Dogs will eat anything. If a sock smells tasty, your dog will try to eat it.
It comes as no surprise that your dog is interested in cat food. Cat food smells better than a sock does on any day, and this is why dogs eat cat food. Why do dogs eat cat food?
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Food? Dogs are Scavengers.
This good boy doesn’t look like he would hunt down an animal and kill it for sport. That is because he wouldn’t. Dogs real ancestors (wild dogs, coyotes, etc) were scavengers. Dogs are less related to wolves than they are to dogs which eat what ever they can.
While dogs do have some wolf like traits, as we do to our in laws we hate. But we react completely different. When it comes to dogs, they eat like scavengers. If they see food, they eat it. Sock that smells like sweat? Eat it. Dead fish rotting on the river bank? Eat it. Road kill with 1,000 flies around it? Definitely eat that.
Food manufacturers know that dogs are scavengers. Dogs will have preferences, but will still eat anything. Your picky dog is only picky because you over feed him good tasting food. After a few years of this it becomes habit. Dogs learn that if they don’t eat something that they dislike, they can wait for something better.
A puppy, or a dog on a feeding schedule, is not as picky. If something smells even remotely good it is something to eat. Most dog food you buy at the store is made with this in mind. A dollar a pound of kibble may sound like a good deal, but you are getting a product that should be nutritionally balanced but is not actually healthy.
Cats are Predators!
Cats are more picky. Your cat will bring you a dead mouse as a present to show affection. If meat is too old, a cat won’t eat it. Cat food manufacturers know this. Cat food must smell REALLY good to get a cat to eat it.
More protein per serving, fresher ingredients, and tastier ingredients. Compared to dog food, cat food is all around better. Less bland, more fish or meat taste and healthier. Your dog isn’t stupid, and his sniffer knows this is better.
When you have one animal with food made to be eaten by a non picky eater who lives under 10 years on average, to a picky eater who lives just shy of 20 years on average, quality matters. The quality of the food matters for a dog. If you have high quality and fresh food, your dog would devour their own food first.
Your Dog Will Always Be Interested in Cat Food
Why do dogs eat cat food? Because they are scavengers. Cat food is better tasting than a sock. Even if not hungry, your dog will eat it. If your cat leaves behind food, your dog will eat it up.
If your cat cleans their dish, your dog will check it out and sniff it. It is what scavengers do. You can mitigate this by feeding your dog better quality food. I love Origen Dog Food and Acana Dog Food for large breed dogs. Origen and Acana both have the right mix of ingredients to keep a dog healthy and enough protein to keep a dog interested.
But even spoiled dogs like mine will sniff the cat dish. This habit will continue until you no longer have a cat or completely separate the feeding of your dog and cat.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Food? You Let Them.
For dogs, sneaking some cat food while the cat is eating is part a need for delicious food and part game. It is keep away. A cat will swat at a dog and the dog takes this as playing. If you stop the game, you stop have the battle. This only works for dogs who enjoy the game.
If your dog waits until the cat is done to try to eat, this approach will not work. The approach is simple. Put the cat food where the dog can’t reach. If you feed the cat on a high place, like a counter, your dog can’t instigate a fight. This works amazingly well.
You also want to feed your animals at different times. It helps reduce the competition for food. This also works for dogs who like checking for scraps. You can easily pick up the cat food bowl before your dog smells it.
Combining the two is the winning ticket. Feed your dog and cat at separate times and places. Pick up the cat food bowl when your cat is done eating. Nothing to scavenge and your dog will lose interest.
Why do dogs eat cat food? You let them. Some people try feeding in different rooms but your dog will sniff out the scraps over his own food. Some people try to only put a cat bowl up on a high place, but until the scent is gone a dog will always be curious. Remove the smell and feed at different times to completely eliminate your dogs need to scavenge.