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If you think about it carefully, goats seem to be able to eat just about anything. We’ve all at some point in our lives seen goats eating all manner of weird things. In all truth, they are the class clowns in the animal kingdom. They are extremely curious and will munch on just about anything. But does this also apply to dog food?
Goats love to snack on dog food but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for them. Dog food has been known to cause major health problems and complications to goats. So yes, goats can eat dog food, but it’s quite unhealthy for them!
In this article, we 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?
It should come as no surprise that goats have been known to eat dog food. Lots of dog and goat owners have observed their goats stealing bites from their dogs’ trays. And they seem to love it! But the underlying question that has always been in most people’s minds is whether it’s safe for goats to eat dog food.
In all truth, dog food is not good for goats. Naturally, goats are ruminant herbivores. They have digestive systems that are uniquely evolved to make use of cellulose found in plants. This enables them to eat an entirely plant-based diet.
Some of these ingredients found in dog food are Yellow cornmeal, Corn gluten meal, barley, ground wheat meal, and at times some sort of animal product such as meat. Goats love dog food because it contains numerous amounts of nutrients found in the grains and grain products in dog food.
The reason why we claim that dog food isn’t good for goats, however, is because of the other contents in dog food-animal products! These animal products are harmful to goats. The digestive system of goats has a completely contrasting structure and chemistry than the one needed to digest animal products like meat.
So to answer the question; Yes! Goats can eat dog food, but ultimately, it isn’t safe for them to do so. It’s also worth noting that feeding goats foods or supplements that contain products that come from other ruminants is illegal and can get you in trouble.
It’s therefore wise to avoid feeding goats dog food at all costs!
What Happens if Goats Eat Dog Food?
Now that we’ve already established that it isn’t safe for goats to eat dog food, let’s dive into the repercussions of letting this happen.
Feeding a goat dog food can cause urinary tract stones (urolithiasis). This is because the grain products in dog food cause mineral imbalances in goats. This is a major problem for male animals and can obstruct their urinary tracts. When a goat eats dog food for a long time, complete urinary obstruction can occur. This may make the bladder rupture and the goat is also likely to develop electrolyte imbalances.
Another condition that may arise from feeding a goat dog food is obesity. This is because the grain products found in dog food contain a whole lot of calories. Obesity puts an extra strain on the joints of goats, and predisposes them to early-onset arthritis. Obesity in pregnant goats can lead to complications during birth.
For all their capability of digesting things that we as humans may consider inedible, the digestive systems of goats are actually delicate.
Dog food also contains fat from animal products. This coats their stomach and prevents them from absorbing nutrients. The goats can starve to death while still munching on hay because none of the nutrients will be absorbed into the body.
Feeding dog food to a goat can also cause bloating which will irritate the animal.
When all is said and done, 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.
What Kind of Feed Do Goats Eat?
Here are some among the most common feeds for goats:
- Pasture: It contains sufficient nutrition and aids in digestion. They include Sudan grass, Bahia grass, Sorghum, Millet, and a mixture of grain grass and clover.
- 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.
- Chaff aye: This is mostly grass/ hay that is cut early into small chunks and spread with molasses. After this, it’s put in bags. This combines it with bacteria that make 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, development of muscles, and reproductive systems of goats.
- Kelp Meal: Is a source of Iodine. It increases the production of milk in goats.
- Grain: One can use 12-16% of grains if they are unable to provide the goats with the necessary foods. These include oats, corn, rye, barley, and moil.
- 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.
What Should You Not Feed Goats?
It is never wise to feed goats unwholesome and unhygienic foods since it can cause serious health issues. Goats love to browse and eat grass, leaves, twigs, and other food material. While grazing goats, care should be taken so they don’t eat trash like paper.
With this in consideration, some of the products that should never be fed to goats include:
- Dog or cat foods
- Wild cherries
Also, plants that contain oxalates such as Kales, Holly trees/bushes, Rhubarb leaves, nightshade veggies, Lilacs, Peaches, and Palm leaves should not be fed to goats.
Some plants are toxic to goats and should be avoided. They include Ferns, Poppy, Lilies, and Poison Ivy. Some weeds (Buckwheat, Pigweed, Milkweed, etc.) and grasses (Johnson grass, Sudan grass, Velvet grass, Sorghum) are also harmful and shouldn’t be fed to goats.
At the end of the day, it’s important to feed your goats with their natural food to ensure they obtain the nutrients their bodies require.