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Dog who eats cat food

May 30th, 2005, 03:00 AM
I don't know if this has been disscused before. I tried looking, but wasn't able to find anything.

I have a little dog, a male Papilion. For the past six months or so, he has been eating the cats food, and now won't eat his own food, even if it means starving himself. At first, we figured it was no problem and just let him eat the cat food. But lately he's been acting... odd. He's 3 years old now, so I don't think it's anything to do with his age.

He attacks us more now, especially if we touch his nose. He also seems to space out and stare at one spot on the floor for hours on end. Also, he really gets spooked if something 'Sneaks' up on him. Just yesterday, he attacked a laundry basket that he backed into on accident!

Does anyone have a similar problem? It only happened after he began eating the cats food, but it's been getting worse, and I would like to know if it's the food making him nuts, or just something else.

Thanks for your time!

May 30th, 2005, 06:28 AM
I don't know if it the food or if he is having behavioral issues. How old is he? I would stop feeding him the cat food immediatlely. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. Find a good quality dog food and start him on it right away. Put it in his dish and give him 15 minutes to eat. If he does not, take it away and give it to him at his next feeding. Generally I would feed an adult dog twice a day (breakfast and supper time). Again if he doesn't eat after 15 minutes, take it away. Do this until he eats. Dogs will not starve themselves to death.
He has trained you to feed him cat food. He knows if he turns up his nose at his food you will give him cat food. If he doesn't get anything else he will learn to eat his food. Make sure you don't give him any treats during the transition.
I would also look into obedience training and get some advice from a trainer on changing his aggressive behavior.

May 30th, 2005, 07:33 AM
I agree with Copperbelle. He should be eating a good quality dog food. Cat food does not have the proper nutritional requirements for a dog.

About his change in behaviour. I agree that he may need some obedience training to put him back in his order in the family pack. But, I'm concerned about his drastic behavioural change. Has he been examined by a veterinarian since the change? Sometimes a dog's behaviour changes like that because they are experiencing some pain.

Lucky Rescue
May 30th, 2005, 09:28 AM
Cat food is very high in protein - much too high for a dog. This is also the reason dogs love it so much.

I suggest you find some dog food he likes (maybe canned?) and get him on that. Put the cat food where he can't get at it.

May 30th, 2005, 09:35 AM
Agree with Lucky - find a dog food pup will like and try and keep him away from cat's food. My Eskimo and my Dachshunds before him of course had to quality check the cat's food (and output) unfortunately - mommy's little helpers - but no way would they not eat their own food. Then of course you will have to ensure that the cat does not stop eat his food and only the dog's because that is a problem as well.

May 30th, 2005, 02:20 PM
Cats and dogs have different dietary requirements, the commercial food is tailored for that. As Lucky mentions, the protein content in cat food is far too high for dogs, and therefore its an unbalanced and unhealthy diet.

But they sure do love the taste! :D
I really sympathize with you, having gone through exactly the same thing with my toy poodle - and for quite a while too.
As a five-year old stray, I didnt know "what" he'd been eating.. and he rejected everything I tried. Expensive brands, cheap brands,vet brands, big bites, little bites, wet, dry - all completely ignored. It was frustrating.
He ate and enjoyed the cat food only - and was prepared for a hunger strike to get it.
Though glad he was eating "something", I was concerned whether this was suitable - healthy.
I asked a vet during a checkup, who, incredibly, told me "its not the best for him, but it wont really hurt him." So, I kept giving it to Percy - till I learned elsewhere that this was totally false! (this vet is no longer at this clinic or I would have complained)
I moved the cat food up and out of reach, I stopped ALL snacks, I experimented with several new good quality dog foods. ( dry).
It took a while.. but lo and behold - he began eating what he had - his only choice. He'd totally "duped" me into believing he would starve, get sick, die..
I felt relieved to have him on a suitable permanent food at last.

In a very odd turn-around, the cats began eating HIS food -just to boggle my mind, I think, (no one wanted the dog food and now you ALL want it??) :D arrgggrhh.. lol

I think with removing the options, and a bit of perserverance - your dog will start eating a canine food. The tinned might be a good idea, more "tasty" to lots of dogs.

The behaviour issues may not be related to this, I would ask your vet for opinons on this, and how best to address them.

Good luck with both of these concerns you have!

May 30th, 2005, 05:17 PM
Thanks for taking the time to reply! I actually didn't know any of that information.

Now, to answer a few questions that were asked. Yes, Gizmo is an adult, he just turned 3 this past December. He's also an intact male.

Another thing. I can't move the cat food anywhere out if his reach or a few of our cats will starve. We have two that are VERY overweight, and even our vet is confuzed as to why the diets he puts them on don't seem to work. So, the cat food has to go on the floor, and then it's right where the dog can get it. He's a little fellow, so making a seperate room with a kitty door won't work either. Thought of all that.

Are you sure he won't starve himself? He went 2 days with out food because we wouldn't let him near the cat food. We finaly had to feed him because he was getting sick.

He hasn't been to the vet in a few years. We have so many animals it would be insane to try to get them there, so, out vet sends us all their annual shots. My mom knows how to give them the shots, she was an EMT for many years. We were actually thinking he may have to go to the vet because the change was rather sudden, but he isn't acting hurt or sick. He still runs and chases birds, plays with his toys... ect. Normal doggy-type stuff.

So, yea. I really can't think of anything that would make him change so drastically, unless he just felt like it, little bugger.

May 30th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Dogs are opportunists. The dog will try to wait it out knowing you've caved in past. They are not like cats, and will not starve themselves to death when there is food, even if it isn't what they would prefer.

May 31st, 2005, 03:29 PM
Is there a reason he hasn't been altered? I don't really think its related to the aggression issues but I just wondered. My mom had a male papillion, and he never was trained and was very aggressive - his nickname was "The Anti-Christ" if that gives you a clue to his temperment. Good Luck!