cat food question is whether or not dogs can eat cat biscuits or cat “treats” and we feel this answer is a little different but more or less the same. If you are intending to use cat biscuits as a stop gap until you can restock your dog treats (check out our best dog treat page) then this will be absolutely fine as it would be in low quantities and cat treats are not that different to dog treats.
However, cat treats should not be used as a long-term solution to be fed as treats as it could give them gastrointestinal problems and potential allergic reactions from the canine untested ingredients.
My dog has eaten cat food, what should I do?
If your dog has eaten some cat food whether it was dry or wet then don’t panic – there’s nothing you need to do. If it’s only a normal amount and in one day then your dog is unlikely to even be sick following consuming feline foods. The worst case scenario is an upset stomach or vomiting but that’s still not likely unless they were to eat it over a sustained period of time. Install a dog camera if you suspect your dog of stealing cat food without you even realising.