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Is Cat Food Safe for Dogs? Can Dogs Eat Cat Food Safely?

Updated on June 4, 2014
How can you say no to this face when he wants to eat the cat food. Just a little bit? C'mon... Please...
How can you say no to this face when he wants to eat the cat food. Just a little bit? C'mon... Please...

Can dogs eat cat food safely?

Dogs will eat just about anything. If you have both dogs and cats you've probably noticed your dog going after the cat food on more than one occasion. The good news is that cat food is safe for dogs to eat. There is nothing in it that will poison your best friend over the short term although it could lead to serious dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea. That being said, he also might get a few good cat scratches from it, too.

Imagine What the Cat Is Thinking

Fast Answer

Is cat food safe for dogs to eat? Yes. In fact, it could be used as a very economical training reward.

Should you feed it to them frequently? No. Too much high protein/high fat food strains the excretory system.

Why do dogs love cat food?

Dogs love the taste and will readily devour any cat food they can. They can't tell us why, but we can make educated guesses based on the content of the food itself.

Cat food and dog food are fundamentally different formulas because they are made to feed fundamentally different animals. Dogs are omnivores, eating plants and animals equally. Cats, however, are strict carnivores. Their food is made of more crude protein and fat than dog food.

This happens if you leave the food where a dog can get to it
This happens if you leave the food where a dog can get to it

Do You Use Cat Food as a Dog Treat?

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Are there long-term health issues for dogs from eating cat food?

The best answer is that it depends. If your dog is consistently eating a high protein, high fat diet, there may be long-term effects on the kidney and excretory system due to overwork. If the kidneys start to fail there can be a build-up of urea, which is supposed to be expelled from the body in urine. If there is a build-up of urea in the blood, it can cause gout and other health issues. Fortunately, these are only seen in older dogs with long-term exposure to high protein/high fat diets.

How can I stop my dog from eating cat food?

Dogs also notice that cat food is accessible 24 hours a day. If they know good tasting food is there, they are going to eat it. Consider moving the cat food to an area that the dog can't reach. That could be the top of a table that the cat is allowed to be on or behind a cat door in the laundry room, for example.

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