Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Cat Food vs Dog Food: What are the Differences?

Cat food vs dog food - Ft

If you are a pet lover like us, you probably have both dogs and cats in your home, and with the high cost of food, especially during the pandemic, many people are starting to wonder what the differences are between dog and cat food and if they could both eat the same thing. If this is the case in your home and you would like to know if you can cut costs by combining foods, keep reading while we look at the ingredients of each type to see how they differ and how they are the same so you can make an informed decision.

divider-paw

Overview of Cat Food:

What Is Cat Food?

Gray cat eating from the bowl
Image Credit: Skrypnykov Dmytro, Shutterstock

There are two basic types of cat food, wet and dry. Manufacturers will cook the ingredients right in the can when preparing wet cat food, sealing in moisture and flavor. Dry food is like a biscuit or cookie mixed with ingredients and baked to hard, crunchy kibble. Both will provide your cat with a complete and balanced meal.

Cats are strictly carnivorous, so they require food high in animal protein. Unlike humans, they do not require any fruits, vegetables, or other plant matter in their diet. Animal proteins provide the cat with an important amino acid, taurine, which their bodies cannot create.

Which type of Cat Food Should I Choose?

When choosing a type of food for your cat, we recommend dry kibble over wet food. The crunching of dry kibble scrapes away tartar and plaque, helping to slow the progression of dental disease in your pet. Dental disease is a major issue for cats, and some experts suggest that more than 50% of cats have some form of dental disease by the age of four.

Wet food can be a great choice if your cat is constipated or dehydrated. Cats usually prefer wet food because it usually contains pieces of real meat, so it’s a great way to get a stubborn cat eating again or to give your cat medication. However, it doesn’t scrape away any plaque. In fact, the wet food can stick to the teeth, accelerating tooth decay.

Regardless of whether you feed your cat dry or wet food, you need a bowl that is sure to keep the mess contained—you can do just that with the Hepper Nom Nom Bowl.

This product is designed with your cat’s comfort in mind. The whisker-friendly bowls are low and wide to prevent whisker fatigue, and the wide catch tray ensures that all food stays exactly where it should—inside the bowl.

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

Pros
  • A complete meal for carnivores
Cons
  • Wet food can accelerate tooth decay

divider-paw

Overview of Dog Food:

What is Dog Food

labrador retriever eating dog food
Image: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Dog food is similar to cat food in many ways. Like cat food, dog food comes in both wet and dry varieties. The wet food has ingredients cooked in the can, and dry food has ingredients mixed with a cookie base. It can even look very similar, which is likely why many people wonder if you can mix and match the two types of food.

Dogs are omnivores, and unlike cats, they require fruits and vegetables in their diet along with animal proteins. Their bodies can create taurine, so they don’t require their food to include it.

Pros
  • A complete meal for omnivores
  • Doesn’t require taurine
Cons
  • Dogs require a more diverse diet.

divider-paw

What If My Cat Eats Dog Food?

Maine Coon cat eating food
Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

If your cat ate some dog food while you weren’t looking, it would be fine. However, dog food does not contain the right nutrients that a cat needs to stay healthy. The biggest thing dog food is deficient in is taurine, essential for developing the kidneys, heart, and eyesight. The balance of other vitamins and minerals will be off as well. Since the cat does not possess the digestive tract to digest plant matter, eating dog food that contains these ingredients can upset your cat’s stomach.

What If My Dog Eats Cat Food?

dog eating dog food
Image Credit: Mat Coulton, Pixabay

Dogs are omnivores that can eat a wide range of foods, and if it were to eat cat food when you weren’t looking, it would be fine. Dogs are much less picky about what they eat, but just like when a cat eats dog food, the vitamins and minerals it contains will not be in the correct amounts to produce a healthy dog. Cat food is also quite rich compared to dog food, especially wet food, which can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and possibly diarrhea after consuming it

divider-paw

Our Favorite Cat Food:

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is our favorite cat food. It comes in several different size bags so you can get just what you need. It’s dry kibble, so it will help slow the progression of dental disease, and it contains natural fiber to reduce hairballs while providing minerals that support a healthy urinary system.


Our Favorite Dog Food:

Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food

We chose Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food as our favorite Partly because it has no recalls and partly because of its high-quality ingredients. It uses the meat-based formula to provide your pet with plenty of protein, and it’s ideal for dogs of all ages. Its high-calorie content means you only need to feed half as much food to your pet, but you will need to follow portioning guidelines carefully, or it can quickly cause weight gain.divider-paw

Conclusion

While a dog or a cat may be able to enjoy a single serving of the other’s food on occasion, making it a regular part of their diet can lead to discomfort and even health problems. Dogs and cats have different diets that require nutrients in specific amounts, so it’s best to stick to the food that’s intended for them so your pet can be healthy and strong with a few health problems as possible.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over the short guide, and it has answered your questions. If we have helped you be more informed, please share this cat versus dog food guide on Facebook and Twitter.


Feature Image Credit: 1- Cat Food: Crepessuzette from Pixabay | 2 – Dog Food: Mat Coulton from Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets