Many dog owners know that you cannot feed a dog with cat food. The fact is known, but few can explain the reasons and name the real consequences of such a diet. Let's figure it out.
Why do dogs eat cat food?
Most owners will find out that the dog eats cat food after the fact. Usually, everything happens like this - a cat and a dog live in the house, they eat at the same time and a larger pet steals or eats food secretly. There are several reasons for this behavior.
For young dogs, a natural curiosity is characteristic, the more active the puppy, the more desperate his actions. Puppies and young dogs eat fast, because they have a lot to do ... and, as a rule, eat more quickly than leisurely cats. The reason for the theft of cat food is that in a neighboring bowl it tastes better, at least, so it seems to the dog.
Maybe, young dog is malnourished and steals from a cat bowl for this reason. A more bad reason is greed, which can degenerate into food aggression. Lead dogs or puppies that were deprived while living with their mother are prone to greed.
The economy class of cat food is guaranteed to attract the attention of a dog since contains a large number of flavorings and flavor enhancers. It just so happened that they try to feed the dogs more expensive products, and cats cost more advertised, but less useful feeds. Here, the owner needs to think twice about two important points:
- Is a cat's health worth the supposed savings.
- How to protect your puppy from the harmful effects of a frankly harmful way of feeding.
Some owners claim that their dogs eat cat food because the pet likes it. In fact, your pet does not eat properly just because you allow it. Economy-class feeds emit a strong, attractive smell, which explains the first impulses.
Important! After a short use, cheap cat food causes addiction (both in dogs and cats), which explains the fanatical craving and rejection of other food products.
If you feed your cat a good, high-quality feed, and the dog steals regularly from a neighbor, the reason is protein deficiency. The fact is that cat food is inferior in composition to dog food in almost everything except protein. Cats are more predatory, they need a large amount of protein, which is taken into account in the production of high-quality industrial feed. But do not rush to rejoice if the dog compensates his needs in this way. You will not be delighted that the dog eats plaster, compensating for the deficiency of trace elements, and these situations are similar and equally dangerous.
How to choose the right food for dogs?
Suppose that your animals eat only quality food, but the dog gravitates to cat food. The reason can be found out only after identifying your mistake in the selection of the diet. According to generally accepted rules, the choice of feed is based on six conditional criteria.
The first criterion is the type of feed. Almost all manufacturers produce four varieties of products:
- Dry food - granules with a neutral smell, color (brown) and a minimum water content. The most popular variety, because it is optimal for long-term storage and costs less than other types.
- Semi-wet food - products consisting of pieces of feed and gravy. Products are packaged in jars or sachets, have an average cost in the lineup and are used by dogs with great pleasure.
- Wet food or paste - the most expensive segment, which is made for puppies and older dogs or pets having serious dental problems.
- Goodies - not intended for regular feeding, used as a promotion.
The second criterion is the feed class. Classes differ directly in cost and quality. Products are usually divided into:
- Economy class - The most advertised and unsafe brands that position themselves as affordable. In fact, the cost of these feeds is not so low (compared to the premium class). Economy food can be identified by delivery, usually it contains legumes or corn ingredients, plant components prevail over animals, animal proteins are entered instead of meat type, products contain salt and several unreadable names of preservatives. The smell and color of economy feed is more provocative and bright, granules can be painted in different colors.
- Premium and super premium (casual) class - feed suitable for daily feeding of healthy animals. The difference between premium and super premium in vitamins, the second class is more balanced.
- Holistic class - It is considered the highest quality and natural type, which should be made with minimal use of preservatives and without salt.
- Medicinal feed (allergy, urolithiasis, joint problems) - not recommended without a veterinarian.
- Feed for pregnant, exhausted, weakened dogs.
Following, the third selection criterion is the age of the dog. According to common criteria, all feeds are divided into the following types:
- For puppies older than 2 weeks and up to 2 months.
- For puppies and dogs from 2 months to 10 months.
- For dogs older than 12 months and up to 8 years (for individual breeds up to 6 and 7 years old).
- For older dogs over 6 years old.
In relation to this criterion, it must be understood that the old dog cannot be fed puppy food because it is more nutritious. In such a situation, it is better to choose a therapeutic or prophylactic product.
Tip: if you are not sure about the age of the dog or think that the composition of the feed does not meet its needs - consult your doctor.
The last two criteria relate to the size and lifestyle of the dog. Each feed package has tables with recommendations for daily feed intake. Usually the table is divided into three columns: small, medium and large dogs. The degree of activity depends on the breed and age, which many manufacturers take into account.
Note! Some dogs tend to quickly gain weight, for these pets, many manufacturers produce diet food.
Why can't a dog be fed cat food?
So, what will happen if you give cats cat food? In the process of development, cats and dogs have occupied different niches in the natural chain. Yes, both species are carnivorous predators, but their lifestyle and metabolism are very different. Cats and dogs have different blood composition, different norms of glucose, protein and other substances.
Purrs eat little by little, but often than maintain high blood sugar. Most dogs are adapted to one or two meals a day and do not experience this discomfort. Unexpectedly, but the larger the dog, the longer it can live without food, this is due to the instinctive saving of energy, which can be perceived as laziness.
Cats need taurine and feed manufacturers take this into account. The canine organism synthesizes taurine and does not need its externally. Additional taurine, regularly consumed by the dog, is the cause of heart failure, most often cardiomyopathy.
Note! Taurine itself is sharply inscribed in the composition of cat food, its presence is implied by an increased protein content in complex with amino acids.
The increased proportion of protein helps cats maintain a normal, high for dogs acidity of the digestive tract. I.e, cat food, regularly eaten by a dog, can cause heartburn, gastritis, and ulcers.
All of the above consequences are the result of prolonged and regular use of cat food. Owners often do not associate the first alarm bells with the type of food. When the protein in the dog’s blood is increased, the risk of developing:
- Dermatitis, including allergic.
After a few months of eating cat food (especially economy class), it leads to the development of renal failure. In sterilized, small, and prone dogs, urolithiasis develops rapidly.
Important! Some dog breeds, especially decorative ones, have a risk of allergic shock. The condition is critical, deadly, accompanied by swelling of the larynx and suffocation or a sharp failure of the kidneys.
How to wean a dog to eat cat food?
You are not sure that you can wean a dog to eat cat food? Is your dog so fussy and will simply starve to death if it does not receive the cherished treat? You tried not to give food, but the pet did not eat and lost weight in front of your eyes? Oh no, but you have to come to terms with a destructive delicacy, is it better than starvation? Stop!
Not your dog is fussy, but you are looking for an excuse! Naturally, each pet has its own character and gourmets are found among tetrapods ... but not a single dog has died of starvation next to a bowl and food! Remember, a categorical rejection of healthy food, this is not a dog's problem, this is your problem!
The main reasons you need to immediately rule out:
- Overeating - reduce portions, remove snacks, eliminate constant access to food.
- Prohibited foods (except cat food).
- Frequent treats for treats.
- The food cooked in haste is cold, hot, raw, solid, tasteless.
- Low quality dog food.
- Lack of physical activity - when the dog does not expend energy, it does not experience true hunger.
- Health problems - visit a veterinarian and make sure that the dog is feeling well.
Tip: feed the cat in a place inaccessible to the dog at another time, this will eliminate the risk of theft of cat food.
The most common mistake is a sharp transition to a different type of food. One day you decided not to give the dog cat food, but the dog does not agree. Changing the diet is carried out by mixing. Every 4-5 days, reduce the amount of cat food by 25%, replacing it with a useful, dog food. Thus, you will avoid a boycott and the dog will not starve.