If you have a dog and cat living together under your roof, chances are you'll occasionally find one pet eating out of the other's bowl. Dogs are notorious for eating everything they come across, so your cat's food may not stand a chance once your kitty has had its fill, and it could be curious about your dog's food too. If you're concerned about whether or not it's safe for them to share food, read on.
Cats and dogs have different diets from each other naturally out in the wild. Cats primarily live off of the prey that they hunt down, which provides their need for things like protein, vitamins, and even moisture. Cats almost never eat plants with the exception of a mouthful of grass to help their digestive system, so a high-fiber diet isn't necessary.
Dogs, on the other hand, eat a wider variety of things under wild circumstances and do need more fiber in their diets. As a result, it's not okay for a dog to live solely off of cat food, as they could become constipated.
On the other hand, cats have necessary nutrients, too. One of the most important ingredients for your cat to consume is taurine.
Taurine is a type of amino acid that's necessary for a cat to live healthily. In the wild, your cat would be able to get its fill of taurine from eating wild animals. However, your kitty's food fills this need by adding enough taurine to give your cat a sufficient amount in each meal.
Dog food often lacks taurine or has such a low level that it's not healthy for cats to live off of it. In short, if you ever considered feeding your cat and dog together and only providing one type of food, that won't work. One of your pets would end up being sick.
Okay to Share
The good news is, while your cat can't live off dog food and your dog won't do well on just cat food, they can still share. There's nothing harmful or toxic in the food that one of your pets eat that makes it poisonous or dangerous for your other pets. If you occasionally catch your pets munching off each other's meals, there's no need to panic. However, keep an eye on this behavior. If your pets are eating more of each other's food than their own, they may be suffering from poor nutrition and their health could falter as a result.
A lot of science went into creating dog and cat food to ensure that each one provides balanced nutrition for the pet they're intended for. Go ahead and let your pets share, but make sure they're getting enough of their own food to stay healthy. Contact a local veterinarian for more information.