In your dog's mind, the act of sneaking in a few bites of cat food is a carefully plotted act. But no matter how well he executes his little scheme, he's often caught. Putting up a barrier or moving your cat's food can help foil your pup's plan.
Put a ramekin or tiny bowl in the middle of your cat's food bowl so that the food surrounds the outer edge of the ramekin. This usually works better for larger dogs, such as German shepherds, because they'll have a difficult time grabbing the food with their tongue. The idea is to make your dog frustrated enough to leave the food alone. The method also keeps an overly eager kitty from eating too fast.
Place your cat's food in a room that you can partially close. Close the door enough so your pup can't fit through but your cat can. Place a chair or stool behind or in front of the door to prevent nosy dogs from pushing it open with their paws or face.
Move your cat's bowl to a counter or somewhere your dog can't reach. Washing machines, dryers, filing cabinets and computer desks are all good ideas. If your kitty can't jump well, give her a small chair to jump onto first.
Install a small pet door and keep the door to your cat's food closed most of the time. While this won't work if you have a dog similar in size to your cat, it's the perfect way to keep a big pup out of trouble.
Feed your kitty at specific times of the day and only for 30 minutes or an hour. While your cat probably loves free feedings, your dog loves them even more, because he can sneak in and eat everything while you're not watching. Timed feedings make your cat eat her food at one time so there are no leftovers for the sneaky canine.
Add a gate to keep big tongues and paws out of your cat's feeding area. Baby gates work great, and they're small enough so most cats can jump over. If your kitty can't jump very high, place one chair in front of the gate and one chair in back of the gate. If your pup's a little daredevil, you might find him trying to hop the gate as well.
- Don't let your dog venture into the cat's feeding area when you two are playing or on his own accord, even if he's just checking things out. He needs to learn that's a place in the house he doesn't need to be. If you catch him waltzing on in, say "ah" sharply to grab his attention. Don't yell at him or drag him out; the sound of your voice should be enough to let him know he's doing something wrong.
- If you return home and find that your dog scarfed down your cat's food while you were gone, do not yell at him or rub his face in the cat's bowl. You're not teaching him anything, and he may become fearful of your hands, your voice and when you return home.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.