Cats and dogs are, without a doubt, two of the most popular pets, so it is not surprising that this comparison is being sorted after. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a pet parent to both a cat and a dog. For starters, dogs and cats do not have similar dietary requirements. By ‘obligation,’ cats are carnivores, meaning that meat must be injected into their diet. For cats, meat is biologically necessary. On the other hand, dogs are omnivores – something that is contrary to many beliefs. So, dogs can partake in both meat and veggies. With this difference established, it is correct to say that both animals need different diets that will help to meet their individual nutritional needs.
Manufacturers organizing cat food make it highly rich in meat-based protein. This should explain why your Doggie is obsessed with Kitty Kat’s food. The smell of meat and its flavor is so strong that they sweep a dog off its feet. Dogs don’t need as much meat as many people – pet owners, pet experts, and armchair advisors – believe. To adapt to life, a dog will comfortably take the bare minimum meat compared to a cat.
A Brief Tabulated Difference – Dogs And Cats
If you look at nutrient needs, you will find that cats have a long list of essentials. So, manufacturers of cat food focus on injecting fat, minerals, protein, and vitamins into their products. Also, there is a focus on high calories for cats.
Although there are differences between the foods of cats and that of dogs, the ingredients that food makers use are similar. If there is no similarity in the constituent elements, you will see a difference in the amount of balancing with the foods.
The table that follows will explore the broad, subtle, and nuanced details of the two animals and their foods. Read on and get knowledge.
|Item Of Focus
|Amino acid details
|They have eleven (11) amino acids (essential)
|They have eleven (12) amino acids (essential)
|Vitamin A details
|Dog food has more of this vitamin
|Cat food has less of this vitamin
|A dog’s digestive system can convert this pigment into vitamin A.
|A cat’s digestive system is not as powerful as to do this conversion. So, cats need food rich in vitamin A.
|This acid is contained in dog food.
|This acid is not contained in cat food
|Most of all, dog foods have lower protein and fat quantities.
|Relative, cat food has more proteins than dog food.
Now, the items tabulated above will be explored further in this article.
Effects Of Dog Food On Cats
Before the discussion takes you on a road trip, hear this – dog food is deficient in proteins, vitamins, taurine, and meat products. When Kitty Kat decides to dine with the dogs, they may suffer, and the following parts will be the recipients of trouble:
2. Fur coat
Be it kittens, adults, seniors, or exotics; cats will become malnourished if they are not presented with the right, special meal to take care of their nutritional needs. Consequently, the cat will become prone to fatal diseases, and it will live an unhappy life.
Remember that your cat is domestic and an indoor animal, and lacks the inclination to go out to the wild and fend for itself. Outdoor cars will get the nutrients from hunting, taking down, and swallowing mice whole. There is a whole lot of evolutionary science to back that up. The wild cat would eat dog food because its stomach is ‘rogue,’ but the indoors one has a delicate gastrointestinal inside.
Most dog foods lack moisture, and this is bad news for cats. This is how it works – when a dog is enjoying its dry kibble, it will sense and take note of impending dehydration. As a result, the dog will get water and drink up. Compared to the dog, the cat’s sensory system is underdeveloped, and so it may not pick out that the food is causing it to dehydrate. Dehydration is a precondition for many severe problems for the cat. Cat food, especially the canned type, is wet enough to provide the moisture that Kitty Kat needs to stay well hydrated. Cat food is designed with the hydration detail in mind, but dog food isn’t, well, according to the direction of this discussion.
Additionally, cats need specialized diets depending on their age and breed. Cats like the Sphynx (exotic) differ from bigger-than-big species like the Maine Coon regarding nutritional needs.
You cannot leave out the issue of taste in this cat-dog bickering. The design of cat food has it that its flavor is rich, better, and fuller. This is as a result of vitamins, proteins, and meat-by ingredients that are entirely diverse. On the other hand, dog food is flat, dull, tasteless, and bland. Thus, your feline friend will not salivate at a bowl of dog food, no matter its substance or smell.
This lack of charm from dog food does not entirely put cats off. As you know, these felines are the most curious pets, and they will dig in. When they do, you’ll need to be on high alert.
When your cat takes a single bite of a dog treat, snack, or meal, it is unlikely to get troubled. If you permit your feline to keep getting more dog food, it may get affected in the long run.
In conclusion, any dog food – canned or dry – should be out of reach of your cat all round the clock. If your cat refuses to eat its food and explores more dog food, change the type of cat foods that you make or buy them. Your feline will appreciate your lack of predictableness and enjoy the different food offerings. In turn, this will reduce the temptation and craving for dog food by the cat.
Effects Of Cat Food On Dogs
Now, it is time to flip to the other side of the coin. Now we are looking at the omnivorous canines, which are dogs. Remember that dogs do not need spectacular diets like cats. Nevertheless, they need good food that will supply them with the nutrients they need.
Although classified as part of the Canidae family (groups of dog-like carnivores), dogs are omnivores. This can be attributed to their evolution over the years. Their primary attraction is not only to meat but also to plant material. Actually, they can survive on a diet that totally lacks meat. Research has proved that the digestive system of dogs can break down carbohydrate-based foods.
A dog does not strictly need nutrient items such as taurine, which are injected in cat foods. A dog can create their arachidonic acid using ingested vegetable oils. Compared to cats, dogs do not depend on meat-specific proteins. Also, their basic dietary needs do not require the dog to take in protein in its highs. Cats are the ones who are needy.
Studies done in recent times have inferred that unlike wolves, dogs have adapted to breaking down starch-rich diets. This adaption is due to the process of domestication. So, the question begs, what would happen if you let your dog eat food processed and prepared for cats every day?
Since the cats’ foods are protein-dense, your dog is likely to experience multiple attacks of stomach upsets. The impression made earlier is that a dog’s gut, compared to a cat’s, is iron and resistant. Well, it is not. Long-term ingestion of the ‘foreign’ food would mean problems for the dog. The reason is the lack of balance between the protein and fiber and other pro-dog nutrients.
Moreover, too much protein (such as the one in cat foods) can wreak havoc on a dog’s kidneys and liver. The dog’s waistline will get adversely affected; that is, the dog will become fat. This is as a result of the heavy fat doses in the cat’s food. An overweight dog may become obese, and such a situation will open doors for conditions such as pancreatitis.
You should ensure that your canine friend eats what is made for them.
So, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, to cats what belongs to cats, and to dogs what belongs to dogs.
Dog Versus Cats: Canned Food Edition
When you go to the store, the canned foods of both dogs and cats may appear and even smell the same. This similarity of sorts may make you think that the foods have the same or nearly identical ingredients, but that is not the case. In this section, you will get opened up to the differences between cat and dog food – in terms of their nutritional components.
1. Minerals And Vitamins
If you take it up and do some light reading on the labels of both dog and cat foods, you will discover that the mineral-vitamin percentages listed differ. At this point, you should infer that the foods are formulated to meet the specific nutritional needs of both individuals. Canine and feline foods are tailored differently because both dogs and cats metabolize different mineral-vitamin amounts.
If you look at the digestive systems of dogs, you realize that they can make particular essential vitamins and acids, such as vitamin A. Canines make the A vitamin from beta-carotene contained in plants and foods. On the other hand, cats’ systems cannot undertake nutrient synthesis, and thus, they get these supplements from their diet containing animal tissues.
Calcium and phosphorus should be part of the dog’s and cat’s diet but in different amounts. Also, the quantity should be varying depending on the pet’s stage of life (lactation, adulthood, pregnancy).
2. Fat And Protein
Pet food labels include the per-part (say 100g) detail of the amounts of fat and proteins contained. If you look at the dog and cat foods side by side, you will note that there is a protein high in cat foods than dog foods. This has already been captured in the previous section – it is all about individual needs. Cats need more proteins as they are obligate carnivores, while dogs don’t, being the omnivores they are.
This should appear to you like dogs do not need proteins. They are neither vegetarian nor vegan. They are, in a big way, meat-eaters. So, they need to eat meat or meat-based foods from time to time.
While carbohydrates are not essential for cats, they are useful to dogs. As long as a cat receives the fats and proteins it needs, a pet owner should not belabor on injecting carbs into the cat’s diet.
Many people consider bones and meat as the only necessary foods for dogs. But, carbohydrates from soluble (or digestible) fibers, like beef pulp, are essential for digestion and the maintenance of stool quality.
If a cat is fed with a lot of crude fiber, it may suffer some of the following conditions:
1. Colon infestation with altering microflora
2. An increase in fecal output
3. Disruption of insulin production, glucose absorption, and fermentation
4. Depressed diet digestibility
This is one of the many amino acids found in tissues of bodies. Taurine plays the role of maintaining the good health of your pet’s retina, heart, bile, and even some reproductive aspects. This amino acid, therefore, is highly needed in the foods fed to cats. What you should know is that cats are unable to manufacture taurine on their own, so they need to get it from dietary meat. If they stay without taurine, cats may go blind or experience severe respiratory and heart problems.
On the other hand, dogs can build up taurine from within their bodies since they have sufficient amounts of amino acids. This is one of the explanations in vet dietetics about why cats need more proteins.
It is important to note that some dog breeds are unable to metabolize taurine properly. They include the cocker spaniels and the Newfoundland breeds. These species of dogs need this unique amino acid. If they don’t get it, they may develop a puffed-up heart.
Most of the cats will not partake in dog food. It seems like cats see their food as not only different but also superior to that of dogs. On the other hand, dogs think that anything and everything popping out of a container (can) can be eaten, so they will eat cat food as if it’s their own.
If you have cats and dogs, ensure that each eats what is meant for them. This way, both animals thrive in terms of health.
I’m Christopher Benjamin, a dedicated Animal Nutritionist at Ethos Veterinary Health with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Michigan State University. My lifelong passion for animals led me to establish AnimalsData.Com. Here, I share expert advice, educational resources, and inspiring stories to empower fellow pet lovers worldwide. Join our community as we celebrate the beauty and diversity of our beloved animal companions!