Is it safe for my dog to eat my cat’s food or vice versa?

An occasional nibble from the wrong bowl won’t do any harm for most pets—other than possibly an upset tummy.

However, there are good reasons to avoid feeding your dog’s food to your cat (and vice versa) over the long run.

Here are just a couple examples of how dog and cat foods are specialized to each species’ unique nutritional needs…

  • Cats require a higher percentage of protein and fat in their food, since they are true carnivores, while dogs are omnivores. A cat that eats dog food won’t receive all the nutrients they need.

Also, dogs who eat cat food could put on excess weight, get stomach upset, or develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas that can be very serious and often requires hospitalization).

  • Cats and dogs have different requirements for many vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements. For example, cats need a diet supplemented with higher levels of taurine and vitamin A—and eating dog food could result in deficiencies, leading to heart or vision problems.

Again, for most healthy dogs and cats, there’s no need to worry if there was an accidental food mix-up.

Just make sure your pets receive the right recipe for their needs over the long-term.