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Friday, June 6, 2014

Can Dogs and Cats Share Food?

“I have a dog and a cat, and they each like to eat from the other’s food bowl. Is that bad for them?”

While none of us here at the Newton Falls Public Library are veterinarians, we were able to check online and look through our collection of pet-care books, eventually finding the answers in Cats for Dummies and on PetMD. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, so although it’s okay for them to have the occasional snack from one another’s dish, according to PetMD, it’s generally best for them to stick to their own food.

Cats need a lot of protein – over double the amount per pound of body weight than dogs or even people do, according to Cats for Dummies. Cats also need to get fat from animal sources, since they can’t manufacture essential fatty acids from plant sources like dogs can. Taurine, an amino acid found in animal proteins, is necessary for cats, and a deficiency can cause serious eye and heart problems. Dog food doesn't have these nutrients, nor does it have enough protein for a cat to be happy and healthy.

On the other hand, because cat food is so high in fat and protein, dogs tend to really like it. Unfortunately, it’s not very good for them either. It’s so rich that it can cause digestive problems, and eating it too often can lead to obesity.

For more information about pet nutrition, David G. Wellock’s Health and Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: A Guide for Pet Parents is available here at the Newton Falls Public Library. If you’d like to try your hand at cooking up your own treats for your pets, Gregg R. Gillespie’s Tasty Treats for Demanding Dogs is available at the Newton Falls Public Library and Liz Palika’s The Ultimate Cat Treat Cookbook is available through CLEVNET.

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