Can cats eat dog food?

Some people believe that cats and dogs cannot be kept as pets together, but this is not true. With a little bit of patience and understanding, dogs and cats can coexist peacefully. It is crucial to remember that each animal has a unique personality. Therefore, it could take some time for them to get along.  However, once they do, they can make great companions.

Can Cats Eat DOG FOOD
Pet accessories, food, toy. Top view

Furthermore, if you have a cat and dog as pets, you might have caught your cat sneaking dog food from your dog. Also, sometimes we wonder, what if we feed dog food to cats to save some expenses? But Is it safe? Will it make a cat sick? Let’s find out!

Are dog foods safe to be eaten by cats?

There is no simple answer to this question, as various factors exist. In moderation, cats may consume some safe dog foods while avoiding others that may be harmful. Before giving your cat any dog food, it is imperative to consult your veterinarian. They can advise you on which foods are safe and which to avoid.

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Nutritional needs for cats

The dietary needs of cats differ from those of dogs and other animals. Compared to other animals, cats need more protein and fat. Additionally, they need fewer carbohydrates.

cat waiting to eat with dog

A diet that is heavy in animal proteins and fats and low in carbs is best for cats. Fish, steak, chicken, and turkey are excellent protein sources for cats. Cats can get enough fat from sources including beef fat, fish oil, and chicken fat. Thus, Carbohydrates should be limited in a cat’s diet.

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Difference between cat food and dog food nutritional needs

While cats and dogs are both beloved pets, as mentioned above, they have very different nutritional needs. This is because of differences in their digestive systems and metabolism. For example, cats require more protein than dogs since they are obligate carnivores.  

As a result, their bodies are designed to better process and utilize animal-based proteins. Dogs, on the other hand, can digest plant proteins more easily because they are omnivores.


There are some key differences between the vitamins required by cats and dogs. For example, cats require more vitamin A than dogs, while dogs need more vitamin B1. Cats also require more taurine than dogs. This is because taurine is essential for heart and eye health in cats, while in dogs, it helps with muscle function and digestion.

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The protein needs of dogs and cats differ significantly in several key ways. As obligate carnivores, cats must consume animal products to survive. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores and may ingest both plant and animal protein sources.

Compared to dogs, cats require more protein because their bodies are less adaptive at using plant-based proteins. Their smaller digestive systems and unique digestive enzymes are to blame for this. These factors make a diet rich in animal-based protein necessary for cats.

Although the amino acid profiles of these proteins vary, dogs can obtain most of their protein from animal and plant sources. Animal-based proteins typically include higher concentrations of some essential amino acids for cardiovascular health, such as taurine.

As a result, even while a dog’s food doesn’t necessarily need to contain as much protein as a cat’s diet, it’s still crucial to pick a protein source that will deliver all of the necessary amino acids.

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Dogs and cats consume drastically different amounts of calories. Dogs need a lot more calories than cats do. A 10-pound indoor dog, for example, requires 200 to 275 calories per day, while a 50-pound indoor dog requires 700 to 900 calories per day. A cat weighing 10 pounds, on the other hand, needs only 180–200 calories daily.

Another difference between cats and dogs is their activity level. Cats are relatively sedentary animals, while dogs can be quite active. This means that dogs require more calories than cats. When choosing a food for your pet, selecting one that meets their specific nutritional needs is important. Cat food will not contain the right mix of nutrients as dog food, and vice versa.

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Portion size

There is a significant difference in portion size in feeding cats and dogs. Since a cat’s stomach is considerably smaller than a dog’s, they require less total food intake. A good general rule of thumb when it comes to dry food is to give your cat 1/2 cup day, while a dog can have up to 3 cups daily. A cat needs about 3 ounces of wet food per day, whereas a dog can have up to 8 ounces.

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What food should cats eat?

There are a variety of opinions on what food cats should eat. Some people believe that cats should eat only meat, while others believe that cats should eat a mix of meat and vegetables. There is no right or wrong answer; ultimately, it is up to the owner to decide what food is best for their cat. However, some general guidelines should be followed when choosing food for a cat. 

Since, as we’ve mentioned many times, cats are obligate carnivores, they require animal protein to survive. This means that the base of their diet should be meat. However, some cats also enjoy eating vegetables, and there is no harm in giving them a small amount. When choosing meat for a cat, it is important to choose a high-quality option, free of hormones and antibiotics.

cat and dog Infront of food

What happens when a cat eats a large amount of dog food?

When a cat eats dog food, they may experience digestive issues since their stomachs are designed to digest a different type of food than dogs. Since dog food is typically higher in protein and fat than cat food, eating a higher amount can cause a cat to have:

  • digestion issues,
  • vomiting,
  • weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • poor coat condition
  • diarrhea
  • Choking due to larger kibble size.

Though a small amount is quite alright. In addition, dog food does not contain the necessary nutrients that cats need to stay healthy, so eating it regularly can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Cats cannot survive solely on dog food, and feeding dogs food can be dangerous. Dog food is deficient in vitamin A and taurine, nutrients cats require to live healthy lives. Dog food is also low in arachidonic acid and lacks the meat-protein levels that cats require.

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Why is dog food harmful to cats in the long run?

Cats need certain nutrients to stay healthy, and dog food does not provide them. In the long run, this can be hazardous for cats. Dogs can survive on a dog food diet, but cats will eventually develop health problems if they are solely fed dog food. The reason for this is that dogs and cats require different nutritional needs.

A higher calorie and fat content in dog food may also contribute to cat weight gain. This may ultimately result in obesity and other health issues.

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Can you feed dog food to your cat in an emergency?

In general, if given only once, dog food is not toxic to cats. If you ran out of cat food and forgot to buy some while at the market, it’s fine to feed your cat dog food, but only in small amounts.

Can cats get sick from eating dog food?

As previously stated, dog food is not harmful to cats, if it happens that your cat consumes some from your dog’s bowl, it’s okay. Small amounts, consumed once or twice, will not make your cat ill. However, if your cat eats a lot of dog food every day, it will suffer from malnutrition and might develop health issues.

girl embarcing cat and dog

A cat’s nutritional requirements differ from those of a dog. Cats’ bodies are built to digest meat and animal-based proteins. On the other hand, dogs are capable of digesting small amounts of carbohydrates. As a result, cats require higher protein diets with fewer carbohydrates than dogs. So, Dog food isn’t as nutritious for cats as it is for dogs.

So keep your pets’ meals separate to avoid any problems!

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I caught my cat eating dog food. What should I do?

 There is no need to be concerned if you catch your cat sneaking food from your dog. However, if this occurs frequently, you should be concerned. Because, as previously stated, dog food contains a high carbohydrate content, it may cause them to gain weight.

In the worst-case scenario, your cat may develop an allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients in the foods. Monitor their gastric symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, toilet habits, itching, and over-grooming. Contact your veterinarian if your cat exhibits any of these unusual symptoms.

How to prevent cats from eating dog food?

Having a cat and a dog as pets can be fascinating, but snacking on each other’s foods or snacks should not be encouraged. So, to prevent that, why don’t we try the alternatives below:

  • Keep an eye on your dog at mealtime or snack time to make sure your cat doesn’t sneak a bite.
  • Feed your cat at least twice daily, according to their calorie intake and nutritional needs, so they won’t try to sneak the dog food.
  • If your dog leaves food in its bowl, throw it away, so your cat doesn’t sneak it later.

Similarly, you can keep your cat from eating dog food by keeping it on a cupboard or shelf anywhere your cat won’t find it.


Why is dog food bad for cats in the long term?

As cats and dogs have different dietary needs, dog food contains more carbohydrates and less protein than cat food. Cats’ health can suffer as a result of eating dog food.

Can I feed dog food occasionally to my cat?

Occasionally should be fine. However, dog food should not be a substitute for cat food. So, cat foods should be the only option since cat food is specially formulated for a cat’s needs, including more protein and certain vitamins and fatty acids.

How many calories does a 10lbs healthy cat take?

A 10 lbs cat should take about 180-200 calories per day.

What should I do if my feline friend starts vomiting after he eats dog food?

If your cat starts to vomit, you should take him to the nearest vet as soon as possible.

What happens if a cat eats a large amount of dog food?

Cats may show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, poor condition of coats, and weakness.


Cats should not consume dog food on a regular basis because cats and dogs have different dietary needs. Cats require more protein in their food, whereas dog food contains very little protein with a high carbohydrate content, which does not fulfill the nutritional needs of cats.

As a result, if your cat consumes more dog food, it may be detrimental to his or her health. So, which brand of cat food should you choose? It should undoubtedly be from a cat food brand. Because it provides all of the nutritional benefits that the cat needs.

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Esme Watson
Esme Watson

Esme Watson, the founder of Cat Queries, is a passionate cat lover driven by a deep love for felines. Inspired by her own furry companions, Minnie and Mickey, Esme created a platform dedicated to empowering cat owners with comprehensive and reliable information on feline health and behavior.

Cat Queries combines Esme's personal experiences with expert insights, offering a valuable resource that caters to all aspects of cat care. This inclusive approach fosters a welcoming community for cat lovers, making Cat Queries a trusted source for information, support, and guidance. Ultimately, Esme's mission is to enrich the lives of both cats and their human companions through knowledge and understanding.

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