It’s late at night, all the stores are closed, you came home late from work and you forgot that you ran out of your pup’s favorite food. The growling stomach of your puppy might make you feel like the worst pet owner ever, but then you remember that you have some cat food stored for your feline friend’s late night snacks. But, can you feed your dog cat food in an emergency like this? Will something horrible happen to him, or will he be okay?
We admit it is very hard to look at the hungry eyes of a beloved dog and leave him famished until the morning comes, but is the right choice to give it cat food in an emergency? Let’s find out!
Cat vs Dog Food
Essentially, dog food and cat food look very similar, right? Almost everyone would agree with this statement, however, it is important to note that there are quite a lot of differences between these two. Since cats are primarily carnivores, that means that they need to eat meat, and that meat should be the main food source for them. On the other hand, dogs are considered to be carnivores as well but lean more to the omnivorous side, which means that they need to be fed a diet with more fiber than carnivorous animals such as cats.
Dogs generally love cat food, and perhaps this is due to the higher protein content in it, coming from a larger amount of meat. However, just because your pup loves to munch on your feline friend’s food, that doesn’t mean that we should allow him to do it all the time. Just like you wouldn’t eat ice cream for every meal, as it does not meet your daily needs, a dog should not eat something he likes just because he likes it. However, eating tasty food occasionally will not hurt us, and most certainly won’t hurt your dog.
Note that, even though dogs are mostly considered to be carnivorous, too much protein can have bad effects on their kidneys and their lives. Since kidneys flush out extra protein from the body, ingesting too much can actually overburden them and cause them to malfunction.
According to Dr. Crowell-Davis, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, some dogs can have serious problems when they eat cat food since most canines are not built to eat a high protein diet that cats do. What does this mean? Some dogs can experience various stomach issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, but others may not have any problems at all.
Does this mean that cat food will kill your dog? Definitely not, however, if you notice that your dog is vomiting or having diarrhea, or any other issues, make sure not to feed it cat food again.
Why Is Cat Food Bad for Dogs?
Okay, so now we know that it is not the end of the world if you feed your dog cat food once or twice in an emergency. However, we should reflect on the fact that dogs tend to like cat food more than food made specifically for them. Usually, the commercial dog food of good quality is nutritionally complete and balanced to meet your dog’s daily nutritional needs. It has a leveled amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
On the other hand, cat food contains high amounts of protein and fat, which may seem enticing for a dog, and that is why they generally tend to smash in the kitty food when it is presented to them. However, it is important to remember that dogs need a balance of carbs and protein and that the high amounts of fat contained in cat food can lead to a myriad of issues, one of which is obesity. Other issues may include some gastrointestinal ailments such as pancreatitis, which can be deadly!
Pancreatitis is a serious issue and it has to be treated. Look for these symptoms and if you suspect that your dog has it, take him to the vet immediately. Signs of pancreatitis include, but are not limited to vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, appetite loss, fever, hunched back, weakness, and distended abdomen. Do not hesitate to contact the vet as this can save your puppy’s life!
What Can I Do Instead?
If you are really in a sticky situation and your fridge is empty, then yeah, by all means, give your pooch some cat food. However, if you have some essential items in your kitchen, you can make a tasty meal for your dog which will hold him until the morning when you can get more dog food.
To make a nice filling meal for your best friend with paws, you will need some meat, such as poultry which should be cooked, boneless, and skinless, beef, lean and cooked, or canned meat, which you have to rinse well and remove the excess sodium (bad for dogs).
Then you will need to add some other ingredients to complete the meal. Opt for cooked pasta, cooked rice, quinoa, or couscous, all free of any spices, cooked oatmeal, always plain, not packaged sugary and flavored, cooked farina, multi-grain cereal, plain tomato sauce, and various veggies.
Avoid giving your dog fried, high-fat, greasy, salty, sugary, and processed foods, stay away from onions and garlic, and do not give him bacon as it is too high in sodium. Also, do not give your dog spicy food or milk, grapes, or raisins.
It is, however, completely fine to give him some de-seeded apples or pears, strawberries, carrots, broccoli, and cooked potatoes. Cooked egg whites are also fine, as well as mild cheeses, not high in sodium.
Additionally, if you have a cat and a dog, prevent him from raiding your kitty’s food bag by placing it somewhere where he cannot reach it, such as a cupboard. Cat food is safe in moderation, as an occasional snack, but it should not be something your dog should eat daily. Watch out for the signs of obesity and do not let your puppy get too fat because of something preventable.