Can Dogs Eat Cat Treats? (+3 considerations)

This blog article will answer the question: “Can dogs eat cat treats?”. It will also cover topics like what the side effects and risks of feeding your dog with cat food. 

Can dogs eat cat treats? 

Dogs will sniff out and snack on everything they find. It does not matter if it is their own poop, a stone, grass, they will eat everything they see. 

If you have a cat and a dog and store cat and dog food in your basement, it will be only a matter of time before your dog will sniff out and snack on the cat food. 

But whether or not it is safe for a dog to eat cat food depends on the case. Some dogs, especially those battling cancer, experiencing weight loss, muscle wasting, and a poor appetite, veterinarians recommend cat food as an alternative for dog food. 

Cat food tends to be more palatable and provide more calories per serving. Cat food is also offering more nutrient-balance option compared to many home-prepared diets in these cases. 

Cat kibble can also be healthier and more well balanced for training treats compared to some human foods commonly used like cheese, chicken, or peanut butter which all provide a concentrated amount of primarily one amount. 

However, cat food is harmful for dogs could be problematic for these are underlying reasons, according to PetMD: 

  • A dog with a sensitive gastrointestinal tract may vomit or have diarrhea after eating cat food because the food is simply too rich.
  • A dog with kidney or liver disease needs to consume moderate amounts of protein, not excess, to promote optimal functioning of those organs.
  • An obese dog, or one with a predisposition for developing pancreatitis (e.g., many Schnauzers), must consume a lower-fat diet to promote weight loss or limit pancreatic inflammation.

In each of these cases, feeding any amount of commercial cat food, whether infrequent or on a long-term basis, could exacerbate health issues, so avoid feeding your dog with cat treats if you think your dog falls into at least one of these categories.

What is the difference between dog food and cat food? 

Dogs are omnivores and can consume both plant-based and animal-based diets. This is therefore the notion based upon by the manufacture of dog food. On the other hand, cats are true carnivores so they solely eat animal protein and cat foods have greater protein and fat requirements as compared to dog food. 

Cats also require 11 essential amino acids in their diet while dogs only require 10 amino acids. Cats require one amino acid that dogs do not, which is taurine. In order for cat foods to meet these 10 required amino acids, they must provide greater protein, fat, and taurine concentrations than commercial dog food. 

All commercial dog food therefore, are nutritionally deficient and lack taurine concentrations, to the required amount of nutrients of cats. 

In the case of dogs being fed cat treats, greater protein and fat contents of cat food make it more tasty, fragrant, and enticing for dogs which allow it to meet and even exceed the dog’s nutrient requirements.

What are the complications of feeding cat food to dogs?

Let us say what you feed your dog on a regular basis is essentially commercial cat food. If your dog eats the diet of cats, complications are likely to arise. This is because cat food does not have the correct balance of protein, fiber, and all of the nutrients needed for dogs to stay healthy. Some commercial cat food, on the other hand, have too much to offer to dogs that causes an excess of nutrients which is not good too. 

Dogs can certainly survive on cat food but the nutrient imbalance can lead to implications such as gastrointestinal upset, obesity, and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis, especially, requires immediate veterinary care. Symptoms of this include abdominal pain and a hunched back, lethargy and weakness, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, a distended abdomen, and fever. 

Even if a dog eats cat food and does not show any of these ill effects and symptoms, the high protein levels in the commercial cat food can be hard on the dog’s liver and kidney. Cat food is named cat food for a reason, and that reason is not so you could feed it to dogs. 

Can cats eat dog food?

Just as it can be risky to feed cat food to dogs on a regular basis, cats will not be able to survive with a dog food diet. Dog food lacks sufficient vitamin A and taurine which are two nutrients that cats need to live healthy lives. Dog food is also deficient in arachidonic acid and lacks adequate meat-protein levels that cats need to survive. More about this is provided by American Kennel Club in this article.


This blog article answered the question: “Can dogs eat cat treats?”. It also covered topics like what the side effects and risks of feeding your dog with cat food. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Can dogs eat cat treats?

What happens if a dog eats cat treats? 

Cat food can cause problems because dogs are not designed to have such a protein-dense diet. Some dogs will get an upset stomach which may be signaled by vomiting and diarrhea, from eating cat food. Other dogs with tougher stomachs and can handle cat food. 

Can dogs eat tuna?

Tuna is not toxic to dogs, and a tiny amount will not cause mercury poisoning. If you own both a dog and a cat, make sure your pup isn’t eating the feline’s food, as wet cat food often contains tuna.

Is popcorn OK for dogs? 

Yes and no. Plain, air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. Buttered popcorn or popcorn with other toppings is not safe for your dog on a regular basis, although eating a few dropped pieces here and there probably won’t hurt him.

Is cheese bad for dogs?

While cheese can be safe to feed to your dog, there are some things to remember. Cheese is high in fat, and feeding too much to your dog regularly can cause weight gain and lead to obesity. Even more problematic, it could lead to pancreatitis, a serious and potentially fatal illness in dogs.

Is bread bad for dogs? 

Plain white and wheat bread is generally safe for dogs to eat, provided they don’t have any allergies, and it usually does not cause any stomach upset. Feeding your dog bread as a treat now and then won’t hurt her, as long as she is also fed a complete and balanced diet and gets plenty of exercise.


  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Bread?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 19 Mar. 2018,
  2. Kriss, Randa. “Is It Safe to Give My Dog Cheese?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 29 Oct. 2018,
  3. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 19 Mar. 2018,
  4. Ripley, Katherine. “Can Dogs Eat Tuna?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 15 Aug. 2018,
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