It seems that cat food is quite the temptation for some dogs, but can dogs even taste or enjoy cat food? For some reason, there is a misconception that dogs have the ability to taste more or less than they are actually capable of. While dogs can taste things, they don’t necessarily have the same capacity for taste that humans do.
When it comes to cat food, the high-protein formula is likely to entice dogs to give it at least a little taste, but is this safe for your dog? Read on to find out more about dogs and cat food.
Signs of Dogs Tasting Cat Food
Since dogs have a strong sense of smell, it makes sense that the scent of cat food would draw dogs to it, but there has to be a reason that dogs keep coming back for more. The taste of cat food is good enough that dogs will take almost any opportunity to eat it, which means it should always be kept out of reach or in a container that your dog can’t break into.
One of the biggest signs that dogs can taste cat food is that they eat it in the first place. While dogs don’t always eat for pleasure like many humans do, most pet dogs have access to plenty of food during a normal day, which means that they don’t need to eat the cat food. If they didn’t enjoy the cat food, they would probably leave it alone.
When dogs notice cat food, you will probably see their little noses start to twitch and sniff the air. Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell, which makes them able to find the tasty cat food to begin with. Also, when dogs are happy about something, they tend to wag their tails. You will probably notice your dog wag its tail when you have cat food.
Here are some signs that your dog may be munching away on kitty food:
- Jumping up
- Wag tail
- Tearing into a bag of cat food
- Excitedly eating cat food
- Sniffing in the direction of the cat food
- Wagging its tail when it sees, smells, or eats cat food
History of Dogs Tasting Cat Food
Since the time commercial cat food became available in the 1800s, there have probably been dogs munching on it. Whether the food is wet or dry, it seems that dogs haven’t been able to resist the stuff! Scientists guess that the higher level of protein in cat foods makes it desirable for dogs, but there is no way to prove why dogs are so in love with feline dinners.
Another reason dogs may love cat food is that it is sometimes used as treats for dogs, which is great for training purposes, but not so great for keeping dogs away from cat food as adults.
Cat food is higher in protein than most dog foods, which makes it taste quite delicious for the carnivore pup you have in your home. While dogs enjoy cat food, it isn’t a good idea to let your dog eat cat food, as it can cause upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
A small amount of cat food here and there won’t likely be harmful to your dog, but it doesn’t come without risks. The biggest risk for dogs that consume large amounts of cat food is pancreatitis, which can cause distended abdomen, hunched back, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and weakness. Other risks include damage to the kidneys and liver.
Science Behind Dogs Being Able to Taste Cat Food
While humans have around 9,000 taste buds, dogs only have about 1,700. This means that they don’t have quite the same ability to taste as humans. They do, however, have the same for taste classifications that humans have: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. In addition to these tastes, dogs also have special taste buds that are geared specifically for water.
While cats and other carnivores have these taste buds, humans do not. These taste buds are found on the tip of the tongue where it curls as dogs lap up water. The theory behind these taste buds is that they help prevent dehydration in animals.
These taste buds have a tendency to enjoy things that dogs would have eaten in the wild, including meat, fruits, and vegetables. Since cat food contains more protein than dog food, it is believed that dogs are quite fond of it. However, eating too much protein isn’t good for dogs and can make them feel ill.
Training of Dogs to Not Eat Cat Food
While you don’t need to train your dog to taste cat food, you can try to train them to leave the cat food in your home alone. Since eating cat food can cause serious health issues for your dog, it is important that you either keep the cat food away from your dog or you teach your dog to avoid the cat food.
If you notice your dog eating cat food, it is a good idea to remove the food. You may want to consider a different location for feeding your cat to prevent your dog from eating the food. This may require you to feed the cat in a room with a door that you can close to keep the dog out.
Some dogs will steal cat food straight from the bag when you aren’t around. For this reason, it is a good idea to store bags of cat food in containers or rooms that your dog can’t get into. Leaving even a closed bag of cat food within reach of your dog could be a recipe for disaster in your home.
In some cases, it may not be possible to completely eliminate your dog’s ability to get into cat food, but minimizing the chance that your dog consumes cat food is your best bet for keeping them safe.
Some trainers recommend cat kibble or treats for dogs during training, because it is a great motivator for dogs. While this is not likely to cause your dog any harm, you may want to avoid this method if you have a cat in your home, because the dog is likely to want to continue to enjoy your cat’s food.
How to React To Your Dog Eating Cat Food
Take the cat food away from your dog
Avoid leaving cat food in an area where your dog can get into it
Don't feed your dog any cat food or treats