Can My Dog Eat Cat Food?

Dog and cat snuggled up together in the grass

I’ve munched on cat food before. Tasted pretty good, and I feel fine. That’s not to say that I should switch my chewy autoship to kitty kibbles just yet. Let’s take a deeper look into whether or not it’s advisable for your dog to eat cat food before making any irrational decisions.

A Dog can eat cat food, but it is not advisable for them long term. Cats are carnivores, so their food is extremely high in fat and protein – which can be hard on a dogs liver and kidneys. It’s important to keep your dog out of the cat’s food bowl.

As you learned from my last blog, I prefer to give you my own opinion on the subject matter before diving deep into the trenches of medical based research.

Let’s face it, gone are the days of doing a simple Google search and immediately finding your answer. Now you need to wade through hundreds of random articles, deciphering legitimacy and relevance before you decide you may finally have an answer to your original question. But wait – what was your original question? You fell victim to the dark rabbit hole of search querying.

You don’t need to worry about that dark hole of nothingness anymore. *Jax boy to the rescue.* I’ll tell you my personal experience (who better to hear from than a dog on dog issues), then validate them with specific research.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

The Risks of Dogs Eating Cat Food

We can’t argue the fact that your dog loves to eat cat food. Every time I pass my friend Otis’ cat food bowl, I cave to the urge of inhaling the little nuggets in their entirety. Is it the best option? No, not really.

As briefly mentioned before, cats are classified as Carnivora. Dogs are omnivorous. Cats MUST have meat to thrive and while we pups can be enticed with meat, we also need to balance that with some plant based ingredients.

This is what makes over-consumption of cat food a bit risky for dogs. The protein density of cat food is overwhelming to a dogs GI tract. We simply can’t handle massive amounts of the delicious feline crunchies. The simple fact remains; cat food isn’t balanced enough for dogs and should be on our “no flight” list.

We need certain nutrients and fiber that aren’t available or even needed by cats.

I recently read an article where Dr. Patty Khuly, writer of Pet MD blog said,

“the effects cat food can have on a dog’s waistline [is bad]. Cause for blame is the cat food’s heavy doses of fat. This may cause cat food-eating dogs to develop a tendency to be obese and even risk developing a case of pancreatitis. Kitten food in particular seems to be even more harmful due to its higher levels of protein and fat.”

How To Keep Dogs Away From Cat Food

You can’t. This is an impossible task.


It’s not completely impossible, you just have to get a little creative.

  • Feed the cat on a counter or table top. Some place we can’t reach or jump. (I’ll still probably try though.)
  • Put the cat food behind a door with a cat door, small enough we can’t fit through. (I’ll still probably try though.)
  • Protect the cat food with a pet gate, with gaps large enough for the cat to get through. Disclaimer: this only works with big dogs. I’m pretty small, I’ll find a way in.
  • Feed your cat in a crate. I know this doesn’t necessarily seem fair to the kitty, but think of it as VIP cat treatment. Private dining.

It’s important that you monitor you cat’s food bowl as much as humanly possible when it’s time for them to eat. Your dog can be quite sneaky when they want to be.

Make sure your cat knows when it’s feeding time and has a perfect serving size in his bowl so that he finishes the food in it’s entirety without leaving the dog any unwarranted leftovers.

Why Do Dogs Love Cat Food So Much?

Because it’s absolutely DELICIOUS!

Seriously, you’ve got to give it a try sometime. Cat foods caloric density is like a treat to your dog.

To compare this to something you humans can relate to, think of it as a huge chunk of chocolate cake with icing spread an inch thick on top. You know you shouldn’t eat it, it’s super rich and high in fat, and your belly will most definitely hurt later, but man oh man – you black out and wake up 5 minutes later with kibble crumbs on your dog beard.

The fact that we love this stuff is obvious. Just make sure we don’t go to regular pound town on it. It can even put your dog’s digestive tract into distress.

This is, however, a normal side effect. Don’t be alarmed unless it lasts for more than a few hours. Then take your dog to see their dreaded vet. Better safe than sorry, right?!

I think at this point it’s important for me to remind you once again that I’m just a dog, not a medical professional. I do my research and I pull from personal experiences. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less.

Related Questions

Can My Dog and Cat Share a Water Bowl?

Your dog and cat can share a water bowl as long as they are both comfortable with each other.

Oftentimes, you’ll notice that if your dog and cat have been raised in the same house and are completely accustomed to one another, then sharing things like a water bowl is commonplace.

You may even notice your dog and cat grooming each other. The more they bond, the closer they’ll become.

Times when this could pose a problem is if you’ve recently introduced one of your pets in a home that already had a cat or a dog living there.

In this case, you could see predatory behaviors ensue.

So, while your dog should not eat the cat food – they can drink from the cat’s water bowl.

Read more here: Can my dog and cat share a water bowl?

Can Dogs Communicate With Cats?

Both dogs and cats are emotional beings and will use behavioral responses to effectively communicate with one another.

This is in the same way you’ll notice your pet trying to communicate with you (a human). The more you’re around your dog or cat the easier it is to understand their wants and needs as it relates to a particular act or consistent behavioral display.

The fact that cats and dogs have notoriously been pegged as rivals, stems only from personality differences.

Some cats and dogs are best friends and happen to have a wonderful relationship.

Others despise one another.

Much like human interaction, dog and cat cohesion boils down to their individual personalities.

Read more here: Can dogs communicate with cats?


Don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you live with both a cat and a dog, the consumption of cat food by both pets is inevitable. It will happen – just don’t let it become a habit for your dog.

Again, I want to bring you a place where all of your “can my dog…” questions are answered and easily accessible in one single place.

Quick, effortless, and to the point. If you don’t feel like scrolling through blog posts, simply enter your question in the search bar on any landing page on my site and all posts written about that subject will populate.

Boom. Easy as a Milkbone.

As always, thanks for the questions and keep them coming. And remember to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies OFTEN!

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

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