While it is not necessarily harmful for a dog to eat cat food, it can be dangerous for a cat to eat dog food, which lacks nutrients essential to feline health, according to a recent story from the Blanco County News .
The story lists the following five nutrients as essential for cats:
- "First, cats require a higher protein to calorie ratio than dogs," said John Bauer, a professor of animal nutrition at Texas A&M.
- Cats are not able to make their own vitamin A, which has to be added to their food and is essential to their health, whereas dogs produce this vitamin.
- Bauer said cats also are not able to make the amino acid taurine, which helps to maintain feline heart function, vision and reproduction.
- Felines also need arachidonic acid, a fatty acid dog food doesn't have. The compound is necessary to produce an inflammatory response that helps the body protect itself.
- Bauer said the fifth nutrient cats need is niacin, a B vitamin. According to www.peteducation.com , niacin deficiencies can cause loss of appetite, inflamed gums, weight loss and hemorrhagic diarrhea.
"If your cat sneaks dog food once in a while, it is not going to compromise its health," said Bauer, "but if they are only eating dog food then they are not going to be getting nutrients needed to maintain their health."