If your home has both canine and feline members, you may have noticed that your dog tries to steal a nibble or two of your cat’s food. Some people think kibble is kibble and it doesn’t matter if they share their food, but feline kibble and canine kibble is formulated differently.
Cats are known carnivores, while dogs are omnivores, so cat food has a much higher protein content and less fiber than dog food. This difference can affect the taste and dogs seem to be drawn to the protein-rich food, like junk food cravings.
Can it be dangerous for dogs to eat cat food and cats to eat dog food? Some dogs won’t be affected while others will have diarrhea or even vomiting, depending on how much was ingested. Dogs need a balanced diet and eating too much protein can cause liver and/or kidney damage. Even if your dog does not get sick from eating cat food, you should try to limit his access to it. If you can’t feed your cat in an area that your dog can’t access, then you need to teach your dog the “Leave it” command, and teach him to stay away from the cat’s food.
For your cat, dog food lacks two essential nutrients felines need, taurine and arachidonic acid. Taurine is essential for your cat’s heart health. While arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, plays a role in maintaining your cat’s skin, coat and renal function.
In the end, pet owners should feed their dogs and cats a healthy, well balanced food for that species of animal.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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