Will Cat Food Make a Dog Sick
When you think about what your favorite pet eats, chances are pretty good that you picture either a juicy steak or a bowl full of fresh vegetables. But there’s an entire world of other options out there including those with ingredients that might surprise you. Dry kibbles, for example, have long been considered suitable only for house cats.
But over time, more people began realizing that these crunchy morsels could also help their dogs stay healthy. And while dry kibble may not replace the protein of meat in your pet’s meal plan, it does provide the essential nutrients needed by most animals.
But some people worry that feeding their cats dry kibble can actually harm their health, so they prefer to stick with canned food instead. This concern isn’t without merit although the reasons behind it vary from person to person. Some folks simply want to avoid potential contaminants in dry food products, such as yeast (which causes bloating), mold, and parasites.
Others don’t trust the nutritional value of kibble, which comes primarily from grains. Still others believe that a cat’s digestive system is designed to process softer foods than dry ones, rather than the opposite.
If you’re curious about whether your cat really needs to eat canned food, here are answers to common questions we get about this topic. We’ll start with the basics first…
What is the difference between canned and dry cat foods?
Canned cat food contains moisture (either water or milk) and has a smooth texture. It’s often made from animal-based proteins, fats and oils, along with vitamins and minerals. Canned varieties typically contain less sugar than dry versions. They tend to come prepackaged into servings that resemble small portions of regular tableware, making it easier for owners to know exactly how much to feed each day.
Dry cat food doesn’t contain any water, but it’s still high quality nutrition. Manufacturers add a range of natural, organic, and preservative free ingredients to create meals that meet specific dietary requirements. The lack of moisture makes it ideal for cats who have sensitive digestion issues, especially those who suffer from diarrhea or vomiting.
How can I tell if my pet’s diet is healthy?
Healthy adult cats need to consume approximately 10% of their body weight in calories per day. A little extra fat helps keep skin and coats looking shiny, plus it provides energy. In addition to being naturally nutritious, many commercial cat foods include added vitamins and minerals that ensure proper development and growth.
Since all cats are genetically unique, however, it’s important to consult with your vet before introducing new foods or adjusting the amount of existing ones. He or she will use blood work to determine if your pet’s current diet is sufficient.
One way to check if your cat’s diet is too low in calories is to take his or her weight in pounds and divide that number by two. If the resulting figure is under 9, then your cat needs more calories. You can also calculate the appropriate daily calorie intake based on your pet’s age and activity level using online calculators available from the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Another helpful indicator of a healthy diet is overall coat condition. Healthy fur stays plump and glossy thanks to its own oil production, so hair loss, dullness, or patches of dandruffiness are signs of poor nutrition. Other signs to watch for include frequent constipation, stomach discomfort, excessive drooling, and lethargy.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Human Food?
Yes! Dogs are carnivores, meaning they thrive on protein and other nutrient-rich sources of energy. Just because they’re eating human food doesn’t mean that they’ll suddenly lose their predatory instincts or turn into cute lap puppies. Like with cats, it’s always best to talk to a professional veterinarian before trying a new diet for your dog.
Why do some vets recommend against raw diets?
Raw diets are popular among certain types of pet owners, particularly those interested in promoting healthier lifestyles for their animals. Many proponents claim that these diets encourage better digestions and faster recovery times after illness. However, experts disagree. For starters, no studies have proven that raw diets improve digestion or reduce infection risk.
Some even argue that raw meats carry higher levels of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. Plus, it takes longer for cooked food to pass through a cat’s digestive system, so it may require additional time for the gut microbiome to adequately break down the food. As a result, dogs fed raw diets may experience slower growth rates and reduced appetite, which can lead to malnutrition.
Can I feed my dog different kinds of food at once, or should they be on one type of food exclusively?
It’s OK to mix up your pet’s menu, provided you follow basic guidelines. While it’s tempting to try everything at once, this usually isn’t recommended. Instead, feed separate amounts of multiple foods every few hours throughout the day. That way, your dog won’t feel overwhelmed by changes in flavor, smell, or consistency.
You should also limit the total volume of food you offer your pet at one time. Feeding large quantities of food at once can cause indigestion, bloating, and gas. Also, avoid letting your dog overeat, since doing so can disrupt normal bowel movements. Overweight dogs are also prone to developing joint problems and diabetes.
Will changing my pets’ food affect how they behave?
Your pets probably won’t react dramatically to switching brands of food. Most likely, they’ll adjust within a short period of time. If you notice any behavioral changes, though, contact your vet right away. These could indicate underlying medical issues.
Does switching to another brand of food change anything about flea/tick prevention?
Fleas and ticks aren’t affected by the kind of food you feed your pet. Although both pests carry germs that can trigger infections, their eggs will hatch regardless of where your pet gets its sustenance. So if you choose to switch to a new brand of food, you shouldn’t see an impact on flea infestation unless your pet’s general health suffers. Ticks, on the other hand, depend on mammals to spread their larvae, so switching to a non-meat product won’t eliminate the threat of tick bites.
In fact, if you live somewhere that gets lots of ticks, switching to a new food may actually increase your pet’s exposure. Ticks need warm-blooded hosts to survive, so they rely on animals with thick insulating layers of fat, fur, and feathers. Non-furry pets with thinner outer layers are more susceptible to tick bites.
Should I give my pet treats when they’re older?
Treating your pet with special snacks is a great way to reward him or her for good behavior. Treats should be offered occasionally, but never every day. Giving them too frequently can cause obesity, hyperactivity, and gastrointestinal upset. If your pet grows accustomed to getting treats every day, consider cutting back gradually until he or she adjusts.
Also, be mindful of allergies. Certain people are allergic to chocolate, peanut butter, shellfish, and other common ingredients found in pet treats. Discuss your concerns with your vet to prevent accidental reactions.
I’ve heard that adding supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids…
Nutritional supplements are beneficial additions to your pet’s diet, but only under supervision of a reputable veterinarian. Never attempt to treat your pet yourself or give supplements meant for humans directly to your pet. Doing so can result in serious injury or death.
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish and flaxseed oil. Cats benefit from these substances because they help maintain heart and brain function, regulate inflammation, and fight disease. Flaxseed oil, in particular, contains lignans, plant compounds similar to estrogen that may protect against cancer. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids must be prescribed by a veterinary specialist, so speak with yours today.