If you have ever wondered how to keep your dog from eating cat food, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will discover why your dog loves to feed off your feline pet’s bowl and whether this is healthy for him.
Living with multiple pets is not easy. In a home where you have both cats and dogs, you will need lots of patience and diligence to help your pets live in harmony.
One of the ways to maintain this balance is ensuring your cat and dog don’t feed on each other’s bowl.
Cats tend to be reserved creatures. They like to mind their own which means eating privately and keeping to themselves.
Dogs, on the other hand, are inquisitive. They always follow where the scent takes them which includes your feline friend’s feeding bowl.
And this is a bad habit you want to stop.
Can Dogs Eat Cat Food?
Cat food is different from dog food. While they both contain proteins and fats, the concentration of these two ingredients is higher in cat food. Fido can smell the high protein and fats from a mile away. This is why he cannot help but snack from the cat’s bowl.
Is that good for your dog? Cats can digest high amounts of fat. Dogs will store the extra fat in their body leading to canine obesity. That’s not all.
The nutrient count in both dog and cat food is different as well. There are vitamins that your dog needs daily that he will not get from cat food. So it makes sense to stop this bad habit he is developing before it is too late.
Your dog will also get attracted to cat food because he thinks it is a snack for him. The portions you serve your cat are quite small and Fido equates this to the tasty treats you give him. So when you are not looking, he is thrilled to steal from the cat’s bowl.
You want both your pets to live healthy and happy with each other. If your dog keeps stealing the cat’s food, your feline pet will not get the nutrients she needs. This habit needs to stop.
How Do You Keep Your Dog from Eating Cat Food?
Stopping your dog from eating the cat's food will depend on how teachable he is. There are dogs intelligent enough to leave the cat's bowl alone if well trained.
Other dogs are a bit menacing and will require different techniques to get the point across.
How do you teach an obedient dog not to eat cat food?
Use the ‘Leave-Reward ‘ method to train your dog to eat only from its bowl. You will require both hands in this exercise.
In one hand, hold a portion of the cat food (dry food preferably). In the other hand, hold a tasty treat your dog loves.
Let your dog sniff the cat food and lick your hand if he wants. Do not at any point let him have the cat treat. If he insists on that hand, use the words ‘Leave It’. This should help the dog understand that he cannot have the cat treat.
Next, hold out the other hand with his favorite treat and let him do the same. When he starts licking, open your hand and let him have the treat. That is his reward.
Repeat this process about 10 minutes each day for a week. Now bring out the cat’s bowl filled with cat food. Let your pup sniff the bowl and when he is about to take a bite, say the words ‘Leave It’. When he backs away, reward him with a treat.
This training helps your dog know that there is a bigger reward when he does not eat cat food.
For a dog that refuses to obey you, there are plenty of ways to keep the cat food away.
Always keep the cat’s bowl on high ground where the dog will not reach. It could be on a high window sill where your cat loves to perch. Cats can climb high places, dogs cannot.
Feed your pets at different times. Feed your dog first then your cat. When the cat is feeding, distract the dog by playing with him or taking him out for a walk.
A training crate or gates can help stop the habit of your dog eating the cat’s food. Confine the dog to the crate until the cat is done eating. Another method that may work is feeding both pets at the same time. Fido will not want anything to do with the cat’s bowl when his bowl is full.
It is also worth your while to store cat food away. If the cat leaves some food in its bowl, keep the bowl away from the dog. Cat food should be stored in high drawers where your pup will not reach.
We get it. Your cat and dog love to share everything they have. However, if your dog is constantly eating from the cat’s bowl, there is a problem.
The above tips should help you on how to keep your dog from eating cat food.