Difference Between Dog and Cat Food (With Table)

If you have a dog or cat as a pet or even have both together in your home, it is natural that the question might arise in your head that what do your pets eat and why is it that there is different food for two of you similar-sized canine friends. In reality, dog and cat food differ immensely from one another and should not be mixed.

Dog vs Cat Food

The difference between a dog and cat food is that they vastly differ in their nutritional components. Cat food is made keeping in mind the nature of food habits of a cat who is an obligate carnivore, while dog food is made keeping in mind the nature of food habits of a dog who is not an obligate carnivore but a facultative one.

Dog food is made keeping in mind the omnivore food habits of this animal species. Thus the food made for a dog has multiple sources, including both animal and plant sources. Dog food has less nutritional value in comparison to cat food, as dogs are resilient beings and can survive on less.

Cat food is made keeping in mind that cats are almost entirely carnivores. Thus the food made for a cat is made from only one source, which is animal proteins and products. Their digestive system is adapted to digest such products much easier in comparison to plant products.

Comparison Table Between Dog and Cat Food

Parameters of ComparisonDog FoodCat Food
PelletsDog food is usually prepared in the form of larger pellets than cat food.Cat food has smaller pellets than dog food.
ProteinsDog food has lower protein content than cat food.Cat food has higher protein content than dog food.
FatDog food has a very low-fat content.Cat food has a good percentage of fat.
VitaminsDog food lacks many vitamins present in cat food.Cat food is enriched with more vitamins than dog food.
TasteDog food is blander than cat food.Cat food tends to be more juicy and tasty than dog food.

What is Dog Food?

A dog or Canis lupus is neither a whole carnivore nor a whole herbivore. It relishes food from both worlds. Dogs belong to that group of animals that have varied food habits and often can survive better due to their omnivore food habits. They can eat and digest both meat as well are fresh fruits and vegetables.

Due to their varied food habits, it is also easier to share human food with dogs as humans are also omnivores in terms of habit. While making dog food, two important things are however kept in mind. First, the fat percentage in dog food is low as dogs usually have low-fat tolerance and can react adversely to a high percentage of fat intakes like upset stomach, nausea, or coat shedding.

Secondly, the levels of vitamins in dog food are also low, especially vitamin D, as dogs cannot digest it easily. There is also the absence of taurine and animal-based chemical that is specifically found in cat food. Dogs can, however, eat fruits like papaya, apples, and so on and vegetables and leaf to obtain their vitamin and mineral requirements.

Dog pellets usually have a balance of proteins, minerals, calories, vitamins, fibres and so on, and a special ingredient called propylene glycol is mainly found in wet food products for dogs.

What is Cat Food?

A cat of Felis catus is a whole carnivore animal solely depending on animal products for nutrition. Cats are hunters by habits and usually eat their prey raw and hence evolutionarily are adapted to digesting proteins very fast, and hence cat food requires a large percentage of protein in them.

Cats are also opportunistic feeders, which means they eat whenever they can; thus, they need to be fed multiple times in a day in comparison to a dog which can adapt to 2-3 meals stretched along the entire day. Cat food is prepared in the form of wet and dry pellets of a small size to facilitate eating.

Cat food has almost up to 26-30% of animal protein only and contains a high percentage of fat in comparison to dog food. They have essential vitamins like vitamin D, arachnoid acid, niacin etc. Cat food is also rich in minerals and calories; however, all these nutrients are usually animal products.

Cat food also has taurine, which is a chemical derivative of amino sulfonic acid and is an essential part of a cats diet. It is also known that due to more added nutrients, cat food is tastier than dog food.

Main Differences Between Dog and Cat Food

  1. Dog food is much richer in plant fibres than cat food which lacks any plant product.
  2. A dog is has a very low-fat content due to its fat intolerance, whereas cat good is rich in fat.
  3. Dog food has a very small amount of vitamin D, whereas cat food is rich in vitamin D.
  4. Dog food has the chemical Propylene glycol, whereas cat food is enriched with taurine.
  5. Dog food is considered to be less tasty than cat food due to its high protein and fat percentage.
  6. Dog food usually has larger pellets or chunks, while cat food has smaller pellets for easy ingestion.


It is evident that dog and cat food have major nutritional differences, and this is the reason why cats and dogs have different foods assigned to them. Mixing must be avoided as each of these foods are rich in nutrients required for the specific organism while it can be harmful to the other like fat or vitamin D found in cat food is not suitable for dogs.

While dogs can find cat food tasty due to its high protein content, it must be avoided. Also, cats may not like dog food due to the small amount of fat in it. Even if your pets have their food interchangeably, it is recommended that the food must be kept separate and given at different timings to avoid mixing.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1681106/
  2. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jvms/63/12/63_12_1355/_article/-char/ja/
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