Can dogs eat cat food?


Can dogs eat cat food? Vet John Burns explains to a reader why their dog shouldn't eat cat food...

(Q) We recently got a six-year-old rescue dog, an America Eskimo Dog X terrier. He can't eat meat as it upsets his stomach. I've been giving him cat food, as it was the only fish-based food I could find. He isn't keen on dry food. I've since been told that cat food is very bad for dogs and can cause liver damage. Is this true? What else could I feed him?

(A) Vet John Burns says: You said that your dog can't eat meat - I assume you're referring to fresh meat? I feel sure that among the branded dry complete dog foods based on chicken, lamb, pork, fish, turkey, and duck that are available on the market, there will be more than one which won't upset him. You might need to try several to find which suits your dog best.

You said that he isn't keen on dry food. This suggests that he has become very fussy as a result of overfeeding, which in itself would tend to upset his digestion.

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Cat food isn't normally recommended for dogs. It has higher levels of protein and fat than is suitable for dogs and over time this could be harmful.

I think you should wean him on to a high-quality digestible dog food which could be fish based. If he isn't keen at first, just persevere on a much-reduced feeding amount. 

Avoid all other foods such as treats for now at least.