Did you know that dogs often eat cat poop? If you've owned dogs before, this probably comes as no surprise to you, but other people might raise their eyebrows in confusion. Why in the world would they choose to do this on purpose?
There are many reasons why they might dip their head into the litter box and fish out a piece of poop as though it's a delicacy. Today, we will discuss the different reasons dogs eat cat poop but don't worry! We'll also inform you of ten pro tips.
While it won't necessarily lead to any severe or concerning health conditions, there are many other things your pup can eat. For cleanliness purposes and overall hygiene, keeping your eye on your pup is the better way to go.
So, why does your dog do this? There must be a reason for it, right? Right! Let's explore some explanations.
Why Does My Dog Eat Cat Poop?
Believe it or not, there are actual science-backed reasons. It is biologically normal. It's in their nature, but when you consider all the different things dogs willingly put in their mouths, when they eat cat poop is less shocking when put into perspective.
To every human nose, feces emit a horrendous smell. It's very sharp and hard to handle in large quantities. But that nauseating scent is exactly what draws pups in and intrigues them the most. While cats do everything to cover up the smell of their own poop, canines enjoy digging up cat feces and eating it once they find it.
To them, cat excretions don't smell pungent, but instead, they recognize the smell as being nearly the same as cat food. If you don't know this already, dogs don't differentiate animals foods. They'll eat cat food just the same if given the opportunity.
So, canines they aren't doing anything disgusting. In fact, if you discipline your dog, it is likely going to be confused beyond belief. Dogs don't naturally recognize that it's not good to eat cat food. Instead, it's an adventure, and they have fun doing it. But even though they don't deem it weird to eat cat feces.
The Other Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Cat Poop
As normal as it is to find canines eating cat poop, there are instances where it's a sign of something else. Sometimes, dogs eat cat poop to show you that their hunger levels are still high, even if they've been eating their usual intake already.
A canine with increased appetites might turn to cat feces, among other options, as a means to stop feeling so hungry. An increased appetite is sometimes a symptom of Cushing's disease in dogs, as well as diabetes. It could also indicate that there's a problem with their intestines, but this is a possibility that only a vet can address.
If your pup's interest in eating cat poop isn't stemming from a physical disorder, it might result from a certain nutrient deficiency. If their behavior is related to a nutrition-related issue, your pet’s vet is the person to turn to. Seek guidance from the vet for any concerns you may have about a possible nutrient deficiency.
The third alternative reason has to do with boredom. Not all dogs eating cat poop are suffering from a disorder or nutrient deficiency. Some are just looking for something to do, and the smell of cat poop piques their interest, so they go for it.
Is It Bad for Dogs?
Eating cat poop isn't inherently bad. It's not the best thing for them to consume, but non-contaminated cat poop is not the world's end. However, let's talk about the fact that the poop might be contaminated.
If a dog eats contaminated cat poop, they are going to end up ingesting bacteria that can be quite harmful. In the worst-case scenario, they might even end up getting an infection or a parasite-related illness. All in all, it's best if pups do not consume cat poop because it's not worth the risk.
How to Stop Dogs from Eating Cat Poop
Even though some dogs naturally gravitate towards litter boxes, it doesn't mean you have to permit them to eat feces. There are many ways to stop this behavior. Today, we're going to explore 10 of the most effective ways to prevent your pup from sticking its head in the litter box!
Keep Your Them Away from Litter Boxes
The number one way is to keep them away from litter boxes altogether. This can be done in many ways, like training your dog to stay away or putting the litter box in a separate area.
Invest in a Litter Box with a Lid
Another way is by purchasing a covered litter box. Litter boxes with lids make it difficult, if not impossible, for dogs to reach their paws into or stick their heads into, which will persuade them to give up on trying to eat the poop.
Relocate the Litter Box to Limit Access
Instead of buying a new litter box, you can always relocate the one you have so that your dog cannot access it anymore. You'll need to find a place that your cat can still reach, so one of the best places is in a garage, as long as your door to the garage has a cat door installed. No matter where you put it, limiting the access to a litter box will make it so your dog cannot eat it.
Check to See If Your Dog is Missing Certain Nutrients
Is it due to a nutrient deficiency? If so, learning which nutrients your dog is lacking will work wonders. Make an appointment with the vet to learn more about the possibility of a lack of nutrients.
Treat Any Intestinal Problems Your Dog Might Have
Nutrient deficiencies aren't the only health reason. Another possibility is related to the intestines. If you suspect an intestinal issue is to blame for your dog's newfound hobby, an appointment with the vet is necessary. The vet can explore this possibility and let you know where to go from there.
Play with Your Dog Throughout the Day
If your dog digs through litter out of pure boredom, you should try to incorporate playtime more often throughout the day! If you have a backyard, take your pup outside and throw some toys around in a game of fetch. If they prefer tug-of-war, grab a rope and get to it. Playing with your pet will get their energy out and they won't resort to this behavior as a way of passing the time.
Take Your Dog on an Extra Walk Each Day
If your dogs eat cat poop still despite extra play time, consider going for an extra walk every day instead. Even better, take your pup on a walk on top of playing more often. Boredom is not ideal and leads to behaviour like eating cat poop, so exercise will occupy their time and tire them out so that they sleep instead.
Introduce a New Trick
If you catch your pup in the act of searching the cat litter box for poop, teach them a command that they associate with cat poop. Whether you choose "stop," or "drop it," or "leave it alone," commands are very powerful. Plus, it creates communication between you and your dog, which will only increase the trust you have between each other.
Use Positive Reinforcement to Reward Your Dog
Dogs eat poo because it's normal for them. So, if you try to punish them, it won't go well because they won't understand why they are in trouble for doing something natural. Instead of disciplining your dog or punishing them, use positive reinforcement instead. One suggestion is to reward your dog with a treat when they don't dig through cat litter and eat poo.
Keep the Litter Boxes as Clean as Possible
If the litter boxes don't have any excretions in it, then it's impossible for your dog to snack on anything, no matter the reason for it. If your dog tends to eat poo for fun, make it a priority to clean the cat box and the litter more frequently. Over time, your dog will learn that there's nothing in the litter box for them to eat, so they'll stop trying to find poop eventually.
Sources:Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?
My dog is eating cat poop!
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poops?
Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop