Manufacturers of cat food make sure their products have a strong odor that will appeal to a cat — but these smells can be irresistible to dogs as well.
If your dog gets a chance to sample some of this fine feline cuisine, your dog is most likely going to go for it.
But don’t worry too much — a little cat food won’t hurt your dog. Just make sure this is only an occasional naughty treat, because too much cat food could give a dog diarrhea.
Allowing a dog to eat cat food regularly could make the dog sick, since dogs and cats have such different nutritional needs. Not to mention, your dog will get more plump while your cat goes hungry.
How to Keep Cat Food Away From a Dog
Follow these 4 tips to keep the cat food away from a dog:
1. Don’t free feed your cat.
Instead, feed the cat like clockwork, around the same time daily. This will make your cat more eager to eat. It’s also a good way to bond with your pet.
Then take the feeding dish away as soon as the cat has finished eating. Once cats realize the kibble won’t be sitting out all day, they look forward to receiving it.
Not to mention, letting a cat graze on food all day is sometimes problematic from a health standpoint, as we discuss in another article, “Why Free Feeding May Put Your Cat’s Health at Risk.”
Pro tip: Wet cat food usually gets eaten faster.
2. Put your cat’s food somewhere your dog can’t reach.
For example, put it high up on a tall cat post or even in a separate room of your house.
You might consider an automatic cat food feeder if you can find a high enough location that’s out of your dog’s reach.
3. Consider investing in a pet gate.
This will keep your dog away from the cat’s feeding area (the cat can simply jump over it), reducing your need to stand guard.
I really like the Dreambaby Chelsea Extra Tall Auto Close Security Gate, which is strong enough for human babies but keeps dogs away, too. Plus, it’s nearly 40 inches tall.
Pro tip: Need the pet gate to be even taller? Just lift it up off the ground a few inches; your dog still can’t get through it, but your cat can probably squeeze underneath it to reach the food.
4. When all else fails, it may be time to get a little mean.
With a spray bottle of water in hand, wait to catch your dog eating the cat food.
At the exact moment you spot this in action, yell, “No!” and quickly spray a squirt or two directly toward the dog — or shake a can filled with a few coins).
This usually stops the dog instantly. Be sure to do this correction only when you catch the dog is in the act so the dog will know exactly what the big no-no was all about.
Watch this dog’s guilty reaction after being caught eating cat treats in this hilarious video:
So that’s pretty much what you need to know to keep cat food away from a dog.
Simply keeping their foods and feeding areas separate should give you a healthy dog and a happy, well-fed cat.
What to read next:
Some veterinarians advise against letting your cat “graze,” especially when it comes to dry food. Here’s why. See the article