Pet parents with multiple pets, including cats and dogs, might wonder whether it is okay for dogs and cats to eat the same food. Dogs and cats have different, unique nutritional requirements so it is very important that your dog and cat each have their own species-appropriate food.
Cats are “obligate carnivores” meaning their diets must be meat-based. Cats have a higher protein requirement than dogs, and also must have an adequate supply of the amino acid called taurine in the diet. Unlike cats, dogs are able to manufacture their own taurine in the body. Feeding dog food to your cat will lead to a deficiency of taurine, which can eventually cause serious health problems such as blindness and/or heart failure in your cat.
Dogs tend to like the taste of cat food because of the higher protein and fat content. However, while you can technically feed cat food to your dog, giving your dog the richer cat food long-term can result in obesity and other health problems. While the added taurine in cat food is water soluble and will not harm your dog, cat food also has added Vitamin A which is a fat-soluble vitamin that your dog does not need added to his diet.
If your dog or cat occasionally sneaks a bite from the other’s dinner plate, there is no need for alarm. However, it is important for your dog and cat to eat pet food that is formulated specifically for cats or dogs.