Why do dogs ingest cat food?
The short answer is that dogs will eat anything, especially protein- and fat-rich cat chow that smells so good. Dogs are opportunists and will consume any food source they discover in the wild; therefore, a bowl of excellent meat is a potent attractant that is difficult for them to ignore.
Can a dog become sick from eating too much cat food?
As long as it doesn’t happen frequently, feeding your dog cat food won’t do much harm. However, because cat food has more protein, calories, and fat than dog food, cats face the danger of obesity, gastrointestinal distress, illness, and diarrhea if they consume it frequently.
Dogs are omnivores, whereas cats are carnivores, thus the high-protein diet required by cat food may strain your dog’s kidneys and liver, and increase the risk of pancreatitis (caused by having to deal with too much rich food).
How to prevent a dog from consuming cat food
If you’ve spent money on the best cat food to keep your cat healthy, you don’t want your dog to eat it all before your cat can.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent your dog from eating your cat’s food: You can implement measures to entirely separate the feeding areas, instruct them to leave cat food alone, or remove the temptation by placing the food in an inaccessible location. We describe all procedures below:
1. Isolate their feeding grounds
The first step is to guarantee that your dog does not mistake the food for its own. It is not strange that they would not realize the cat food is not for them if it is placed in a similar bowl and in the same spot. To guarantee it’s not a case of mistaken identification, separate the feeding locations and utilize bowls with very distinct shapes and hues.
When introducing this new arrangement, you could try feeding them at different times to make the distinction even more apparent.
2. Use the command “leave it”
Training your dog to ignore an object is a very useful skill. Surprisingly, the greatest approach to train them to do this is to instruct them first when to take anything.
First, place a goodie in your hand with your fist closed. Allow your dog to attempt to obtain it, but maintain a closed hand as they paw, nose, and lick at it. Once they have lost interest, offer them your hand with the words “take it” and give them some praise. If they attempt to attack, quickly close your fist and wait for them to disregard it once more. Once they do so, say “take it” and present the treat. Then try again with your hand open.
Next, place the goodie on the floor and cover it with your hand. If your dog disregards it, reward them with a treat of more value. Repeat this for several days until the command “leave it” is connected with disregarding food on the floor.
When placing the cat’s food on the floor, you should now say “leave it.” Reiterate the command if they are interested, and if they successfully ignore it, offer a treat. Iterate over a period of days.
3. Keep the cat food out of reach of your dog.
If you do not believe that your dog will readily react to training, the easiest method to prevent your dog from eating your cat’s food is to remove the opportunity.
Your cat will be able to eat their food from a high perch if you place it on a high shelf or on top of the refrigerator, whereas your dog will only be able to smell it but not reach it.
4. Install a pet gate
Another option is to get a pet gate that is tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over it, but has broad enough slats for your cat to squeeze through. If you don’t mind fencing off a portion of your home, this is an almost guaranteed technique to prevent your dog from eating your cat’s food.
5. Invest in a cat food station that is dog-proof
Invest in a dog-proof cat feeding station, such as this one from Feline’s Only, if your dog is often sniffing the cat’s dish (opens in new tab). They have plastic guards that make it extremely difficult for your dog to access the food, whereas your cat will have no problem.
6. Door handle
A simple alternative to a pet gate, a door lock and stopper such as this one by Door Buddy keeps your dog totally out of the room while allowing your cat to freely enter and exit. It operates by keeping the door slightly ajar to allow your cat passage and is quite inexpensive and simple to install.
7. Cat door
An indoor cat door, also known as a cat portal(opens in a new tab), is a stylish method to establish an entry for your cat. It is available in a variety of adorable designs, such as cat ears or a little door.
It is small enough to prevent your dog’s access and can be placed in areas where your cat is likely to seek alone. Utilizing this concept, many pet owners make their own cat bedrooms using an unused cabinet.