Do you have a cat alongside your dog? Have you ever seen your dog gobble down the cat poop from the litter box, and the sight of that disgusts you and you just want to make it stop so bad? Don’t worry, there are strategic ways to stop your dog from engaging in something as gross as cat poop eating.
The fact is the habit of the dogs always sniffing the litter box is connected to their fondness for eating cat poop. While it might be shocking to you that your dog pet enjoys cat poop, it is just a natural phenomenon known as coprophagia. Coprophagia is when a dog likes to munch on poop.
As a result of this coprophagia trait, dogs are attracted to things with a strong bad odor, like trash, or cat poop. Because dogs develop coprophagia, they tend to munch on cat litter boxes (which most times contain cat poops).
On that note, cat feces and trash tops the list of attractive things for dogs. However, there’s nothing more disgusting than seeing your dog eat feces, licking it all up with the same tongue he’d pick you with. Yuck!
Is It Bad for Dogs to Eat Cat Poop?
Yes, it is. Dogs are natural scavengers and inquisitive animals, and that accounts for their knack for exploring poop litter. This can be harmful practice if care is not taken.
According to experts, anywhere between one in four and one in six dogs eat poop. Dogs enjoy digging in to dine and munch on all kinds of things, including trash.
Cat poop of course seems very gross to you. But it’s not the case for your canine companion. Cat poop to dogs is as good as having cat food, which appeals to dogs’ senses.
Among other things, it is very bad if your dog eats cat poop or litter. Cat poops contain bacteria and parasites your dogs might contract which is harmful to your dog’s health. Also, some of these bacteria like Salmonella can be transmitted to humans.
Besides the risk of contracting bacteria and internal parasites from cat poop, ingesting cat litter in large quantities can cause a potential bowel blockage in your dog. If a bowel obstruction does occur, treating your dog with prompt care and medical attention will be needed to contain the consequences.
It’s also harmful to you as a dog owner, considering the tendency of dogs to lick from the toilet, eat their vomit and lick their butts with pretty regular consistency.
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
There are several reasons why dogs eat poop. Among the many reasons research suggests are attributed to behavioral patterns of ancestral descent.
Here are some reasons that make cat poop enticing to dogs:
Of course, this seems like a disgusting way to combat boredom, but best believe some dogs go nibbling with cat poop for the sole reason of boredom and the knack for exploration.
Younger pups, by observation, are known to exhibit the trait of coprophagia more than their adult counterparts.
3. Dietary Deficiency
The habit of coprophagia and the knack for sniffing around for cat poop can be attributed to inadequate feeding. So if your dog is always feeding on cat poop, it could be that your dog lacks important nutrients which he tries to seek for in things like litter.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop?
Here are some insightful ways to help curb the habit of munching on cat litter;
1. Keep a Clean Litter Box
Interestingly, a clean litter box is less tempting to your dog compared to a dirty and ‘poppy’ one. Your first point of action is to keep your cat’s litter box as clean as possible.
Also, since dogs have a strong sense of bad odors, you can adopt the use of crystal litter for your cat. Crystal litters are excellent odor neutralizers, and it’s the perfect choice to keep a clean litter that does not attract your dog.
2. Keep Them Engaged
Generally, bored dogs can have bad behaviors, like eating poop. You should try as much as possible to engage your pet with things of their interest like dog toys or a walk in the park. That distracts them from exploring litter.
3. Practice the ‘Leave It’ Command to Him
When you train your dogs, you train them in a way that they can receive instructions and obey them. Most times they heed these instructions not because they understand your words, but because they can tell from the tone of your voice why they should not be doing it. Therefore, when you see your dog trying to eat cat poop, in a firm tone, tell him ‘LEAVE IT!’.
When he retreats, give him a treat, dogs generally have an irresistible knack for treats.
4. Invest in ‘Dog Proof’ Cat Litter Box
Your kitty’s privacy in the house has probably been invaded too many times. Your dog needs a restraint, to keep him from eroding your kitty’s privacy.
To achieve that, you should invest in buying a covered/dog proof litter box. Not only will a covered cat litter box help to reduce bad odors that the litter box emits, but it’ll also keep your dog from sniffing and dining on cat poop.
5. Use Stool Deterrents
Deterrents are one of the ‘arms’ you use as a dog owner to keep your dog from eating cat poop. A stool deterrent will make cat feces unattractive to your pooch.
6. Create a Dog Gate
If your dog has access to the room where the kitty’s litter box is kept, then he’ll probably visit the kitty’s litter multiple times than you can count. Try moving the litter box into the spare bedroom and put up a doggy gate that’s higher than your dog’s height to prevent your pup from gaining access to the litter.
7. Add Hot Sauce or Pepper to Your Cat’s Litter Box
It may sound awkward to add pepper to poop, but guess what? Dogs are known to detest spicy food. So this can work to stir their attention from poop-eating.
Why You Should Prevent Your Dog From Eating Cat Poop?
As the popular saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure, why wait for your dog to be broken down by ingested bacteria or parasites when you can procure the habit of eating cat poop and potentially prevent vet visits?
If you have a cat at home you should try to ensure her litter tray is out of reach for your dog. It should be placed in the parts of the house they cannot easily access. As we have established, boredom is one of the main things that drive your pups to munch on cat feces.
For some dogs that eat cat feces at home out of boredom, increasing your dog’s exercise regime and provision of mentally engaging in the form of dog toys and games can help deter your pet from its naturally scavenging tendency.
For dogs that explore and feed on poop outside the house, like when you’re out in the garden or walking, it might be a little trickier to manage their coprophagia habit. Because you can’t control what goes on the outside as much as you do on the inside.
The best way out is to further reinforce the ‘leave it’ commands when out with your dog. You may also need to keep them on a leash or carry treats with you to distract them from eating poop.
Additionally, making sure your dog is on a well-balanced diet is very paramount. This will ensure that there are no dietary deficiencies that he is trying to compensate for by eating cat poop. Meanwhile, you should also check that there are no underlying health reasons for any sudden increase in appetite may be worth doing too.
Although dogs usually do not catch worms directly from eating cat feces. The cat roundworm cannot be directly transmitted to dogs, and the tapeworm requires an intermediary host before it can be transferred directly from cat to dog.
In this case, cat litter acts as the host by which worms are transferred to your dog. On that note, making sure your dog has regular worming treatment will help reduce the risk of any severe infestations occurring.
The possibility of death when your dog contracts a nasty bacteria might be minimal. However, It is worth noting that toxoplasmosis is dangerous in pregnant dogs who can pass it down to their unborn babies. And this for the unborn babies can eventually lead to stillbirths or abnormal health conditions.
Although coprophagia is an unpleasant natural behavior exhibited by most dogs, it does come with some risks. Nonetheless, you can do your best to prevent it by using these tips or contacting your veterinarian for further advice.