Our canine companions often leave us confused with their behavior and weird habits. So when your dog starts eating cat food, it’s normal to be a little concerned.
This article will explain the reasons why your dog may think he’s Felix instead of fido, whether or not this is safe, and what you can do about it.
Why Your Dog is Eating Cat Food and What You Can Do About it
Let’s cover exactly why your dog is eating your cat’s food, and what you can do about it. Fortunately, there aren’t many reasons behind this behavior and it can be explained and rectified fairly easily.
Cat food is more delicious
It’s true, sorry fido, cat food has a much higher protein and fat content than dog food. This means that there will naturally be a stronger savory meaty smell to the food, making it seem so much better than his own.
This, for the most part, will be one of the main reasons. Dog’s love tasty treats, especially ones with a strong meat smell. To your dog, this is exactly how they view cat’s food when you put it down. Not only is it different from theirs, but it also smells so much better, just like a treat.
How to stop your dog eating cat food: (when he finds it delicious)
The first and easiest way to stop this behavior is to keep your cat’s food physically separated from your dog at all times.
Fortunately, cats are great gymnasts and you won’t have an issue feeding Felix at a much higher level than your dog, or in a different room altogether.
After doing this, see how your dog reacts, does he go back to his own food? If so, everything is likely fine. But, if he now refuses to eat, it likely means there’s an underlying issue. Read on!
Your dog has issues with his own food
You’ll have to do some investigation to know if your dog is having trouble with his own food. You may be putting food down everyday which doesn’t work well for him, subsequently making him feel bad.
Although some breeds are excessive eaters, most are not. The majority of breeds know when something isn’t good for them and if your dog starts feeling bad after his mealtimes, it won’t be long before he refuses his food. He’ll then be more inclined to sniff around your cat’s food.
How to stop your dog eating cat food: (When he doesn’t like his own food)
The first thing to do is carefully observe your dog when it comes to his meal times. Look at how he reacts to his own food, does he eat it but then have diarrhea or vomit afterward? does he turn his nose up and walk away? These are fairly good indicators that he has an issue with his own food.
Many dogs suffer from sensitive stomachs so it may be time to opt for dog food made especially for sensitive dogs. Limited ingredients will make it easier for your dog to digest, and avoiding the use of common allergens could make the world of difference. Perhaps you didn’t know, chicken, despite how common it is, is actually an allergen and many dogs don’t react well to it. Opt for a limited ingredient option where the protein source comes primarily from salmon, duck or turkey.
You’re feeding your dog incorrectly
Let me explain this one, as it has multiple parts to it. We’re going to look at the amount of food, the time of day and how you give him his food.
The time of day that you feed your dog is more important than you may have thought. For adult dogs, it’s best to feed them shortly after you and your family wake up as a household, this may be at 7 or 8 am. Then once again during the evening around 6pm. It shouldn’t be too close before or after his exercise and adequate time must always be given for your dog to calm down and digest food before doing anything strenuous. Then, once you set a time, stick to it, because dogs soon learn to be hungry at certain times.
Are you feeding your dog enough? I get it, it’s really normal, once we get into the habit of feeding our dog 2 cups per day, it’s easy for us to forget and simply follow that routine forever. But what if your dog’s exercise has dramatically increased? Maybe you’ve moved house near a park or you have a big yard now? It helps to rethink how much food you’re giving your dog and if his physical exercise has increased recently, he may need a little more.
Last but not least, do you follow mealtimes, or do you put the food down and let fido pick at it throughout the day? Many small breeds tend to follow the second option, but this may not be the best way to feed him. A proven technique to help fussy dogs eat their full meal is to give it to them at the correct time of day and limit the amount of time you keep the food bowl down. This soon teaches your dog he must eat it when you put it down or else he will miss out.
Is Cat Food Bad For Your Dog?
If you’ve just discovered how your dog is eating your cat’s food, one of the first thoughts that likely came to your mind is if it’s dangerous or harmful to him.
In the short term, NO.
In the long term, YES.
Cat’s are carnivores and their diet needs to be made up of mostly meat and fat. So, needless to say, cat food is practically all protein and fat without much more going into it.
Dog’s, on the other hand, are omnivores, which means they need a mixture of meat and plants (veggies). Dog food is made with this in mind and therefore has a much lower meat content in it than cat food.
So, in the short term, if your dog sneaks in some cat food once or twice, it’s not going to cause too much of a concern. But over a long period of time, it will absolutely have a serious negative impact on his overall health. Cat food lacks vital nutrition that your dog needs.
Not to mention, cat food contains taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is found naturally in both cats and dogs. But, in large amounts, it will likely cause some health issues for most dogs.
3 Ways to Make Your Dog’s Food More Appealing
As long as it’s just fussiness keeping your dog away from his food, you can easily make it tastier with some simple ingredients that are still healthy.
If your dog has an issue with the food, or it’s making it him feel sick, then that problem needs to be dealt with first. You should speak to your veterinarian about changing his food to a limited ingredient kibble.
Let’s take a look at 3 ways you can make his kibble so much better!
But what about nuts!? Yes, there are certain nuts that are toxic to dogs, but we don’t have to worry about that here, as peanuts are actually legumes. (if you’re unsure always speak to your veterinarian first)
If your dog has tried peanut butter before without any negative side effects, try mixing in a small dollop of it with the next meal.
Two important points to make: Peanut butter has a lot of added salt, so make sure you only use a limited-salt version, or even better, salt-free. It also contains a lot of fat, so you must not give too much, it’s just to add some extra taste.
Again, you must be aware of salt levels.
If you have any chicken broth left over from your own meal, this would be much appreciated by your dog, just trickle a small amount of it over his kibble and mix it around, the smell will be irresistible to him.
If you don’t eat much chicken, you can always make some for this purpose. Be sure to opt for a limited salt stock cube.
Additional Wet Dog Food
In with dry kibble, mix a small amount of wet dog food.
This is a trick often used with puppies and it certainly helps your dog to eat his full meal. Wet dog food is oftentimes tastier, and it certainly makes his food more interesting.
The different texture, smell, and taste will go a long way to help him focus on his own food rather than the cats.
This could be seen as a little ninja tip because cat food is wet too. It may just trick your dog into thinking he’s getting a bit of Felix’s food in with his!
There you have it! I hope this has helped you understand why your dog may be eating your cat’s food and what you can do about it.
If you’re experiencing this right now, be sure to comment below and I will get back to you with a personal answer!
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