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Can dogs eat cat food?

Can dogs eat cat food?

“Dogs eat. Cats dine” - Ann Taylor

It’s a common question among pet owners; can I feed my dog cat food? The short answer is yes! Cat food is not toxic togs and is actually nutritionally balanced to sustain them long term, containing all the nutrients that dogs need to survive. However, as with everything in life there are some stipulations. There may be a few things that you want to consider before switching your dog over to a 100% feline diet.

We have dinner together  dog cat eating stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

High fat and protein

Cat food is incredibly enticing to dogs so it is not unheard of to have a dog break into your cat’s food and eat a little more than they should. The reason that dogs like the taste of cat food so much is because of the high protein and fat content. Compared to dog food, cat food typically contains 20-50% more protein and fat than dog food. This is because cats have a higher protein and fat requirement than dogs do. As a result, this means that cat food is very palatable to dogs and they will be more likely to eat cat food over their own dog food if it is offered.

Unfortunately, the extra fat and protein in cat food can cause some health issues in dogs if fed incorrectly long term. Just like a human eating fast food for every meal, eating a high fat diet everyday for a dog can come with some complications. 

Obesity is an epidemic in the companion animal world. Veterinarians estimate that at least 50% of adult dogs are classified as obese after assessment. This is a major problem as obesity is a precursor for a number of serious health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Overweight pets are much more predisposed to have chronic diseases like arthritis and other joint problems. Obesity can also significantly reduce a dog’s life span by as much as 2 years. If pet owners do not account for the increase in their dog’s daily calorie intake from the extra fat in cat food, they can be putting their dog at risk for becoming obese.

If your dog has more of a sensitive tummy, the extra fat and protein in cat food could also cause some gastrointestinal issues. Simply put, if your dog is not used to this type of diet, it could cause some digestive irritation and inflammation. As a result, your dog may experience an upset tummy and have some vomiting and diarrhea. If prolonged, this could progress into something more serious like gastroenteritis or even pancreatitis. High protein can also be hard on your dog’s kidneys and liver as well.


Due to the fact that cat food typically contains more meat than dog food, it tends to cost a lot more as well. On average, cat food costs 71% more per kilogram than dog food. Protein ingredients are the most expensive component of any pet food diet so it makes sense that cat food will be slightly pricier. If you want to save some cash and still feed your dog a healthy diet, opt for dog food instead.

Try fresh cooked dog food

If your dog is a picky eater and prefers cat food because of the extra protein, consider feeding them fresh cooked food. At Kabo, a certified companion animal nutritionist formulates all our recipes to ensure they are nutritionally balanced for dogs. One of the great benefits of fresh food is that it is more palatable to picky dogs than traditional dog kibble. All of Kabo’s freshly cooked recipes contain more than 30% protein (on a dry matter basis) and are gently cooked to preserve moisture and nutrients. It will have any dog licking their bowl clean and begging for more!

Flat lay of Kabo savoury beef recipe with fresh human grade ingredients displayed around

Spaniel licking its lips with a bowl of kibble in front of it, while a kitten lays beside it
Spaniel licking its lips with a bowl of kibble in front of it, while a kitten lays beside it

View Sources

Aldrich, Gregory C., and Kadri Koppel. "Pet food palatability evaluation: a review of standard assay techniques and interpretation of results with a primary focus on limitations." Animals 5, no. 1 (2015): 43-55.

AKC. 2021. “Can dogs eat cat food?”.,Pancreatitis%20requires%20immediate%20veterinary%20care

Michel, Kathryn E. "Unconventional diets for dogs and cats." Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice 36, no. 6 (2006): 1269-1281.

Lund, Elizabeth M., P. Jane Armstrong, Claudia A. Kirk, and Jeffery S. Klausner. "Prevalence and risk factors for obesity in adult dogs from private US veterinary practices." International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine 4, no. 2 (2006): 177.

Bland, I. M., A. Guthrie-Jones, R. D. Taylor, and J. Hill. "Dog obesity: owner attitudes and behaviour." Preventive veterinary medicine 92, no. 4 (2009): 333-340.

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February 20, 2024
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