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Difference Between Dog and Cat Food

Cat_silhouetteDog vs Cat Food

Most pet owners think that a dog and a cat’s food is the same. People believe that they can feed their dogs with cat food and vice versa. However, it is not advisable to feed a dog with cat food, and also not to feed a cat with dog food.

Before looking at the difference between cat and dog food, one has to know, that the dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores. This indicates the difference between the two foods.

With regards to nutrition, the dog and cat food are different, as both the animals require varying degrees of nutrition. Dog food contains more Vitamin A when compared to cat food. If cat food is high in Vitamin A, it could lead to many health problems in a cat, as it’s body will not be able to handle such a large quantity of Vitamin A.

Another thing that is essential for cats is Taurine, which is normally found in animal tissues. Taurine is an essential component of a cat’s diet, and if the required amount is not consumed, then cats could experience heart problems, respiratory tract disorders and blindness. On the other hand, Taurine is not that essential for dogs. A dog’s body converts beta-kerotene to vitamin A. On the other hand, cats do not have this ability, and so pre-formed vitamin A should be included in the diet.

Another difference that can be seen between dog and cat food, is that the cat food contains Arachidonic acid, which is a necessary fatty acid. This is important because cats do not have the ability to synthesis this in their diet. On the other hand, dog food does not contain Arachidonic acid, as dogs do have this ability.

Another difference that can be traced between dog and cat food, is their protein content. Cat food contains a higher level of protein when compared to dog food. Cats need more protein because they use the proteins as an energy source. On the contrary, dog food will not contain high amounts of protein.


1. Dog food is high in Vitamin A when compared to cat food.

2. Taurine is an essential component in a cat’s diet, and if it does not get the required amount, then cats could experience problems of the heart, respiratory tract and blindness. On the other hand, Taurine is not that essential in dog food.

3. A dog’s body converts beta-kerotene to vitamin A. Cats do not have this ability, and so pre-formed vitamin A should be included in the diet.

4. Cat food contains Arachidonic acid. On the other hand, dog food does not contain Arachidonic acid.

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  1. So, it would seem that you shouldn’t feed dog food to cats, but you could feed cat food to dogs as long as you supplemented with some beta-kerotene, right? I accidentally bought some cat food, and placing it side-by-side with the dog food, my dog preferred the cat food.

  2. Actually, dogs are not omnivores. Dogs are opportunists, but are, indeed, carnivores. I have never understood where the view that dogs are omnivores came from.

    -have medium length digestive tracts so that they can digest both meat and plants. Plants require a long digestive tract while meat does not.
    -have both flat molars for grinding and mashing food (thus thoroughly mixing it with saliva) and sharp teeth for ripping and tearing food. Plant material MUST be ground down in order to be digested.
    -amylase in their saliva to aid in the digestion of carbs and starches
    -have jaws that move both vertically and horizontally to allow for grinding of plant material

    -have short digestive tracts that are not long enough to digest plant material… hasn’t ANYONE ever noticed that when a dog DOES eat plant material it comes out looking EXACTLY how it went in?
    -have sharp teeth designed for gripping, killing prey, tearing off large chunks and slicing into swallowable sizes. Their molars are like triangular serrated blades. They are not flat for crushing plant material.
    -have jaws that move vertically and only vertically. Carnivores simply CANNOT grind up food. It is sliced into swallowable pieces and then it goes straight down the throat.
    -have no amylase in their saliva. Because they have no need to digest plant material, they have no amylase. With no amylase, there is no reason to mix their food with their saliva so it is simply swallowed. Feeding carnivores plant material actually makes the pancreas work harder due to this lack of amylase. The pancreas will attempt to produce what the body needs to digest it, but, as you can see by a carnivore’s poo, it doesn’t work.

    Let’s see where dogs fit in:

    Dogs have short digestive tracts, sharp teeth with a lack of flat molars, jaws that only move vertically, and have no amylase in their saliva. I’m pretty sure dogs fit WONDERFULLY into the carnivore category. Yes, they will eat various other things, but that doesn’t mean it is good for them. We eat cookies, cake, and ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it is good for us. We were not designed to eat them. It is pleasurable to eat them but benefits them in no way. No, dogs are not omnivores. They are carnivores through and through.

    • You are wrong, dogs are not only omnivores as they naturally eat a variety of vegetables and grains, but they go out of their way to eat them,and they seem to thrive on the diet.

  3. it seems to me that #1 cancels out #3. since it states that dog food is high in “vitamin a” and not beta-kerotene… #3 is moot. just sayin

    addendum… i think jess has it right, but my concern as a cat owner is, how long can a cat go without Taurine and Arachidonic Acid before it has an effect.

  4. Dog food and cat food is suppose to be made to balance a dog or a cat but its not , its all bad for them , so giving a dog food to a cat or a cat to a dog makes no difference . In realty you shouldn’t be given either to them . What they really put in the food science fiction movies are made from .

  5. In all actuality dogs (like wolves) are carnivores. And like wolves in the wild, dogs may consume plant-based material. However, the vegetation consumed in the wild comes from the prey animal, the material in the stomach and intestines. The plant material they consume is simply a by-product of the prey animal. Dogs (or wolves) do not go out of their way to eat vegetation, but they may consume it. Dogs and wolves do not hunt plants, they may eat them if hunger demands it, but don’t actively seek it out unless animals aren’t available. Domesticated dogs can eat an omnivorous diet but it is better for them to consume a more carnivorous diet.

  6. I wanted to know because my dog finishes what the cat leaves , would that harm her ?

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