Although both canines and felines are carnivores, dogs can eat many different things, as most of us know very well.
Cats, meanwhile, need more protein in their food for health reasons. This is why cat food often contains fish and extra animal fats — which dogs also love. Manufacturers of cat food make sure their products have a strong odor that will appeal to a cat; however, these smells can be irresistible to dogs as well.
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When Dogs Eat Cat Food
If your dog gets a chance to sample some of this fine feline cuisine, he’s most likely going to go for it.
But don’t worry too much — a little of your kitty’s food won’t harm your dog. Just make sure this is only an occasional naughty treat for him, because too much cat food could give a dog diarrhea. Allowing him to eat cat food on a regular basis could make him very sick, since dogs and cats have such different nutritional needs. Also, your dog will get fatter while your cat goes hungry.
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How to Keep Cat Food Away From a Dog
Follow these tips to keep your cat’s mealtime separate from your dog’s:
- Don’t “free feed” your kitty. Instead, feed her like clockwork, around the same time daily. This will make her more eager to eat. It’s also a good way to bond with your pet. Then take her feeding dish away as soon as she has finished eating. Once she realizes that the kibble won’t be sitting out all day, she will be more anxious to receive it. A little reminder — moist cat food is usually eaten faster.
- Put your cat’s food in a place your dog cannot get to, such as 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 well out of your dog’s reach.
- Investing in a pet gate is a great idea. This will keep your dog away from your cat’s feeding area (the cat can simply jump over it), reducing your need to stand guard. I really like the Dreambaby Extra Tall Swing Close Gate (affiliate link), which is strong enough for human babies but keeps dogs away, too. Plus, it’s nearly 40 inches tall. Need it 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.
- With a spray bottle of water in hand, wait to catch your pup chowing down on your kitty’s dinner. Yell, “Bad dog!” and quickly spray a squirt or 2 directly toward the dog (or shake a can filled with a few coins). This usually stops him instantly. Be sure the correction is done when the dog is actually caught in the act so he will know exactly what the big “no-no” was all about.
- There is a product available for around $170, including shipping, to help stop your dog from getting into your cat’s feeding dish. MeowSpace is a clear plastic enclosure with a locking door. The cat wears a magnetic collar, which allows entrance into the space, where she can then enjoy her meal in total privacy. Light assembly is required.
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.