Is it Safe to Feed Your Dog Cat Food? What You Need To Know Before Making The Switch

With more and more people turning to a plant-based diet, it’s no surprise that some pet owners are considering feeding their dogs cat food. After all, cats are carnivores and their food is designed to meet their nutritional needs, so it stands to reason that it could work for dogs too.

But is it safe to feed your dog cat food? The short answer is no. Although both cats and dogs are carnivores, their dietary needs are quite different.

In order to ensure your dog is getting all the essential nutrients they need, it’s important to understand the differences between cat food and dog food, and the potential risks of switching them up. In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know before making the switch to cat food for your dog.

What is the difference between cat food and dog food?

Cat food and dog food are both high-protein diets designed to meet the dietary needs of cats and dogs, respectively. However, they contain different types and ratios of protein, fat, and other nutrients. Cats need a higher protein content than dogs, and this is reflected in the macronutrient breakdown of cat food.

Cat food contains around 38% protein, while dog food only has around 30%. This is due to the different metabolic needs of cats and dogs.

Cats have a higher metabolic rate and a shorter digestive tract, which means they burn through their energy stores at a faster rate than dogs. Dogs, on the other hand, are longer-lived and have a slower metabolism. This means they need lower-fat, higher-fiber diets to keep them fuller for longer.

What are the potential risks of feeding your dog cat food?

The most important thing to remember when considering switching your dog’s diet to cat food is that it’s not designed for canine consumption. This means it may not meet your dog’s needs in terms of macronutrient balance, vitamin and mineral content, or other key nutrients. If your dog is on a diet that doesn’t provide the right amount of calories, it may not get enough energy from its food to meet its daily needs.

This could cause them to overeat or eat other things to make up the difference, which could lead to health problems like obesity and gastrointestinal issues.

If your dog’s food doesn’t contain enough protein or an appropriate amount of essential amino acids, protein metabolism could be negatively impacted. This could result in low-amino acid blood levels, which could negatively affect protein turnover and neurotransmitter production.

What are the benefits of feeding your dog cat food?

If you’re considering switching your dog’s diet to cat food, you’re likely doing so because it’s cheaper to buy a bag of cat food than a bag of dog food. But beyond the price, there are a few other benefits of feeding your dog cat food. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to consume a high percentage of protein in their diet.

This makes cat food a higher-protein option than dog food, which may be beneficial for some dogs with a genetic predisposition towards allergies. The cat food diet may also be lower in carbs, which might be helpful for dogs with diabetes or other metabolic issues.

Two yellow labrador retriever puppies
Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels

Is it safe to feed your dog cat food?

As we’ve discussed, cat food is not designed for canine consumption. While it could be beneficial for your dog to eat a higher-protein, lower-carb diet, it’s essential that you’re feeding them food that contains the appropriate nutrients. Cat food doesn’t meet the dietary needs of canines and can lead to serious health issues if you feed it to your dog long-term.

If you’re switching your dog’s diet to cat food, you should do so with the intention of transitioning them to a portion of new dog food as soon as possible. This is especially important for dogs with dietary or metabolic issues, who should be eating a diet that meets their individual needs.

What kind of cat food is best for dogs?

If you do decide to feed your dog cat food, you should stick to feeding them a bag of kitten food. This is the only type of cat food that’s suitable for canine consumption, as it has a lower protein and calcium content than other types of cat food. Kitten food is lower in protein than adult cat food, which makes it safer and more appropriate for dogs. It’s also lower in calcium, which may be beneficial for dogs with metabolic issues, such as hyperthyroidism.

How to transition your dog to cat food

If you’re hoping to transition your dog to cat food, you need to do so very gradually. You should feed your dog a small amount of cat food for a few weeks, increasing the dosage every day until they’re eating a full serving. You can feed your dog kitten food in the same way as either kitten food or a senior-appropriate diet for adult cats.

Transitioning your dog to a different diet is best done with the help of a veterinarian. This can help you to identify potential dietary issues and make any necessary adjustments to your dog’s diet.

What to look for in a cat food brand

If you’re going to be feeding your dog cat food, you want to make sure you’re getting a brand that’s high-quality and as close to a canine diet as possible. One of the main differences between cat and dog food is the source of protein. Cat food is made with high-protein meat, while dog food uses low-protein meat scraps and by-products.

You should look for high-protein cat food that uses high-quality, animal-based protein sources. Other additives in cat food include fish oils, taurine, and added minerals, which are beneficial for dogs too.

How much cat food should you feed your dog?

The amount of cat food you feed your dog will depend on their weight and size, as well as their individual dietary needs. You should feed your dog the amount of food recommended by their veterinarian, regardless of the type of food you’re feeding them.

You can find out the recommended amount of food for your dog based on their weight, using a dog food calculator. If you’re transitioning your dog to cat food, you should feed them the same amount that you’d feed a kitten.

Other considerations when switching your dog to cat food

If you’re switching your dog to cat food, you should make sure they’re getting a balanced diet. This means they need enough protein, fat, and other nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to meet their daily needs.

If your dog has a specific dietary requirement, such as a low-calorie diet for weight loss, or is on medication, you should talk to your veterinarian before switching their diet. The veterinarian can help you to determine the best type of food for your dog, taking into account their nutrition needs, weight, and any dietary restrictions.


There are some similarities between dog food and cat food, but they are two very different types of animal diets. While cat food is made for cats, and dog food is made for dogs, they both contain almost the same types of nutrients. However, they are in different proportions and also include different food items.

For example, cat food contains more meat, while dog food contains more grain. Because of these differences, it is not safe to feed your dog cat food, and vice versa. Despite this, many dog owners will do it at some point, often because it is cheaper to feed a cat rather than a dog.


Arthur Wick

I am a writer and hobby magician who loves nature. In my free time, I enjoy performing magic tricks, such as pulling rabbits out of a top hat, and spending time in nature. I also enjoy riding my electric unicycle, or EUC, when I have the chance.

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