Multi-Pet Homes: Feeding Freshpet to Dogs and Cats Together
written by Ellie Walker
Due to their different dietary needs and eating behaviors, handling meal times when you have both dogs and cats requires some extra considerations. While this may seem daunting, the good news is that we’re here with some tried and true tips on how to feed dogs and cats together!
Tip #1: Set up separate feeding areas
When figuring out how to feed dogs and cats together, the first thing you’ll want to do is to set up separate feeding areas. Having physical separation between your dog and cat during meal time is the easiest way to ensure that everyone sticks to their own meal. Cats also generally prefer privacy while eating, so it's best to feed them in a quiet area away from their canine housemates.
If you don’t have separate rooms to feed them in, don’t worry. You can maximize the space by focusing on vertical rather than horizontal distance. Consider feeding your cats on an elevated surface, such as a counter or shelf, to keep their food out of reach from dogs. Cats tend to prefer elevated spaces as it gives them a better vantage point and sense of control over their environment, so training them to eat on top of a higher surface should be no problem.
Tip #2: Manage access to their food
In addition to setting up separate feeding areas, it can be helpful to generally manage your pet’s access to their food.
- Establish specific meal times: The easiest way to ensure that your pet eats only their own food is to establish specific meal times. Dogs often eat larger meals twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening – while cats prefer smaller, more frequent meals. Create a routine that accommodates both your dog and cat, ensuring each pet receives the necessary amount of food to meet their nutrition needs.
- Supervise meal times: Keep an eye on them during meal times, especially if you have a pet that has a habit of sneaking a bite from everyone else’s bowl. Each Freshpet recipe is designed with the nutritional needs of a specific species in mind. So while it’s not harmful if your dog eats a bit of your cat’s roll, or vice versa, their nutritional needs will be better met if they stick to their dedicated recipes.
- Use baby gates: Baby gates can also be helpful to create dedicated spaces for your pets to eat their meals. While you’ll still want to supervise them, having gates up can give you extra peace of mind that everyone is eating only what they’ve been served.
Tip #3: Make use of technology
As mentioned earlier, cats tend to eat smaller meals throughout the day. In cat-only households, it’s common for food to be left out all day so cats can eat as they please. However, in multi-pet households, you may not want to leave food out for them all day as other pets can get into it.
Fortunately, pet technology has come a long way, with new products dedicated to simplifying the process of feeding dogs and cats together. Two popular options for multi-pet households are timer feeders and RFID feeders:
- Timer feeders: With timer feeders, you can schedule smaller meals throughout the day so your cat can eat at a natural cadence without having a bowl sitting out in the open. These types of feeders are also a great option for puppies or older dogs who prefer to eat a few small meals during the day rather than two large ones. The iPettie automatic feeder allows you to schedule up to six meals throughout the day, plus, it has an ice pack below the tray to keep their favorite Freshpet recipe fresh.
- RFID feeders: These high-tech feeders are designed to only open for a specific pet based on their unique microchip identification or RFID collar tag. This ensures that each pet can access its food while preventing other pets from stealing or eating from their bowl. RFID feeders, like the Surefeed microchip feeder are a great option if you have pets on special diets or if they prefer to graze rather than eat everything at once. Just don’t forget that, like human food, Freshpet should not be out for more than an hour. If your pet doesn’t finish all of their food within that time, simply put it back in the fridge and offer it again later.
We hope you now have a better idea of how to feed dogs and cats together. If you have any additional tips that you think would help pet parents, share them in the comments!