Is it Dangerous for Cats to Eat Dog Food?

Is it Dangerous for Cats to Eat Dog Food

It could be a struggle to keep cats out of dog food and dogs out of cat food. This scenario is not uncommon in households that are occupied by both dogs and cats.

There is no immediate danger in letting your cats eat dog food once in a while, especially when you’ve run out of cat food and all pet stores are closed, or in case of emergencies.

However, it is unhealthy to feed your cat a dog’s diet on a daily basis. There’s a reason why cat foods and dog foods are labeled as such.

Each diet is catered to the need of each species; therefore, a dog’s diet may lack the essential nutrients needed for a cat to thrive. 

What kind of nutrients do cats need that are not found in dog foods?

1. Protein

The protein content of dog foods will not meet a cat’s daily protein requirement. Cats require a higher amount of protein because cats are strict carnivores, whereas dogs are omnivores.

Cats break down protein into amino acids which gives them energy and supports the overall function of their body.

This process could be disrupted if there are not enough proteins and amino acids, which could cause lethargy and other health problems.

2. Vitamin A

Dogs can get by without a supply of Vitamin A as their bodies can metabolize beta-carotene and transform it to become a type of Vitamin A.

Therefore, dog foods are not formulated to contain enough Vitamin A, making it an inadequate diet for cats. Lack of Vitamin A in cats could lead to weight loss, poor appetite, and halted growth.

3. Taurine

Dog foods have insufficient amounts of Taurine because their bodies can produce it on its own. If a cat will feed on dog food for a long period of time, it would lead to heart problems and vision impairment.

Unlike dogs, a cat’s body cannot produce enough Taurine. Cat foods are their only source of taurine which is why it is necessary that they eat only cat food.

4. Arachidonic Acid

Arachidonic Acid is another essential nutrient that a dog’s body can produce and cats cannot.

Cats need this to ensure proper growth, while pregnant cats need this throughout their pregnancy and in nursing their young.

The structure of a cat’s dietary requirements developed from their original nature as absolute carnivores. Cats cannot thrive on an omnivore’s diet because they have very little need for fiber and a huge need for meat.

Most of the nutrients they need can only be found in animal tissue, which is why their diet is composed mainly of animal meat.

In case you have a dog and a cat at home, feed them in separate rooms or far away from each other so that they won’t have the chance to switch meals.

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