Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop? How To Prevent Dogs From Eating Cat Litter

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 18, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 13, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Cute staffordshire terrier puppy and roll of toilet paper
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Dogs are often seen rummaging around kitty litter boxes and eating cat poop.

This action may seem completely gross to us, but not to a dog. There are several reasons why your canine friend is attracted to cat feces.

If your dog feels like it has a nutrient deficiency, it may go looking for cat poop in a litter box to satisfy its nutritional needs. Stress, anxiety, and insufficient mental stimulation may also drive the dog to eat cat poop.

Also, since dogs are descendants of wolves they are sometimes genetically drawn to eat feces. Wolves often eat feces when they are unable to find prey.

Pet dogs may also mistake cat poop for a delicious treat, so they may be eating it simply for enjoyment. Eating cat feces can cause several problems for your dog including contracting harmful parasites and bacteria.

There are several methods to stop your dog from eating poop from a cat. But since dogs naturally like cat feces, most of the methods involve obstructing access to the cat's litter box so that the dog can never reach it.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about why do dogs have tails or why do dogs have whiskers here on Kidadl.

Why do dogs eat cat poop from the litter box?

There are several reasons a dog may eat a cat's poop directly from the litter box such as boredom, nutritional deficiency, stress, anxiety, survival instincts, or because they like it!

Boredom is a very common reason for a dog to eat cat feces. Dogs need a good amount of physical and mental stimulation to stay out of trouble.

If you leave your dog sitting idle for hours, it will start exploring the litter box in hopes of excitement.

If the dog is bored often, it may develop a habit of eating poop and such a problem is not easy to fix. Adequate amounts of exercise and toys can keep a dog busy and divert its attention from a kitty litter box.

Another reason for this disgusting behavior is if your canine friend has a nutritional deficiency. If a dog is deficient in vitamin B1 or thiamine, they will feel the need to compensate.

A simple deficiency in the diet can cause a dog to develop a habit of searching for cat poop and eating it. Veterinarians recommend dietary changes and training to resolve such behavior. They also advise adding fats, protein, and fiber to give the dog a balanced and healthy meal.

Dogs eating cat poop may also be because of health problems like anxiety and stress. Stressed dogs may indulge in coprophagia to alleviate their stress and anxiety.

Wolves, the ancestors of dogs, are known to have eaten feces to satisfy their appetites. This would happen if they weren't able to find prey. A dog that roams around the streets may likely eat feces to ensure it doesn't go hungry.

A dog that stays in its shelter a lot may also eat cat poop from the litter. Puppies, who have seen their mothers eat poop, may also indulge in the habit themselves. Another reason for a dog and puppies to eat cat poop is because they love the taste that cat poop has.

The smell of cat poop is inviting to dogs. They may follow these smells for hours before eventually eating cat feces.

Why do dogs eat cat poop outside while walking?

The ancestors of dogs are wolves. Wolves would often not find enough prey to fill their stomachs. They would turn to eating their own feces to keep themselves satiated.

So, it's in the genes of a dog to want to eat feces. When they're outside walking, their keen sense of smell kicks in and cat poop may be very attractive to dogs who are natural scavengers. Or their survival instinct kicks in and the dog may eat cat poop to survive.

Dogs can contract harmful parasites and bacteria from eating cat poop, including internal parasites and salmonella, which can also be passed on to humans. Eating cat poop in large quantities is harmful to the dog.

It may cause health issues like a blockage and difficulty pooping. In such a case, a veterinarian should be contacted. Mostly, dogs don't suffer many related health complications from eating cat feces.

Dogs can contract toxoplasmosis when they eat cat feces or put their noses in the soil where a cat lives. Usually, they don't show any related symptoms.

The dog smells the first spring flowers

Why do female dogs eat cat poop?

Female dogs eat cat poop for the same reasons that male dogs eat it.

Female dogs may get bored and not get enough stimulation, so they indulge in coprophagia. Exercise and playtime in the house can help with this.

If a female dog has a nutritional deficiency, she may try to fulfill it by eating cat poop. Stress and anxiety may cause the female dog to consume cat feces as well. Also, it's in the genes of female dogs, like their ancestors wolves, to eat feces to satisfy their hunger.

Also, if a female dog stays in her shelter too long, they may look for stimulation and eat cat poop. ?Finally, a female dog may eat cat feces because it simply loves the taste of it.

Dogs can get worms if they eat cat poop. The symptoms that your dog has indeed contracted worms from cat poop include a loss of appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea. Another sign is vomiting.

If the dog does have worms, owners should be able to see them in its poop or vomit. Direct contact with larvae and eggs of worms in cat poop may give your pet dog a worm infection. The eggs may even hatch inside the body of the dog.

Worms can lay up to 1,000 tiny eggs inside your dog. But dealing with worm problems is straightforward. They're identifiable and treatable by a veterinarian.

How to stop your dog from eating cat poop?

There are several ways and tips to get your pet dog to stop eating cat feces from the litter box.

Place the kitty litter box in a room that is behind a baby gate. If your dog is big, raise the gate by a couple of inches.

It should be high enough for your cat to go under, but your dog will be unable to get in. If your pet dog is small, keep the gate low but put a climbing tree for the cat on either side of the gate.

Cat litter and poop are perceived by dog pets as a tasty treat. You can utilize a gate hook or another kind of set-up in your bathroom, basement, or closet door that is wide enough to let your cat in and keep your large dog out.

A cat door like a microchip door or a cathole can be installed in the bathroom, closet door, or basement, wherever you keep your cat litter box. A magnetic lock flap can be installed for a small dog.

Such a flap will only open with the cat's collar. You can also consider placing kitty litter boxes behind a sofa or a couch.

You could also put up the litter box on a countertop or table that is not reachable to your canine pets. Be mindful of the fact that cats may prefer uncovered boxes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do dogs eat cat poop?

how to prevent dogs from eating cat litter then why not take a look at why do wolves howl? is it a sign or means of communication or why do woodpeckers peck wood? and how to avoid woodpecker's pecking?

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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