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Can my dog eat cat food?

December 22nd, 2003, 08:06 PM
I have recently acquired a new dog. He is 1 1/2 years old and came from the humane society. He has come into a household with cats and although he is given dog food, he seems to prefer the cats' food. Is it ok for him to eat cat food solely? If that is the case then I will buy bulk cat food instead of letting his dog food go to waste. I have been told to put the cat food on the counter where he can't get to it, howeveer This unfortunately is not an option as i have an older overweight cat that can't make the counter. Also would like to know, should I fill the dog bowl with food and allow him to eat as he pleases or should I do a breakfast, lunch, dinner type feedings?

Thanks for any help

December 22nd, 2003, 09:04 PM
First I recommend taking your dog to a good vet for a thorough examination. Take a fresh stool sample with you and monitor the dogs movements for a couple of days as you can relay info to the vet. The more the merrier!

Allow your vet to guide you on your dogs nutrition, in particular if you are a new dog owner. Your dog may have suffered from hook/round worm or kennel cough or any number of things while in the shelter. A good nutritional dog food at this time is beneficial.

Lucky Rescue
December 22nd, 2003, 11:36 PM
All dogs prefer cat food - it's usually very smelly and high in protein (which is why most dogs will also eat cat poop)

Dogs should not eat cat food, as the protein level is too high for dogs.

You will have to put the cat food where the dog can't get it. I have cats and a dog, too. I put the cat's food and litter box in a room and put a chain on the door so only the cats can get through.

Your dog needs to eat food formulated for dogs. As to if you should leave food in the dog's bowl all time - that depends. Some dogs will eat moderate amounts and stop when they are full. Others will eat themselves into obesity.

Shelter and rescue dogs often fall into the latter category, plus shelter dogs need schedules. I would feed the dog once in the morning, and once at dinner time.

December 23rd, 2003, 05:52 AM
As the others have pointed out, cat food is much too high in fat for a dog and is not a good diet for him.

You can buy an inexpensive crate, one that your dog can't get into, for the cat food.

It is better to feed the dog two meals a day. Most dogs will overeat if free fed, and it's not good to let a dog get overweight at all. Also this way he knows where his food comes from (this can be important if you have a dog likely to get food aggressive, or get too big for his britches.) :) Also that way you can be sure he's not exercised on a full stomach, which isn't good for dogs. And if you are implementing any training at all (which you should) and using treats as a reward, you can make sure he's hungry & more motivated.

Go to a bookstore or to Petsmart and get yourself a copy of "Dogs For Dummies" or "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Dogs."
Don't be fooled by the titles, they're great books! And really handy for someone new to dog ownership.

Bless you for getting a shelter dog. What kind is he?

December 23rd, 2003, 02:42 PM
Thank you all for the info! He is a border collie mix. I feed him now in the morning, but he doesn't eat as his food at once. Should I then take it away from him or let it sit for him to eat at his own pace. He doesn't seem to have a tendency to overeat at all! He eats moderately. Again thank you--Happy Holidays!

December 23rd, 2003, 03:32 PM
I would recommend allowing him about 20 minutes to eat his meal, and then take away whatever he hasn't eaten. After you do this a few times, he should begin to realize when his meal time is, and will learn to eat appropriately when you feed him. Also, this will help his digestive system get on a schedule, which can help predict when his bowel movements would be. Best of luck to you, and congrats on your new furry friend!

December 25th, 2003, 08:50 AM
Check the ingredients in your dog food too. Avoid foods with meat by products, brewer's rice and too many grains. A quality food should have more meats then grains listed in the first 5 ingredients on the bag.

Carina and I both feed raw food and my aging rottweiler looks better then she has in a long time and has more energy, too. And they poop less.

I had a collie that free-fed and she did fine. Once again, depends on the quality of the food.

December 26th, 2003, 01:05 PM
I am feeding him Nutro Max. The ingredients are listed as (top5) chicken meal, wheat flour, ground whole wheat, rice bran, poultry fat. What do you mean by raw food? Please explain further. He seems to be somewhat regular, but still an accident here and there. I have stored cat food away from his reach. Sometimes stool is not solid. He also chews on things in the house like paper and plastic. I try to keep things out of his reach, just when I think I have, he finds something! I also give him pig ears and edible Nylabones to try deter chewing on other things. He sure is a handful!

December 26th, 2003, 01:34 PM
Raw food is a combination of meats, bones and veggies. If you do some research on line you can look under raw food for dogs or B.A.R.F. for dogs.

This morning my girls had green beans, plain yogurt, a chicken liver and a whole chicken leg quarter. Nothing got cooked today.

If you are interested in learning more, let me know. I have a friend who wrote a great book on the subject!

Lucky Rescue
December 26th, 2003, 01:41 PM
Raw foods are exactly that - raw meat, bones, organs, veggies, etc. This is a diet that takes a bit of work, but everyone who uses it seems to love it.
You can find some info here. (

Eating cat food, some people food, or just switching foods will give a dog loose stools.

Nutro Max is good food and I feel that once your dog is on a regular schedule, he should be fine with that, provided a vet has declared him healthy.

I also suggest you give him a Buster Cube or Kong to amuse him and keep him busy. When his stomach is more stable, raw bones are wonderful for dogs, and very satisfying for them to chew.

Obedience school is also excellent for bonding and building confidence in dogs. And since he is a Border collie mix, make sure he gets lots of exercise, both physical and mental. These are dogs that need activities or a job - even if it's only playing frisbee or catch.

December 26th, 2003, 02:49 PM
Nutro Max isn't the worst food you can feed, but it's far from being the best in that price range. See if you can get Canidae, it's one of the best kibbles on the market, IMHO.

I wrote a book on raw feeding:
It was published in August, is doing very well and is extremely user friendly. :)

Like Lucky said - BCs are very active and incredibly smart dogs. They can develop bad habits if they don't get enough physical & mental exercise for sure! Since this is your first dog, you probably haven't gone to obedience classes - you'll find they are great fun and inexpensive. Maybe you'll get hooked on some dog sport like agility or flyball, BCs excel at those.