For many of us, our cats are one the most precious things in our lives, which makes their health of paramount importance. What cats eat is easily a top priority when it comes to ensuring longevity, which is why a lot of people have questions about what food is most appropriate for them.
Since people often have dogs in addition to cats and dog food can easily be found next to cat food in stores, a lot of cat-owners ask: can cats eat dog treats? While there are a lot of variables involved with how appropriate dog food is for cats, the short answer is yes, cats can eat dog treats.
If you’re considering feeding your cat food designed for canines for whatever reason, then there are a couple things you should know.
Can Cats Eat Dog Treats? Is It OK?
Generally speaking, most foods designed for dogs will also be edible for cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that dog treats are an appropriate snack option for felines. A lot of this has to do with the different types of diets cats and dogs adhere to.
Technically, dogs are omnivorous, meaning that they consume a diet consisting of both meat and plant matter, while cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet consisting almost exclusively of meat. When it comes to food options, these differences can mean a lot from a health perspective.
For instance, dog treats, depending on the recipe, are likely to have a significant amount of carbohydrates, which dogs are designed to digest, whereas cats cannot tolerate carbohydrates too well, since they play a very limited role in the natural diet of cats, which almost never eat anything other than hunted prey, like mice.
What this means is that most dog treats, due to the type of nutrients involved, aren’t going to be an appropriate option for cats, but they’re not necessarily off-limits if they consist primarily of meat. Even in the event, however, that a dog treat isn’t nutritionally optimized for cats, it’s unlikely the occasional treat will cause problems.
One thing that is extremely important to understand though is that anything with garlic or onion should not be fed to cats under any circumstances as it can lead to severe anemia.
Cat Kittens Eat Dog Treats?
Some say that yes, kittens can enjoy the occasional canine snack, while others maintain that they prefer to stick to their usual diet of kibble and wet food. The truth may never be known definitively, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that some young felines do indeed benefit to dog treats.
One theory is that the high level of protein in most dog treats appeals to growing kittens, who need plenty of nutrients to support their rapid growth. Another possibility is that the unusual smell and taste of dog treats simply intrigues them.
Whatever the reason, if your kitten seems interested in trying a dog treat, there’s no harm in giving her/him one or two as a occasional special treat. Just be sure to supervise her closely, as she/he may not realize that she should only eat a small amount.
Negatives of Cats Eating Dog Treats
While it might seem harmless to let your cat have a few bites of your dog’s treats, there are actually a few reasons to avoid this practice. Here are some of the downsides to cats eating dog treats:
- There are usually too many carbohydrates in dog treats
- There are certain ingredients, like glycerin, that dogs handle better than cats
- Cats tend to be picky eaters, so they might not be partial to dog treats
- Dog treats might have vegetable matter cats dislike
Positives of Cats Eating Dog Treats
Conversely, there are some reasons why dog treats might be a good choice for cats:
- Dog treats meet many of the nutritional requirements for cats
- Dog treats are designed to appeal taste-wise to meat eaters, cats included.
- Certain dog foods might be able to meet a cat’s unique nutritional needs, depending on the situation
What Are The Benefits of Giving My Cat a Dog Treat?
The benefits of giving your cat a dog treat are twofold. First, it’s a great way to bond with your feline friend. When you give your cat a treat, you’re showing them that you care about their wellbeing and are willing to take the time to make them happy.
Secondly, it’s a good way to add some variety to your cat’s diet. Just like people, cats can get bored with eating the same thing day in and day out. By giving them the occasional dog treat, you’re giving them something to look forward to and keeping their taste buds guessing.
Are There any Dangers of Giving My Cat A Dog Treat?
Some dog treats contain ingredients that can be harmful to cats, so it’s important to do your research before giving your cat any type of treat. In general, however, most dog treats that are safe for dogs are also safe for cats.
Just be sure to check the label to make sure the treat doesn’t contain any chocolate, which can be toxic to both dogs and cats.
Can Feeding Dog Food to Cats Make Them Sick?
Depending on the situation, dog treats do have the ability to cause health problems for cats, but usually this will only occur if cats eat them consistently over a long period of time. For the most part, dog food does not contain all of the nutrients that cats need to stay healthy, and some ingredients can make your cat feel ill. Also make sure to limit the amount of treats you feed your cat, regardless if it’s dog treats or cat treats.
Can Dog Foods Ever Fully Substitute Cat Food?
It always possible, but probably not. Most dog and cat foods on the market are specially designed to meet exacting nutritional needs for specific animals. While there’s definitely a lot of nutritional overlap, dog and cat foods are still fundamentally different.
Every pet owner wants their animal to be happy, healthy, and vibrant, which is why getting the right food is so important. While there’s nothing wrong with feeding cats dog treats some of the time, it shouldn’t form a primary component of a feline diet, or else adverse health consequences might develop over the long run.
We hoped you found this article helpful. If you want to know more about cat nutrition, be sure to checkout our other great articles! Also don’t hesitate to leave a comment with any questions you might have!