Dogs and cats have completely different nutritional needs. While “food is food” to many people, this does not apply in the animal kingdom. Although most dogs can consume random foods at will, this is NOT the case for cats. Although dog food will not make healthy cats sick immediately, the lack of specific nutrients in dog food will eventually leave your cat feeling unwell.
In this guide, we will look at how dog food affects cats in the short and longer term.
- 1 Can Cats Eat Dog Food in an Emergency?
Can Cats Eat Dog Food in an Emergency?
Unless your cat has health problems, such as allergies and gastrointestinal issues, dog food is an acceptable emergency meal for a cat.
Let’s look at the most common questions about feeding your cat dog food:
- Can cats eat dog food for 1 or 2 days? If your cat is hungry and needs a meal, dog food is an adequate replacement in the short term.
- Will dog food make cats sick? If your cat is healthy, dog food should not pose any immediate health concerns. You should check how your cat reacts to consumption. The regular consumption of dog food should never become the new norm.
- Can dog food be mixed with cat food? If the textures are equal (or similar), dog and cat food should mix well together. This is likely one of the better solutions as this will ensure that your cat will get some of the nutrients that it needs for his or her diet.
- Can dog food be mixed with human food? Lean and unseasoned cuts of chicken, pork, and beef mixed with dog food can be a good option. Because cats need high levels of protein, fresh cuts of meat are far more beneficial to cats than dog food alone.
Also, here are some human foods that you should never feed a cat.
Is Dog Food Safe for a Cat’s Daily Meals?
Giving your cat dog food on a routine basis is not recommended.
While your cat may enjoy the taste and texture of specific dog food(s), meals that are intended for canines do not meet the precise nutritional needs of cats. Dog food is filling but not healthy for cats as it lacks several vital nutrients and vitamins.
If you own dogs and cats, you should never become lazy about the food you serve, especially if it is solely for money-saving reasons. For example, never buy cheap dog food as it will lead to a nutritional imbalance in the long run that will make your cat sick.
What Are the Differences Between Dog and Cat Food?
PetMD notes several specific nutrients that are missing from dog food that cats require.
These are as follows:
- Vitamin A is often absent in meals intended for dogs. Because a dog can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, the presence of vitamin A is not essential. However, cats need vitamin A in wet food. Going without this critical nutrient can be very harmful.
- All cats require the amino acid, taurine. Because dogs can produce taurine, it is more likely to be lacking in dog food. Without taurine, a cat can develop heart ailments.
- Dogs can produce arachidonic acid naturally while cats must ingest it through their meals.
- Cats should never eat dog food regularly because of the reduced amount of protein. Protein is essential for a cat’s diet, especially younger felines. Unfortunately, dog food does not meet the required percentage requirements. Cats are carnivorous and, without protein, will become physically weakened and feel unwell.
Heart ailments, vision problems, lethargy, oily fur, and hearing difficulties can arise from serving your cat a diet of dog food regularly. Large amounts of dog food in a single meal can also lead to diarrhea.
Can Cats Eat Dog Treats?
Cats can eat dog treats in emergency situations. Similar to dog food, dog treats can also conflict with a cat’s nutritional needs.
Never give your cat really hard dog treats. These are hard for your cat to chew and swallow.
Can You Make Your Own Cat Food?
Store-bought cat food, while healthy and tasty, can contain a lot of filler content and empty calories.
Catological stated that the primary benefit of preparing food for your cat at home is that you can customize meals and give your cat precisely what it needs for its diet.
Meat, bones, and organs are the three keys to preparing the best meals for your cat.
What is the Best Type of Dog Food for Cats?
For an emergency meal, the best selection is canned dog food. Containing over 70% liquid, your cat can stay well hydrated while also receiving a filling meal. Although the nutritional values are different, canned/wet food has more value than standard dry food.
Canned dog food that has a respectable amount of vitamin A and protein is also a bonus. By making a point to purchase these selections for your dog, you are also providing a sound emergency plan if you are out of cat food.
Let’s explore a trio of the top canned food brands that can translate well for your cat’s nutritional needs.
- Complete with 10% protein (potato protein) Blue Buffalo Wilderness Turkey & Chicken Grill Grain-Free Canned Dog Food is packed with vitamins as well as natural cuts of chicken and turkey. Described by Chewy.com as being “inspired by the diet of wolves” this product contains 78% liquid which is ideal for hydration.
- Containing 82% moisture and 8% protein, Evanger’s Grain-Free Hand Packed Chunky Chicken Casserole Dinner Canned Dog Food contains a vitamin A supplement. Containing fresh chicken and vegetables, this meal is a quality replacement for moist cat food.
- Nature’s Logic Canine Duck & Salmon Feast Grain-Free Canned Dog Food contains a robust 11% protein and 72% moisture. This canned item includes an assortment of vitamins and minerals as well as savory meats. It should be highly digestible for most cats.
Although these choices are of an upper scale price range, they are good options when making a canned selection. Protein, vitamins, and a high moisture percentage count are crucially important. Whether you purchase the selections above or find a similar style of a lower price, it is essential that you read the labels and find ingredients that mesh with your cat’s natural dietary needs.
- Ask around! Does your neighbor have a dog or a cat? If you are unable to supply food for your feline during an emergency, you should always ask your neighbors. There is a good chance that at least one car for an animal.
In addition to quality dog food, never underestimate the importance of low sodium chicken and beef broth. While cats are often picky when it comes to regular water, felines are more inclined to drink liquids that have flavor. If you are short of money, consider giving your pet a small amount of broth until you can provide the right type of meal.
- Add broth to dry dog food. Although you always need to be careful when attempting a DIY meal for your cat, mixing broth with dry dog food can change the consistency of the product just enough so your cat can receive a hydrating meal. If your emergency only requires a quick one-off meal, adding moisture to dry dog food is always an alternative.
How to Separate Dog and Cat Food in a Multi-Pet Household
If you have dogs and cats, it is possible that you’ll find your cat is eating from your dog’s bowl regularly.
Here are some steps that you can take to prevent that from happening:
- Feed your pets on a schedule and never place food down before meal time. Serve your dog(s) food and then take it away. Prepare food for your cat(s), serve it, and then remove it.
- If your animals enjoy eating food throughout the day, make it a point to provide a physical barrier. If you offer your animals distinct feeding locations, they will be less inclined to consume food that is not intended for them.
While some cats enjoy the taste and smell of dog food, most do not. If you have an adult or senior cat and dog that are roughly the same age, they will likely be put off by food that belongs to the other.
As a trial run, check how your cat responds to a bowl of dog food. If your cat does not attempt to eat it, you will know that it is unappealing.