CAN WE FEED DOGFOOD TO A CAT AND CATFOOD TO A DOG ?
When somebody has got a dog and a cat both at home, he is tempted to feed them the same way. However, this is to disadvise : why ?
1) Why is a dogfood not suitable for a cat ?
- Physiologically, a cat is more carnivorous than a dog : its proteic requirement is higher.
Comparison of proteic requirements in dog and cat
(AAFCO recommandations, 1995 *)
Puppy and reproductive bitch
Kitten and reproductive queen
* Expressed in percentage of the dryfood (8 % moisture), presuming that the energy density is at least : 3200 kcal/kg for the dog, and 3700 kcal/kg for the cat.
In addition to this great exigency towards proteins, the cat has a specific requirement in taurine, a particular amino-acid : a prolonged deficiency in taurine promotes blindness and cardiac disease. A dry catfood must contain at least 1 g of taurine per kg. This supplementation is not done in dogfood.
- A cat does not adapt itself as easily as a dog to a high carbohydrate diet.
Too much carbohydrates in the food can arise digestive troubles. Consequently, there is less cereals in a catfood than in a dogfood.
Provided that the cat can digest fats very well, fats are the privileged sources of energy : a catfood generally contains more fats than a dogfood.
(AAFCO minimum advised for maintenance : 9 % instead of 5 % for the dog).
- A cat has got specific requirements in fatty acids from animal origin , especially concerning arachidonic acid.
At the difference of the dog, he is unable to synthetize it himself, from other fatty acids precursors. Animal ingredients in general and especially egg are rich in arachidonic acid.
- B vitamines requirements for a cat (thiamine, riboflavine, pyridoxine...) are superior to dog's ones.
This is connected to the very intense proteic metabolism.
2) Is catfod suitable for a dog ?
In that way, it is not a problem at all : it is possible to feed a small dog with catfood. But we must pay attention to several points.
- On a economical point of view it is stupid to do it, as catfood are higher in animal proteins and packed in smaller bags, so the price is higher.
- Energetic density of catfood is generally higher than dogfood's. This can be a problem for dogs who have a tendency to be overweight.
- Catfood is naturally acidified to prevent from struvite precipitation in the urinary tract ; puppies must not eat acidified diets, because they disturb the skeletal growth.
- The occasionnal consumption of dogfood by a cat is not detrimental to the animal.
- However it is dangerous to feed regularly a cat with dogfood exclusively ; it is in favour of many pathological consequences :
- proteic deficiency : muscular weakness, dicreased general tone
- taurine deficiency : cardiac disease, blindness
- fatty acids deficiency : growth and reproduction disorders ...
- A dog can occasionnally eat a cat/kitten food without any problem.
- Only 1st Age Milk and A2 are advised both for cats and dogs before weaning.
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