Can Dogs Eat Friskies Wet Cat Food? The Truth Revealed


Many dog owners wonder if it’s safe to feed their dogs wet cat food, especially if they have both cats and dogs in their household. Sharing food between cats and dogs may seem convenient, but there are important nutritional differences between feline and canine diets that owners should consider.

Understanding the unique dietary needs of dogs versus cats can help owners make informed decisions about whether or not to feed their dog cat food. While small amounts of cat food are unlikely to harm an otherwise healthy dog, there are potential risks with long-term cat food consumption that owners should be aware of.

This article will provide an overview of the key nutritional differences between dogs and cats, analyze the ingredients in popular wet cat food brands, discuss potential benefits and risks of dogs eating cat food, and offer tips from veterinarians. The goal is to help owners understand the implications of feeding their dog cat food so they can make the best dietary choices for their pet’s health and wellbeing.

Nutritional Differences Between Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs have very different nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they rely on animal-based proteins and fats for their dietary requirements. Dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores and can obtain nutrients from both plant and animal sources (

One of the biggest differences is protein. Cats require 2-3 times more protein in their diets compared to dogs. Protein provides amino acids that are essential for cats’ metabolic processes. While dogs do require protein, they do not need as much on a percentage basis as cats do (

Cats also cannot synthesize certain key nutrients like taurine on their own, unlike dogs. Taurine is an amino acid that supports eye and heart health in cats. Therefore, cat food must be supplemented with taurine, whereas dog food does not need added taurine (

Due to their different nutritional profiles, the nutrient compositions in cat and dog foods are uniquely tailored to meet the needs of each species. Feeding the wrong food can lead to nutritional deficiencies or imbalances over time.

Ingredients in Friskies Wet Cat Food

Friskies wet cat food contains a variety of ingredients including meat, fish, vitamins and minerals. According to the Purina website, common meat ingredients include chicken, beef, liver, salmon, shrimp and ocean whitefish.

Fish ingredients frequently found in Friskies wet food include tuna, salmon, ocean whitefish and anchovies. These provide cats with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Purina states that seafood ingredients must meet their strict quality standards.

Friskies wet cat food is formulated with essential vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin and Vitamin B12. It also contains necessary minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and iodine.

While the primary ingredients in Friskies are meat and seafood, the food also contains thickening agents and binding ingredients like carrageenan and guar gum. These allow the food to have a pâté or stew-like texture.

Potential Concerns with Feeding Cat Food to Dogs

There are some potential health risks to feeding cat food to dogs on a regular basis. One major concern is nutritional deficiencies. Cat food contains higher levels of protein and fat than most dog foods. While the extra protein may not pose a problem for healthy dogs, the higher fat content can lead to weight gain or pancreatitis in dogs [1]. Cats also require more amino acids like taurine in their diets, which are not necessarily healthy for dogs to consume in large amounts.

In addition, cat food lacks adequate vitamins and minerals that are essential for dog health. For example, cat food is very low in calcium, which is needed for healthy bone development in puppies. It also does not contain enough vitamin D, which helps dogs absorb calcium properly. Feeding a dog cat food long-term can result in nutritional deficiencies that negatively impact their health.

The different protein sources in cat food may cause an inflammatory response in some dogs as well. Cat food contains more fish ingredients that dogs are often allergic to, like tuna and salmon. The higher fat content also makes it harder for some dogs to digest cat food properly. As a result, dogs fed cat food may experience digestive upset, vomiting, or diarrhea [2].

Benefits of Feeding Cat Food to Dogs

While there are some risks, there can also be some benefits to feeding cat food to dogs in certain circumstances. Some of the potential benefits include:

  • Convenience – If you have both dogs and cats, feeding them the same food can be more convenient than buying, storing and preparing two different foods.
  • Variety – Adding some cat food into your dog’s diet can provide more variety and appeal. Some dogs enjoy the different taste and texture.

However, these benefits need to be weighed against the potential downsides. Cat food should not make up the bulk of a dog’s diet long-term due to the nutritional differences. But feeding occasional small amounts of cat food is unlikely to cause harm in healthy dogs. As always, consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Veterinarian Recommendations

Most veterinarians caution against feeding cat food to dogs on a regular basis. While the occasional snack of cat food generally won’t harm an otherwise healthy dog, relying on cat food as a dietary staple poses some nutritional risks according to vets.

Cat food tends to be higher in protein and fat than dog food. It also contains more calories per cup. While this may suit a cat’s higher metabolism, it can lead to obesity and other health issues in dogs over time according to veterinarians like Dr. Gary Richter (source).

Additionally, cat food lacks nutrients dogs need like sufficient levels of vitamin B, vitamin D, and arginine. Relying on it as a primary food can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time (source).

Most vets recommend only feeding cat food sparingly and as an occasional treat. While the odd piece of cat kibble or can of cat food likely won’t harm an otherwise healthy dog, they caution against making cat food a regular part of a dog’s diet.

Tips for Transitioning Between Foods

When transitioning your dog from their current food to a new food like Friskies wet cat food, it is important to do so slowly over the course of 7-10 days. This gradual transition gives your dog’s digestive system time to adjust to the new food. Switching foods too quickly can lead to gastrointestinal upset like vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Start by mixing a small amount of the new Friskies wet cat food, about 10-25% of the total meal, with your dog’s regular food. Slowly increase the amount of Friskies and decrease the old food over the course of a week until your dog is eating 100% Friskies wet cat food. Take your time with this gradual transition to maximize digestion and minimize stomach issues.

Look for signs of an adverse reaction like excessive gas, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or loss of appetite during the transition. If your dog experiences any stomach upset, slow down the switch by keeping the ratio of old to new food the same for a few days until their digestion improves. Then continue gradually increasing the new food again.

Following these tips and transitioning slowly over 7-10 days will help set your dog up for success when switching to a new cat food like Friskies wet food.

Signs of an Adverse Reaction

Feeding cat food to dogs can potentially cause an adverse reaction in some dogs. Some of the most common signs of an adverse reaction include:

Vomiting – One of the most obvious signs of an allergy or intolerance is vomiting. Some dogs may vomit immediately after eating cat food, while others may experience delayed vomiting several hours later. Vomiting is the body’s way of quickly expelling the irritant (cat food).

Diarrhea – Similar to vomiting, diarrhea is another potential reaction to a dog eating cat food. Diarrhea can occur right away or develop over time as the dog continues to eat the cat food. Severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other health issues if not treated promptly.

Itchiness – Dogs with a food allergy often experience itchy skin as a symptom. The itching may start gradually or come on suddenly after eating cat food. Excessive itching, scratching, licking, and rubbing, especially focused on the face, ears, paws, armpits, and groin area can signal an adverse reaction.

According to Optimeal, other allergy symptoms in dogs may include dry, itchy skin, hot spots, excessive gas, and more severe reactions like swelling of the face and throat. If a dog shows any unusual symptoms after eating cat food, it’s best to stop feeding it immediately and contact a vet ( Catching a food allergy early can help provide relief for your dog.

Alternatives to Feeding Cat Food

While feeding cat food to dogs in small amounts or for a short time may be ok, it’s best to avoid making it a regular part of your dog’s diet. There are better alternatives that will provide more tailored nutrition for dogs.

One good option is to switch to a high-protein dog food formula. Look for a dry or wet dog food that lists a meat source like chicken, beef, or fish as the first ingredient. Meat proteins contain essential amino acids dogs need. Going with a protein-focused dog food will supply a nutritional profile closer to your dog’s needs.

Another alternative is feeding your dog a raw food diet. This involves preparing meals with raw meat, bones, vegetables, fruits, and supplements. A raw diet aims to mimic the natural ancestral diet of dogs. It provides high-quality proteins, limited processing, and ingredients dogs are evolved to eat. Talk to your vet before switching to a raw diet to ensure it will meet your dog’s needs.

No matter what diet you choose for your dog, consulting your veterinarian is the best way to ensure it will provide complete and balanced nutrition. They can help assess your dog’s health status and recommend alternatives that are safe and appropriate.

Check this article for more on feeding dogs human food or cat food in a pinch.


While an occasional bite of wet cat food is unlikely to harm a dog, there are some risks if feeding cat food becomes a regular habit. Dogs have different nutritional requirements than cats, so cat food does not provide optimal nutrition for dogs. Feeding a diet high in fat, protein, and minerals like magnesium could lead to health issues. It’s best to stick to dog food formulated specifically for a canine’s needs. If you want to supplement your dog’s diet or need a temporary alternative, speak to your veterinarian for the safest options. They can ensure your dog’s food provides complete and balanced nutrition without unnecessary additives or ingredients that may cause stomach upset. Ultimately the takeaway is while cat food isn’t poisonous to dogs, it shouldn’t become a major part of their diet. As obligate carnivores, cats have different needs, and dog food is the healthier choice for canines.

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