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Petomega 3 for cats

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Can cats eat dog food? Are cats carnivores? Understand your picky eater!

Pet Diet & Nutrition 3 min read
Can cats eat dog food? Orange cat looking up from silver bowl filled with food.

If you have a kitty or are considering adding a cat to your family, you might be wondering if there’s any truth behind their bad rep for being picky eaters. Can cats eat dog food? is only one of the many questions about feline dietary needs that our pet experts have to answer ever so often. 

Each furkiddo has a unique body and might have different food preferences, but there are a few truths about a cat’s anatomy and ancestry that can help you understand what they should eat

Can cats eat dog food? 

If you are a parent of both cats and dogs, there is a chance that your curious little ones snoop around each other’s food. Trying each other’s vet-approved meals occasionally is not a problem, as neither should have toxic ingredients for pets. However, cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. So even though your cat can eat your dog food, they shouldn’t, especially not long-term.

Are cats carnivores?

Cats are carnivores, which means they need a meat-based diet. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores, that is, they have a more flexible diet, which should include both animal and vegetable ingredients. This means that if a cat eats dog food for a long period, it would be deprived of several nutrients that its furry body would need to function properly.

Kitties that don’t eat enough protein will have nutritional deficiencies that can lead to serious conditions in the long run.

Kitties that don’t eat enough vitamins, minerals, and principally protein will have nutritional deficiencies that can lead to serious conditions in the long run. Especially because of the lack of taurine, an essential amino acid that they need to get from the meat in their diet. 

A taurine deficiency can take several months to show any symptoms, and by then it might be too late. Low levels of taurine in a cat’s body can lead to eye issues, digestive problems, and a weakened heart and can cause delayed growth in young kittens. 

Can cats taste sweet? 

Cats can be considered pickier eaters, and their restricted palate is part of the reason. Taste buds are responsible for capturing the taste of food and sending the information to the brain. Kitties only have 473 taste buds and cannot sense sweet tastes. In comparison, dogs have 1,600 taste buds and can detect the same five tastes as humans – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. 

NHV herbal formulas are glycerine-based and have a natural sweet taste to them. So if your picky kitty is struggling to eat their food mixed with our supplements, chances are they don’t like the smell. That is why we recommend masking the herbal scent with something cats love, like fish! 

Cat eating raw fish on ground. Knowing what to feed a kitty is crucial in supporting their overall health, so if you've ever wondered, 'can a cat eat dog food?', keep reading!

Why do cats love fish?

A cat’s heightened sense of smell makes up for their poor palate. That is why they love strong-scented foods like fish! It is well known that cats love fish, and this is not only because they love playing with their food, or because of the smell, but also because their body needs its nutritional content. 

Fishes are very nutritious and are a great source of protein and omega-3. The fatty acids in fish help support cardiac health, skin and coat conditions, joints, and kidneys, prevent weight loss, and overall cancer support. Including our fish oil blend, NHV PetOmega 3 as a daily supplement to your little one’s diet can enhance the food’s taste and smell while helping with overall health and well-being.

Supporting your kitty’s dietary needs 

Maintaining your cat in a species-specific diet is crucial. If you’re still not sure your little one is ingesting every vitamin and mineral they need to grow strong, you can add NHV Multi Essentials. This herbal multivitamin works alongside a balanced diet to help fill any nutritional voids, enhance nutrient absorption, and aid digestion. 

Oral health is also very important to help our pets have proper food ingestion and improved nutrition. That’s where NHV Mouth Drops comes in. This herbal mouthwash aids in eliminating bad breath, gingivitis, and bacterial infections of the mouth. Mouth Drops can also help guard against tooth decay and plaque.

Being proactive and conscious about your little one’s nutritional health is one great sign of love and attention. In case you notice any signs of changes in your cat’s eating behavior, please talk to your local veterinarian. We are also always here to offer support and recommend holistic options. Click here for a personalized nutritional plan with your little one needs in mind. Click bellow to talk directly to one of our pet experts!

Dr. Barbara Benitez DVM, MS

Dr. Barbara Benitez DVM, MS

Dr. Barbara is a veterinarian from Brazil with a specialty in pet nutrition. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2006 from the University of Uberaba. In 2010, Dr. Barbara received her Master’s of Science in Pet Nutrition from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. She has over 15 years of experience in research and development in the pet food industry. When Barbara isn’t helping pet parents, you can find her spending time with her family, including her senior dog, Caze.

Published: October 14, 2022

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