If you own a dog and a cat, then you have probably stared into the litter box and asked yourself, “Why do dogs eat cat poop?”
It looks disgusting and it sounds disgusting, but there is an actual reason why your dog likes to eat your cat’s feces.
Why do dogs eat cat poop?
Dogs are scavengers. Even though some of them are lucky enough to have a loving home where they are fed delicious dinners, when they are stuck in the wild, they eat whatever they can find. They will snack on garbage, on carpets, on rocks, on sticks, and yes, on poop.
Eating poop is a behavior called coprophagia. If you notice your dog doing so, it might be a sign of a dietary deficiency. That means that you should switch your dog’s food to a formula that is higher in fat, fiber, or protein so that they get the nutrition they need.
Do not fret, because most of the time, eating cat poop is not a sign of any deficiencies. It is only a sign that your dog wants to do some exploring and became hungry along the way.
Dogs will eat any kind of poop, but cat poop is particularly appealing to them because cats do not digest as thoroughly as other animals. Dogs might be able to smell pieces of food inside of the poop, which is what makes them decide to gulp it down.
It might sound irrational to you, but the biggest reasons dogs eat cat poop is because they actually enjoy the taste.
Is it unhealthy for a dog to eat cat poop?
Even though it looks disgusting, eating cat poop is not that big of a deal. It is going to make you push your dog away when they try to lick your face, but other than that, it probably won’t harm your pup — especially if they only eat a small amount.
However, it is still not recommended, because there are potential side effects. There is a chance your dog will contract harmful bacteria and parasites from the poop, which can become fatal.
Not to mention, if your dog comes down with something like salmonella, then it can be transferred to you and other humans.
Your dog’s nasty habit becomes even more dangerous if they eat large clumps of kitty litter. If that happens, make sure you check their bowel movements to see if the poop is abnormal or if there is any blockage. If something looks out of the ordinary, then take a trip to your vet just to be safe.
How do you stop your dog from eating cat poop?
It is difficult to stop your dog from eating cat poop during walks unless you place a muzzle over their snout or pull their leash in a different direction whenever they start sniffing something undesirable.
If your dog is eating straight out of your cat’s litter box, then the easiest solution is to move the litter box somewhere your dog cannot access. Try placing it atop a counter where the dog cannot reach or in an upstairs room that only the cats are able to access.
You could also try placing a baby gate across the bathroom so that your cat can jump over, but your dog is unable to pass. That way your cats will still be able to poop like normal, without any intruders.
If you are unable to keep your dog away from the litter box for some reason, then you could always buy a new one. There are brands with closed tops that are referred to as ‘dog proof.’ It will make it difficult for your dog to get their snout inside, but it is still possible if they try hard enough.
Every once in a while your dog might swallow some poop, but as long as you take regular trips to the vet to check for parasites, then there shouldn’t be a problem.
Your dog might be gross, but you have to love him anyway.