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Why do dogs eat from cat litter boxes?

Updated on July 4, 2009

Which one would be more disgusting, a dog eating its own feces or one that raid the cat litter box and makes a meal out of the cat’s excrements? I’d say both would be disgusting but remember a cat’s poop has a more horrible odor.

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Interspecific Coprophagia

We know that dogs have this disgusting behavior of eating its own and other dog’s feces. You have prevented the dog from eating its own poop by removing the poop as soon as the dog has finished doing its business. When you take the dog for a walk you make sure that the dog is leashed to prevent it from eating other dogs poop. You think you have solved the problem until you notice that the cat’s litter box is always empty. The dog has been eating the feces of the cat. The dog’s behavior of eating other animal’s feces is known as interspecific coprophagia.

A cat’s poop

A dog that has developed a taste for feces would eat any kind of poop once the opportunity to do so is presented. Dog experts believe that cat poop is highly desirable to dogs because it is noted to contain vitamins. Cat poop is believed to be rich in protein as well.

Dangers of raiding the cat’s litter box

Dog poop or cat poop may contain parasites. Apart from parasitic infestation some diseases are transmitted through the feces. Aside from these concerns, a dog would be in for some big time trouble if it continues to raid the cat’s litter box. Notice that when the dog eats the cat’s feces it would be ingesting the clumping litter as well. This can be a serious threat to the health of the dog given that some kinds of cat litter are not digestible.

A nutrient deficiency?

The belief that the dog’s habit of eating cat feces is due to a nutrient deficiency was refuted by dog experts. Dogs that are fed with high quality and nutrient rich dog food are still known to raid the cat’s litter box.

What to do to prevent the dog from eating cat feces

Cats can easily jump to higher places. One idea to prevent the dog from eating the cat’s feces is to place the litter box in a spot that is easily accessible to the cat but can not be reached by the do. Another is to put the litter box behind an opening that only the cat can pass through. Once the dog finds it physically impossible to get to the litter box, it will stop trying to get to the box to eat the cat’s feces.

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    • cuttlerfish profile image

      Philip Speed 

      5 years ago from Skegness UK

      I was told by the vet that the cat poo is still high in protein. I was advised to add garlic capsules to the cat food so the dog would not like the smell/taste of the poo. The dog forced open the cupboard door and ate the whole packet of capsules. He must have a taste for garlic !!!! in the end he just stopped doing it.

      Regards

      Phil Speed

    • profile image

      Chris 

      6 years ago

      I feel as if it isn't a matter of the quality of food the dog eats but the quality of food the cat eats. Low grade cat food has fillers the cats cant digest in which is then passed as waste. Those fillers add taste to the cats feces and results in the dog enjoying it. I feed my dogs high quality dog food but whenever we go to the inlaws who feed their cats stuff such as OlRoy my youngest tends to migrate to the liter box. Even though mine are fed quality food, honestly food is food to a dog to include cat feces. My dogs obviously don't eat their own or each others feces and that is because very little undigested food is passed. I suppose it also helps to have huskies who eat only what they need so I can keep food out all the time.

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