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If you’ve ever caught your cat eating your dog’s food, you’ve probably wondered if it was serious or not.
Has your cat suddenly started eating your dog’s food? There are several factors that can explain this change in behavior, not to be taken too lightly.
Why does my cat eat dog food?
Cats can be quite picky about their food, so if you find your cat eating your dog’s food, it may be because the food you’re giving him isn’t to his liking.
According to Dr. Megan Dundas, veterinarian and practice owner at Lincolndale Veterinary Center in New York City, some cats may have a flavor preference. He may therefore naturally prefer the flavor of dog food.
Other factors may explain why your cat eats your dog’s food, such as the size or shape of the kibble or the area where you serve it. Indeed, if your cat likes to be quiet when he eats, he will find it difficult to enjoy his food where there is a lot of traffic.
On the other hand, if your cat is more social — but their bowl is a bit isolated — they’ll prefer to eat from the dog bowl if it’s closer to their humans.
Finally, be aware that some cats start eating dog food because they know it will attract the attention of their masters!
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Dog vs. cat food
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they get their nutrients from animal proteins. They need lots of amino acids to keep their muscles, skin, and bones in tip-top shape.
Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores. This means that they – just like humans – consume both plant and animal substances. In order to stay healthy, dogs need healthy grains, vegetables, and fruits in addition to daily protein.
Commercial dog food contains more plant-based foods than cat food, so the nutritional profiles do not match.
Nutritional differences between dog and cat food
Even if the recipes for dog and cat food look similar at first glance, there are some important differences:
While both dogs and cats claim that protein is a major part of their diet, dogs need less of it. Cat food contains a high proportion of animal protein. Dogs have a fairly even mix of plant and animal protein in their diet.
Taurine is an irreplaceable component of cat food. Your body cannot make it on its own and relies on a diet to get this valuable nutrient. A lack of taurine can lead to heart problems, vision problems, and digestive problems.
Vitamin A –
While dogs are self-sufficient in terms of vitamin A, cats cannot produce the vitamin themselves. Therefore, the vitamin A content in dog food is significantly lower than in cat food. A lack of vitamin A can lead to dry coats and muscle wasting.
Niacin is another nutrient that cats only get from their diet. Dog food doesn’t contain a fraction of the niacin your cat needs to stay healthy.
Can cats eat dog food ?
No, cats should not eat dog food. They have unique dietary needs and unlike dogs, are naturally carnivores. That means they have to eat meat to survive. Taurine and arginine are essential nutrients that must be consumed by a cat on a daily basis and are only found in meat.
Cats cannot taste sweets and have fewer taste buds compared to humans. Because cats have small stomachs, they need to eat several small meals a day. In the wild, they would eat 5-7 small meals a day. Their gastric juice is more acidic than humans’, making it not only easier for them to digest but also helps kill harmful bacteria. On average, it takes 12 to 24 hours for food to pass through the entire intestine (30 hours to 5 days in humans).
Cats need to consume more protein each day than dogs or humans.
They are less able to regulate the activity of liver enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism. Cat enzymes are fundamentally dependent on a high intake of proteins.
My cat eats dog food: is it dangerous?
In general, it will not be harmful to a cat to eat a small amount of dog food once in a while. However, this should not become a habit, as your cat may have deficiencies. Indeed, the body of a cat and that of a dog have different nutritional needs to be healthy. For example, cats need a high intake of animal protein while dogs have more flexibility in their diet and can make do with nutrients found in grains and vegetables.
If your cat gets into the habit of eating dog food, unfortunately, he may have deficiencies later in:
- Niacin: helps prevent pellagra, a serious disease in cats,
- Arachidonic acid: an essential fatty acid that cats cannot create on their own and must be supplemented with their food,
- Taurine: necessary for the proper functioning of its metabolism as well as for good digestion,
- Vitamin A: essential for the beauty of the cat’s coat, the good health of its skin and eyes and for its immune defences.
What are the symptoms of deficiency in cats?
According to Dr. Dundas, if your cat has a vitamin A deficiency, it could show symptoms such as:
- dull fur,
- Muscular weakness,
- Loss of muscle mass,
- night blindness,
- Liver Problems,
- Skin diseases.
How do I stop my cat from eating dog food?
If your cat prefers your dog’s food because of its taste, size or texture, look for kibble or similar mash but designed for cats. Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian to help you find the food that best suits your cat.
If your cat eats your dog’s food because of the location of his bowl, then you just have to try different places around the house.
Finally, if you have noticed that your cat has started eating your dog’s food to get your attention, then take the time to play with him more often to stimulate him.
What should I do if my cat eats dog food?
From dog to cat, energy and nutritional needs differ. If it happens that your cat enjoys his friend’s delicious dog food, just make sure that this does not happen regularly. Your pet’s health is also at stake here. By eating a diet designed for dogs, your cat risks heart failure, reproductive problems, and blindness.
We have reached the end of this article today and as usual, I thank you from my heart for your attention.
By now you should have a fairly clear idea of ”Can I Feed My Cat Dog Food, Because It’s Cheaper? 2022 Review, ”so be prepared to observe this behavior with a little more attention and take the most appropriate measures.
I’m sure you won’t regret it.
At this point I have nothing left to do but thank you again, I hope I have been of help and I wish you to be able to enjoy the company of your beloved dog with tranquility and serenity.