The Difference Between Cat Food and Dog Food

difference between cat food and dog food

If you have multiple pets in your household, you might be curious to know the differences between cat food and dog food. It’s not just price that makes a difference; several elements such as nutrient composition can make all the difference when choosing which food type to give your furry friends.

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Cats require a certain set of nutrients to stay healthy, some which cannot be found in dog foods. For instance, taurine and arachidonic acid–essential fatty acids not produced by dogs’ bodies–are two such essential dietary requirements for cats.



Protein is essential for muscle development, digestion and energy supply in your pet’s system. Furthermore, protein helps your pet’s immune system operate optimally.

High-quality cat food should provide a complete and balanced amino acid profile, guaranteeing your pet is getting all of the proteins they need for optimal health and wellbeing.

Cats, being obligate carnivores, require higher protein intake than dogs. While certain dog foods may contain more protein than the average pet food, these diets typically don’t provide your cat with the essential nutrition they require for growth and wellness.

Protein can come from animal or plant sources and is specifically tailored with the amino acids your cat’s body needs for healthy functioning. A balanced diet that includes high-quality meat, poultry or fish protein that is easily digestible will promote your cat’s wellbeing and provide them with essential building blocks for growth and development.


Fat content of pet foods is essential for their health and taste. Not only does it provide energy, but also promotes healthy skin and fur while aiding absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Cats require more fat than dogs do, as it’s essential for their skin, coat and blood clotting. That is why cat foods often include fatty acids like linoleic acid (omega 6), a-linolenic acid (omega 3), and taurine.

These essential fatty acids support a cat’s health and provide it with the benefits of a meat-based diet, which is what cats require to thrive. Since cats cannot synthesize taurine on their own, this amino acid must be provided through food consumption; without taurine, cats may experience dilative cardiomyopathy – an illness in which heart tissue becomes overgrown and puts pressure on the organ.


Fiber can help promote healthy digestion. Both soluble and insoluble types of fiber nourish beneficial bacteria in the gut, encouraging stool retention.

Unfortunately, eating too much fiber can lead to problems like diarrhea or constipation. Stools may become dry and hard, making them difficult to pass away, making the stool difficult for many to tolerate.

High-quality pet food companies take into account this change in digestibility when formulating their diets, altering the nutrient content accordingly. This is especially pertinent when taking a fiber supplement into account.


Cats require certain vitamins and minerals in addition to dogs. As strict obligate carnivores, cats rely on the proteins, fats, and nutrients found in animal- and meat-based foods for survival.

Vitamin A – Cats lack the intestinal enzymes to convert beta carotene from plants into active Vitamin A, so they must obtain it through food sources. Deficits in Vitamin A may affect eye health, growth, reproduction and skin.

Other water-soluble vitamins that are essential for a cat’s diet include pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), thiamine (Vitamin B1) and vitamin B6. These essential nutrients aid in energy production, healthy immune system function and cell integrity.


Minerals are an integral part of pet nutrition, supporting various body processes to keep pets healthy and strong. Macro minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus work together to build bones while trace minerals like iron, copper and zinc aid oxygen exchange and cellular function.

Chelated minerals make food more water soluble and readily absorbed by the body than non-chelated minerals, as they form a stronger bond with amino acids and protein in the digestive tract. This makes them more stable for better nutrient absorption.