can cats eat dogfood?

Can cats eat dog food?

Can cats eat dog food? While the occasional nibble of dog food may be considered safe for your cat, it won’t give your feline friend all her nutritional requirements. 

If you are wondering whether dog food can work as a substitute for dog food, then the answer is no. However, if you caught your cat taking a piece from the dog’s bowl and are now worried about her health, you shouldn’t. Dog food is not toxic to cats. 

While dog food is considered to be generally safe for cats, there are several concerns you need to consider before making dog food recurrent on your cat’s diet:

Are there any nutritional benefits to feeding cats dog food?

As mentioned earlier, cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. Cats are considered obligate carnivores. This means that their nutritional needs can only be obtained from animal proteins. 

Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores. This means that their nutrient requirements can be obtained from both animal proteins and plant products such as grains and vegetables. 

As such, dog food does not contain the appropriate amounts of protein, taurine, minerals, and vitamins essential for your cat’s health and nutrition. Also, dog food may contain an unhealthy amount of calories, fat, and water for cats. 

For this reason, a commercially produced food that meets the nutritional requirements for a dog cannot meet the nutritional requirements for a cat. A fine example is most dog foods have low amounts of taurine or don’t have it at all. Taurine is an essential amino acid that cats require in their diet for them to survive. Dogs, however, produce their own taurine and don’t require it in their diet as much.  

Is it safe for cats to eat dog food? 

Dog food in small amounts is safe for your cat. Dog food is not toxic to cats. If your cat eats small amounts of dog food at a time, there should be no effect. However, there are several important things to keep in mind. 

Dog food is only considered to be safe if your cat is healthy. If your cat has any underlying conditions such as allergies and diabetes, giving her dog food may result in some health effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Every cat is different. As such, cats have different tolerance for certain foods. Each cat is unique and must be considered individually before being given dog food. One cat may consume dog treats without experiencing any issue while another cat may have the same treat and develop adverse signs such as diarrhea and vomiting. 

The portion size and the frequency at which your cat consumes dog food also matter. If your cat starts eating dog food regularly and it starts replacing cat food, there will be some health repercussions. Dog food is not a substitute for cat food. Even though they may have similar ingredients to some extent, cat food is formulated to meet a cat’s needs. This includes more protein as well as fatty acids and certain vitamins.

Replacing cat food with dog food means your feline friend won’t be getting these nutrients needed by her body. As a result, your cat will become severely malnourished and her health will begin to suffer. 

Is dog food safe for cats?

Can cats eat dog treats?

Cats should not be given dog treats. This is because there may be ingredients in dog treats that are not safe for cats. An example is ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze, which is used in small amounts to keep dog treats moist. While the quantity in dog treats is harmless for dogs, it may become a problem for cats. Also, dog treats contain sugar. Unlike dogs, cats don’t taste sugar. As such, sugar has little nutritional benefit for cats. 

What’s the difference between cat food and dog food?

Apart from animal protein, dog food also contains vegetables and grains to cater for their omnivore dietary requirements. 

Cat food, on the other hand, only contains animal proteins. This is because cats are obligate carnivores. 

Although carbohydrates such as corn and rice are fine in small amounts for cats, they are not a necessity in a cat’s diet. These, however, play a major role in dog food. 

Should cats eat dog food?

Cat food cannot be replaced by dog food. The two products have different nutritional content, thus are not interchangeable. Cats have nutritional requirements that must be specifically met by their diet. A simple and convenient way of ensuring that all the nutrient requirements of your cat are met is to provide them with a balanced commercial diet verified and recommended by a certified veterinary nutritionist. 


If you have any concerns regarding the food your cat eats every day, you should bring them up with your pet’s veterinarian. They will help you find good options for your pet based on her nutritional needs.  

Here’s more about feline nutrition. Check these articles out.

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Human foods safe for your cat

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