Many cat owners have asked themselves the question: can cats eat dog treats? And the answer is: yes! A cat can eat dog treats occasionally, but owners should bear in mind that the risks and side effects outweigh the benefits. Cat treats are entirely different from dog treats and dog foods. If you add peanut butter dog treats to your cat’s diet, your feline friend could suffer digestive issues and kidney problems.
You can offer an occasional dog treat to your kitty, but not more often than three times a week. When you buy pet food from the store, there are many varieties for cats and dogs, and the same goes for treats. It is always best to choose cat treats for cats and dog treats for your canine buddies.
But if you have both a cat and a dog in your house, you might ask: can cats eat dog jerky? Can cats eat dog chews? Or indeed: can cats eat dog food? Read on to find out more about the risks and benefits of feeding dog treats to your cat.
Are dog treats a good food for cats?
Dog treats are not good for cats for various reasons. The biggest reason is the difference between canine and feline digestive systems. Canines are omnivores in nature. They get significant benefits from the same grains, nuts, and other foods that we humans eat. Dogs love peanut butter, and you can add peanut butter to various dog treats to promote good health.
Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores. You don’t need to provide them with grains, butter, or peanut butter. And as for dairy foods, cats are lactose intolerant. Although kittens have lactase in their body (the enzyme which helps break complex sugar in milk), as they grow, their body stops producing this enzyme and they can no longer digest dairy.
Dog treats are full of grains, fruits, and other animal parts, which are not easily digestible for cats. Regularly eating these can lead to your cat developing various diseases and medical conditions, which we will discuss in later sections.
Are dog treats safe or toxic for cats to eat?
According to experts, there are no toxins in dog treats, and they are safe for your feline furball. Dog treats are typically free from fruits, vegetables, and herbs, many of which are poisonous to cats. It is safe for pet parents to give dog treats to their feline and canine family members, but there is still a catch: cats are carnivores and depend on lean protein and fat. Your cat eats small rabbits, mice, and small birds in the wild, and in your house, you replace these things with chicken and fish. Regularly feeding your cat other food groups will affect their health, immunity, and quality of life.
Unfortunately, dog treats are full of ingredients that cats rarely need in the wild. Giving dog treats to your cat daily will expose them to thick protein and highly saturated fats, neither of which is good for the feline digestive system.
Are there any side effects of feeding a cat dog treats?
Yes, there are various side effects of feeding dog treats to your kitties. These side effects differ according to the breed of the cat and the type of treat you give. For example, if you feed dog treats to a petite cat, the side effects will be more noticeable in the first few weeks. These side effects could hamper the normal body function of your feline friend.
The most common side effect of feeding dog treats to a petite cat is digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. Many cats do not show any diarrhea or vomiting, but they may still be suffering from digestive issues such as stomach pain that prevent them from doing daily exercise or eating their normal daily meals.
Large cat breeds can also suffer from the same fate, but only if you give larger amounts of the same treat. Bloating, gas and constipation are common side effects when feeding dog treats to your beloved cat. The list of side effects from ingesting too many dog treats includes:
- Weight loss
- Stomach ache
How many dog treats can a cat eat?
Cats cannot eat more than two to three dog treats (depending on the size of the treat) three times a week. Dog treats are full of ingredients that are also not good for your canines if eaten too often. Also, you cannot replace dog food wholly with dog treats. Doing this will cause many side effects and hazards for your dog.
For felines, these treats are more hazardous than for dogs. Your cat doesn’t need dog treats, and if you offer them this food too often, you are risking their health. Your senior cat doesn’t need more food because of a lack of agility and running. The safe-to-eat quantity for young cats will be hazardous for your senior felines. You must always consult your vet before giving any new food to your kitty.
Too many dog treats can cause catastrophic vital organ damage to your kitties, which we will explore in the upcoming section.
What are the risks of feeding cats dog treats?
- The most common risk of feeding dog treats to cats is obesity. Dog treats are loaded with grains, large animal body parts, and fruits. These ingredients are not good for your feline friend. The excessive use of dog treats (more than three pieces, three times a week) will cause weight gain. Giving them high carbs and fat-loaded treats will increase their weight and can even make them obese in a few months.
- An irregular bowel and excretory routine, and urinary incontinence can also be caused by eating too many dog treats. The fat and fruits in dog treats is the culprit of these side-effects, as they affect kidney health and compromise gut flora in the body.
- High blood pressure and compromised heart health are the next big risks. With elevated blood pressure also comes the risk of nervous system damage. Using foods filled with vitamin A can cause this effect.
- Giving them carb-loaded food will increase their blood sugar levels and affect their pancreas. It will worsen the health of diabetic cats. Dog treats can also compromise the kidneys of your felines and cause UTIs and kidney stones.
The major health issues caused by eating too many dog treats can include:
- Compromised heart health
- High blood pressure
- Nervous system damage
- Kidney issues
- Urinary tract infections
- Vital organ damage
Can kittens eat dog treats?
No, you should never give dog treats to your kittens before their first birthday. Cats have a sensitive digestive system, and dog treats can disrupt this system badly. Moreover, if you don’t treat the side effects caused by eating too many dog treats, it could even be fatal for your kitten and she may lose her life. For this reason, it is best to avoid feeding these treats to kittens altogether.
Do dog treats have nutritional benefits for cats?
Risks and side effects are not the only things your cat gets from dog treats. When you give dog treats to your cats in moderation, they can get the following benefits from this canine-specific food:
- Healthy nutrients
- Enhanced immunity
How should dog treats be served to your cat?
You don’t need to cook or make any extra effort to offer this treat to your feline friend. Take it out of the package and hand-feed the dog treat to the cat. But you should keep in mind the ingredients and high calories you are giving to your furball. Consuming hard protein and complex fat daily will make your cat suffer from digestive and health issues.
What about dog food?
You should avoid giving dog food to your cat. Do not swap their food, as you may make them ill from eating food that hasn’t been formulated for their sensitive systems. Manufacturers add different ingredients that are suitable only for the digestive system of the specific animal. Dog food is also not safe for humans, and you wouldn’t want to try it either! For that reason, you should only give your kitty food that has been made for cats.
Can cats eat dog chews?
Dog chews contain antlers, animal parts, and grains. These things are not good for feline consumption. If you want to keep your cat happy and healthy, avoiding this treat is a good option. Antlers and animal organs provide significant health benefits to dogs as part of their daily diet, but for cats, these ingredients are a health risk.
Can cats eat dog jerky?
Dog jerky is typically made from pig meat, and is a product that your cat should not eat. Jerky has a stiff structure that is difficult to chew, even for smaller dogs. And for cats, the risks increase as the solid structure can compromise their dental health. There are high chances that the jerky could break a tooth or affect their gum health. For this reason, dog jerky should be kept away from your feline friend.
Alternative healthy snacks
Obligate carnivores like cats can eat various fruits and vegetables and get vitamins and health benefits. The rule here is to keep everything in moderation. Consult your vet before adding anything to their menu, particularly if your kitty suffers from a pre-existing condition.
You can give the following to your cat occasionally:
- Dog treats are full of grains, complex fat, and hard protein; these things are not good for feline health.
- You can occasionally give dog treats to cats but always keep the rule of moderation in mind.
- An excessive amount of dog treats can cause kidney and pancreatic damage.
- Dog treats can cause your cat to suffer from compromised liver and heart health.
- Kittens cannot eat dog treats, and you should also avoid giving them to your senior cats.
- Felines suffering from medical conditions cannot eat dog treats at all.
FAQs for cats eating dog treats
What other foods can cats eat?
Cats can eat fruits and veggies, but they do not need these foods, as your canine friend does. You need to provide grains, veggies, and fruits to the dog, but giving the same thing in a high amount can make your cat ill. You can offer your cat 200 grams of squash, green beans, banana, mango, or lettuce to help them stay happy and healthy.
Do dog treats cause obesity in cats?
Dog treats can cause obesity in cats regardless of their size and breed. You can read the explanation in the risks section, but to summarize, dog treats are full of carbs and fats, and these two things can cause your cat to gain weight and become obese with regular feeding.
Do dog treats cause digestive issues in cats?
The simple answer is a yes, but digestive issues are generally associated with overfeeding. When you give dog treats to a feline more than three times a week, the poor cat can suffer from digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. For your feline friend, these issues can cause lethargy, depression, and anxiety.
Can a diabetic cat eat dog treats?
No, a diabetic cat cannot eat dog treats of any kind, as they are typically loaded with fat, carbs, and calories. These things are a big NO for a cat suffering from diabetes. The high amount of calcium in peanut butter and fruit-loaded treats can also compromise their kidneys. Cats can eat a small amount of dog treats, but you must consult your vet before giving any to them.