Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

If you saw the movie Jaws, you undoubtedly remember one of the more popular scenes of the film. The one where one of the lead actors splice open the shark’s belly and pulls out a variety of unexpected items. There’s even a license plate in there!

Many pet owners know this to be true: X-ray your pet’s belly and you’d likely find an array of surprising stuff.

Dogs are particularly keen on eating pretty much, well, everything. One thing canines like more than most though, is cat food.

But can dogs eat cat food?

can dogs eat cat food

While the four-legged pets have a lot of things in common, they actually have a lot of very distinctive and important differences. The first of which is a cat is an obligate carnivore. That means cats need to eat meat as their main food source. Dogs, meanwhile, are omnivores. Their diet needs to have more fiber that a strictly carnivorous diet cannot provide.

College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia professor, Sharon Crowell-Davis says experts cannot really say why dogs love cat food so much. But they do think it might be the higher protein content and the “effect it has on the flavor.”

The doctor even goes as far as use cat treats as incentives for some of her dogs with behavioral issues. The taste, apparently, “galvanizes” the puppies. So can dogs eat cat food? The answer would point to yes, as long as the dogs love them and their stomachs are able to handle cat food, it shouldn’t really be so much of a problem.

That doesn’t mean dogs should eat cat food all the time, though. Taken from time to time, cat food can be a treat for canines. But feeding them that all the time can be hurtful to the dog’s general health and well-being. And even if dogs across all breeds seem to like cat food well enough, there would still be some dogs that won’t be able to handle it.

Dogs, after all, aren’t made to have diets that are so protein-dense. Eating so much of the stuff can cause upset stomachs, diarrhea and vomiting in dogs with weaker stomachs. Is a weak-stomached dog going to die from eating cat food? Not likely. But if he does vomit or have diarrhea, then that’s your cue to make sure he doesn’t break into the cat food again.

What about dogs with iron guts? As Dr. Crowell-Davis said, cat food as a treat can be nice every once in a while. But don’t incorporate the cat food into your dog’s long-term diet. He won’t be getting the balanced diet of fiber and protein from it and will likely miss some of the key ingredients he needs to stay healthy. It can also be very bad for dog livers and kidneys to have so much protein.

So can dogs eat cat food? Absolutely. But for the safety of your canine pal, limit his consumption of it and just feed him food specifically made for his species.

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