Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

If you like pets, then there’s a good chance that you have at least one cat or dog at home.

Both the cat and dog are some of the best pets to adopt since they’re smart and playful by nature. If trained well, they can even become best friends and you’ll find them sharing toys, too!

But have you ever wondered if they can share food as well? Can cats eat dog food?


Although occasional eating of dog food won’t be dangerous to your cat, it could pose a danger to your cat’s health in the long run.

Remember that in order for your cat to grow healthy and strong, you need to be able to feed it with food that’s specifically formulated to give nourishment to cats. Cats have different nutritional needs from dogs so it’s not possible for your cat to get its nutritional needs from the food of your dog.

Read on for more.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food? A Summary

Cats shouldn’t eat dog food since cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements. Dog food doesn’t solve all of the nutritional needs of your cat.

If it’s an emergency, a little bit of dog food won’t hurt since your cat is pretty tough. But this practice shouldn’t be kept up for the long run.

What’s Included in Dog Food?

Both the cat food and dog food have different formulations and are made from different ingredients with different flavors. There are dog foods that are made specifically for certain breeds of dogs and foods that are specially made for dogs with a special diet.

Most dog foods are rich in beta-carotene, because this is crucial for the development of the dog. For senior dogs, beta-carotene is very important since it’s responsible for restoring the immune responses of dogs, which may have become weakened, as the dog gets older.

Furthermore, most dog foods are rich in fiber and vitamins and have much lower protein and fat compared to cat food. It’s because dogs have a tendency to gain weight fast when fed with high protein foods.

This is why dogs should not be eating foods designed for cats because these foods are usually high in protein and fats.

What’s Included in Cat Food?

Unlike the dog’s diet, a cat’s diet should be rich in fats and protein. Furthermore, the food must have less fiber. Felines require more vitamin A since they’re unable to metabolize this on their own.

Since most of the commercially-made cat food isn’t raw and doesn’t contain taurine and amino acids, which are essential for the cat’s health, these elements are added artificially during the production of food.


Taurine is essential to the overall health of cats, something that cat owners must never underestimate. If your pet cat is not getting enough taurine from its diet, you can expect for it to suffer from certain diseases.

Therefore, taurine is an important thing to consider when looking for food to feed to your cats.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Some pet owners feed their pets in the same bowl, which is why cats often end up eating the same food that dogs eat. There’s really no need to panic if you find out that your cat ended up eating some of the food that was meant for your dog.

The truth is that your cat’s health will not be in danger if it eats dog food. In the same way, your dog won’t get killed if it accidentally eats some of the cat food. However, if this becomes a common practice, your cat or dog could get sick eventually since they won’t be getting the nutrients their body needs in order to grow healthy and strong.

If you’ve been intentionally feeding your cat with dog food for a long period of time, make sure you keep a close watch of their behavior and overall physical wellbeing.

The moment you notice any signs of discomfort, such as diarrhea, vomiting, hair loss, or other issues, then take these as a sign of nutritional deficiency. If you don’t do something about it, this could lead to malnutrition, liver disease, and kidney failure that can be fatal to your pet.

cat eating dog food

What About Feeding in Emergency Cases?

There are situations where you’ll be left with no choice but to feed your cat with dog food. Perhaps, you’ve forgotten to buy their food or the store near you run out of this food.

In this case, you might probably be considering feeding your cat with dog food instead. There’s no harm in doing this. However, this should only be during emergency situations.

Intentionally feeding your cat with dog food isn’t recommended, especially for the long-term. As explained above, cats have different nutritional needs from dogs.

Your cat could miss out on the important nutrients that its body needs if you don’t feed it with the food that’s formulated for it.

And although it’s okay to feed your cat with dog food during emergencies, this isn’t really the best option. We recommend you prepare some homemade food instead. The food should be high in protein to satiate your pet’s hunger.

Feeding Time

If you’ve decided to adopt both a cat and a dog in your home, make sure that each animal is given the proper food that can give nourishment to their body.

Although there’s really no harm in feeding your cat with dog food during emergency situations when you run out of food for your cat, it won’t be a good idea for your cat to constantly snack on your dog’s food.

If you let it do this, it will feel full and won’t have the desire to eat the food that’s specially formulated for it.

If your cat has developed a habit of stealing the food of your dog, try to feed them away from each other. Monitor them as they eat their food. Sometimes, it’s the dog that steals the cat’s food. So, place the food bowl of your cat at a countertop that your dog cannot reach. This way, your cat can eat freely without getting disturbed by the dog.


Having a dog and a cat as pets is the dream of many pet owners. But before you decide to have both pets, you should understand their individual nutritional needs.

Make sure that your cat will be getting nourishment from the food that you feed it. It’s okay for your dog and cat to share toys and perhaps a bed and other things, but sharing food is not recommended.

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