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Is it harmful for cats to eat dog food?

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It may not be harmful for a meal or two but it can be harmful long term: there are nutritional differences between dogs and cats and dog food does not have everything that cats need.

The protein requirements for cats are a lot higher for cats then they are for dogs, cats are obligate carnivores. They get everything they need from animal organs, meat and bones. One of the main things that is missing in dog food is taurine. If cats do not get enough they develop heart conditions and blindness. Dogs manufacture it themselves so there is no need to add it to dog food. They will also likely lose weight because of the lower amount of protein/calories. I think the B vitamins are also lacking in dog food and cats do need those. Cat food has all of the things that cats need added to it unless stated on the packaging (like the Fancy Feast Appetizers, they are not nutritionally balanced and say on the package only for intermittent or supplemental feeding.)

Slight tangent: There are some domestic cats that need a little grain in their diet because they are not wild cats anymore and their systems have evolutionally changed over time. (does that make sense? I can't seem to word it any better!) Plants are also a source of protein so a lot of companies use plants in their food because it is less expensive than meat. Two of my own cats did not do well on a grain free diet yet one of them does SUPER well on it so he stays on it and the others are on one that has more 'roughage' (grains and plants) in it. Knowing all that dog food is still not appropriate for a cat.

We did bloodwork on a cat at my previous clinic that had cholesterol that was off the charts it was so high. The vet called the owner and the owner said that the cat had gotten into the dogs food that morning at breakfast. So while a sample size of 1 is not scientific I bet dog food raises the cholesterol of cats as well :P

In short: I would not feed a cat dog food for any meal if possible.

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asked Feb 22, 2017 in Pets by Karmen Goddard Wall

6 Answers

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Yes, it is harmful for cats to eat dog  food. Certain types of dog food contain bone meal which is difficult for a cat's digestion to process. While the occasional meal of dog food might not be that bad, long term consumption of dog food  will harm a cat's health.
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Jon Mixon
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I am going to agree with Karmen, if the cat was to eat dog  food once in awhile.  It would not hurt them.  But  the needs of each animal is very different  and they need  a balance  of certain ingrediants to keep them healthy.  There is not enough protein in dog food for the cat.  And if i remember right it would not be good for a cats kidneys because  dog food does not have  what a cat needs  to be healthy in it.
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Tod Knudsen
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This issue is definitely a no-brainer. Yes, it is harmful to feed cats dog food. The nutritional requirements of cats is different from that of dogs . Life-threatening outcomes is to be expected either when you short-term or long-term feed your cats dog food.
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Erika Thomas
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should not be long for the cat to eat dog food! i think cats are pure carnivores, and a greater proportion of dog food is not meat but most plant-based diet, i would choose to add a little cat dog food and refreshments as his assistant in cat food, cat food to eat does not matter dog food. at least in omega fatty acids dog food cat also effective ingredients to protect body hair. however, the use of the blind dog food, cat will cause a lack of essential nutrients such as retinol caused by malnutrition. most cat food is have add salt and salt-free dog food! dog much salt will drip tears.... hope u useful....
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Casper Pleb
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No. Since you own a cat and dog you must change the feeding routine. #1 rule is NEVER leave out dog or cat food all day where the opposite pet can get to it.

Dog food is too low in protein and lacks taurine. Cats need taurine to prevent blindness and liver/kidney damage.

Start by feeding your pets twice a day (set amount of food). Dry food is not good for cats - causes obesity, early liver/kidney damage and UTI problems. Cat should be on canned food with very little to no dry food.

Feed them in separate rooms and keep them there till the food is finished. Feed once in the morning, once in the evening.
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Ocimom
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Cat food is formulated so it provides all the nourishment a cat needs. And ditto for dog food, for dogs. Occasionally I see no reason why not, but long term, and only dog food - no.

We have never free-fed so there is never any food left lying around for any other animal to get into. Once the bowls are empty, they get picked up. So even if we had cats, there'd be no dog food for them!!
answered Feb 22, 2017 by Verulam 2

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