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Q&A: Storing dry dog food

Expert advice from Baileys’ canine nutritionist on the best way to store dry dog food

Q: I have two cats and two dogs, all of which I feed on dry cat or dog food. The nuggets seem so similar in smell and appearance, and as at present I have to store a bag of each, I was wondering if I could feed the same dry food to my cats as my dogs? Please could you advise?

Liz Bulbrook replies: The simple answer is no youcannot. Although the products may look similar, and in fact contain many similar ingredients such as poultry meal, ground corn, wheat etc and have similar nutrient specifications in some cases, dog food is unsuitable for cats as their main diet.

Protein is made up of amino acids some of which the animal must have supplied in their diet, others it can synthesise within its own metabolic pathways.

The dog can synthesise the amino acid “taurine”, (by the degradation of methionine and cystine), however cats cannot and need it supplied in their daily diet.

A lack of taurine can lead to disturbances in the cat’s vision. Commercially prepared cat foods have taurine added whilst dog foods do not, hence whilst it is unadvisable to feed dog food to cats.

Although dogs can consume cat food safely, the nutrient levels consumed will be incorrect.

Cat foods are typically higher in protein and therefore the protein intake by the dog would be higher than required, particularly if fed at sufficient levels to meet energy needs; the vitamin and mineral intake is also likely to be too high again related to size of animal and amount fed.

Most pet foods provide recommended meal sizes as they are formulated to take into account metabolic status and body size and weight of the cat or dog, this is why interchanging the diets is not recommended.

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