Can dogs have cat treats YES – but MEAT Dog Treats are much HEALTHIER for dogs (and cats).
This is a curious question, as many people find dog treats and cat treats interchangeable. We have already answered the question about WHY it is fine that Cats can have dog treats (if they are meat based).
But we didn’t realise there were a lot of people out there wanting to feed their dogs cat treats.
The reason that dogs do better on OUR dog treats and cats do better on OUR dog treats is the good clean quality proteins suitable for carnivores that both species are.
The problem for CATS eating dog food, is that they need certain additives that are NOT found in plant matter, and since much of the cat food on the market is full of carbs to make it cheap (like dog food), they need the additive in specific cat food even more.
Why dogs shouldn’t eat cat food or cat treats
It I true that dogs can survive on cat food and cat treats. They have less vital specific single nutrient requirements (like Vitamin A and taurine) than cats do. Because their systems to be more self sufficient (they can often manufacture there own requirements.
However even though most cats seem to sleep more than dogs, many cats have higher metabolisms so their cat food has dense KJ content (HIGH energy per gram). So if your dog were to eat the same weight of cat food or cat treats as they would normally eat their dog food or dog treats, they would get FAT. If you reduce the amount of cat food or high fat cat treats you are giving to your dog, you would be replacing protein they need for many body functions, with fats that have limited uses.
Obese dogs and humans have the likelihood of developing chronic health conditions that shorten the quality of their life and the length of their life.
To achieve the higher calorie density in cat food, it often has a HIGHER AMOUNT OF FAT. Dogs process all fats fine, and better than humans, BUT fat is still 2.5 times the KJ value of protein or carbs.
So you can imagine how purposely adding extra fat in your dog’s diet can be easily converted to body fat on your dog. Excess fat can also give dogs loose stools that reduce their ability to extract the nutrients from their food sufficiently.
Cat treats, dog treats and the protein Dogs need
And this is where we differ from some blogs on the benefits of protein. Some blogs will tell you that the high protein levels contained in cat food can be an issue for dogs.
In fact it is the exact opposite.
Dogs are evolved from carnivore and mostly have a carnivore digestive system. This is meant to process food fast in a high acid environment, and expel it fast. This means that their system needs to strip down the amino acids quickly, efficiently, and to facilitate that they need MEAT based protein that is the most BIO available to them (the carnivore).
Because commercial dog food ingredients are price driven, it is packed with a lot of low quality (low protein, plant matter). They often put in just enough meat (of often questionable quality) to achieve slightly over the affco minimum requirement for dogs. But this usually doesn’t take into account bio availability issues (ie plant protein is not as easily used by dogs, so much of it cant be utilised to the degree that meat protein is used).
While dogs often LOVE the taste of cat food or quality cat treats, because they are loaded with tasty fat to get the KJ value high for cats, and they might have relatively high (compared to dog food) amounts of protein, BUT CAT FOOD AND CAT TREATS typically are still often not 100% meat. BECAUSE PLANT MATTER IS CHEAP.
If you use cat treats for your dog because they have a higher amount of protein than dog food, the cat treats still typically don’t have anywhere near as much quality protein as dried 100% meat treats AND they have far too much FAT for your dog.
And that is why quality 100% whole meat piece dog treats are so great for your dog.
The 100% meat: beef, chicken and pork dog treats have the regular amount of animal fat as contained in the animal, typically around 10%. That is NORMAL for them to eat.
If you are really worried about your dog’s weight or they have a medical condition that required LOW FAT food, you can feed them natural LOW FAT dog treats from us, NOT RENDERED. Low fat treats include most fish and all kangaroo 100% meat dog treats. We include the typical fat content of even 100% animal treats in the product descriptions when we can.
A revision on why cats can eat dog treats:
Cats need cat food (commercial or raw) AND can eat MEAT dog treats
Cats are pure carnivores (low capacity to use any carbs), and this means they need high levels of PROTEIN, and in particular TAURINE (one of the essential amino acids in the protein). Plant matter, in particular almost all grains, do NOT have enough protein for cats, and so Taurine is also insufficient.
HOWEVER since we sell mostly 100% meat based dog treats, and meat has HIGH quality protein levels it is IDEAL for cats, even as a main food. The only thing is that Hard Large slabs of meat jerky can be difficult for many cats to rip and eat (small mouths)
.. so if you buy dog treats for your cat you might have to cut them up some for them. But since they eat so little, a pack of dog treats will last a LOT longer than it will for most dogs.
Vitamin A can be insufficient in some dog foods for cats to get their right level. Affco levels for vitamin A are higher minimum levels for cats than for dogs.
HOWEVER most meats have high levels of vitamin A, so again, dried dog treats made of meat are GOOD for your cat. Dogs apparently can convert some of the ‘beta carotene’ found in some plants into Vitamin A to satisfy some of their needs, but with feeding your dog meat-based dog treats, they don’t need to go through that unnecessary process.
“Arachidonic acid (AA) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid present in the phospholipids “ Apparently cats need to have this as an additive, while dogs can synthesise it internally.