Dog Food for Catfish Bait? [a Shocking Finding!]

Dog Food for Catfish Bait

Catfish are opportunistic eaters, and almost all of them will eat anything that can fit into their mouth, as long as it has very strong scent.

Anglers can get very creative when choosing baits, and one of those baits is cheap, smelly, and widely available dog food.

So, can you really use dog food for catfish bait and is it effective? The answer is YES, you can! But not all dog foods are equally good. Canned chunks in gravy are the best, although dry food can be used for chumming, either alone or with other ingredients.

The best catfish bait is the one that will help you land a catfish, no matter how strange it may look. And the best thing about this bait is the fact that it is far less disgusting to handle than many other strong scented baits!

Of course, you have to know when and where to use certain baits. Type of water and season have a great influence on it.

If you are new to this, here is a bit more details about using dog food, and some recipes too so that you can increase its effectiveness.



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What Does Catfish Eat in the Wild?

There are thousands of catfish species, but only a few of them are interesting to anglers. Many people see them as bottom feeders, and that is true especially when you consider their mouth shape, but they will feed in all water layers, including the surface.

Catfish are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. If they can swallow something, they will eat it. Some of them will even scavenge for food.

Cases have been observed where catfish ate a mouse, or even a bird that ended up injured in the water. But those are isolated cases and not their primary food sources.

When younger, they eat smaller prey, and when older, their prey increases in size. On their menu, you can find insects, baitfish, algae, crayfish, plants, worms, snails, fish eggs, shrimps, and occasionally small mammals.

They feed throughout the day and night and locate their food with a strong sense of smell. Visual appearance of the food or even bait is not that important.

Can You Use Dog Food for Catfish Bait?

Now when you know that they will eat almost anything, the question arises: dog food for catfish bait, yes or no?

The answer is YES, but not any kind of it. Large and firm chunks in gravy are the best. First of all, you can mount them on a hook, and they will not fall apart instantly. Use some bait thread if necessary. Secondly, gravy is a great smell carrier. You can observe it as blood in bloody baits.

Gravy will dissolve and travel through the water. This can make a catfish interested from a distance.

Not all catfish can be caught with it, and if you are targeting a flathead, don’t bother, they are not interested. But channel catfish love it!

If you want to attract more catfish into the area, buy some dry dog food, and use if for chumming. Dry pieces will soak up water, they will slowly disintegrate, and they are heavy enough to stay in a desired area if there are no strong currents. The smell of it will travel quite far.

And the best of all, you don’t have to buy premium brands, cheap and very smelly is all that you need. It is easy to store, has a long shelf life, it doesn’t smell as bad as some other baits, and you don’t have to prepare it in advance.

What is Dog Food Mostly Made Of?

The answer to this question varies a lot, and it largely depends on a brand and price range. Premium foods contain a lot of meat, while cheap ones have a lot of meat byproduct, and that is excellent.

You know that catfish love liver, hearts, and various smelly organs. Regular meat is not effective if you don’t spice it up. This is why cheaper dog foods perform excellent.

If you check the label on dog food, ingredients are usually meat, meat byproduct, grains, and various additives, minerals, vitamins, preservatives, colors, and some other nutrients. Some foods contain oils which are excellent smell carriers, especially in warmer waters during summer.

Besides that, there is gravy or sauce that canned dog food contains. It is mostly water that was made denser and favored with various ingredients. This is actually a key part of it when using dog food as bait. Gravy is for spreading the scent.

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, has similar ingredients.

Dog Food for Catfish Bait - Made Of

Dry vs. Wet Dog Food for Catfish Bait? Which one to Choose?

When thinking about which one to choose, there are a few questions to ask? Do you plan some chumming? Will you use it as it is or spiced up? Are both options even available or you plan to go with what you already have at home?

Dry dog food is very effective in attracting catfish but mounting it on a hook is almost impossible. Some anglers do it with small mesh, but to be honest it is a lot of work and it doesn’t guarantee success. I personally like kibble for chumming.

However, some anglers like to wet the kibble, add a bit of flour, cereal, or something to make it firm, and form dough balls. But, if you are already doing that, then add other ingredients too, like garlic or vanilla, or even some smelly cheese.

Canned chunks can be used on a hook, especially if you use a thread or a mesh to make it firm. You don’t have to do anything with it, and you can use it as it is. Of course, if you want you can spice it up too.

There is no definite answer to this question. Both can be used as ingredients in dough or other DIY baits. Chunks can stay on a hook better, while kibble is better for chumming. Both are equally effective, so you can choose the one that is easier to use for you.

How do you Make Catfish Bait from Dog Food? [Homemade]

Using dog food for catfish bait is great, but it is even better if you use it as an ingredient for customized baits. Unlike some baits that have to “ripe” for days, those based on dog food are immediately ready!

Here is the easiest catfish recipe, and that is the first one I tried. If you are a fishing beginner and have no DIY bait experience, start with this one, and later you can add other ingredients, or even change them, to customize it. Not all waters are the same, so you may have to work on it a little before it becomes perfect for you!


• One standard sized can of dog food
• One pound of cheese, any kind but smellier are better
• Teaspoon of garlic powder
• Baitfish (minnows, herrings…) a handful of them
• Wheat flour
• Eggs (optional)
• Water (optional)


For this recipe you will need a blender. Blend dog food, baitfish, garlic, and melted cheese together. If the cheese is soft you don’t have to melt it prior to blending.

Pour this blended mix into a large bowl. Slowly add wheat flour and knead it like a dough. When the consistency is right (firm enough to form balls from dough) you are done.

But, depending on cheese, baitfish, and dog food, you may need to add eggs or water. Water is added if you used too much flour and now the dough is dry and crumbling.

Eggs can be added as a binding agent if the dough thickness is right, but it is falling apart.

Just experiment with it, there is no wrong or right way of doing it. You can add more fish, or more dog food. You just have make it firm and usable in the end.

When it is done, let it sit for a bit until it reaches room temperature (if the melted cheese was warm). During this process the dough will become a bit thicker, so don’t make it too thick when kneading it. This is the part I did wrong before, so learn on my mistakes!

And you are done! Mold it around a hook or make balls and various elongated shapes. And keep the dough in an air-tight plastic bowl with a lid, or even wrapped in plastic to prevent drying. If it dries too much it will become unusable.

Can You Also Use Cat Food for Catfish Bait?

So, you decided to go on a last-minute fishing trip but you don’t have a dog. Instead, you have a cat, and you have a lot of food for it.

Luckily, there is not a lot of difference between these two foods when used as catfish bait (as bait only, don’t feed your dog with cat food or vice versa, they have different nutritional and calorie values).

You can use both canned and dry food, in the same way as described for dog food. Use very smelly brands, cheaper ones, and the result will be as if you were using dog food.

But, although effective, cat food may not be as practical as dog food.

One of the reasons why many anglers prefer dog food is the fact that some dog foods comes in larger cans, and you have more of it, frequently for less money.

Also, chunks in cans for cats are much smaller, and are not suitable for hooks. You have to use a mesh and put more chunks in it.

If you want to use canned cat food, there is a trick for chumming. Puncture a few holes in a can and lower the can to the bottom so that it can release smell slowly. Of course, use a fishing line to lower it to the bottom, and pull it up later so that you don’t leave trash in the water.

Other Secret Catfish Baits [Good Alternatives]

Catfish are not picky eaters, and you can present them almost anything. If you have some meat that got spoiled in your fridge, don’t throw it, use it for catfish.

Among some very effective and simple baits are the following:

Shrimp for Catfish Bait

You can use shrimp for catfish bait too. Freshwater shrimp may be used both dead and alive, while saltwater shrimp works excellent when dead and marinated in garlic.

Hot Dogs for Catfish Bait

Among cheap and easy to use baits are hot dogs for catfish. Cheap and smelly ones, that can be bought in any supermarket, and work excellent. You can use them alone, or even better, spice them up with garlic, vanilla, KoolAid, or basically anything with a strong smell. You can eve add some powdered cheese.

Cheese for Catfish Bait

The smellier the better. Cheese is a great ingredient when making catfish dough or any other home-made bait.

Cut fish for Catfish Bait

Live baits may be the best but cut bait will also do the trick. You can use herrings, shad, bluegill, and even carp!

Boilies for Catfish Bait

You can make boilies like those for carp. Catfish eat boilies if you make a strong scented, fishy ones. There are dozens of recipes online, and all of them have affordable ingredients and are easy to make.

Dog Food for Catfish Bait - Boilies


Although catfish are not picky eater, that doesn’t mean that you can catch them with anything at any time. You have a variety of baits to choose from, but you have to know when and where to present them.

While dog food for catfish bait is great, it works best in lakes and ponds. Wild rivers and wild catfish will not react as well as farmed ones.

You should also consider catfish species and use this bait mostly for channels. When it comes to time of year, summer is great because warm water makes the smell travel faster!

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