Gross. That is so disgusting. I think I’m going to be sick. What’s wrong with you, dog?!
This is what runs through my mind whenever I happen to see a dog snarfing down cat poop. Gag reflex kicks in and I never want another doggie kiss again, ever. Well, at least for the next day or so.
The repulsive practice of eating poop, referred to as coprophagia, is actually fairly common among dogs. Nauseating? Yes. Normal? I’m afraid so.
Can anything be done to put an end to this stomach-turning behavior? Of course. Don’t lose hope. Implementing a few of the tips below will help bring an end to this offensive habit.
Your dog eating cat poop and you need a solution ASAP? Here are our favorites!
- Simple, Effective, Inexpensive: Get yourself this handy door strap. It only allows the door to open enough for the cat to get through to its litter box.
- A Better Box: Nothing fancy here. A top-entry litter box is just a smarter design for a cat box.
- Techy Solution: A self-cleaning litter box like PetSafe Ultra Automatic sweeps away cat poop right after they finish their duty.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?
Although no one really knows for certain why dogs consider cat poop to be a delicacy, there are several reasons that are thought to be behind the urge to indulge.
- The dog is attempting to fill a dietary deficiency.
- Raiding another animal’s area satisfies the instincts to explore and forage for food.
- The excrement still smells faintly of cat food which tends to be high in protein and fat, both of which dogs crave.
- Coprophagia is an innate behavior as demonstrated by a mother dog’s instinct to consume her pups’ waste.
- Boredom and lack of proper exercise lead to destructive or unhealthy behaviors.
Is It Bad For Dogs to Eat Cat Poop?
While many, many dogs routinely snitch a “treat” or two from the litter box, this behavior should definitely not be encouraged or tolerated.
With every kitty nugget a dog wolfs down, he runs the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria and parasites. Although some cat illnesses are species-specific, like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), some afflictions can be passed to your dog if he eats the droppings of an infected cat. Hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, Giardia, and toxoplasmosis can all be passed from a cat to a dog through coprophagia.
How You Can Stop a Dog from Eating Cat Poop
Chances are that once your dog acquires a taste for litter box treats, he will not be likely to quit the behavior on his own. Apparently those little morsels are very tasty and addicting.
You certainly don’t want to be routinely grossed out by the thought of what was just in his mouth or by breath that smells like you know what whenever your dog approaches you for some snuggles and kisses.
Put one (or more) of the following tips to use today to quickly put an end to your dog’s filthy, unhealthy habit.
#1- Make Your Existing Litter Box Inaccessible
Installing either an open cat door or a cat door with a flap to the door of the room where the litter box is kept is one way to keep your dog away from cat excrement. Just be sure to remember to shut the door behind you whenever you enter or exit the room.
Our favorite method, however, is to use a Door Buddy Latch and Door Stop. To put this combination pack to use, all you need to do is attach the strap to your door and door frame with the included adhesive, adjust the strap to allow enough room for your cat to slip through, and slide the doorstop onto the top of your door.
With the Door Buddy, there is no need to worry about your cat accidentally locking himself in the room or your dog invading the litter box for a midnight snack. Your cat can come and go as he pleases, and you can too as the strap is quickly undone by people. Only your dog is denied access.
#2 – Use a Litter Box With a Cover
For large dogs, an enclosed litter box may be enough to keep cat poop out of reach. Placing the litter box on a non-slip mat (so that your dog can’t slide it across the floor) and positioning it so that the opening faces a corner will help deter your dog too. Be sure to leave just enough room for your kitty to come and go at will.
#3 – Switch to a Top-Entry Litter Box
Litter boxes that permit the cat to only enter from the top make it next to impossible for a dog to reach down to the litter box inside. The tall base of a top-entry litter box is also great for containing sprayed urine and for reducing the amount of litter tracked outside of the box.
Placing a liner like these in a top-entry box before filling with litter makes cleaning day simple. Just lift the liner out, and throw it away.
#4 – Try a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Even litter boxes are becoming technologically advanced these days. A self-cleaning litter box like PetSafe Ultra Automatic rakes away solid waste shortly after your cat makes his deposit.
Equipped with motion sensors to stop the rake if your cat returns to the box, this gadget even keeps track of how often the box is visited so that you can rest assured that your cat’s digestive system is functioning normally.
Self-Cleaning litter boxes require no daily scooping of poop, can go for about a month between litter changes and are available with or without a hooded cover. The automatic rake pushes the waste into a covered compartment so that poop remains inaccessible to your dog.
#5 – Poop Eating Deterrent
Believe it or not, there is actually a product that you can sprinkle onto your cat’s food that makes his feces less palatable to dogs. For-Bid Coprophagia Deterrent was created just for this purpose and works by altering the scent and taste of stool without affecting the flavor of food or the digestive process at all.
For-Bid is a safe, effective, veterinarian-recommended anti-coprophagia product that has been helping disgusted, frustrated dog owners for over 40 years.
Some dog owners prefer to use their own coprophagia deterrent and find that it works nearly as well. If you’re fast on your feet, grab a bottle of the spiciest hot sauce you can find, and dash to the litter box as soon as your cat is finished. Liberally coat the fresh droppings with the hot sauce, and wait for your dog to make his move.
A time or two of this treatment is usually all it takes to convince your dog that cat poop isn’t quite as tasty as he thought. Just remember to remove any “leftovers” from the litter box so your cat won’t abandon his bathroom.
#6 – Add Additional Nutrients
If you suspect that your dog may be trying to meet a dietary need by snacking on the tidbits left in the litter box, supplementing his existing diet with a multivitamin may do the trick.
Selecting a dog food with higher fat and protein levels may help too. Just remember to make the switch to the new food gradually to prevent digestive upset.
#7 – Install a Pet Gate
A pet gate with a small cat door allows your cat to enter the room where his litter box and food are kept but keeps your dog out. Your cat can take care of his business and not have to worry about the dog stealing his food.
These gates are adjustable to fit most doorways, allow people to pass over easily, and use pressure to remain in place without damaging your home.
Of course, this idea won’t work very well with a tiny dog, but as long as your dog can’t squeeze through the cat door at the bottom, a pet gate can effectively keep your dog away from his beloved cat snacks and the cat’s food bowl.
#8 – Conceal and Enclose the Litter Box
A classy way to restrict your dog’s access to the litter box is to disguise your kitty’s bathroom as a stylish end table with the ecoFlex Litter Loo litter box cover/end table. Able to fit both standard and self-cleaning litter trays, this cleverly designed cat box cover comes in standard and jumbo sizes with four colors to select from, is leak-proof, and has a small cat door in the front to let your cat in while keeping canines out.
Another concealing litter box cover that doubles as a piece of functional furniture is the Petsfit Double-Decker Litter Box Enclosure. This two-story unit can be used as a nightstand or end table and features a cat-sized door on the upper level, a middle shelf to place your cat’s food and water bowls, and a lower section to discreetly store the litter box.
A less costly option is the Pet Gear Pro Pawty, another two-story unit. While this version is not sturdy enough to double as furniture, it does hide away the litter box on the lower level out of your dog’s reach.
#9 – Create an Innovative Litter Box Hide-Away
If you’re the crafty type or value functionality over beauty, get creative and turn an everyday object into a “bathroom retreat” for your cat that will keep your dog from helping himself to a warm snack.
Here are two of our favorite ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Convert a Rubbermaid tote storage container, like this one, into a litter box hideaway by carefully cutting an access hole into either the lid or high on one of the sides. Cover the cut edges with a thick tape like duct tape, place a litter box inside, and you’re all done.
- An old dresser with deep drawers can be transformed into a cat’s powder room by simply installing a cat door directly on a lower drawer and adding a litter box. Voilà.
#10 – Train, Train, Train
With some dedication on your part, it is possible to train your dog to steer clear of cat waste. Patience and consistency will be key during the training phase so persevere until you get results.
Each time you spot him approaching the litter box or a buried treasure outside, firmly say, “Leave it.” The instant your dog turns his attention away from the poop and toward you, praise him profusely and give him an acceptable treat. Over time, he’ll get the idea.
#11 – Limit Your Dog’s Freedom in the Yard
If your cat goes outside, or if neighborhood cats often frequent your yard, chances are good that they are also leaving a little something behind. You might not have a choice but to limit your dog’s freedom when out in the yard until he learns that cleaning up after cats is an absolute no-no.
Instead of just opening the door to let your dog go play in your fenced-in yard, you may need to keep him by your side on his leash every time that he wants to go out. I know, this means more work for you, but it also means no more stinky poop breath from your dog.
Getting your dog accustomed to occasionally being on a tie-out may help make life easier for you (this tie-out works great!). Cats that live in the area will be very unlikely to make a deposit anywhere near your dog’s tie-out area once he’s used it a few times.
#12 – Increase Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Since boredom and a lack of sufficient exercise are often the cause of a dog heading to the nearest pile of cat droppings, try increasing the number of daily activities, both physical and mental.
- Enjoy some quality time with your buddy by engaging him in a rousing game of fetch until his tongue is hanging out and he loses interest.
- How about jogging around the block a couple of times instead of just walking?
- Games like hide-and-seek will soon exhaust both his body and mind as he darts all around looking for you.
- While your dog is busy elsewhere, head outside and drop pieces of kibble in a meandering path throughout the yard. Dashing around finding each little bite will provide him with a great physical and mental workout.
However you choose to boost his exercise and stretch his mental abilities, just remember that the goal is to burn off extra energy and give his mind something to focus on other than what may be waiting in the litter box.
Last update on 2021-07-25 at 13:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API