If you live in a multi-pet household, you will certainly never get bored! Especially if you have a dog and a cat. Their daily adventures and trying to outwit each other can be a real little home show. You may have noticed that, despite having their own food and treats, your dog often peeks into the cat food bowl.
Why do dogs like to eat cat food? Dogs generally love the smell of cat food and almost every one of them has at least once reached for cat food or watched you with anticipation while you feed your cat.
If a dog has eaten cat food several times, it probably won’t hurt him too much. But,feeding a dog cat food regularly, is by no means recommended.
Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs and their diets should not be the same. So, if you’ve noticed that your dog sniffs around the cat food bowl too often, it’s time to think about how to put an end to it.
We are here to help all pet parents who are looking for a solution to this problem. Keep reading to find out how to stop dog from eating cat food!
6 Ways How To Stop Dog From Eating Cat Food
The ideal situation is for the dog to eat only dog food, and the cats to eat only cat food. The reality is sometimes different: your dog has tried cat food, he liked it immensely, and it seems that he now wants to completely change his diet!
Of course, you must not allow him to do this. Some dogs are just always hungry and they are always happy when you share your meal with them!
Just like you need to be careful that your dog doesn’t eat too much or too often, you also need to take care not to feed him inadequate food.
Cat food has much more vitamins and proteins than dog food and it is simply not suitable for a dog to eat regularly.
At best, frequent consumption of cat food will cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight gain in your dog. Not only is it not good for your dog’s physical condition, but the frequent consumption of cat food can also negatively affect a dog’s internal organs.
Related text: Puppy Diarrhea At Night: Why Does It Happen?
Now, it’s clear to us that it’s not feasible for you to put your dog in a crate or take him to a separate room every time you feed your cat. This is simply not a good long-term plan and you will need to find another way for your pets to share a living space, without anyone stealing someone else’s food.
Below, read our 6 tips for how to stop dog from eating cat food.
1. Place The Cat’s Food Bowl Higher Up
This method is quite simple and should work for every pet owner. We all know how agile and fast cats are and how high they can jump.
If you place the cat bowl in a higher place, like on the kitchen counter, washing machine, or on a cat tree, it will be out of the dog’s reach and he will be prevented from approaching it easily.
This way, the cat will have its own feeding station, without the dog constantly bothering her. At the same time, you will reduce the chances of your dog getting into the habit of consuming cat food.
As much as he might enjoy it, don’t take any chances and take good care that the dog doesn’t steal cat food.
2. Use A Special Cat’s Food Bowl
If your cat eats canned or wet food, you probably have specialized cat feeders at home. This type of feeder is great to keep your dog away from cat food. These pet feeders have holes through which small cats can stick their heads in and get food.
Dogs will not be able to retrieve food from a feeder like this because their heads are larger and cannot pass through the hole. However, if you own a small dog, this method may not be the best for you.
A smaller dog is likely to manage this obstacle and will be able to reach the cat food, even from a specialized feeder like this.
3. Try To Feed Both Pets At The Same Time
If you introduce meals for both the cat and dog at the same time, it is possible to prevent your dog from eating cat food this way. With a little luck, the dog will eat his food and will not need to steal the cat’s meal.
But, you should be careful here. Dogs can eat very quickly and finish a meal before cats, which like to enjoy their food for longer. Even if his meal was enough and he is no longer hungry, the dog can still reach for the cat food.
Therefore, at the beginning of the introduction of this method, constant supervision is needed.
Both the dog and the cat will probably get used to shared meals during the day, but it will still take some time for this routine to be introduced and maintained. Don’t give up! Both you and your pets will benefit immensely if you manage to prevent your dog from taking the cat food.
4. Use Pet Gates Or Baby Gates
If you used a baby gate to ensure that your toddler does not enter certain rooms, it’s time to use this trick again, but this time – on your pets instead of children.
By placing this barrier, at a slightly higher level than it was before, you will ensure that the cat eats its meal in peace without your dog trying to eat her food. Also, try putting the cat’s water bowl and litter box in the same room, so she can have all the privacy she needs.
The cat eating her meal in a different room will show your dog that that place is the cat’s feeding area, and that he will get his mealtime in his own place.
If a dog eats cat food frequently, not only does the cat stay hungry, but he can also develop serious health consequences. Even if your puppy complains about this, baby gates can help dog owners develop balanced meals and healthy eating habits for both of their pets.
5. Introduce A Feeding Schedule
An additional reason why your dog takes your cat food is that it is simply always available to him! If your pets are used to free feeding, it may be time to introduce them to a regular feeding schedule.
Cats eat smaller amounts and have more meals throughout the day than dogs. You probably make sure that there is always some food in the cat bowl, so she can eat when she feels hungry. But, what if your other pet uses this and eats the food that was meant for the cat all the time?
Try this method: put the dry cat food in the cat’s bowl and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Even if the cat has not eaten everything, after the time has elapsed, remove the cat’s dish and clean it. In this way, both animals will understand that lunch is over.
Also, don’t interrupt your pet while eating – neither dogs nor cats like to be disturbed while enjoying their meal.
After a while, the cat will realize that food will not be available to her throughout the day and she will start eating all the food when she is first given it. This way, the dog will not have the chance to touch her food and the cat will meet its daily nutritional needs.
6. Make Sure Your Dog Is Not Bored
We now know that dogs find cat food very tasty. Some may even steal it just because they shouldn’t or because they like to annoy the other pet in the house.
However, some dogs simply reach for the cat food out of boredom. This can be very dangerous and can cause obesity in dogs.
You may be absent from home often and your pets may be left unattended. Although they are trained and socialized, this does not mean that they cannot still be bored and will not do any damage. If your dog lacks activity and doesn’t know how to expend a lot of his energy, he might focus on cat food.
To avoid this, try to provide as much mental and physical stimulation as possible to your dog. Take him for a walk, go for a run with him, or buy him interesting new toys that will keep him entertained.
Almost all dogs begin to show signs of aggression or destructiveness if they have no special task to entertain them.
Can You Train A Dog Not To Eat Cat Food?
You’ve realized you have a problem: your dog eats cat food! Now you are wondering, can you train your dog not to eat cat food? Fortunately, yes!
As with any dog training, such as training your dog where to poop, teaching him various commands, and telling him not to bark at every harmless sound – it’s also best to start training your dog not to touch cat food at an early age.
Small puppies adopt certain habits faster and respond better to training methods. It will probably take you significantly longer if you are trying to teach a large dog not to touch cat food. But, this is no reason to give up either! Be persistent and patient and your efforts will pay off.
The first thing you need to teach your dog is to respond to commands like “No” and “Leave It”, near your cat’s food container. Monitor your dog’s behavior. When you put the food in the cat bowl, he will most likely come and sniff right away. This is the right time to start with these commands.
At the same time, it is advisable to show goodwill and reward your puppy with his favorite treat for good behavior. Over time, the dog will learn that he will always receive a reward if he leaves the cat kibble alone.
Remember how intelligent dogs are and how little training they need to adopt rules. Of course, this requires a good and patient trainer too!
What Are The Side Effects Of A Dog Eating Cat Food?
The diet of cats and dogs is quite different. While cats are obligate carnivores, dogs need meat and also vegetables to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. Cat food in small amounts probably won’t harm your dog too much, but every animal has its own food for a reason.
Cat food is not nutritious enough for dogs and the prolonged consumption of cat food can cause a lack of fiber and protein in a dog.
Cat food contains much more taurine, an amino acid that helps cats digest fats and protects them from cardiovascular disease. Dogs do not need this amount of taurine, and if they get too much, it can seriously damage their digestive system.
There are additional health problems that can occur if dogs eat cat food on daily basis:
• Allergies and eye problems: Cats need a lot more vitamin B than dogs, so their food is significantly richer in this vitamin. An excess of this vitamin in a dog’s body can cause allergic reactions, as well as eye problems.
• Liver disease: Cat food has significantly more protein than dog food, so excessive consumption of such a food can cause liver disease in dogs.
• Pancreatitis: Cat food is much more acidic than dog food, which can cause heartburn in dogs, and can also cause pancreatic disease in the long run.
Today we have learned that dogs eating cat food is very common. They love the smell of cat food and are always up for eating it, even if they just had their own meal! But, this kind of behavior is not recommended, especially not too often.
The truth is that cat food is not poisonous for dogs, but it is also not as good and as nutritious as actual dog food is. Simply said: dogs and cats are two different animals with their own lifestyles and their own feeding needs.
Your dog occasionally eating your cat’s food probably won’t cause bigger health conditions than vomiting or diarrhea. But, dogs often eating cat food might cause a disturbance to your dog’s health and also diseases such as obesity and pancreatitis.
Hopefully, with our help, you are now aware of how to stop dog from eating cat food. Use some of our tricks and show your pets that their own food is enough.
Remember that proper pet food and balanced and healthy meals are number one in ensuring a long and happy life for your pet!