What to do when a dog eats cat poop?

When a dog eats cat poop ... you have to call it a curious behavior. The scientific term for any animal eating feces is Coprophagia.

What to do when a dog eats cat poop?
Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Dogs who crave cat feces

When a dog eats cat poop ... you have to call it a curious behavior. The scientific term for any animal eating feces is Coprophagia.

There are many reasons to prevent this behavior besides the "yuck" factor. As you might have guessed, eating poop is not very good for your dog’s health. For one thing, when a dog eats poop it can pick up all kinds of parasites, and other potentially serious diseases that are carried by cats, dogs, or any other animals that are roaming around.

Another health concern, that applies to cats as well, is the likelihood that your dog will end up eating cat litter. Chances are those tasty little feces in the litter box that are coated with litter.

Some litters are considered to be safer for pets than others. Clumping clay litter, for example, expands by 15 times when wet and then forms a clump. It could potentially cause a serious intestinal blockage.

Your cat is not impressed

When your dog raids the kitty litter box (or buries a bone), your territorial cat might resent this intrusion of its personal bathroom space. Felines do like their privacy when they are doing their business. The scent your dog leaves behind may make your cat decide to go elsewhere, which can be a huge problem all on its own.

You may also not like it simply because you know, at some point, your dog is going to come and give you a great big, sloppy kiss.

Why a dog eats cat poop

The reasons why a dog eats cat poop (and any other feces that are available) are considered to be medical and behavioral. One or a combination of causes may apply to your dog’s poop eating behavior.

1. Some behavioral theories ... your dog is a copycat … or rather … a copy dog. As a pup, it may have observed its mother cleaning up 'the nest' by eating her own and the poop of her puppies. Your dog may have also observed other dogs eating poop (peer pressure).

2. Your dog is (successfully) seeking attention and might benefit from additional activity and 'quality time' with you. If your dog has done his business in a spot where it shouldn't, he or she is eating up the evidence. When confined to a kennel or cage, your dog may simply be cleaning up.

There could be underlying medical or health related conditions, which only your vet can identify.

Your dog's food may be poorly balanced, or difficult to digest ... your dog's body may not be able to absorb the nutrients in its own food and will seek nutrition by eating feces. Some diseases will increase your dog's appetite ... or your pup may simply be hungry and could be fed more often. Parasites can also play a role.

And the obvious … cat poop is delicious … and your dog’s litter box snacking ways have basically become an enjoyable habit.

So, what to do when your dog eats cat poop?

You can outsmart your dog by cleaning up right after your kitty has been to the bathroom ... but that may not be very practical. An alternative solution is to use a self cleaning litter box which can pick up the poop before your dog can get near it.

Another solution is to block your dog’s access to the litter box entirely while ensuring your cat can still easily reach it.

If you have a suitable spot, put the litter box higher, where your dog can’t reach but your cat can, without difficulty

Attach a chain lock on the door. Ideally, the door will open only wide enough to let your cat pass through but not your dog. It’s a good plan if you have a larger dog but not so much if your dog is small

You may, however, be able to install a cat door. Some cat doors have a magnetic "pet identifier" that only allows the pet wearing a special collar to enter the room

Install a baby gate at a level that allows your cat to slip under or jump over it.

Consider using dog proof litter boxes

One such box is the Clevercat Top Entry Litterbox which is an almost completely dog proof litter box. This inexpensive litter box looks like a large gray plastic tote with a round hole on the top. The award winning design provides easy entry and privacy for your feline. The Clever Cat lid doubles as a litter tracking mat.

Most cats and kittens adapt easily to the Clever Cat. However, disabled, senior, or very large cats may not be suited for the top entry design.

DIY ... build your own cat litter furniture

If you want to hide the litter box (and who doesn't) you can build your own dog proof litter box furniture by modifying some existing furniture.

You will need easy access yourself, to clean the litter box so choose furniture with doors or a lid, such as a trunk or an armoire. Install a cat door at one end or cut a cat sized hole at the top, sides, or back. If you install a door and your dog is small, get a magnetic cat door so only your cat can gain entry.

There is lots of fun, decorative cat litter furniture available, some unassembled.

Cat litter furniture comes disguised as a cabinet, planter, and also in designer styles, to name a few. Unless you have a tiny dog, the cat litter box furniture is pretty well dog proof … a good solution for the unsightly litter box and your poop eating dog.

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Dipanshu Mohapatra
Dipanshu Mohapatra
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Dipanshu Mohapatra

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