Can My Dog Eat Cat Food or Not? [Answered]

Many new dog owners that already have a cat, usually come up with the question- whether their dog can eat their cat’s food or not? Is it safe to feed them with cat food? In which circumstances, cat food can be given to dogs? And what is the safe amount of cat food that a dog can eat?

Well, if you too have a dog and a cat, and looking for the answers to such questions, keep reading this post for detailed answers.

Dog Food vs Cat Food – Is there any difference?

Yes, there is a significant difference. Cat food has a higher amount of minerals, protein, fats, and vitamins which means it is higher in calories, the ingredients may be quite similar to dog food though. Cat food do also has fatty acids and essential amino acids such as taurine.

On the other side, dog food has a lower amount of protein, minerals, fats, and vitamins as they need a lower amount of calories.

Many pet parents admitted that their dogs have been fed cat food regularly and stayed healthy. But every dog is different and their response to other kinds of food may vary depending on their age, size, and various factors.

Related: Cat-Friendly Dog Breeds

Can Dog Eat Cat Food?

Well, in general, they can eat cat food as it is not harmful to them but overall, it doesn’t meet their dietary requirements. Cats are carnivores which means they only eat meat or we can say that they are totally non-vegetarian. While on the other side, dogs are omnivores which means they eat a variety of food including meat and vegetables. Hence, both of them have different digestive systems and they should be stick to the type of food made for them.

However, you can give cat food to your dog as occasional treats and not as permanent food. Or if you run out of dog food, you can give a limited portion of cat food to them. The best practice is to take the opinion of your veterinarian.

What happens if my dog regularly eats cat food?

Although it won’t harm them if they feed regularly on cat food, they would not be getting the right amount of nutrients. So, it may result in several conditions such as obesity, upset stomach, and pancreatitis. Also, cat food has higher protein levels which can affect the dog’s kidney and liver.

Still, there are certain cat food brands that may not be harmful to dogs even in a long run. But it is important to check their ingredients and ask your vet for the final decision.

In some circumstances, the vet may suggest giving your dog cat food. Wondering what are such circumstances? Keep reading.

Dogs can eat cat food safely when:

If the dog is losing its weight due to health-related issues such as cancer or heart diseases, the vet may suggest cat food that would provide more calories to your dog as compared to regular dog food. In many health conditions, dogs lose their appetite so intake of a small amount of cat food can fulfill their dietary needs. If suggested by your vet, you can get the desired cat food from a pet store or order online from a website such as

My Dog ate x Amount of Cat Food – What to do?

There are different circumstances and your reaction should be different depending on such circumstances. If your dog often eats cat food stealing from the cat’s bowl, that won’t harm your dog. If it has happened for the first time, it depends on how much they consumed, and a higher amount of cat food may lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you don’t know how much did your dog eat and is showing some discomfort, the best thing you can do is call your vet.

What are the Possible Side Effects & Risks of Cat Food on Dogs?

In the short run, there may not be significant side effects and risks if your dog eats in occasionally, and in a smaller amount. But if it eats it regularly, you should expect the following.

Pancreatitis – The high-fat diet could cause pancreatic inflammation in dogs which results in abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Obesity – Excessive and regular eating of cat food leads to obesity and the dog may gain weight quickly. Obesity can further lead to many serious health-related issues that you would not want your dog to develop.

Upset stomach – Eating too much cat food can cause an upset or irritated stomach in your dog due to a higher amount of fats. Due to this, the dog may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.

Can My Cat Eat Dog Food?

In general, it is not harmful to feed your cat dog food but it doesn’t provide enough amount of nutrients to cats. Hence, it may result in several health-related complications if you continuously feed them on dog food. If you run out of regular cat food and can’t arrange it soon, a combination of dog food and homemade highly nutrient food such as cooked beef, milk products, fish, and poultry byproducts would work.

Read: Homemade food for Dogs

My Dog Loves Cat Food – How to Stop Him?

First, change their meal timings or let them have their meals in different rooms and keep them separated when it’s time to eat. Also, keep the cat food on a higher surface so your dog could not reach it easily when you are away.

If you live in a smaller space where you can’t separate them during the meals, try to feed your cat on a higher place such as over the fridge or cupboard, etc.

Another good idea is to get a small crate for your cat that your dog cannot fit into, this way it would be difficult for your dog to steal food from your cat.


Dogs are supposed to eat dog food on a regular basis but in some circumstances, they may eat cat food. It is important to get an opinion from your veterinarian because some ingredients may be harmful to your dogs and it may be risky to feed them with cat food.

Recommended read – How to Take Care of Your Pets During Lockdown