Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?


For many dogs, getting some cat food, especially canned cat food or wet cat food, is a gourmet treat. Canned cat food tends to have more protein and often more fat than dog foods. Is is it safe though, can dogs eat cat food?

This is partly because cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to get reach their nutritional requirements, while dogs are omnivores, which means they can meet their needs with both plants and meats.

Cat foods have a higher protein level than dog foods because cats use protein for energy and need the amino acids from meat to support their muscles and body functions.

Dogs Can Eat Dry Cat Food

Dogs can eat dry cat food, too. It’s richer than dry dog food and makes nice, small, tasty training treats. Just don’t overdo it. It’s easy to do because most dogs really like cat kibble.

Dogs Can Eat Wet Cat Food

Wet cat food can come in handy for a dog with a poor appetite due to cancer, age, or any chronic health conditions. The added protein and fat make cat food smell better and taste better than many canine options. Used short term for these problems, it can help to turn a dog around who was not eating.

Cat food should not be your dog’s normal diet though. The higher levels of fat can lead to gastrointestinal upsets and even pancreatitis in susceptible dogs (looking at you, Schnauzers!). In addition, the extra protein can be difficult for a dog with liver or kidney problems to safely metabolize.

Cat Food Is Safe for a Dog

Still, if your dog snatches a little cat food occasionally, his biggest risk is getting a swat on the nose from your irritated cat.

The bottom line is not to panic if your dog makes a raid on your cat’s food bowl, but don’t encourage him to do so. Use cat food if you need to tempt your anorexic dog, but don’t use it as daily meals once he has recovered. If your dog is on a special/prescription diet for a health condition, avoid using any cat food at all unless you consult your veterinarian.


  1. I would be extremely careful when feeding cat food to your dog. My little guy is 13 and developed pancreatitis from eating dry cat food. We have two cats and he would stroll over when no one was looking and grab a few mouthfuls. Then he started throwing up, losing his appetite, and having bad stools. Once we figured out what was going on and put the cat food up where he couldn’t get to it, the symptoms resolved.