Can Dogs Eat Cat Food? The Dietary Differences of Dogs and Cats

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 | Amy Dyck
Updated March 10, 2021

Cat food and dog food may seem similar at first glance, but is cat food safe for dogs? Can cats eat dog food? The subtle differences between dogs and cats can have a big impact on their dietary needs. Let's take a look at these differences:

Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

We often get asked, "Why can't I just give my dog and cat the same food?", or "My dog seems to like the cat's food better." "Can dogs eat cat food?" In the end, what you put in your dog's food bowl has a greater impact than you may think. Especially when you consider the fact that cats are obligate carnivores.

The short answer is no, dogs should not eat cat food as most of it is actually bad for dogs. 

If your dog has eaten a little bit of your cat's food, he'll be okay (assuming there are no allergies). However, if it is a regular habit and your dog is eating your cat's food as a main source of nutrients, then there may be some negative long-term effects such as weight gain.

Sure, dog and cat foods use similar meat ingredients and the ingredients may seem pretty close with similar protein and fat contents. There are some key differences between dog and cat foods that you may not notice from just reading the package. From protein content to its natural nutrients: here are the reasons dogs should avoid your cats bowl.

Dietary Differences of Dogs and Cats

Dogs Eat Cat Food

*There is an exception to this rule. If you are feeding a whole prey raw diet, then this diet is suitable for both dogs and cats. This type of meal is based on an ancestral carnivore diet, and provides all of the nutrients required by both cats and dogs. 

If you need help finding the right dog diet, check out What Should I Feed My Dog? A Beginner's Guide to Dog Food.

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Written by

Amy Dyck


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