Are you facing the situation where your dog keeps stealing your cat’s food despite you had prepared his favorite food in his bowl and you are cracking your head on how to stop him from eating cat food?
This is certainly NOT something new and in fact, this situation is very common for pet owners having dogs and cats living in the same household.
If YOU are looking for an ANSWER to this, this post will be for you.
I will be covering the following in detail:
- Why Do Dogs Like To Eat Cat Food?
- Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
- How to Stop Dogs From Eating Cat Food?
- What To Do If Your Dog Refuses To Eat His Food?
Why Do Dogs Like To Eat Cat Food?
So what makes your dog “carves” for cat food? There ought to be something“special” in cat food that makes your dog irresistible? Something that is missing in dog food?
When you observe the texture, size and shape of the dry foods for cats and dogs, they look quite the same to you, doesn’t it? Of course, you wouldn’t know the taste of these foods for sure!
HERE is the ANSWER!
Firstly, cat food smells much more savory than dog food. This is what “drives” your dog to it since dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell.
Secondly, cat food is much higher in protein, minerals and vitamins as compared to dog food. Thus, the taste will be different. If your dog had his first bite on the cat food, he would certainly get to like it (as the taste will be so different from his food) and will carve for it whenever he had the opportunity to do so.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
Most veterinarians would advise keeping your dog away from cat food. Reason being cat foods are made with more animal fats and dogs are susceptible to fat intolerance.
When a dog eats cat food which is rich in animal proteins, it might lead to some health issues such as pancreatitis and digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhea) as his body could not process these excessive proteins.
Cat food is rich in protein because it is an essential nutrient that a cat needs to maintain good health, muscle growth and improve its immune system. As they belong to carnivores (meat eater) animals, they need more protein.
Whereas, dogs are omnivorous (meat and plant eaters), they certainly don’t need that much protein to maintain healthy growth.
Excessive fats and protein present in a dog’s body will lead to his weight gain (due to high levels of fats) and other health issues such as liver and kidney problems (due to increase in iron from the excessive protein).
How to Stop Dogs From Eating Cat Food?
There are various WAYS that you can do to prevent your dog from having access to the cat foods.
Feed Your Cat In A Separate Room
This is what you should do. Do not feed your cat in the presence of your dog or in an area where your dog will be able to access easily as this may lead him to start barking at your cat in an attempt to “scare” her away so that he can have the food.
Keeping your cat’s dish in a separate room which your dog will not be able to enter easily.
When it’s feeding time for your cat, bring her to the room and place her dish on the table. Keep the door closed during the feeding time. If your dog is so “skillful” to be able to open the door, you would have to lock the room.
Make Use Of Baby Gate
You could also purchase a baby gate to create a ”barrier” to prevent your dog from entering the feeding premise for your cat in the house.
When the feeding is over, you can then remove the barrier. It doesn’t cost much to get one of this, typically ranging from 20 to 50 bucks.
This works well in “blocking” puppies and small dogs but if your dog is of bigger size, he might still be able to jump over. So this option works only if your dog is not an “athlete” jumper.
For cats, this baby gate provides no challenge to her at all as she is able to jump up to a height of 2.4 meters. So you can safely leave her food behind this baby gate, and she can jump over any time to get her food.
Cats don’t finish her food at one go (she will take a bite and roam around before coming back for another round), so it may take a while before she finally finishes it and you can keep her bowl.
With a baby gate, you would not have to keep “locking” the room to prevent your dog from entering to get the cat food.
Place Cat Food At A Raised Area
Cats can jump really high (more than 2 meters) whereas a dog isn’t born with this capability.You can make use of this capability that your cat possesses to your advantage.
Prepare your cat food and place it at a higher ground where you know that ONLY your cat will be able to reach it.
Places such as bookshelf, cabinet, washing machine, dresser are good choices.
Cat tree would also be a very good option that you would like to explore.
- A place where you can place your cat food and your dog certainly wouldn’t be able to reach it.
- A place for your cat to escape to in case your dog is chasing at her.
- A place for her to exercise, jump and play without any fear.
Using A Cat Crate
If you already have a cat crate, make full use of it. Usually cat crates will be of much smaller size so your dog will not be able to go into the crate to steal the food.
Of course, if you do not have one, you can always opt for other alternative approaches shared in this post.
SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder
After reading some reviews on this product, I decided to get one for my cat and it works marvelous well. Not only is this feeder extremely portable, it comes with the following features:
- It prevents food stealing – of course, that my main intention (to get my dog hand off the food).
- Control the food allocation – so that my cat will not be over feed and I do not have to do the manual task of food dispenser.
- Works for wet or dry food – I can alternate between dry and wet food so that she will not get “bored” with her food. With the lid, it helps to form a seal (when closed) to help to retain the food moisture and freshness.
- My cat will wear a collar tag to “talk” with the feeder. When she goes near the feeder, the RFID chip in the collar will make the feeder open its lid, and she can then enjoy her food. With this setup, she is free to leave and return at will for her food.
This is a wonderful feature that I’m looking for. You see, my cat will usually take about an hour to finish her food. She will take some bite, then goes around the house before coming back for her next round (typically when she has exhausted her energy) and I will have to be there “coaxing” her to take her meal and “protecting” her food.
With this, I would just leave the food in the feeder and let her have it at her own leisure time and most important of all, I do not have to worry that my dog would steal the food. The feeder also helps to “preserve” the wet food freshness as it comes with a closed lid.
Of course, I do find that this feeder also has its flaws. It would be great if it’s not battery operated as it can be a chore having to change battery now and then and have to make sure that there is always some spare battery in your drawers for it. If it operates using a rechargeable battery, I can have the feeder charged up every night.
This will only work if you manage to keep the cat food out of reach from your dog during the training. This is how it works:
1. Your dog will keep his eye on the cat food but as it is out of reach for him, he will keep waiting at the spot for his opportunity to steal the food.
2. This is when you will make use of his favorite treat to catch his attention. Slowly “lure” him away from the spot by giving him a treat as he follows you.
3. Initially, he might “reject” your offer as what he is going after is the cat food (he no longer finds his favorite food delicious). He will just stay foot on the spot without paying much or any attention to you.
4. Do not feel desperate. Keep trying for a few rounds, and he will certainly “accept” your offer (treat) because he senses that rather than simply staring at something (cat food) that he could not have his “hand” on, it would be much better to get the treat that is right in front of him.
5. In time to come, he would learn that cat food is “unreachable” and would stick to his own food which is right in front of him.
What To Do If Your Dog Refuses To Eat His Food?
This could be the case that he had already “tasted” the cat food and is telling you that “I will only eat cat food and not other foods!”
He is adopting the “Wait and See” approaches and waiting for you to give in and send him the cat food.
For this case, what you can do is:
1. Make sure that you stick to his feeding schedule. So if he doesn’t want his food, you would remove it after the feeding time. This will send a strong signal to him that there are no “Wait and See” chances.
If you wait, there will be NO food for you. You will have to be firm for the few rounds so that he will learn his lesson. Don’t let him think that he has other options.
2. Before feeding time, take him out for some exercise to drain off his energy and make him hungry.
Now you have known that it isn’t appropriate for your dog to eat cat food, you ought to start taking action to prevent that from happening.
It’s time to put what you have learned in this posting to use and make your dog eat his own dish.