By: Tess Booker
Most pet owners know that it’s fairly dangerous to allow your cats or dogs to eat human food. Many things you eat–such as chocolate–are extremely dangerous to your pets and may result in severe damage to their health. However, something less discussed is how dangerous it is to allow your dog to eat cat food. Since they both belong to very different species, their bodies work in different ways. What is healthy for a cat might not be healthy for a dog, and vice versa.
If you have both a cat or a dog, you might have noticed that your cat is a very picky eater, while your dog will most likely try to eat everything he finds. Some dogs will even keep this food in their stomachs, even when it’s bad for them. While they might not vomit or suffer from diarrhea immediately, in the long term some food might cause lasting damage.
One of these foods that will cause suffering for your dog is cat food. Cats are necessarily carnivorous, so their food will contain lots of fat and protein, which might look appetizing for your dog at a first glance. If your dog has a weak stomach, he may suffer from a bad stomachache almost immediately. If he’s stronger, you will find out later in his life that his kidneys and liver won’t work right because of the high amount of protein found in cat food. The high amount of fat found in this food will cause obesity and pancreatitis.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can survive from cat food if there’s no other option for them. This happens with strays who will eat whatever they can find to survive. Even if your dog ends up eating cat food one time, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about if you take him to a vet you trust. However, the nutrient imbalance won’t be healthy for your puppy if you keep it up for too long. Even if you do take him to a vet, sometimes it might end up being too late if you didn’t take good care of your dog before. Symptoms of an unhealthy puppy who ate too much cat food might include abdominal pain, lethargy, appetite loss, weakness, constant vomiting, and fever.
Some dogs will be stubborn and try to do anything to convince you they prefer cat food best. But if you love him, you will know the right thing to do is tell him no and stick with dog food. If your dog shares a home with a cat, make sure he’s eating from the right bowl. It might help to keep your cat’s bowl somewhere high that your dog can’t reach–since cats enjoy being in high places. And don’t forget: dog food isn’t meant for cats either. Dogs can have a vegetarian supplementary diet, which will reflect on how their food is produced. Cats, on the other hand, are strictly carnivorous and need the protein found in meats to survive. According to the animal welfare organization American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it is not safe or healthy for a cat to be offered dog food constantly.