There are several ways to keep the dog out of the cat’s food—and you should. Cat food contains fats and can be harmful to dogs who eat it regularly or overeat during a binge.
Use the “Leave It” Command
The “leave it” command is essential to train dogs to avoid picking things off the ground. This method takes the idea of having your dog ignore cat food even after seeing it to another level.
It is usually done using lots of exercises that reward a dog for leaving the said item alone. Once your dog learns this command, you can use it to keep them away from cat food.
You can do this by introducing the cat food as the item to be left alone. Use the cat food in various situations to ensure your dog obeys this command every time.
It might take little time for your dog to get used to this command (typically a few weeks), but do not stop, even if you’re on a road trip. It pays off in the end; your dog will learn to ignore cat food.
Block any opportunity to eat cat food.
This is a simple method. Keep the food away from your dog; they wouldn’t eat it. You could store your cat food in places your dog cannot access. You can block the doorway to the spot where there’s cat food. This will work perfectly if you have a small dog.
However, you must ensure your cat can still reach the food.
Make a short doorway that your cat can cross or jump over if you have a small dog. On the other hand, if you have an adult dog and your cat is small, make a high doorway with a space wide enough for your cat (but not your pup) to pass through.
You can also keep your cat food in places too high for your pup to reach. While the cat is eating, you can do anything to excite or distract your dog by playing or taking him on a walk.
Give your dog special and more nutritious food
We all prefer to take better and more nutritious food, and so are dogs and other pets. When your dog knows he has more delicious food waiting for him, he won’t go near the cat’s food. Add chicken by-products in your dog’s food; he will prefer it to any cat’s food. So, learn to feed your dog with nutritious food.
Make their food containers distinguishable during mealtime
You do not want your cat staring at your dog, eating its food while it stays in its clear bubble cat backpack. While the first method is suitable, the ultimate goal is for your dog to walk away from cat food. So, it is imperative to train your dog.
Make everything different for both pets during mealtime. Apart from the eating bowl, ensure they are of different colors if you use anything else (e.g. a bowl). This is also a way to give your dog the benefit of the doubt, as the containers may have been confusing your dog all along.
What method doesn’t work
if you decide to use the punishment method, it will not work. Punishing your pup while he’s swallowing mouthfuls of cat food doesn’t work.
You may think punishment works, but dogs will learn how to reach cat food when you are away. They adhere to your instruction only when you are at home with them.
Most dogs will learn to pick cat food faster as you move near them because they know you will take it away.
At first, punishment may seem effective, but it’s just a matter of time before they get used to it. Also, punishment can most certainly destroy the bond between you and your dog—management and prevention work.
Although eating cat food does no actual harm to your dog, there’s a risk of having your dog put on weight.
In addition, your cat, a carnivore, would not get the nutrient (protein and fats) it should.
On the other hand, dogs are omnivores; they can get nutrients from plants and animal sources. Hence, the diet for both animals is different.
Getting your dog to get its mind off the idea of eating cat food can be quite a chore. However, it is achievable, and you should employ these methods. In the end, it’s for your dog’s good.
Additionally, remember to give rewards each time your dog ignores cat food.