Help! My Dog Eats Cat Poop!

Living with both cats and dogs can be really fun and rewarding, but an interspecies household is not without certain challenges. Dogs are notorious for sleeping in cat beds, playing with catnip mice, eating kitty kibble, and perhaps worst of all, stealing “snacks” from the litter box. A dog eats cat poop for various reasons, but to truly stop them, analyzing this canine behavior can get faster results. 

It’s Appealing?

As obligate carnivores, cats typically eat a high-protein diet. As such, their waste can be particularly appealing to dogs. This proclivity is repulsive to us (especially if we regularly receive lots of slobbery kisses on our faces!), but feline feces may actually smell and taste good to dogs.

Demonstrate Mastery

To boost the benefits of cohabitation, dog training is essential. Once they understand and demonstrate mastery of specific voice commands, you are one step closer to stopping a dog from eating cat poop

Train your dog the command “leave it” to ensure that anything they pick up with their mouth is dropped for your inspection. If/when you see them pick up something from the kitty “poo-poo platter” you can guarantee they won’t eat it. 

Training your dog to wait is also highly effective. Most dog owners use this when filling the bowl at meal time, and dogs that know this command are less likely to move toward the litter box. 

When You’re Not Home

Since the rule of thumb is one box per cat plus an additional litter box (1 cat equals 2 boxes), that can be a lot of places for Fido to sniff out their next snack.  

For a dog that routinely eats cat poop at home, it’s important to inhibit the behavior as soon as possible. Ignoring the behavior can create problems for your cat if they feel their litter box isn’t their own. 

Over Here/Over There

It may be challenging for a busy, active household, but if you can cordone off your cat’s litter boxes your dog will have fewer opportunities to grab samples from them. Baby gates, cat doors, and products like the Door Buddy allow your cat to freely access their bathrooms while keep dogs out. You can also keep the boxes up high and out of your dog’s reach.

My Dog Eats Cat Poop (but Not if We Can Help It!)

If your dog eats cat poop, there are other strategies to curb this behavior:

  • Scoop the litter as soon as your cat uses their box 
  • Keep your dog happy and tuckered out by providing lots of exercise opportunities
  • React as neutrally as possible when your dog eats cat poop. Punishment or scolding can reinforce this canine behavior.

Protect Your Pets

Aside from the gross factor associated with poop-eating dogs, this habit can threaten their health. Intestinal parasites can be passed in feces, and dogs can get hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and Giardia if they aren’t current with their parasite prevention medication. Whether strictly indoor or indoor-outdoor, cats also benefit from their preventative. 

If you have any questions about your dog’s nutritional needs or concerns regarding canine behavior, please contact us at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates.