You’ve probably seen this at least once. You walk by your house and your dog is standing next to the litter box, looking up at you, with a look of curiosity on his face. You wonder why he’s looking at you and, you know, you kind of think, “Well, I guess the cat poop in the litter box is interesting.” So you go, “Oh, well, maybe he just wants some cat poo.” But that’s definitely not what he’s doing.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?
It’s no surprise that almost all dogs and, really, all animals, love to eat poop. But why do they do it? And more importantly, what can you do about it? Well, the first thing you should know is that the reason your dog (and cats, too) is eating cat poop is that it’s dirt. So, without going into too much detail, that means it’s full of nutrients and nutrients are, of course, important.
Now, this may not sound like a big deal, but it’s actually pretty huge. In fact, in 1983, there was a study done on 1,500 kids, and it was found that kids who ate more feces had an increased risk of developing bowel cancer and leukemia. Now, this doesn’t mean you should run out and lock your dog up in the basement every time he eats cat poop, but it does mean you should be aware of this and that, ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure that he doesn’t eat too many.
The Three Main Reasons
The first reason why your dog may want to eat cat poop is because it’s there. Your dog is like a human, and just like us, he likes to chew, and this, obviously, includes chewing on stuff. And, while a lot of the stuff he chews on is actually dangerous and shouldn’t be eaten by humans, it doesn’t hurt that it’s basically the same thing. So, if your cat’s litter box is, say, right next to a doorway or up against a wall, it makes perfect sense that your dog would accidentally step on it and then, when he looks back, he sees it in his mouth.
The second reason your dog may be eating cat poop is because it’s super tasty. Cat poop contains, among other things, something called uronic acid, which is a natural laxative. While you can’t feed this to your dog, it can actually be somewhat addictive to cats, which is why they tend to eat it.
The third reason your dog may be eating cat poop is because he likes it. Now, this, again, shouldn’t be a reason to lock him up, but it is something that you should consider. If you catch him doing it, you should immediately take him out for a walk, put him in a kennel, or, at the very least, redirect him away from that spot.
The Consequences of Eating Cat Poop
If you do decide to take steps to stop your dog from eating cat poop, you should, first of all, make sure he doesn’t have any health problems. If he shows signs of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation, you should contact your vet immediately.
You should also make sure he’s not eating other, potentially more harmful, substances. For example, if he happens to stumble upon a dead animal, he shouldn’t be eating it. The same goes for roadkill, plants, garbage, or any other type of trash.
And, finally, you need to make sure he doesn’t develop a taste for it. This, again, is not something you should force him to do, but if he continues to do it, you should, once again, restrict his access to that spot. If he doesn’t like it, he should stop doing it.
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Cat Poop
First, you should make sure that you don’t let him have access to his litter box. If you leave it open, then he’ll just walk in and see a bunch of poop, which, again, is not the best thing in the world for him to be seeing. So, instead, you should keep it closed, even when you’re home.
You should also keep his food bowl and your garbage can closed. If you keep his food bowl in the kitchen, you should make sure that, while you’re in the kitchen, you’re not also in the cat food area. Similarly, if you store your food in the pantry, you should keep your dog food in a cabinet that’s at least a few feet away from where you keep your cat food.
You should also make sure, if you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time, that you close all doors that lead to those spots. If he sees you opening one and then another, he may just try and get into those spots.
By following these simple steps, you should be able to stop the habit from continuing.