What is the Difference Between Dog Food and Cat Food?

Not everyone is aware of the specific needs that both cats and dogs have with regard to their food. However, it’s important to be aware that you can’t simply give both pets the same kinds of diets, as it can result in some serious problems for one of the animals. To help you with getting a deeper understanding of what your pets need, we’re going to take a look at the difference between dog food and cat food. 

We’ll also discuss why it’s important to not only make sure pets get the right type of food for their species, but also for their ages.

What are the Differences?

Cat food

Cats are what we consider to be true carnivores, which means that they primarily need to eat meat products. Their bodies are designed to get what they need from meat sources, whereas omnivores and herbivores can also use plant sources.

Some examples of vitamins that cats need are niacin, taurine, arachidonic acid and vitamin A. While other animals may be able to get some of their requirements for these vitamins from plants, cats have to get them from meat. Their bodies just aren’t made to be able to get Vitamin A from the kinds of fruits and vegetables that we might.

As a result, it’s very important for cats to eat food that is able to meet their specific needs. Otherwise they can have problems with vision, heart issues, hair loss and more. It’s also important to keep in mind that cats tend to be pickier about their food texture than other animals as well. As a result, you can’t just feed your cat any old food.

It is best that you’d know the ideal diet for cats and the sorts of food cats can eat.

Dog food

Unlike cats, dogs have the ability to get some of their nutrients from plant sources. You can also try to find other types of supplements to help your dog out with it’s nutritional needs and immunity such as ​glucosamine for dogs

This makes things like niacin and vitamin A easier for them to get, and often results in some vegetables added into their food. While much of it is still meat-based, you may also find that things like carrots are in the food as well.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that dogs don’t often tend to be picky, their food can be just about any texture and they’ll still woof it down if they like the flavor. In addition, dogs also typically need less protein in their diet than cats do.

Can they swap?

The answer to this is a solid no. While cats and dogs may seem similar, they have diet requirements that are very different. As a result, feeding your cat dog food can result in some serious health problems, even including the cat going completely blind.

This is because cats aren’t going to be able to get their nutrients from the vegetables often found in dog food, so even if there is enough of a nutrient like vitamin A, cats won’t be able to get the benefits from it because it’s not coming from a meat source.

Dogs may be more likely to handle cat food better than cats can handle dog food, but it still isn’t recommended. There really are a number of reasons why cat food and dog food exist in separate markets. It’s really not just to make you spend more money!

Also Consider Life Stages

On top of ensuring that pets get the right food for their species, you’ll want to make sure they’re getting the correct food for the stage of life they are in. For example, there are some different food options out there available for kittens, adult cats and senior cats.

While it may not be as important as making sure you feed cat food to your cat, there are some differences that make these life stage foods helpful. For example, kitten food may be likely to have more fats and proteins to help them grow while senior cat food may contain nutrients to help maintain the health of areas that can begin to fail with old age, or even provide some joint help so that older cats can stay active.

The same is true for dogs, which means it’s a good idea to make sure you give your puppy, adult dog or senior dog the right food for their age. Pets who get the exact nutrients they need can live healthier, happier and even longer lives because they’ll be getting what their body needs. This is especially important for senior pets, as they need the extra boost for the longest, happiest life possible.

Still Not Sure?

If you still have concerns about the type of food your pet needs, you have a number of options to get you going in the right direction. You can do plenty of research and look into different methods and brands. Some even choose to make their own pet food.

Another option you have is to talk to your pet’s veterinarian. They are going to be the expert on providing food options for your pet. Having studied the needs of animal bodies, they’ll make sure that your individual pet is able to get all the nutrients they need for a healthy body.

The latter is going to be the absolute best option, especially if the vet can provide food for you. While cat or dog food purchased at the veterinarian may be more expensive, it’s often a lot healthier for your pets and can even help to resolve certain kinds of health issues.

Below is a short video about the foods that are toxic for cats and dogs:

This will greatly help you distinguish which foods are harmful and safe for your pets.


The main point of this article is that it’s generally not a good idea to have your cats and dogs eating the same food, as one or the other is likely to not get what they need. Cats especially need a lot of nutrients that just can’t be found in dog food, and that can mean poor health for your pet.

Important note and to keep in mind that water is essential for our pets as well.

Your veterinarian can also be a great resource for helping you to find the perfect food for your unique pet. They may also be able to provide the ideal food for you, which can allow you to rest assured that your cat or dog is eating something healthy and delicious.