Dogs are and are not carnivores. First, dogs are considered to be members of the order Carnivora, but in spite of its name, not all members of this mammalian order are considered to be obligate carnivores. For proof, look no further than bears and raccoons, which are members of the order Carnivora that are nonetheless omnivorous in nature. Likewise, dogs are considered to be omnivores as well rather than obligate carnivores.
Some people might be confused because of the perception that wolves and other canids are obligate carnivores. However, it is important to note that wolves as well as a lot of other canids are rather opportunistic in nature, meaning that they are willing to eat a wide range of foods. In fact, there are examples of wolves eating the viscera of their prey, with the result that they eat the plant matter contained in those organs as well. On top of this, it should be mentioned that dogs have molars, which are useful for crushing and grinding plant matter so as to make it more digestible. Moreover, dogs have intestines that are shorter than those of herbivores but longer than those of obligate carnivores, thus providing further support for the position that they are somewhere between those two extremes. Summed up, dogs might be members of the order Carnivora, but they are very much omnivores rather than obligate carnivores.
In contrast, cats are obligate carnivores. They are capable of eating small amounts of plant matter without serious issue, but it is not recommended because it won’t provide them with much nutrition even if they can keep it down. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that a perfect diet for a cat will not be so for a cat and vice versa.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
Generally speaking, a dog should have no problems eating cat food. After all, while dogs are omnivores, they should be getting a fair amount of their food from meat rather than plant matter. As a result, they should have no problems eating cat food from time to time.
Should Dogs Eat Cat Food?
Instead, the issue is whether dogs should be eating cat food in the long run, which is a solid “No.” In short, cat food is designed to fulfill the nutritional needs of cats rather than dogs, meaning that eating cat food is not a great way for dogs to ensure their long-lasting health. This is particularly true because dogs need to get some of their nutrients from plant matter rather than meat, which for obvious reasons, won’t be found in cat food for the most part.
In the long run, excessive consumption of cat food can cause a number of serious problems for dogs. For example, regular consumption of cat food will cause dogs to take in too much fat and too much protein. When eaten in moderation, these nutrients can help dogs maintain their health, with an excellent example being how fat is needed for them to keep their coats in the shiniest state. Unfortunately, too much fat and too much protein can come with much more unpleasant effects. One example is how too much fat can cause pancreatitis that can have a negative impact on their digestive systems. Meanwhile, another example is how too much protein can cause increased strain on a dog’s liver as well as their kidneys, thus increasing the chances of a breakdown at some point in the future. Never mind how these things can lead to obesity, which is something that can come with a whole of host of serious medical issues in the long run.
As a result, while it might be fine for dogs to eat cat food from time to time, letting them make a habit of this is not a good idea because it messes up their nutritional intake. In the long run, that can cause all sorts of health problems, which is not considering financial as well as other kinds of issues as well. Fortunately, pet owners should be able to get their dogs to stop eating cat foods by making it difficult for those to get access to said foods, though if their efforts are not successful, they might want to consult either their veterinarian or some other specialist for the help needed to overcome said issue.