Can goats eat dog food?
If you are very observant about the nature of goats, you should be able to conclude that they eat almost everything. You might be trying out a chocolate from a candy store only to find out a goat has been staring at you all the while.
In the goat’s head, it’s just like…
- Oh, How does this taste?
- I’ll try this when he drops the sachet on the ground.
- The taste must be amazing for them to smile like that.
Pardon me for my informal expressions, but that’s the best way I feel I can explain this for everyone reading to understand it quite clearly.
In essence, goats will eat anything as long as it passes through the mouth. This is their unique nature, and nothing can change that about them, not even isolation. You shouldn’t even find it surprising to see a goat eating weird stuff like paper, raw food, and many more. Their food curiosity has no limits!
From these that I have pointed out, you should infer that goats can also eat dog food. Dog food is just another food to satisfy their taste buds yet again. However, does this mean it’s healthy for goats to feast on dog food?
Goats love dog food, No doubt about that! But, it is not healthy for goats to eat such. It’s not healthy for them at all. If you read a goat or plan to do so soon, you might want to know why you shouldn’t feed your goats with dog food and the consequences of doing so.
Before I kick off fully, it might be interesting to let you know that feeding goats dog food has been known to cause them major health problems and complications. You must be curious to know how and why that happens.
This article will discuss the effects of goats eating dog food, what to feed, and what not to feed goats. So sit tight and read on!
Can goats eat dog food?
Over the weeks, I’ve received this particular question from different goat-rearers, and I felt the best way to give an answer is by composing an article you are already reading.
This will go far beyond answering whether goats can eat dog food or not, but will also mention why goats can eat or must not. In addition, you get the opportunity to ask further questions and get a reply as soon as possible.
Farmers who rear different kinds of animals together, including goats and dogs, must have observed the goats trying to steal bites from their dogs’ trays. This is to show you how much goats love dog food. If you are a farmer, you must be wondering if this is safe to do or not at all.
It’s quite unsafe for goats to eat dog food. The reason for this is not far-fetched, but we will have to go into simple biology or basic science. I prefer “Basic Science” because everyone should know about this.
Goats are ruminant animals. Ruminant animals are these animals with complex digestive systems. Most importantly, they are ruminant herbivores. Herbivores feed directly on plants and their products alone. This means goats should not feed on anything that isn’t planted or made from plants alone.
The digestive systems of goats are uniquely evolved to break down only cellulose molecules. Cellulose is a complex polymer commonly known as plant sugar. This is the form in which plants store their energy.
On the contrary, animals store their energy as glycogen. This kind of sugar is impossible to break down by goats’ digestive systems. This can cause serious complications when goats consume them.
Dog food contains some plant ingredients, including yellow cornmeal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat meal, barley, maize, etc. Most times, animal products, like meat, are added to dog food due to their omnivorous nature. That is, they feed on plants and animals.
Unlike goats, the digestive system of dogs can digest both plants and animal products and will not face complications that goats will face when they eat the same meal. Goats love dog food because it contains numerous nutrients in the grains in dog food.
We can summarize that goats can eat the same food you wi feed your dogs, but it is very harmful to their health. You won’t want to lose all your goats to this mistake. You should not feed them what is not safe for them.
Also, in some regions, feeding goats food derived from other ruminants is illegal. This crime might sometimes attract a fine or even a jail term. So, in all of these, make sure you are careful. Don’t feed your goats dog food, even if that’s what you have left!
What happens if I feed my goats with dog food?
Even after advising you not to attempt to feed goats with dog food, I must tell you the consequences in case you do so. The consequences could be very drastic.
This medical condition in goats occurs when you feed goats with too much grain. Urolithiasis is commonly known as urinary tract stones. In essence, the urinary tract of the goat is obstructed by stones, which might vary from small to large.
The grain products in dog food can cause mineral imbalances in goats and tend to obstruct their urinary tract. This condition is usually common among male goats. If a goat continues eating dog food for a very long time, the condition can escalate into a complete urinary obstruction.
This can cause quite a several complications later on, such as rupture of the bladder, which will, in turn, result in electrolyte imbalances.
Asides from a goat getting urinary tract stones, obesity can also occur. Goats are more prone to obesity than they are to urolithiasis. This means you should watch out for this better.
The grain products found in dog food contain large amounts of calories. Too many unused calories in animals bring about obesity. Obesity puts an extra strain on goats’ joints and predisposes them to early-onset arthritis. When obesity occurs in pregnancy, the goat might experience complications during birth.
Feeding dog food to a goat can also cause bloating, irritating the animal. It’s quite unhealthy for goats to eat dog food! If you own a dog and a goat, feed them separately, each with its appropriate food.
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What can I feed my goats?
You can feed your goats many things, and they are healthy for their digestive system. So what are they? Well, I have mentioned quite a few here. Let’s see what they are.
- Hay: This is an essential element for goats. It usually comes in handy when pasture is unavailable. Hay is cheap and provides goats with proteins and other necessary nutrients. The most preferred hay are clover, alfalfa, soybean, vetch, and lespedeza.
- Pasture: It contains sufficient nutrition and aids in digestion. They include Sudan grass, Bahia grass, Sorghum, Millet, grain grass, and clover.
- Chaff Aye: This is mostly grass/ hay cut early into small chunks and spread with molasses. After this, it’s put in bags. This combines it with bacteria, making the feed easy for the goats to digest. It’s rich in minerals and nutrients.
- Black Sunflower Seeds: Contains vitamin E, which is essential for milk production, the development of muscles, and the reproductive systems of goats.
- Garden and Kitchen Leftovers: Scraps like tomato ends, banana peels, onion skins, and orange peels can provide great nutrition to goats. Human foods like fruits and vegetables can also be used.
- Grain: One can use 12-16% of grains if one cannot provide the goats with the necessary foods. These include oats, corn, rye, barley, and moil.
- Kelp Meal: Kelp meal is a source of iodine, which helps develop bones in goats. It also helps to increase milk production in goats.
Knowing all these, you no longer have to feed your goats dog food.
It’ll even help if you get any of these mentioned above for your goats. Trust me; they’ll do just fine, no matter how long you plan to rear them.