There’s something about dried cat poop that can attract dogs and puppies. We have had this exact problem where one of our puppies kept eating cat poop as a tasty snack, either outside or from the litter box. It’s disgusting, can make them ill, and should be stopped.
But just how do you stop a dog eating cat poop?
You can use home remedies to get a dog to stop eating cat poop which include putting nasty tasting repellents on the poop. You can also use positive training and distraction techniques. If the dog is eating cat poop and litter, you can prevent this with the tips below.
Below I will explain how I manage to get our dog to stop eating cat poop, plus why dogs do it in the first place and how it can be dangerous. Understanding why your dog is suddenly eating cat poop is the first step to being able to stop it.
How to stop dog from eating cat poop: home remedies
Someone once told me that dogs and puppies are like vacuum cleaners since they suck up anything they set their eyes (and noses) on.
Sadly dogs, and particularly puppies, don’t understand that not everything they eat will be good for them – and that certainly includes potentially dangerous cat poop. It’s not just about how a dog can get sick from eating cat poop, but also how the germs can transfer to you too!
Here are my tips you can also use to get a dog to stop eating cat poop outside in the garden or yard, or if they are eating it straight from a litter box.
1. First things first, see the vet
Before you focus on home remedies to stop a dog eating cat poop, I advise a quick conversation with your vet. You need to make sure and check there’s underlying health issues causing the Coprophagia.
If the reason why your is dog keep eating cat poop relates to an illness then there are effective medications to treat the issue.
Speaking to your vet will also help you know if you’re feeding your dog a well-balanced diet and the right amount daily. With better dietary guidance, the possibility of your dog eating cat poop out of hunger or poor nutrition will be zero.
Handy Hint: If your dog is eating cat poop because the food you give them isn’t tasty enough, there are some ways to enhance the flavors.
2. Make use of deterrents
There are certain smells and tastes that dogs can’t stand. This can include things like vinegar, lemon or orange-flavored essential oils, and fresh herbs like rosemary don’t sit well with their noses too.
If your dog is eating cat poop out of litter box, you can add a bit of these strong-smelling products to your cat’s litter or areas outside the house where your cat likes to poop.
Deterrents will ruin the poop “flavor” and make it taste pathetic to your dog. They won’t even want to get close to the poop when they sniff these scents from afar.
What I found very successful in stopping my dog eating cat poop was to drip chili sauce onto the poop. Yes, I know it sounds mad, and I did look mad when I was doing it – but it worked for me.
Before I let my dog outside, I’d go out first, find cat poop on the grass and drop some spicy sauce on top. It only took a few mornings of me doing this until my dog got sick of eating cat poop.
I no longer need to do it, because my dog now thinks all cat poop tastes too spicy for him! Some seasonings your dog will actually like though, so avoid those.
Handy Hint: If your dog eats his own poop, put this in his dog food now.
3. Build a barrier
Another way you can stop your dog eating cat poop is to build a barrier so he can’t get to the pooping area.
This isn’t the most practical depending on the area you need to secure, but it might be as simple as putting up a small fence around the base of a tree or area where the cat likes to poop.
4. Make play and exercise part of your dog’s daily routine
If your dog is ever idle, they’re likely to head over to your cat’s litter tray when boredom kicks in. You can prevent this by ensuring they have an active daytime.
Tag him along during your usual walks or jogs. Engage him in exciting games every day (or find someone else to do it on your behalf if time is an issue). Consider getting interactive toys that will serve as your dog’s source of entertainment when boredom sets in.
Handy Hint: Here are my tips on how to store and dispose of pet poop before trash day comes.
5. Do what it takes to restrict access to your cat’s litter
You should be able to get a dog to stop eating kitty litter easily enough. If your dog can’t reach the cat’s litter box, he won’t get to the poop.
So, block access.
Relocate the litter to another place where your dog can’t easily access it (but ensure your cat can). Erecting a cat-friendly indoor fence (like this on Amazon) around your cat’s litter box is a great idea.
You can also buy a litter with a covering that makes it impossible for a dog’s snout to fit through.
Plus, make sure your canine friend’s food or water bowls aren’t near the litter box.
6. Say yes to positive training, and no to punishment
When you catch your dog eating dog poop, shouting or hitting him won’t make the poop-eating habit disappear. It might make it more exciting, especially if you start chasing your dog around in circles.
Your dog might also carry on with the behavior in secret. They’ll assume punishment means it’s okay to eat the cat poop when you’re not around to cause war.
So instead, use commands like “leave it!” or “no!” then divert his attention from the cat’s poop by offering a yummy treat.
Over time, he will learn that eating from the cat’s litter won’t get them anything. But avoiding it will.
7. Keep your cat’s litter clean
If your dog still insists on eating cat poop and litter then keep it clean and away from temptation. Scooping up your cat’s poop from the litter before your canine friend finds it does wonders.
You’ll minimize the chances of your dog eating lots of poop because there’s plenty in the litter.
No time to clear your cat’s litter as soon as they poop? This brings me to my next point.
8. Watch out for signs of stress
If your dog is stressed, their mood will change. Always pay attention to your dog’s mood, so they don’t resort to stress-eating cat poop.
Spending time with them or consulting your vet will help you tackle the stress correctly.
Those are my tips to help your dog quit doing it, and here’s why – a dog eating cat poop is dangerous… potentially. Here’s why.
Can a dog get sick from eating cat poop?
Seeing your dog snacking on cat feces can freak you out. But the reality is, cat poop isn’t toxic to dogs. This doesn’t make it completely dog-safe though.
A cat’s poop carries horrible parasites and bacteria. Ingesting it leaves your dog at a higher risk of catching bacterial or parasitic infections. Treating recurring infections will be the order of the day for you as a dog parent.
Traces of the parasite-infested stool can also end up in your body should your dog lick your mouth afterwards. So yes, your furry pal’s cat poop-snacking deed can affect your health too.
Also, eating large clumps of a cat’s stool regularly can make your furry pal experience painful bowel movements.
Dog eating cat poop: symptoms & side effects
If your dog does get ill, here are the side effects and symptoms to look out for relating to eating cat feces. For example, if your dog contracts toxoplasmosis, here are the most common symptoms.
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Muscle weakness
- Decrease in appetite
- Eye inflammation
- Seizures, tremors, or other neurological symptoms
Why does my dog keep eating cat poop?
There’s a special name for a dog’s poop-eating behavior: Coprophagia.
It’s not unusual for dogs to dine on poop, be it their own or another pet’s poop. Disgusting, I know. Even the most decent dog alive will eat cat poop if an opportunity presents itself.
There are several potential reasons why your dog keeps eating cat poop.
- It’s an inherited behavior. Dogs don’t mind eating animal poop since that’s what their famous ancestors (wolves) would do when scavenging for food. It’s in your dog’s DNA to want to eat cat feces.
- They are unwell. Conditions such as worm infection, nutritional imbalances, and malabsorption can turn your dog into a compulsive cat poop snacker.
- They simply enjoy it. They love the taste of the undigested food matter in cat poop.
- Cat stool acts like some sort of comfort food when your dog feels stressed.
- They are eating out of boredom or curiosity.
- They can easily access the cat’s litter box.
- They are hungry, and cat poop is readily available.
- They lack training on what to eat and what to keep off.
You adore your canine pal, for sure. But you’re sick of always catching them chowing down on your cat’s poop in the litter.
If you’re a dog parent with a cat in your home, you’ve probably lost count of the times you’ve walked in on your dog raiding your cat’s litter or digging up where your cat poops outside.
Even though you feed them delicious dog food daily, it’s like they always have more space in their tummy for these nasty roll-shaped “treats.”
To make your dog quit this disgusting habit you can use deterrents, see the vet, block your dog from accessing the cat’s litter area, rely on positive training, and provide enough exercise or playtime.
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Image of dog and cat in the header via https://unsplash.com/photos/ouo1hbizWwo