Do you have a dog that enjoys devouring cat food? Well, you’re not alone. Cat food is more palatable compared to dog food, and it’s evident that your dog would want to eat up cat food whenever he gets a chance. Catching your pooch stealing cat food may seem cute at first, but it’s going to harm your canine pal in the long run. But don’t worry, it’s easy to teach your dog that he’s not allowed to eat your kitty’s food using some basic obedience training and other tricks. Read on to know how to stop your dog from eating cat food.
Why Do Dogs Want to Eat Cat Food?
You must be wondering what can be the reason behind dogs finding cat food so tasty. If you believe cat food is just the same and also dogs have no clue if that’s different than their food, you’re wrong. Commercial pet food is crafted for dogs and cats considering their nutritional needs, respectively. Also, cat food, due to having more protein and fats, smells luscious to your dog. It may look like a bowl of treats to him. So it’s obvious that your dog will be wanting to hunt cat kibble or canned cat meal when no one’s watching. You’ve finally discovered your dog’s adventures; what can you do about it? Yes, it’s harmful, but if your dog’s doing well without any alarming symptoms, you don’t have to visit a vet. A little amount of cat food won’t cause any medical emergency. But in the long run, it may cause obesity and kidney problems due to excessive protein. Obesity in household pets has become a common and life-threatening condition. It doesn’t only just add up fat to the body but also adversely affects the quality of the life of your pooch and reduces the life span. I hope it’s pretty clear now why dogs want to eat cat food and why you shouldn’t let them eat it.
Tips to Stop Your Dog From Eating Cat Food
Before you start teaching your dog to not eat cat food, in fact, anything, in particular, you’ll have to be equipped with a few things. Firstly, you should make a clear distinction between their food bowls and don’t interchange them. If you’re using the same bowl to feed your pets turn by turn or at the same time, you should stop that and get separate bowls for each of your dogs and cats. Secondly, you’ll need a quiet room where you can teach your dog to ‘leave it’ command without any distractions. Thirdly, get your dog’s favorite treats. This will be all you need.
Teach ‘Leave It’ Method
As the name says, you can teach the ‘leave it’ command to your dog to move their attention away from the object he wants to grab. Be in a quiet room with your pooch where he can listen to you clearly. Lure your dog with a treat and say, ‘Leave it.’ Ensure that your dog has heard you. Now cover the treat in your fist and let him try to get it. He may lick or paw at your fist and also do some sniff work. When your dog realizes he can’t get the treat in your hand, he will give up at last. This is when you’re supposed to toss another treat for your pooch. Remember you have to offer a treat from another hand within 2 seconds of your dog giving up. This way your dog will learn that he will get a tastier treat when he gives up on the treat in your hand. Repeat this 10-12 times. Your dog might take long to understand the command. So practice until he obeys the command without any confusion. You can try other methods to teach ‘leave it’ as well to ensure your dog understands the command well. The ultimate level of difficulty will be using cat food as a lure placed on the floor and practicing ‘leave it.’
Don’t Keep Cat Food Available to Your Pets
Consider eating cat food as a bad habit of your dog that you’ll have to break. The first thing in achieving this target is to make the cat food unavailable to your dog. This can be achieved by placing and hiding cat food bags at higher places your dog can’t reach. Try to feed your pets at the same time; this way, your dog won’t get a chance to finish up his food and go to your cat’s food bowl. However, if your kitty’s slow feeder cat bowl is slowing him down on eating, your dog may venture towards the cat bowl and try to eat it up too. In that case, you should distract the dog by praising and petting him.
Alternatively, you can feed cats at relatively higher spots, for example, at your cat’s window perch if it’s spacious. You can try feeding them in separate rooms as well so that your dog won’t know when and where your cat is being fed.
Don’t Free Feed
You are free-feeding your cat, and that might be working perfectly fine for your cat, but it can make your dog’s eating-cat-food habit worse. In your absence, your dog will be able to eat cat food whenever it’s possible. Also, when you start feeding your cat at the same time every day and pick up any leftover food from the bowl after he eats will give your cat a sense that he has to eat all he can at that time. And the dog won’t be able to snack on cat kibble.
‘Leave it’ is the command you should teach your dog because it doesn’t only stop the dog from eating cat food but also from your spilled medication or dangerous substances. In a nutshell, ‘leave it’ training can save your pooch’s life as well. If you’ve recently found out your dog is eating cat food without any sickness, you don’t have to visit a vet. However, on the other hand, any symptoms or sickness should be ruled out as soon as possible. Simply teaching the ‘Leave it’ command and making cat food out of your dog’s reach will do the job.