Our previous article went into details about why cats should not eat dog food. To summarise, dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat meat along with plants. So, while a meat based diet is nutritionally better for dogs, they can survive without it. Cats, however, are obligate carnivores and require meat in their diet in order to survive (it should be noted cats do get a small amount of vegetable and grain matter in the wild from the stomach contents of their prey). Most dog foods contain cereal, which is lacking in the essential nutrients cats require. These include taurine and arginine.
Unlike dogs, cats are known to be fussy eaters, however, from personal experience, I can vouch that cats will eat dog food if they have access to it. The occasional mouthful is probably not going to do your cat any harm, but for the long-term health of your cat, it is better for him to not have access to your dog's food.
Thankfully, most dogs are reasonably fast eaters and tend to eat their meals all in one go (unlike cats, who are more likely to graze).
Tips to stop your cat eating the dog food:
- Feed your dog at scheduled times (usually twice a day), outside. Keep the cat inside while the dog is eating. Remove any uneaten food after 15-20 minutes to stop the cat and insects/wild animals getting at the food.
- If you don't want to feed your dog outside, feed him in a room that you can shut off for the duration of his meal. A laundry is an ideal spot.
- If you have a larger dog, place your dog's food bowl on an elevated platform (just lower than head height). Obviously, if the platform is too wide, the cat can jump up on to it, so it needs to be wide enough to accommodate your dog's food bowl only.
- Feed both the cat and the dog at the same time. As we have said above, give the dog a time limit of 15 minutes to eat his food (most dogs are done and dusted within 30 seconds).
- Store dry dog food in a plastic container with a lid to keep the cat out of it.