Has your dog developed an unpleasant habit of eating cat poop? Well, believe it or not, it’s a common issue many pet owners grapple with. This behavior not only grosses us out but also poses health risks for our furry friends.
Now you’re probably wondering – why on earth would my dog do that? To put it simply, dogs are scavengers by nature and some find cat feces appealing. It’s a canine behavior rooted in instincts and survival tactics.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind your dog’s unsavory dietary choice and provide practical solutions to stop them from munching on kitty litter. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of pet behavioral issues.
Stopping Your Dog From Eating Cat Poop
A word of caution though: while these methods can work wonders in breaking this gross habit, they aren’t foolproof. It’s still essential to clean up after your cat daily to minimize any opportunities for snacking on kitty poop.
Obedience training is essential. It’s about teaching your dog to follow commands like “leave it” or “stay”. This way, when you catch him eyeing Fluffy’s litter box with that look, a firm command should stop him in his tracks. Start training early and remember consistency is key to preventing bad behaviors.
First off, it’s all about supervision and consistency. I know it sounds a tad bit exhausting to constantly keep an eye on your fur baby, especially when they’re doing their business or exploring the yard. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Every time you spot them heading towards a cat litter box or during outdoor trips where there may be other animal droppings around – distract them. Use toys, treats or enthusiastic playtime as diversions.
Next on our list is positive reinforcement. Dogs respond incredibly well to rewards-based training methods. So every time your pup resists the temptation of chowing down on feline feces, reward them with their favorite treat or lots of praise. Reinforcing good behavior is key here.
Adjusting Your Dog’s Diet
If obedience training doesn’t do the trick, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at your dog’s diet. Certain deficiencies could make cat poop seem like an appealing snack, so try adding more fiber or changing up their protein source. Always consult with your vet before making any drastic dietary changes.
Create a Barrier
Creating physical barriers between your dog and the litter box may also work wonders. Baby gates are my personal favorites – they’re easy to install and cats usually jump right over them. Cat doors and door latches are also low tech options that can stop a dog
Stool deterrents are another option worth considering. These products give feces an unpleasant taste (as if they needed help), deterring dogs from snacking on them.
Some pet owners swear by taste-aversion products like For-Bid or CoproBan. You sprinkle these bad boys on your cat’s food and it makes their waste taste awful…uh…more awful.
I’ve also seen folks recommending pepper or hot sauce as deterrents. But let me tell you, it’s not the best idea. Our cats could end up irritated when they use the litter box and we definitely don’t want that!
Then you’ve got repellents. Think of these as invisible fences for your litter box – they keep the dogs out without causing any harm.
Products like PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent and Pawz Away Threshold Pet Barrier work by releasing a harmless spray or sound when a dog comes too close to an off-limits area.
Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
Here’s something interesting I’ve noticed: Dogs often engage in ‘attention-seeking’ behaviors when they are bored or anxious. Eating cat poop (or coprophagia) might just be your pup’s strange way of getting your attention.
So keep Fido mentally stimulated with toys and puzzles on a regular basis to distract him from this nasty habit.
Clean the Litter Box ASAP
Taking care of the dirty litter box quickly might sound obvious but trust, it works like nothing else. All it takes is a bit of hustle on your part. Simply clean Fluffy’s cat litter tray as soon as she’s done her business so there’s nothing for Spot to munch on.
I realize this is not possible if you’re not always at home, so I recommend a self-cleaning litter box set up or another back up method ready as well.
Get a Dog Proof Litter Box
Consider getting a covered/enclosed litter box or even some fancy litter box furniture/enclosure. Not only will this prevent access for dogs but also grant your kitty some much-needed privacy!
Move Litter Box to Another Room
Last but not least, you could try moving the litter box to another room. However, be careful with this one. Make sure your cat is aware of the change. Do it slowly and pick a good location or else she might refuse to use her new lavatory!
Understanding Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop
Scientists call it prophagia – the scientific term for the consumption of feces. But why exactly do dogs eat cat poop? This natural behavior is more common than you think.
The answer may lie in the high-protein diet that cats consume. Cats are obligate carnivores which means their diet consists mostly of protein and fat. This results in their feces having a strong smell of cat food that can be attractive to dogs.
Nutritional deficiencies could be causing your dog to snack on cat poop. As disturbing as it sounds, there’s actually some truth behind this.
When they’re lacking in certain nutrients, their instincts tell them to find anything that might fill the gap – even if it’s kitty’s leftovers. For instance, if your pooch isn’t getting enough protein content or fat from his diet, he might seek out alternative sources.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends adult dogs get at least 18% protein and puppies at least 22%. As for fiber, well they’re more lenient with a range of 2-4%. So how does your pet food compare against these recommendations?
What we’re after is balance – a well-rounded diet that provides all the essential nutrients our furry friends need without going overboard. So maybe it’s time to stop watching the litter box and take a closer look at what’s in your dog’s food bowl instead.
Dogs are scavengers by nature. Their ancestors needed to eat everything they could find in order to survive.
They have an innate curiosity and an excellent sense of smell – sometimes up to 100,000 times more powerful than ours. So even though we can’t fathom why something so foul-smelling could be attractive, some pups just find the poop irresistible.
Lastly some studies suggest that there could be a behavioral aspect involved too – such as attention-seeking or boredom maybe?
Your canine companion require mental and physical stimulation. If they are left alone for extended periods or don’t have enough toys, activities, or interaction, they might resort to unusual or destructive behaviors out of boredom.
Consuming cat feces could be one of these behaviors, especially if it’s easily accessible and the dog has developed a bad habit.
And if eating cat feces happens to gets them attention (even if it’s negative attention), they might repeat it. This is especially true if the dog feels it’s not getting enough attention or interaction in other ways.
The Dangers of Coprophagia in Dogs
Coprophagia is more than just gross; it poses genuine health threats that we need to address ASAP. Here’s why you should be concerned:
First, there are health risks involved for both your dog and you! Cat feces contains parasites like toxoplasma gondii or intestinal worms that can transfer to your dog upon ingestion. If these intestinal parasites get into your home environment, they could potentially infect humans too
Now, onto bacteria. You don’t need a microscope to know those little critters cause havoc on your doggie’s digestive system if ingested from cat poop. E.coli and Salmonella are just two examples of nasty bugs that could make their way into Fido’s gut.
Certain diseases like pancreatitis or giardiasis are sometimes be contracted by dogs from eating cat poop. These medical issues aren’t just serious; they’re downright dangerous and could lead to severe complications if not treated promptly.
- Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas
- Giardiasis: an intestinal infection caused by a parasite
Your dog could end up spreading bacteria around the house which ain’t good news for anyone living with them.
Nutritional Differences in Dogs vs Cats
Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs – what works for Whiskers (as an obligate carnivore) might not work for your dog (as an omnivore). So when he munches on litter box remains, he could end up with deficiencies or excesses in his diet.
Lastly, there’s the risk of blockages – chunks of litter stuck in poo can cause problems if swallowed by your dog. Litter expands when wet, and it might lead to choking or worse – intestinal obstruction!
Consulting a Vet About Your Dog’s Coprophagia Habit
There’s an important step that I haven’t touched on yet – consulting with a vet. Now, you might be thinking, “My dog is healthy, he just has a gross habit.” Well, while that might be true in some cases, it’s still crucial to get your vet involved.
Why? Because sometimes this behavior indicates underlying health issues. Dogs may turn to cat poop if they’re not getting enough protein or fat from their own food. I’m not saying every dog who munches on feline feces has a medical problem. But it never hurts to rule out complications by having a chat with your vet.
I’m Gary Hu, a proud cat dad to a 15 lb Maine Coon. Have taken care of outdoor and indoor cats for over 10 years, and learned tons on behavior, habits, health, and products. I help new Maine Coon (or any other cat) parents with common questions and issues based on real, practical experience.