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As different as dogs and cats are in general, so are their nutritional needs. It’s not a problem if the cat accidentally eats the dog’s food. But if your cat eats dog food regularly, this habit can cause serious health problems. Avoid it in any form.
The need for protein and fat
For example, cats need a higher daily percentage of protein than dogs. Cat food contains at least 25% protein, while dog food contains at least 18%. Over time, if the cat receives dog food, it will receive less protein, the development of bones and muscles will be compromised, and her fur will look increasingly untended.
Cats also need a higher percentage of good fats in their food than dogs. Cats need fatty fish and the fat that white poultry meat contains, while dogs have lower animal fat needs.
Basically, cats need to receive their own specific food, and of course, high-quality food. And rightly so as cats need a protein-rich food with enough taurine because they can’t produce it on their own. Dogs, on the other hand, can produce taurine on their own, but they do not tolerate protein as well and need high-CARB food. At the same time, dog food contains too little taurine for the cat’s needs, which could cause nutritional deficiencies. Taurine is especially important for the health of cats because their liver cannot synthesize it alone. The reason is that the enzymes responsible for converting to taurine are not very active in cats. This amino acid must be supplemented by food.
If the cat eats dog food frequently, it ends up with considerable nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies can be manifested by problems with the hair, the cat’s fur becoming wrinkled, or problems with its vision. At worst, it can lead to retinal degeneration, an irreversible disease that can blind the cat in the long run.
Cats are carnivores, dogs are omnivores
Animal proteins are found in large quantities in meat and fish products. Vegetables, on the other hand, are rich in carbohydrates. Dog food contains a higher proportion of vegetables, while cat food usually contains fish. For this reason, dog food does not cover all the needs of the cat, it contains too many carbohydrates due to the relatively high concentration of vegetables. At the same time, the concentration of protein in dog food is too low for feline carnivores.
How to stop a cat from eating dog food?
It helps if you feed cats and dogs separately. That is, in different rooms or at least in different corners of the room.
You can try to distract your cat from dog food by playing with her while your dog is eating. Cats usually do not find dog food appetizing. So, in most cases, this is not even a problem.
You can prevent your cat and dog from eating from each other’s bowls by feeding the animals at different times. This way you can see what is happening more easily and intervene if necessary. In the end, this is the only way to intervene when the cat eats dog food. Of course, an important aspect is that the cat and dog understand from the beginning that they need to eat only from their own bowls.
Another proven option is to provide them with food for a limited period of only 15 minutes. Put the bowl in front of the dog and take it after this period. This way the dog learns that he has to eat in the given time, and the cat will not have anything left in the dog bowl.
Knowing how hungry dogs are, this is not really necessary, because the dog usually eats everything in the bowl quickly anyway. So, the cat has little chance of tasting the dog’s food leftovers.
What should I consider when buying cat food?
For the health and well-being of the cat, as well as for it to have a long life with you, it is necessary to provide it with high-quality food. Choose only food that contains ingredients necessary for the feline’s health and without substances that can harm them.
By the way, you can recognize high-quality food based on how accurate the information on the label is. Beware of ambiguous information, such as “animal products”. The terms “animal products”, “fish products”, “dairy products” and “cooked products” are euphemisms for leftovers resulting from food production for humans. In the worst case, cat food with such a label may contain leftovers from the butcher’s shop, including blood, urine, and claws of animals.
Just as you care about the origin of the food on your plate, it is also recommended to check which unappetizing components may hide behind certain names in cat or dog food, especially because they could harm the animal. Among other things, check if the food contains hidden sugar. So, if you love your cat, pay attention to the information on the label.
Perhaps you interpret it as a sign of friendship between the two that the cat eats dog food. They get along like brothers and want to share their food. However, it is your responsibility to take care of the health of the two. There is nothing more beautiful than a dog and cat living together in harmony, completing their differences in a wonderful way, and when the cat and dog sit side by side neatly on the carpet or on the couch after eating from separate bowls. Because as different as they are when they eat, dogs and cats agree that sleep is the second most beautiful thing in the world. After the food, of course.
Cats and dogs are different species and therefore require different levels of macronutrients and micronutrients. Cats need more protein, fat, certain minerals, and vitamins than dogs. For better and more balanced nutrition, it is recommended to feed your pet food intended for him and not try to make savings by feeding him products that do not suit him.
Take measures to prevent your cat from finding dog food by keeping the food at hand. Avoid feeding all pets in the house at any moment of the day and pick up the bowls with leftovers from the floor.