Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

28 nov 2023
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

Have you noticed your dog making a beeline straight for your cat’s food? Cats and dogs might venture into each other’s food bowls from time to time. If you’re wondering if cat food is bad for dogs, why dogs love cat food so much or why and how to keep dogs out of your cat’s dinner. Now we’ll be discussing is cat food bad for dogs and what to do if you discover your dog has raided the cat’s dinner.

Can dogs eat cat food?

1. Nutritional Differences

Cat food is formulated to meet the specific dietary needs of cats, which differ significantly from those of dogs. Cats are obligate carnivores, needing higher amounts of protein and certain nutrients, like taurine, which is crucial for their health. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores and have different nutritional requirements, including more carbohydrates.

2. High Protein Content

Cat food typically contains a higher protein content than dog food. While occasional consumption might not cause immediate harm, a consistent diet of cat food for dogs can lead to an imbalance in their nutrient intake. Excessive protein intake can strain a dog's kidneys and liver over time.

3. Fat Content

Cat food also tends to have a higher fat content than dog food. Consuming excessive fat can cause digestive upset in dogs, leading to symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting.

4. Nutrient Imbalance

Continual consumption of cat food can result in nutrient imbalances for dogs. Dog food is formulated with specific vitamins and minerals tailored to canine needs. Relying on cat food could lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients for dogs.

5. Health Risks

Regular consumption of cat food by dogs might lead to various health issues such as obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and even potential organ damage in the long run.

6. Allergies and Sensitivities

Some dogs might have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients commonly found in cat food, leading to allergic reactions or skin issues.

7. Occasional Indulgence

An occasional nibble of cat food might not pose an immediate threat to dogs. However, it's crucial to prevent habitual or continuous consumption to safeguard their overall health.

Why do dogs love cat food?

Cat and dog food look similar and come from similar packaging, so you might be wondering whether it’s confusion on the part of your dog that makes them nose dive straight into the cat’s meal. Chances are they know exactly what they’re doing. A dog’s powerful sense of smell might have triggered the initial interest in your feline’s meaty dinner, but that first taste has probably sealed the deal. This is because cat food may seem more flavourful due to all the meaty ingredients. Another possible reason why your dog shows so much interest for cat food is their love for mischief. If you’ve got a ‘rebel’ canine on your hands, they might have a go at another pet’s dinner just because it is a forbidden treat.

Is cat food bad for dogs?

Cat food is bad for dogs in the long term because it lacks the right balance of nutrients that a dog needs. The content of cat food is higher in protein as this is a key nutritional need of felines. Dogs need protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in different proportions to cats. This is why feeding your dog cat food on a recurrent basis is detrimental to their health, as it can lead to common dog digestive problems and various health issues including:

  • Sensitive stomach
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Obesity

How to prevent dogs from eating cat food?

If your dog has made a habit out of stealing a few bites from your cat’s food bowl, there are a few tricks you can try to discourage this behaviour.

Feeding your cat and your dog in separate rooms will help put some distance between the dog and their newfound love for cat food. Consider placing your cat’s food bowl higher up and out of your dog’s reach. With our wireless cat feeder, you can place it in any corner of the room. Adult cats can usually reach higher surfaces with ease, so the difference in placement won’t be a problem for your feline, but it will help keep their food out of the dog’s sight. 


In conclusion, while an occasional bite of cat food might not be immediately harmful, it's essential to understand that cat food doesn't meet the specific nutritional requirements of dogs. Continuous consumption can lead to potential health risks and nutrient imbalances for your furry friend. To ensure your dog receives the proper nutrients, it's best to stick to a balanced and formulated dog diet approved by veterinarians.