Can a dog eat cat food? This is a question that many pet owners tend to have, especially when living with both at home.
When they eat each other’s food or make mistakes when buying their food, these are situations that make us question whether this exchange can harm animals.
To solve this dilemma and help you better select your pets’ food, we have listed some reasons to avoid this exchange, the effects it can cause and what to do to prevent it. Keep reading and check it out!
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Can a dog eat cat food and vice versa?
Dogs and cats are the preferred pets by Brazilians, but they are distinct and very different species from each other, where dogs despite having a constitution and a carnivorous descent, today after domestication and evolution with man have become metabolically omnivorous, where it makes good use of carbohydrate digestion, and cats are considered restricted carnivores, so the nutritional needs are also different between both species.
So cat food is a food not suitable for the dog and the opposite is also true, as the food for each pet is made with specific nutrients for its species.
Among several differences, for example, dog food usually contains less protein than cat food, because cats use more of these nutrients because they have a more carnivorous diet.
This is in line with the December 2018 Nutrition Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Dog and Cat Food (FEDIAF).
For example, in the case of cats, she advises that the minimum percentage of fat, for dry matter (DM), is 9 g every 100 g, that is, 9%. This goes for breeding, growing or maintaining animals.
The minimum amount of protein fluctuates from 25% The 33.30% (for 100 g de MS) depending on the condition of the animal, that is, if it is an adult, whether it is breeding or growing and according to its maintenance energy requirement (NEM).
To keep adult dogs, the recommended minimum fat content in dry food is 5.5 g every 100 g or 5.5%. For those that are growing or reproducing, the minimum is 8.5%. In the case of proteins, the orientation varies from 18% The 25% depending on the condition of the dog.
Another important difference is that the food of dogs has more components of plant origin than that of cats, that is to say a greater amount of carbohydrates that in the cat can be converted into adipose tissue (fat), and dogs use it as an energy source of ready to use.
What effects can this exchange have on animals?
This change in food can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and, if it is continuous, nutritional imbalances in pets. The dog can gain more weight and become obese, since cat food tends to have more energy.
You will even have a greater chance of developing diseases linked to obesity, such as diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, premature aging, etc.
What to do to prevent them from eating each other’s food?
There are precautions you can take to prevent your pets from changing their food, such as:
- hinder each other’s access to food. For example, placing the bowl with the cat food in higher places, where the dog does not reach easily. If there are environments in which one of them does not enter, then it may be a good idea to place the feed of the other there;
- train the two to get used to only their rations;
- seek different types of food that are tasty and of good quality for both, because a bad ration can cause one of them to venture into his colleague’s plate. On the other hand, the ideal food, of their preference, tends to make them eat what is indicated to them and avoid the exchange of food;
- Keep your dishes always clean, as both species appreciate hygiene, especially cats; keep your food packaged correctly and closed so that there is no loss of aromas and organoleptic characteristics and do not miss the food.
Why is it important to give only the right foods to dogs and cats?
It is essential to give the recommended foods to dogs and cats because, as seen, they contain the nutrients that these animals need, such as vitamins, proteins, minerals, among others.
Another important point is that cats need more attention in relation to the water ingested, as they tend to have more kidney and urinary problems. Sometimes the owners give wet food in these cases.
However, if he eats the dog’s, due to the metabolic effects, the likelihood of developing kidney problems, kidney stones, will increase. So be careful, you need to avoid that.
As seen, understanding if a dog can eat cat food and vice versa is important for those who want to provide a healthier life for their furry companions.
If you want this, be careful when purchasing food from both and avoid them deciding to “share” their rations for their own well-being.
In addition to not changing the rations, it is important to choose the type of food you will give to your animal companion. When accessing and reading our basic guide to feeding your pet, you will see tips for providing a balanced food and choosing the ideal food for him!