Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

It's a silly question, right? But really, have you ever wondered—what would happen if Fluffy happened to take a couple nibbles out of Fido’s bowl? Would it be unsafe?

“A little snack from time to time on the family canine’s kibble might not hurt your feline friend, but she cannot live on dog food alone,” says Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan pet insurance. “The reason has to do with her body’s nutritional needs, which are vastly different from a dog’s. 

Cats are actually obligate carnivores, explains Dr. Benson, which means that they need to eat animal proteins in order to get certain nutrients for their bodies to function. “One of them is the amino acid taurine,” says Dr. Benson. “If they don’t get enough, cats can experience blindness, hair loss, tooth decay and debilitating heart conditions.” 

That all sounds scary, but if you feed your cat a balanced commercial diet, she’ll receive all the taurine she needs through the supplements that come in those foods. “However, dog food does not have any taurine added to it, because canine bodies naturally produce it,” said Dr. Benson. “So if your cat is only eating dog food, her taurine levels will drop, and she will become more and more susceptible to certain form of cardiac disease.”

Guess the better bet is to keep a couple extra cans of cat food around for emergencies.


Image: Ermolaev Alexander / via Shutterstock