Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Eat Dog Treats? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat dog-treats

Can Cats Eat Dog Treats? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If your cat accidentally got into your dog’s treats, it’s normal to be a little alarmed. The good news is that, in most cases, it’s safe for your cat to chomp on a dog treat now and again. They’re not ideal for various reasons, but they’re not an acute danger either. However, this largely depends on the ingredients.

The major danger is that some semi-moist dog treats include propylene glycol, which is toxic if your cat consumes too much. Pup-Peroni is just one popular dog treat that contains this additive, for reference. If your cat eats the odd dog biscuit, they’re probably OK. However, semi-moist dog treats with higher moisture content probably contain propylene glycol. The other notable risk is obesity due to the higher carb content in dog treats.

If you’re interested in more specific details about whether dog treats have any risks or benefits for your cat, you’re on the right page. Let’s explore those topics and more down below so you can help put your mind at ease when your cat eats a dog treat by accident.

divider 2 cats

Why Can Cats Eat Dog Treats?

Cats can eat dog treats in most cases because dog treats are often loaded with protein, which cats actually need more of than dogs. That could also be a reason why your cat is attracted to meaty dog treats. Take it as a sign that you need to get some protein-packed kitty treats for them! Broadly speaking, dog treats are formulated to be as non-toxic as possible, so it’s only normal that most dog treats are safe for cats to consume.

Put more simply, it’s sort of like humans eating dog treats. Sure, you can, and it might not taste bad, but why would you? There are better options out there for you, just like there are much better options for your kitty than your dog’s treats.

Can Cats Eat Dog Treats
Image Credit: monika1607, Pixabay

No Benefits of Feeding Dog Treats to Cats

Dog treats are made to be healthy for dogs, and most contain at least some beneficial ingredients for cats too. However, they’re not a substitute for proper cat treats.

Do Dog Treats Pose Any Risks to Cats?

Dog treats are typically formulated with dogs’ unique dietary and health needs in mind, so occasionally, ingredients that aren’t good for cat health will be included. For instance, some dog treats contain grains that cats don’t need. Another reason they’re not ideal is because they lack nutrients like taurine that your cat would normally get in cat treats.

But what about the concrete risks that dog treats can pose to your cat? The bad news? There are some risks. The good news? The risks generally require your cat to eat dog treats for a long time to become apparent. Let’s break some of those risks down right below for you.

divider 2 cats

Risks of Cats Eating Dog Treats

Nutritional deficiencies

Dog treats lack essential cat nutrients like taurine, which can cause deficiencies if your cat exclusively eats them.

Digestive upset

Cats may have varying digestive tolerance to ingredients in dog treats, like food coloring and preservatives, leading to upset stomach and diarrhea.

sick tabby cat lying on the bed
Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock


Dog treats contain more fats and carbs than cat treats, so cats that eat a lot of them can pack on the pounds and become obese.


Propylene glycol is the big one, but occasionally, dog treats may include ingredients that are toxic to your cat.

Dental issues

Sometimes helpful for cat teeth but often not, dog treats may be too hard for your cat’s teeth to break down. They have no grinding molars like dogs, after all.

Choking hazard

While not all dogs are bigger than cats, many of them are. Larger treats could pose a choking hazard, so you need to be extra careful about this.

divider 2 cats

Can Cats Eat Dog Food? Should They?

Your cat definitely shouldn’t eat dog food on a regular basis. A one-off occurrence is likely fine, but it shouldn’t become a regular thing. Dog food usually has less protein than cats need and doesn’t contain taurine, which is essential for healthy feline development.  That said, a mouthful out of your dog’s bowl won’t cause any immediate harm. Just make sure it doesn’t become a regular thing because it could lead to serious nutritional deficiencies and weight gain.

Other valid concerns are allergies or intolerance to certain ingredients used in dog food. It’s not made for cats, after all. Soy and corn allergies are two common cat allergies that most dogs don’t have to worry about, but additives, food coloring, and preservatives can also be hazardous.

divider 2 cats


It’s not a big deal if your cat eats a dog treat once in a blue moon, but they shouldn’t make a habit of it. In the long term, it could lead to obesity or severe nutritional deficiencies. Also, make sure there are no toxic ingredients, like propylene glycol, included. Instead, opt for high-protein cat treats that contain taurine and other nutrients tailor-formulated for feline bodies. Finally, dog kibble is strictly off-limits.

Featured Photo credit: deborahmiller56, Pixabay

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.