Can cats eat dog food? Explaining your feline pet’s dietary needs. – USA TODAY

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Owning a pet can be expensive, especially if you live in a household with multiple pets.

Feeding a cat costs up to $40 per month, and dog owners can expect to pay around $50 per month to feed a pooch , according to Oakland Veterinary Referral Services.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates it can cost about $900 annually to own a cat and around $1, 480 annually to possess a dog , factoring in costs of health care, grooming, food, veterinary services and more.

With expenses like these, you might be wondering if what you’re feeding your dog could also work for your cat.

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Can cats eat dog food?

Cats are capable of digesting dog meals, so it’s unlikely to cause an immediate issue , according to PetMD. Your feline friend cannot be maintained on a diet of only dog food, though.

In the long-term, eating canine food can have significant health consequences for your cat , including diabetes and obesity, according to The Spruce Pets. This is because dog food is designed for dogs, which require a diet higher in carbohydrates than cats, who can thrive without carbs.

According to PetMD, cats also need higher proportions of protein in their diet than dogs, as well as taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A  and niacin.

What to do if your cat eats dog foods

Although including dog food in your cat’s typical diet is a bad idea, your cat should be just fine if it snuck a bit of food from your dog’s bowl at feeding time, according to The Spruce Pets.

If you’re worried about something your own cat has eaten, it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian.

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What should cats eat?

According to The Spruce Pets, there are three main types of kitty food — dry, canned and raw. Each of these is different from the other, in addition to being distinct from dry, canned or raw dog food, which can be high in carbs and contain  less protein.

Many experts now recommend wet cat food because it aids in the process of hydration, but The Spruce Pets suggests speaking with your vet to determine your cat’s optimal diet to meet its unique needs.

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