Can cats eat dog food? It’s the opposite? Veterinarian responds – Animal Life

Dogs and cats can become true friends, even sharing meals, but that’s not always a good thing (Photo: Flickr/ Scott 97006/ CreativeCommons)

What many may see as that cartoon rivalry, in practice, we see the increase of dogs and cats in harmonious coexistence. With this close coexistence, it is difficult to prevent the dogs from having access to the cat’s food and vice versa. But should we be concerned about that?

Dogs and cats have differences in their nutritional needs. In general, felines need their food to contain some nutrients that do not necessarily need to be in the dog’s diet. In addition, the ideal amount is also different: for many nutrients, cats need their food to be more concentrated than that of dogs.

Here are some nutrients that should appear differently in the diet of these species:

Protein: Cats need more than dogs, mainly because their protein-breaking metabolism is more active.

Taurine: is an amino acid (a protein particle) that cats cannot produce and is essential for the functioning of the heart, vision and liver, that is, it has to be in the food. Dogs, in general, are able to manufacture taurine within their own bodies, so their diet does not necessarily need to contain this amino acid – as long as it contains the nutrients used for this synthesis.

Arachidonic acid: it is a type of fat that is only present in products of animal origin, it is one of the nutrients that most limits a cat from becoming vegetarian or vegan.

Vitamin A: while dogs can produce vitamin A from carotenoids such as β-carotene (a component present in vegetable ingredients such as carrots), cats cannot, that is, vitamin A must be ready in the diet, in animal products or in suitable supplements.

Cats are harmed when they eat dog food, due to a lack of nutrients (Photo: Flickr/Avinash Gamerboy/CreativeCommons)

Cats are harmed when they eat dog food, due to a lack of nutrients (Photo: Flickr/Avinash Gamerboy/CreativeCommons)

Cats also have metabolic peculiarities. Thus, when the inversion of feeding from dogs to cats and vice versa occurs, the most harmed is the feline, which may be receiving feed with a lack of some nutrients.

Kittens can develop various cardiac, ophthalmic, liver and muscle changes if they receive exclusively dog ​​food, especially low quality ones. It is worth noting that many dog ​​foods are produced in a way that meets the nutritional needs of both species. As for dogs, when consuming cat food, the concern would be with the intake of high amounts of some nutrients.

In practice, dogs that replace part of their food with cat food or cats with dog food, if it happens occasionally, in small amounts, starting from high quality food, will not have any losses. If this happens all the time, the biggest concern will be with the feline. The ideal is to choose foods suitable for each species, always accompanied by the indication of the veterinarian.

Fabio Teixeira, veterinarian and founder of the Brazilian Society of Nutrition and Nutrology of Dogs and Cats, is a columnist for Vida de Bicho (Photo: Disclosure)

Fabio Teixeira, veterinarian and founder of the Brazilian Society of Nutrition and Nutrology of Dogs and Cats, is a columnist for Vida de Bicho (Photo: Disclosure)

Fabio Teixeira is a veterinarian and founder of the Brazilian Society of Nutrition and Nutrology of Dogs and Cats. The specialist also founded NutricareVet, a veterinary company related to animal nutrition, and gives specialization courses.

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