Whether your pup ravenously devours any food he comes across, or he’s a picky eater, chances are he likes cat food. But just because he craves the taste doesn’t mean cat food should become a significant part of your dog’s diet. After all, there are reasons manufacturers label their kibble “cat food” or “dog food,” not “pet food.”
Nutritional Differences Between Cat Food & Dog Food
Cats and dogs have different dietary requirements, hence the need for different types of food. In the wild, cats are strict carnivores, so the main ingredient in their food is meat. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are omnivores, meaning they need more in their diet than just meat to stay healthy.
Because of the higher meat content in most types of cat food, it tends to have more protein and fat. This creates a strong smell, which is one reason dogs are so drawn to it. But rich, calorie-dense cat food could lead to premature liver and kidney problems in dogs. Cat food also lacks some important vitamins and minerals dogs need to thrive, which can lead to nutrient imbalances.
Is it Bad for a Dog to Eat Cat Food?
If you catch your pooch chowing down on your cat’s food, there’s no need to rush to the emergency vet. Eating a bowl full once or twice is usually no big deal, but dogs shouldn’t eat cat food full-time because of the nutritional differences stated above.
The effects of eating cat food long-term vary from canine to canine. The most common complications that arise include upset stomach and obesity. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to suffer any ill effects from gobbling down cat food, you should make sure he only receives it as an occasional treat or stolen snack, if at all.
In some cases, a serious condition called pancreatitis develops in dogs that eat cat food regularly. This can be life-threatening if left untreated. Symptoms include:
- Hunched back
- Swollen belly
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
In the end, cat food for dogs is like cake for humans—it’s a fun treat to have on occasion, but if that’s all we ate, we would become very sick.
How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Cat Food
If you have dogs and cats living in your house, you have the tricky task of keeping their food separate. As a general rule, you should always discourage your dog from eating cat food, and vice versa.
The easiest way to do this is to set your cat’s food dish out of reach. Since some types of wild cats drag their food into a tree before eating it, your kitty might love the chance to dine up high. Also, you should store cat and dog food in tightly sealed plastic containers to make it difficult for your pets to steal any.
Receive Nutritional Advice for Your Dog at Germantown Vet
Whether you think your dog is showing signs of pancreatitis or you simply want assistance choosing the ideal food for your pup, visit Germantown Vet Clinic in Montgomery County for personalized care and nutritional advice. We’ll help your dog stay happy and healthy with the right food for his needs.
Call 240-252-7467 today or contact us online to schedule your dog’s next visit to our clinic.