Why your Cats Should Not Eat Dog Food
When it comes to being a responsible pet parent, one of the most important things to get right is your pet’s nutrition. Ensuring that your pet eats healthy, balanced diet is essential, as the food that they eats should contain the energy, essential fats, protein, vitamins and minerals that they need if they are to grow and develop correctly, and live a long and active life.
If you have both a dog and a cat, it’s not uncommon for your pets to steal food from one another. Dogs in particular are extremely unfussy about what they eat, chowing down on virtually anything they can find, whether technically edible or not! While snacking on one another’s meals once in a while shouldn’t do your pet any harm, regularly eating the wrong diet could start to compromise on the health and happiness of your pet.
What is in dog food that makes it bad for cats?
Pet foods are specially formulated for the variety of pet that they are aimed at. Therefore, the type and quantity of ingredients used in dog food are specifically chosen because they provide the best combination of nutrients for canines – not cats. It is for this reason that you should always choose a brand and variety of food that is designed and marketed for your type of pet.
What are the differences in the nutrition required for dogs and cats?
Many people mistakenly believe that dogs and cats share the same basic nutritional requirements. However, it may surprise you to know that while dogs are omnivores, and have a digestive system that can handle grains and vegetables as well as meat, your cute kitty has a much more sensitive stomach.
Here are just some of the key nutritional differences between dogs and cats.
- Cats are actually carnivorous in nature, meaning that they are heavily reliant on meat and protein in order to remain healthy. This means that the majority of their diet should be meat based.
- Felines require a specific amino acid, called taurine. Unfortunately, unlike dogs, they are unable to make this acid themselves. Instead they are reliant on getting a sufficient amount of taurine through their diet, and virtually all feline food brands include this within their nutritional targets.
- Cats need a different form of Vitamin A than dogs do. This is because they do not have the enzymes needed to break down plant-produced cartotenoids, such as those found in carrots or kale. Instead, cats rely on getting Vitamin A through the meat that they eat (which previously belonged to an animal that already processed and converted the vitamin to its ‘live’ form!).
- Arginine is an essential amino acid that aids the elimination of protein waste products – crucial for animals with a primarily meat-based diet. While dogs can deal with low levels or arginine, and can even produce enzymes that aid its’ production, cats are extremely sensitive to even one meal that is low in arginine. They are also unable to make their own.
The size and consistency of your pet’s food is also important
Another huge difference between cat and dog food is the size and consistency of the meals. Cats have sharp teeth that are designed for snatching, gripping and tearing apart the flesh of its prey. This is normally done into small, mouthful sized morsels that your cat can easily swallow whole. This is important because cats do not have molars, meaning that they have no way of grinding and chewing their food before swallowing it.
Cat food is prepared and sold in small, manageable pieces, and is most often wet or moist, allowing it to be easily swallowed. By comparison, dog kibble is much larger, drier and harder to swallow whole. In fact, if your cat chooses to try and eat dog food, she is likely to put herself at risk of choking.
These represent just some of the reasons why your cats shouldn’t eat dog food. Don’t let your kitty get near your dog’s dinners, instead make sure she has a separate space and time for her meals. By getting your furry friend’s diet right, you can help to ensure that she has a long, happy and healthy future with your family. Contact us for more information.