Why do dogs like cat food? Is it a major effort to get your pup to keep his nose out of his feline friend's food bowl? Is your dog's fascination with cat food leaving your cat meowing for more?Some dogs just can't get enough of cat food, but let's be honest, cats do pretty well on the chow front. Many of the top quality brands have a pretty palatable aroma when the packets are freshly opened. Your dog, with his extraordinary sense of smell, has quiet possibly honed in on the savory wafts of chicken liver with tuna and found it appetizing. After all, unless he's the world's most intelligent dog and has learned to read, he doesn't know it says it is for cats on the packaging. To him, it's plain and simply food, or is it?
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs are by nature omnivores which doesn't mean when they see or smell meat of any kind they'll not be inclined to try and eat it. Your dog doesn't know that tempting plate of food he's found on the floor in front of him hasn't got his name on it and his first inclination will be to scoff the lot. Most pet owners would readily agree that cats can be very picky eaters, which is often the complete opposite to their canine counterparts. Pet food manufacturers spend a lot of time devising the most flavorsome titbits to tempt fussy felines. A fact which also makes those products incredibly attractive to dogs. So much so, they'll do just about anything to get at them. In the wild, a dog would have to hunt for his dinner. Foraging until he scented a trail, then chasing the prey for some time, maybe even fending off competition from other animals before he got to ingest anything at all. If your cat puts up a fight at his food bowl, but your dog doesn't give up trying to snatch the contents, he could well be exerting his primal instincts.
We animal lovers are often unconsciously guilty of trying to humanize our pets. As families, we enjoy partaking of communal meals where we all sit down at a table together, maybe we share various dishes between several household members. Cats and dogs don't have this trait nor do they need to be fed at the same time, although that might, on occasion, be more convenient for you. Sometimes it's much better to feed them individually because, as far as food is concerned, what a dog sees and what he can get his teeth into is his even when it belongs to the cat. If your dog was still roaming the forests and plains as he was before we began the domestication process, the same as with any other wild animal, he'd be hard put to know where his next meal was coming from. It's instinctive in a dog for it to make the most of every feeding opportunity it gets. After all, you know you're going to be there tomorrow to deliver up his dinner, but he doesn't, so he'll get ahold of anything while he can.
Encouraging the Behavior
While the old adage a little of what you like does you good, there's no great harm in your dog making a quick snack of the cat's food. By the way he licks his lips after he's consumed it, you'll be able to see how much he enjoyed it. What you don't want him to do is eat it all the time as that could be detrimental to his health and the cat probably won't be overly happy either. Dogs and cats have very different nutritional needs. As most food products we give our pets these days are specifically prepared to make sure they receive an adequate and balanced diet specific to their breed, he could be ingesting too many things his body is not designed to deal with. Although cat treats can be a tasty training aid, it's preferable not to let your dog consume too many. If your dog continues to snaffle the cat's food every opportunity he gets, it could mean he's bored with the kibble you've been giving him. Maybe adding some variety to his diet or giving him a change from his usual brand would lessen his interest in cat food. After all, who likes to eat the same thing every day?
Other Solutions and Considerations
If your pup consumes cat food in large quantities or on a regular basis, it can have a bad effect on him. Cat food is much richer than most standard dog foods and may possibly give him a seriously upset stomach, which is something you'd definitely rather not deal with. Commercial cat and kitten food has a high fat and protein content. Letting your pet over indulge on it could also, in the long term, cause damage to his vital organs, mainly his liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Cat food is nutritionally designed for cats not dogs. Regular consumption of the cat's food could lead to obesity in your dog while you'll be left wondering why the cat is losing weight.
Cat food isn't the best thing to let your dog eat. It has far too many nutritional additives his body just doesn't need and which, metabolically, he can't process and could cause him harm over time. Try to tell your dog you're depriving him of a tasty treat for his own benefit. Cat food is for cats. He'll probably take quite a lot of convincing.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/30/2020