Dogs tend to eat a lot of stuff. As a pet owner, you may even find most of this stuff absolutely disgusting. However, this doesn’t change your dog’s behavior, as they are natural scavengers. That being said, you’ll often find them eating odd things such as rocks, carpet, and garbage.
Eating cat poop is a habit called coprophagia and is often a sign of dietary deficiency. However, in most cases, it is just exploration and ultimately can become a bad habit. The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to deter your dog from eating cat poop.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?
Dogs, in general, love eating various kinds of poop. However, this tendency is totally natural, and you’ll find your pooch consuming a lot of things that you wouldn’t think was edible. And although cat poop smells disgusting to us as humans, it may smell more like cat food to Fido.
Normal cat food is enticing to a dog’s sense of smell, and this is why canines love to eat it. And this is also one of the reasons why cats are ever ready to gobble up chunks out of the litter box. However, eating cat poop is a habit called coprophagia and often the result of dietary deficiency.
But in most cases, it is just due to exploration by your curious pooch. But may become a bad habit if left unattended. In addition to this, it is normal maternal behavior and includes the eating of urine and feces of her young puppies.
Can Cat Poop Make Dogs Sick?
Exposure to potential pathogens is probably the most serious health concern regarding dogs eating cat poop. Cat poop contains tons of bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridia, other culprits that cause disease and are capable of making your dog sick.
Another potential problem is parasites found in the cat’s poop and the fact that they can cross species boundaries. Simply because your dog doesn’t appear to be ill, you cannot assume that cat feces are incapable of passing on diseases to your dog.
Another concern is that lots of cats may be asymptomatic carriers; however, they can still shed microorganisms that make pets and human beings sick.
8 Ways to Deter Your Dog From Eating Cat Poop
When it comes to your dog eating cat poop, you are not completely helpless. In fact, there are quite a few ways in which you can prevent or deter your dog from getting into the cat litter box. So let’s take a close look at some of these solutions:
Give Your Dogs Proper Nutrition
Proper Nutrition Is essential for dogs, and it’s probably why lots of dogs express interest in cat poop as well. If your dog’s food is not meeting his nutritional value, he is going to start digging into the litter box.
What you can do is take your dog to your vet and have him assess your dog’s nutritional requirements and the diet that is on. You can also try checking the back of the packaging to determine whether the ingredients your dog needs the most are actually contained in the food you are giving them.
If it turns out that your vet recommends changing your dog’s diet, then you should portion the meals appropriately every day. So instead of simply phasing out the old food and introducing the new food rapidly, gradually decrease the portions of the old food while increasing the portions of the new food, until your dog is completely on the new diet.
You may also choose to serve them human food and snacks occasionally and only with your vet’s permission.
Add Hot Sauce or Black Pepper in the Litter Box
Although this may seem like quite a cruel solution or remedy to your dog eating cat poop, in order to keep your dogs away from the cat litter, you can add some hot sauce or black pepper in the litter box. Your dog is obviously going to hate it, and hopefully, that will be enough to keep him away from the litter box for a while. In fact, the smell of the hot sauce and pepper will repel him for sure.
Invest in Stool Deterrents
This is another way of preventing Fido from eating cat poop. Invest in stool deterrents that are specifically manufactured for dogs that can’t stop eating cat poop or even their own. Investing in the detergents will be beneficial for both you and your dog as some of these products have a fresh breath scent that actually helps freshen up your dog’s breath. On the other hand, stool deterrents are designed to make cats poop and even their own unattractive to them.
Invest in Litter Boxes that are Dog-Proof
It is possible to find cat litter boxes that have lids in stores today. The fact that you can close it up locks the smell of the cat poop from spreading over the house. Additionally, these litter boxes are dog-proof and will prevent your dog from accessing it and offer your cat some privacy. Some of these boxes have features to keep odors at bay. Some of them are see-through so that your cats don’t feel claustrophobic and make them feel like they are trapped inside.
Keep the Litter Box Clean
Another way of keeping your dog from consuming cat poop is to keep the litter box clean after your cat has done the deed. If the litter box is constantly kept clean, then there is no reason for your dogs to be drawn to it and eat the poop. This also prevents odors from spreading around the house. If it is not possible to clean the litter box often, or each time that your cat uses it, then consider self-cleaning cat potties that will take care of that for you.
Use a Fence to Prevent Access
One of the best ways to deter dogs from going near the cat litter box is by setting up indoor fences. There are quite a few fences sold online. To find the one that is right for your dog’s size, temperament and height will not be hard. Another consideration when purchasing the fence is to ensure that space in between the bars are big enough for the cats to get through, while small enough to keep the dogs away. You can also install a smaller door into the bathroom door so that your cats can enter the bathroom, and ensure that your dogs cannot squeeze through.
Keep Your Pooch Occupied
Most often, your dog is drawn to cat’s poop out of sheer curiosity and of course boredom. So when they have nothing to do, they would rather play and eat cat poop. To keep this from happening, keep Fido busy with healthier options such as games and toys. If you give them constructive things to do, they won’t go looking for weird stuff to do and eat.
Teach Your Pooch the “Leave It” Command
If you find Fido repeatedly invading your cat’s privacy, then it may be time to teach him the “leave it” command.
You need to be diligent with this part, and whenever you see him wandering around the cat’s litter box, you should know what he is up to. So immediately address him with a firm tone and say, “leave it!”
Every time he obeys, give him a treat. If he doesn’t adhere to the instruction, say it again, but this time firmer and louder. Fido doesn’t need to understand your vocabulary because he can sense your command.
This may be unsuccessful the first couple of times because your furry friend is still new to the command, But stick with it, and he’ll come around soon enough.
Some of the possible reasons why dogs may eat cat poop is because mother dogs eat the poop of their pups to keep the whelping area clean. So if Fido is still young, he may be mimicking this behavior. Although the habit should subside when he reaches adulthood, some dogs continue to have it throughout their life.
Dogs also have fewer taste buds than humans, and this is probably why they are less selective about what they put in their mouths. In addition, you should see your vet immediately if the behavior persists as there could be an underlying medical cause, such as nutrient deficiency.
Having a dog is lots of fun. They each have their own unique temperaments, personalities, and more and keep your life exciting. So if your dog has a habit that seems to be perturbing you or you are concerned about it having negative consequences on your pooch, seek professional advice. Aside from that, the tips mentioned here may not be challenging; however, they will assist you in keeping your furry friend away from cats poop.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.