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.

Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Cat Treats? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Alternatives

Can Dogs Eat Cat Treats? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Alternatives

child feeds the dog and cat together

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Dogs and cats can enjoy eating many similar kinds of foods, but it’s important to be mindful of their distinct natural diets and nutritional needs. So, while your dog is likely to be unaffected by eating an occasional cat treat, feeding cat treats to your dog continuously isn’t recommended.

It may seem harmless to feed dogs and cats the same treats if you live with both kinds of pets. However, it is not recommended since there are some healthy and safety considerations to think about before feeding your pets each other’s treats. We’ll answer some common questions pet owners have regarding dogs and cat treats in this article.


Is It Safe to Feed Dogs Cat Treats?

It’s very unlikely to see adverse reactions from your dog if they sneak a bite of a cat treat. Since dogs and cats have a similar list of toxic foods, it’s very rare to find cat treats that contain foods or ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

While most dogs can safely eat a few cat treats every now and then, it’s important to remember that they have different daily nutritional requirements than cats. So, they do best when they stick to eating dog treats. Cat treats often have higher amounts of protein than dog treats. Dogs that consume too much protein are more prone to becoming overweight. Dogs with kidney or liver issues are also at higher risk of experiencing further health complications if they eat too much protein.

cocker spaniel gets treat
Image Credit: Natalia Bostan, Shutterstock

What Happens When a Dog Eats Cat Food and Treats?

If your dog eats a small cat treat, it’s likely that you won’t see any health issues. Dogs that eat a large quantity of cat treats in one sitting may end up getting an upset stomach. You can tell that your dog may have an upset stomach if they display any of the following signs:

  • Diarrhea or Vomit
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Licking their lips, the air, or objects
  • Depressive behavior

If a dog feels nauseous, they may try to eat grass or dirt to soothe their stomachs. They can also do this to try to induce vomiting.

Eating too many cat treats over the long-term can lead to weight gain, which in turn may lead to obesity, joint problems, and diabetes.


What Should I Do If My Dog Accidentally Eats Cat Treats?

If your dog sneaks into a bag of cat treats, make sure to monitor their condition and look for signs of an upset stomach. If your dog’s upset stomach persists for more than 48 hours or the signs are severe, it’s time to contact your veterinarian.

If your dog eats a lot of cat treats in one sitting, you can consult your veterinarian for any next steps. It’s also best to speak with your veterinarian if your dog has dietary restrictions and ongoing health issues. This can ensure that your dog’s health isn’t in danger due to eating too many cat treats.

Lastly, make sure to store the cat treats in an unreachable area to avoid any repeat incidents. Some dogs can develop a taste for cat treats and cat food. Keeping cat treats in a safe spot and refraining from feeding them to your dog will help reduce their craving for them.

vet holding a papillon dog in his arms
Image Credit: Di Studio, Shutterstock

Is There Food That’s Safe for Both Dogs and Cats?

Feeding cats and dogs the same treats can make pet ownership more convenient. There are some pet treats that are labeled as both cat and dog appropriate. However, it’s still best to defer to your veterinarian before switching your pets to these types of treats. Your veterinarian can determine if making the switch is a safe move that will benefit and not hurt either your cat or dog.

divider-dog paw


Overall, you probably won’t see any changes in your dog if they accidentally eat a cat treat. However, feeding your dog cat treats over an extended period of time puts them at risk of developing health issues, including excessive weight gain. So, make sure to stick to feeding your dog treats that are specifically formulated for them.

If you’re interested in switching your dog’s treats to one that’s appropriate for both cats and dogs, have a conversation with your veterinarian first. This will ensure that both pets are eating healthy and substantial diets. It’s also important to remember that treats should only be fed occasionally and not make up more than 10% of either your cat’s or dog’s daily diet.


Featured Image Credit: Nina Buday, Shutterstock

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