Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy dog wants to eat the cat's food instead of her own food. Is cat food harmful to dogs? (monica rogers - Arkansas)

Answer

Many dogs prefer to eat cat food if given the chance because generally its higher in fat, which usually means its more appealing to the dog. If your dog is eating the cat's food in addition to her own, she will begin to become overweight and obviously your cat will lose out. Since many cat owners allow their cats to eat throughout the day this is a fairly common problem. It is highly unlikely that any direct harm will come to your dog from eating cat food, but remember that cat and dog food are specifically formulated for their species' needs. In particular, cat foods normally have higher quantities of protein, fat and fiber on a weight per weight basis and have less filling effect. Therefore, it is possible that your dog's general health could be affected if he were to eat only cat food over a long period of time.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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Added on June 10th, 2010
My experience with fatty food if eaten by any animal can contribute to liver conditions i.e. caused in part to shunts disease. My 5 pound affenpinscher/yorkie was diagnosed this possibility. Without surgery, prescribed oral medication including (researched) homeopathic milk thistle - which after 1.5 years of muscle atrophy and vet prescribed "steriods" for a very short time and infrequent (my choice due to his frailty) - found to put pounds on - healthy strong muscle!