Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food

Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

There is no harmful substance in a can of dog food for your cat. While your cat’s stomach might suffer a bit, you won’t need to worry as they’ll still be able to go to the bathroom in your garden- or someone else’s! As part of their daily diet, cats should only consume canned cat food.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food?“.

Besides a cat and two dogs I have two dogs. 

Can Cats Eat Wet Dog Food

Every day my dogs and cat share some of their food. They both eat raw food.

Feeding all the animals involves a strange routine I must follow!

These diets seem to be beneficial to all animals including the cat.

Some pet owners are wondering if they can feed their cats wet dog food- as in dog food in cans?

Can they? That is the question.

What do you think? Lets find out.

Can cats eat wet dog food?

Having both a dog and a cat and your cat occasionally nibbles on your dogs wet food is fine.

There is no harmful substance in a can of dog food for your cat.

While your cats stomach might suffer a bit you would not need to worry as they’ll still be able to go to the bathroom in your garden- or someone elses!

As part of their daily diet cats should only consume canned cat food.

The same applies to eating dog food regularly. 

Commercial cat food (and dog food) is made according to a set of specific guidelines to make sure that it meets the health needs of your cat. 

In the next section I’ll show you how to follow these guidelines.

Cat food vs dog food: the perfect diet

There is an organization called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) in the US.

It is a voluntary organization made up of local state and federal agencies responsible for deciding what the perfect diet is for animals of all kinds.

Cats and dogs are included for our purposes. 

Through a series of tests they have been able to compile a list of all the nutrients (proteins fats vitamins and minerals) that an animal should consume. 

The following chart shows what these different elements are:

Adult CatAdult Dog
Mineralscalcium phosphorus potassium sodium chloride magnesium iron copper manganese zinc iodine seleniumMineralscalcium phosphorus potassium sodium chloride magnesium iron copper manganese zinc iodine selenium
Vitaminsvitamin A vitamin D vitamin E vitamin K thiamine riboflavin pantothenic acid niacin pyridoxine folic acid vitamin B12 choline biotinVitaminsvitamin A vitamin D vitamin E thiamine riboflavin pantothenic acid niacin pyridoxine folic acid vitamin B12 choline

The elements of a perfect cat and dog diet

I have included the nutritional requirements of dogs alongside those of your cat since it eats dog food. 

Lets begin with the obvious differences- those that jump out at us.

There is a large difference in the protein and fat requirements of cats and dogs.

The diet of a cat should contain 26% protein and 9% fat whereas that of a dog should contain less protein and fat (18% and 5.5% respectively.)

As we move down the chart we come to minerals.

And there you have it! Dogs and cats require the same minerals.

Quite possibly but I do not think so.

Mineral concentrations in food differ from one species to another but they do need the same minerals. 

Adult cats need 80 milligrams of iron per kg of body weight in their diet. An adult dog should consume 40 mg of iron per kilogram of body weight. 

Cats require 0.6 mg of iodine per kg of food while dogs require 1 mg per kg of food. 

It is true that these amounts are tiny and the differences equally so but if a cat consistently ate canned dog food instead of cat food these differences would harm your cat in the long run…

Last but not least lets compare vitamin needs between cats and dogs. 

Dogs only require twelve vitamins while cats should have fourteen added to their diet. 

A cats food must contain trace amounts of vitamin K and biotin while a dogs food does not need these additives. 

There are twelve vitamins that must be included in both dog and cat food. 

As we saw with the minerals just because a cat might need almost the same vitamins as a dog it does not mean they need the same amounts.

As you already know where I’m going with this let me just give you one example. 

There are 3332 IU of vitamin A in every kilogram of food consumed by a cat while there are 5000 IU in every kilogram of food consumed by a dog.

In the same vein a cat requires 280 IU of vitamin D per kg while a dog needs 500 IU. 

As with cats eating only cat food and dogs eating only dog food this is also true here. 

An “incorrect” balance of vitamins could hurt your cat over time even if the difference is tiny. 

I have shared with you a lot of very detailed information but it is hard to get hold of. 

Unless you look at it carefully it would be easy to think a cat can eat wet dog food because they are so similar. 

The ingredients list on a can of dog food

Some of you may have done your own research and decided your cat can eat wet dog food.

Your approach has been very thorough and you have gone about it “properly.”

There are ingredients on every can of dog food and cat food for that matter.

You looked at a can of Friskies cat food and a can of Pedigree dog food and their ingredients are identical.

I have done it so they do it. 

Here is a chart showing the comparison. 

Wet  Dog FoodWet Cat FoodWet  Dog FoodWet Cat Food
Potassium ChloridePotassium chlorideThiamine mononitrate B1B1
Zinc sulfateZinc sulfate Riboflavin B2B2
Copper sulfateCopper sulfateCalcium pantothenate B5B5
Manganese sulfateManganese sulfateCholine chlorideB6
Magnesium sulfateFerrous sulfateB7
Copper proteinateB9

Vitamins and minerals commonly found in wet cat food and wet dog food

However as I mentioned in the previous section these ingredient lists are not detailed.

To truly understand how and why cats and dogs require different nutritional requirements you must look at the AAFCO specifications. 

What should I do if my cat will only eat wet dog food?

In this case for the sake of your cats health in the long run you will need to charm cajole or force it to only eat cat food. 

By the way I’m joking about forcing them – that tactic would not work anyway.

In addition as you may know cats can be extremely fussy and picky eaters. 

It would be a monumental task to get them to change their eating habits! 

Therefore you need to present yourself at your best and be ready for the long haul!

You cannot make a change in a matter of days – you need to think in terms of weeks.

Take it one step at a time. 

Make sure you are consistent as well. 

Consider feeding your cat canned food if you decide you want to do so.

You may also choose to feed your cat dry food if that is what you prefer.

In the process there will be some ups and downs.

There may be days when your cat does not eat at all.

Your cat would not benefit from flip-flopping between wet and dry food. 

No treats either! 

If your cat refuses the new food do not feel sorry for them and feed them chicken bits. 

It might make you feel better but it would not help your cat change!

As a result on days 1-3 have a bowl mostly filled with wet dog food with a small amount of canned cat food instead of a whole meal of wet dog food.

Then every few days reduce the amount of canned dog food and increase the amount of wet cat food.

You will be left with nothing but wet cat food for your cat. 

Wet cat food vs dry cat food

Let me let you know that I have a cat who is fed dry food before I begin this section.

Aside from a little snack at breakfast and dinner when he has a few nibbles of our dogs raw food!

You can provide your cat with complete nutrition by feeding it wet (canned) or dry cat food.

The bottom line is that your cat does not need to eat anything else if they are getting the right amount of food (according to their ideal weight).

Your cat gets everything it needs from the food.

A major consideration is a price and dry food is more affordable than wet food. 

Wet cat food does not go as far as dried cat food. 

By that I mean that your cat should eat less dry food than wet food pound for pound.

Food that is dry is much easier to store. 

It does not need to be kept in the fridge once opened unlike opened cans of cat food.

The owners of many cats kept a bowl of dry cat food out permanently for their cats to graze on.

Wet cat food is more difficult to do because it smells more and is more likely to be attacked by flies. 

The softness of wet cat food makes it easier for older cats to eat. 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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