Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food?

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In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food?“.

Besides a cat and two dogs, I have two dogs. 

Every day, my dogs and cat share some of their food. They both eat raw food.

Feeding all the animals involves a strange routine I must follow!

These diets seem to be beneficial to all animals, including the cat.

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Some pet owners are wondering if they can feed their cats wet dog food- as in dog food in cans?

Can they? That is the question.

What do you think? Let’s find out.

Can cats eat wet dog food?

Having both a dog and a cat and your cat occasionally nibbles on your dog’s wet food is fine.

There is no harmful substance in a can of dog food for your cat.

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While your cat’s stomach might suffer a bit, you won’t need to worry as they’ll still be able to go to the bathroom in your garden- or someone else’s!

As part of their daily diet, cats should only consume canned cat food.

The same applies to eating dog food regularly. 

Commercial cat food (and dog food) is made according to a set of specific guidelines to make sure that it meets the health needs of your cat. 

In the next section, I’ll show you how to follow these guidelines.

Cat food vs dog food: the perfect diet

There is an organization called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) in the US.

It is a voluntary organization made up of local, state, and federal agencies responsible for deciding what the perfect diet is for animals of all kinds.

Cats and dogs are included for our purposes. 

Through a series of tests, they have been able to compile a list of all the nutrients (proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) that an animal should consume. 

The following chart shows what these different elements are:

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Adult Cat Adult Dog
Protein 26% Protein 18%
Fats 9% Fats 5.5%
Minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium Minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium
Vitamins vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12, choline, biotin Vitamins vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12, choline

The elements of a perfect cat and dog diet

I have included the nutritional requirements of dogs alongside those of your cat since it eats dog food. 

Let’s begin with the obvious differences- those that jump out at us.

There is a large difference in the protein and fat requirements of cats and dogs.

The diet of a cat should contain 26% protein and 9% fat, whereas that of a dog should contain less protein and fat (18% and 5.5%, respectively.)

As we move down the chart, we come to minerals.

And there you have it! Dogs and cats require the same minerals.

Quite possibly, but I don’t think so.

Mineral concentrations in food differ from one species to another, but they do need the same minerals. 

Adult cats need 80 milligrams of iron per kg of body weight in their diet. An adult dog should consume 40 mg of iron per kilogram of body weight. 

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Cats require 0.6 mg of iodine per kg of food, while dogs require 1 mg per kg of food. 

It is true that these amounts are tiny and the differences equally so, but if a cat consistently ate canned dog food instead of cat food, these differences would harm your cat in the long run…

Last but not least, let’s compare vitamin needs between cats and dogs. 

Dogs only require twelve vitamins, while cats should have fourteen added to their diet. 

A cat’s food must contain trace amounts of vitamin K and biotin, while a dog’s food does not need these additives. 

There are twelve vitamins that must be included in both dog and cat food. 

As we saw with the minerals, just because a cat might need almost the same vitamins as a dog, it doesn’t mean they need the same amounts.

As you already know where I’m going with this, let me just give you one example. 

There are 3332 IU of vitamin A in every kilogram of food consumed by a cat, while there are 5000 IU in every kilogram of food consumed by a dog.

In the same vein, a cat requires 280 IU of vitamin D per kg, while a dog needs 500 IU. 

As with cats eating only cat food and dogs eating only dog food, this is also true here. 

An “incorrect” balance of vitamins could hurt your cat over time, even if the difference is tiny. 

I have shared with you a lot of very detailed information, but it is hard to get hold of. 

Unless you look at it carefully, it would be easy to think a cat can eat wet dog food because they are so similar. 

The ingredients list on a can of dog food

Some of you may have done your own research and decided your cat can eat wet dog food.

Your approach has been very thorough and you have gone about it “properly.”

There are ingredients on every can of dog food and cat food, for that matter.

You looked at a can of Friskies cat food and a can of Pedigree dog food, and their ingredients are identical.

I have done it, so they do it. 

Here is a chart showing the comparison. 

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Minerals Vitamins
Wet  Dog Food Wet Cat Food Wet  Dog Food Wet Cat Food
Potassium Chloride Potassium chloride Thiamine mononitrate B1 B1
Zinc sulfate Zinc sulfate  Riboflavin B2 B2
Copper sulfate Copper sulfate Calcium pantothenate B5 B5
Manganese sulfate Manganese sulfate Choline chloride B6
Magnesium sulfate Ferrous sulfate B7
Copper proteinate B9
B12 B12
E E
A A
D D3

Vitamins and minerals commonly found in wet cat food and wet dog food

However, as I mentioned in the previous section, these ingredient lists are not detailed.

To truly understand how and why cats and dogs require different nutritional requirements, you must look at the AAFCO specifications. 

What should I do if my cat will only eat wet dog food?

In this case, for the sake of your cat’s health, in the long run, you will need to charm, cajole, or force it to only eat cat food. 

By the way, I’m joking about forcing them – that tactic won’t work anyway.

In addition, as you may know, cats can be extremely fussy and picky eaters. 

It would be a monumental task to get them to change their eating habits! 

Therefore, you need to present yourself at your best and be ready for the long haul!

You cannot make a change in a matter of days – you need to think in terms of weeks.

Take it one step at a time. 

Make sure you are consistent as well. 

Consider feeding your cat canned food if you decide you want to do so.

You may also choose to feed your cat dry food if that is what you prefer.

In the process, there will be some ups and downs.

There may be days when your cat doesn’t eat at all.

Your cat won’t benefit from flip-flopping between wet and dry food. 

No treats either! 

If your cat refuses the new food, don’t feel sorry for them and feed them chicken bits. 

It might make you feel better, but it won’t help your cat change!

As a result, on days 1-3, have a bowl mostly filled with wet dog food with a small amount of canned cat food instead of a whole meal of wet dog food.

Then, every few days, reduce the amount of canned dog food and increase the amount of wet cat food.

You will be left with nothing but wet cat food for your cat. 

Wet cat food vs dry cat food

Let me let you know that I have a cat who is fed dry food before I begin this section.

Aside from a little snack at breakfast and dinner when he has a few nibbles of our dog’s raw food!

You can provide your cat with complete nutrition by feeding it wet (canned) or dry cat food.

The bottom line is that your cat doesn’t need to eat anything else if they are getting the right amount of food (according to their ideal weight).

Your cat gets everything it needs from the food.

A major consideration is a price, and dry food is more affordable than wet food. 

Wet cat food does not go as far as dried cat food. 

By that, I mean that your cat should eat less dry food than wet food pound for pound.

Food that is dry is much easier to store. 

It doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge once opened, unlike opened cans of cat food.

The owners of many cats kept a bowl of dry cat food out permanently for their cats to graze on.

Wet cat food is more difficult to do because it smells more and is more likely to be attacked by flies. 

The softness of wet cat food makes it easier for older cats to eat. 

If you want to read more about dog food tips, read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food? (Watch Video)

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