Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?

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As a dog owner, you might have noticed some strange behavior related to the canines and kitty litter boxes.

While this may gross you out, it’s normal for dogs to eat cat poop.

The pungent odor does not repel them, and they are actually drawn to it.

This article discusses why dogs eat cat poop, whether this behavior is harmful to them, and how to stop it.

Related: Why Do Dogs Eat Their Own Poop? Is it Dangerous?

Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop

Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop

There are many reasons your pup might resort to raiding the litter box.

Here are some of the most common.

They Like the Smell and the Taste

For dogs, cat poop mostly smells like cat food.

So, driven by their keen sense of smell, they are lured to the litter box—and once there, they nibble on its contents.

If they also like how it tastes, they are guaranteed to come back for more later on.

They Have a Nutritional Deficiency

Eating feces is often a sign of nutritional deficiency in dogs1.

They are drawn instinctively to the vitamins and minerals in cat poop, so they will try to nibble on it as much as possible if they are not getting what they need from their diet.

They Are Bored

The dog may simply take frequent visits to the litter box because they have nothing else to do.

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Canines can be inventive when looking to chase boredom away when their owner is away for prolonged periods.

Is it safe for dogs to eat cat poop health hazards

Is It Ok for Dogs to Eat Cat Feces?

While eating a few pieces probably won’t hurt your dog, you shouldn’t let them do it too often.

If your dog has a sensitive digestive tract, they should not consume any cat poop at all.

Try to nip this behavior in the bud as soon as you notice it.

Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Cat Poop?

Though there are some diseases which cannot be transmitted from a cat to a dog, cat poop can put your dog at risk for certain infections.

Some parasites, such as roundworm, can infect both dogs and cats. The eggs are shed in your cat’s poop.

Giardia, hookworm, and whipworm can also contaminate your feline friend’s feces2.

Even if the feces doesn’t contain any of these, it still consists of organic material the cat couldn’t digest. Since the dog is unlikely to be able to digest it either, it will slow down their digestion.

If they consume too much of it, it can block it entirely.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Cat Poop

The first thing you need to do is ascertain how much they ate.

For dogs with sensitive digestion, even a small quantity can warrant a visit to a veterinarian.

Keep an eye on their poop—whether it remains consistent, changes color, or whether they poop at all.

Get them to drink water, and if you notice anything different with their poop, get them to the vet as soon as possible.

What to do when dog eats cat poop how to training tips

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Eating Cat Poop?

There are several methods to get dogs to stop eating cat poop.

It’s a good idea to explore all your options so you can choose the one that fits you and your pets the best.

Related: Why Does My Dog Eat Chicken Poop? How Do I Stop It?

Play With The Dog

What better way to divert your puppy’s attention from the litter box than having a fun bonding time with them?

Most dogs require some level of physical activity, and playing with you is what they like to do the most.

Keep Them Away Physically

Part of a puppy’s socialization process is to learn your commands and the rules of what they can or cannot do around the home.

Teaching them the “Leave it” command will help you keep them out of the litter box.

If you aren’t able to supervise their adventures, you may want to think about fencing the litter box in.

Get a large enough fence for your cat to go through but not so big that your dog can pass. Baby gates work as well.

Use Stool Deterrents

There is a wide range of commercial stool deterrents you can add to your cat’s food, such as For-Bid, to stop your dog from eating cat poop.

Or, you can make your own from black peppers and hot sauce.

Just be careful with the amount you use to avoid hurting your dog or cat.

Take Care of The Dogs Nutrition

Consult with your vet on which nutrients your dog may lack and which draws them to the litter box.

Once they determine the exact nutrients your pup needs, start them on a diet that meets all their nutritional demands.

Get Dog-Proof Litter Boxes

Prevent dogs eat cat poop with pup proof litter box

You might also want to consider investing in a dog-proof litter box.

Some of these are covered and have only a small entry on the side, just enough for your cat to fit in.

Others have a top-entry solution, which also makes it difficult for canines to get in.

Keep The Litter Box Clean

Cleaning the litter box as frequently as possible will help keep dogs away from it.

Doing so will also prevent the odor from spreading and permeating every surface of your home.

Final Thoughts

While it’s normal for dogs to raid the cat litter box, this doesn’t mean you have to put up with this behavior.

Eating too much cat poop can harm the canine’s digestion and potentially infect them with harmful bacteria. 

Fortunately, there are some efficient methods to prevent this.

Teaching your dog the proper commands, keeping them busy, and dog-proofing your litter box are just some of the techniques you can try to keep your pup out of the litter box.

FAQs

Here are a few other common questions people ask.

Is Cat Poop Dangerous for Dogs?

Depending on the type of bacteria or parasites in the cat poop, eating it can be dangerous for your dog.
Not to mention that consuming large quantities of indigestible materials can make your pup’s digestion sluggish or even blocked.

Why Do Dogs Eat Out of The Litter Box?

Dogs are drawn to the contents of the litter box by its smell, which often resembles cat food.
If they have a nutritional deficiency, dogs will continue to seek out the nutrients contained in cat poop.
Boredom may also draw them into this behavior when at home with nothing to do.

Resources

  1. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-problems-coprophagia
  2. https://pets.thenest.com/can-cat-feces-carry-diseases-harmful-dogs-6128.html

Still Have Questions?
Ask a Vet!

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