Should cats eat dog food? Many people wonder about this question since many cat owners also have dogs. There are a few reasons why cat owners consider feeding their cats dog food:
1. Dog food is usually significantly cheaper than cat food.
2. Many cat owners have seen their cats stealing dog food and are confused if the food is right for their cats.
3. Dog treats come in more varieties and are usually readily available at most stores. Certain cat treats such as dental treats may not always be available at some stores.
So is it ok for cats to eat dog food? The answer to that question is simple: cats should not be fed off dog food because felines and canines have very different dietary needs, but a few nibbles from the dog's dish won't do any harm.
Many foods are attractive to cats. It could be the flavor or aroma of the food that triggers them to chow on it or there are certain ingredients in the food that are extremely appetizing to cats. However, tasty food does not always equate to healthy, nutritious food. It is like human snacks that are often made of grease and salt or sugar. Potato chips and brownies are not the healthiest choices but they are surely tempting to a lot of people. Similarly, cats may not have a sweet tooth, but they can develop cravings for certain foods that are not necessarily healthy to them.
Cats are obligate carnivores that need much more protein than dogs do. This means cats need meat to sustain their life. Dogs on the other hand are omnivores, like humans, that can consume a lot of non-protein foods such as vegetables or fruits. Cats cannot digest those foods very well if they consume an excessive amount. A little bit of dog food will not do any harm, but it will have very little nutritional value for your cats. Cats may even be able to survive on dog food, but they will lack certain nutrients such as taurine (amino acid) which is essential to cats.
Cats' liver is constantly working at a high enzyme activity which is perfect for a high protein diet. Unlike cats, dogs and humans are able to lower their liver enzyme activity when they consume low protein foods. Also, cats are not equipped with the ability to break down the cell walls of vegetables and extract the nutrients from a plant.
As long as cat owners make sure that their cats' main meal is cat food instead of dog chow, it should be OK.