Cat food generally does not contain any substances that could be harmful to dogs, as cats are much more sensitive to certain ingredients. It is therefore not a problem for dogs to eat cat food from time to time. However, cat food is not designed to meet the daily needs of dogs. Since a dog should not consume more than 5-10% of its daily ration in the form of food that does not meet its needs, the intake of cat food should also be restricted accordingly. This quantity is reached faster with small dogs than with large ones.
Cat food is usually very rich in protein. It should therefore be avoided completely in dogs if they are susceptible to kidney or liver disease. Even dog seniors should therefore be cautious. Even growing dogs should only be fed with their breed- and age-adapted young dog food and should not consume cat food in order to avoid mistakes.
However, it is even more important to prevent the cats from eating dog food. The daily energy requirement of a cat is already covered with relatively small amounts of food, so that there is the danger that it takes up too little of its own, species-appropriate food. The consequences can be a lack of taurine and proteins on the one hand, on the other hand dog food can also contain ingredients that are harmful for cats. Cats are very sensitive to some essential oils and herbs that may be present in dog food.
There are several strategies to prevent the different types of pets from eating inappropriate food. When feeding the dog, it is easy because he receives only a few meals a day. The dog is fed in a separate room and all food leftovers are cleared away. The feeding of the cats is more difficult because they eat more often throughout the day and the food often remains unattended. One possibility is to spatially separate dogs and cats in unattended times of the day. If this is not possible or undesirable, the cat food can be placed in an area that is only accessible to the cats - for example through a narrow cat door or in an elevated area of the room. There are also feeding machines for pets, which give each animal only its appropriate food.
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