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Food & Diet

Can I Give Cat Food To My Dog?

At A Glance

Dogs can safely eat cat food in very limited portions and only once in a while.

Too much cat food or a cat-food-only diet can cause major health problems in dogs and must be avoided.

Last Updated on: Feb 22, 2022

Contrary to what cartoons like Garfield and popular culture have told us, dogs and cats can coexist. In fact, when introduced to each other properly, they can be each other’s best friends.

But if you’ve already introduced your pet to life with another animal, you may have also noticed feeding time has gotten more complicated. As many dog owners who have cats as well will tell you, some dogs absolutely love cat food.

So, should you be worried if your dog eats cat food? Well, slightly you should. Still, the answer is far more complicated than that. That’s why we’ve written this piece about if I can give cat food to my dog.

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dog and cat eating

Can My Dog Eat Cat Food?

Technically, yes, dogs can eat cat food. However, your dog should not and cannot eat a lot of cat food. This is because cat food isn’t designed for dogs, so they may not be getting the nutrition they need by eating the wrong type of food.

But if your dog jumps into your cat’s food bowl every now and then, you won’t have to worry too much about anything bad happening.

That said, your cat may not like it if your dog violates their space and eats their food. For certain cats, this could mean significant conflict, and the last thing you want is for your cat and dog to be at loggerheads with each other.

So, to stay on the safe side, we recommend keeping your dog away from cat food. Instead, if your dog seems to prefer cat food, we recommend experimenting with different types and brands of dog food to find the one that perfectly fits your pet’s preferences.

If you want more information on the differences between dog and cat food, you can check out this article on the Spot & Tango website.

What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Much Cat Food?

A bit of cat food won’t harm your dog. In fact, since cat food is higher in fat and protein, it could be a fun once-in-a-while treat. However, if your dog eats too much cat food, the following health problems can arise:

Gastrointestinal Upset

Cat food isn’t designed for dogs. So, there may be some ingredients in the food that won’t agree with your dog’s stomach. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you should keep them away from cat food at all costs.

Too much cat food can result in your dog developing diarrhea, vomiting, and different GI issues that would need veterinary attention.

Pancreatitis and Obesity

One of the main reasons cat food is very enticing to dogs is that it’s high in fat and has a rich aroma. While this higher fat content can result in a healthier life for your cat, it can result in the opposite for your canine companion.

If your dog has too much cat food or eats it on a regular basis, it can gain a lot of weight and develop obesity and other conditions such as pancreatitis.

These are just two examples, but there are more health issues that can be caused by dogs eating cat food. Contact your vet if you see something unusual.

cat food in a plate

Why Does My Dog Eat Cat Food?

You might be wondering why? Why does your dog keep sneaking into the cat’s bowl?

For starters, it could indicate that your dog doesn’t like their current food. Dog food can be bland. Meanwhile, cat food has a meatier aroma than a lot of dog food brands and offers a taste that might sit better in your dog’s palate.

For many dogs, bland food is a non-issue. However, there are a lot of canines who are picky eaters, and if they don’t like their current food, they may try to steal some food from your cat.

On top of that, dogs are just snooping animals. If they smell cat food and are interested in it, there’s a high chance that they will try eating it.

So, to keep your dog from stealing your cat’s food, we recommend finding the right type of food for your dog.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands and flavors until you find the right option that fits your dog’s tastes and needs.

Also Read: Human Foods That Dogs Can Eat

dog standing next to his food bowl

Dogs are curious and they will eventually sneak a bite of cat food when you are not paying attention. Plus, cats are territorial. In all likelihood, they will shove the dog away, showing your canine that it’s their bowl and their food.

Nonetheless, cat food isn’t designed for dogs, so you should make sure never to feed them too much of it. Find a dog food that perfectly fits your dog’s tastes so they won’t be interested in your cat’s meal.

You can also rearrange the cat and the dog bowls to make sure your dog can’t reach their feline companion’s food.


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.