Dog eating cat litter? Find out what to do about it.
As a pet parent, you share your home with four-legged children who do some adorable things — cuddling on your lap while watching TV with you, greeting you at the door with a happy howl, purring gently in your face to wake you up. But not all of their behaviors are quite so cute. If you have a cat and a dog and have ever wondered, “Why is my dog eating cat poop?”, read on for some reasons why — plus tips to put a stop to it.
Why do dogs eat cat litter?
It’s hard to imagine how cat litter, especially used cat litter, would be ... appetizing. But dogs in particular are drawn to it for a couple of reasons. Scavengers by nature, they eat what’s available to them, be it garbage, the bathroom rug, or their cat sibling’s business. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, a dog eating cat poop from the litter box is a “part of exploratory behavior.” Eating feces, or coprophagia, is a habit with its roots in scavenger behavior as well as “normal maternal behavior [that] includes consumption of feces and urine of young puppies.” The answer to “Is it normal for dogs to eat cat poop?” is yes — though it’s a good idea to make your vet aware so you can rule out any medical causes.
Will cat litter make my dog sick?
If your dog is raiding the litter box on the regular, they could be ... extra regular. A quick Google search of “dog eating cat litter symptoms” shows diarrhea as a common side effect when cat litter is consumed in large quantities — particularly if it’s a natural litter that’s high in fiber. If your dog is eating out of a used litter box, there are other side effects that are cause for concern, among them parasites. Toxoplasmosis can be found in cat feces as well as raw meat and unwashed fruits and veggies. If your dog is eating cat poop repeatedly and exhibiting symptoms including vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, coughing, or fever, get them to the vet ASAP for a wellness check.
How to keep a dog out of a litter box
If “how to make my dog stop eating cat poop” is on your to-do list, we have some tips. Make sure you clean out your litter boxes at least once a day to maximize cat litter box odor control — if your dog can’t smell their cat sibling’s business, they might not go searching for it. You can make it more difficult for your dog to access litter boxes by keeping them in a separate room, then putting up a baby gate or installing specialty door stoppers that allow your cat kids entry but stop your dog at the doorway. You can also make access more difficult for your dog by switching to hooded cat litter boxes.
Is cat litter toxic for dogs? Not Naturally Fresh Cat Litter!
While your dog eating cat litter isn’t an ideal scenario, it is normal behavior for dogs. If you haven’t installed that baby gate yet, you can alleviate some of your concerns about their health by using Naturally Fresh, the walnut shell cat litter that’s non-toxic and free of harmful additives like silica dust. If your dog does get into the Naturally Fresh litter box, they may deal with looser stools due to the high fiber content, but they won’t experience the negative effects they may get from eating clumping clay litter, which could cause blockages. And since Naturally Fresh organically neutralizes odors better than the competition, your dog might not be able to sniff out the litter box after all.
Bottom line: In order to avoid any health issues, you should do what you can to prevent your dog from eating out of the litter box — and consider switching to an eco-friendly cat litter like Naturally Fresh. Using a litter with natural ingredients like walnut shell can ease your worries about your dog’s less-than-cute habit.
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