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How to stop a dog from eating cat poop

 by jennifer on 23 Jun 2021 |
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Many dog owners have pets who eat from the litter box, but you can help your companion unlearn this unfortunate habit with a few changes.

 

How to stop a dog from eating cat poop

 

Dogs are scavengers by nature and to your canine companion, cat poop is just another food to forage. To help curb this unfortunate habit, remove easy access to the litter box and provide acceptable alternatives, such as chew toys filled with healthy snacks.

To dogs, cat poop is an acceptable, protein-packed source of food. Known formally as coprophagia, your pet’s habit of eating feces comes naturally to him, even if it is disgusting to you. Many puppies learn this habit from their mothers, who sometimes ingest their pups’ feces as a means of housekeeping. Though most pets outgrow this exploratory behavior, some develop a habit of eating snacks from the litter box that can be tough to break. This can lead to some potentially negative consequences for your pet’s health, including ingesting harmful bacteria and parasites. Some of these, such as salmonella, can be transmitted to humans, too, creating more cause for concern about your dog’s litterbox habit.

To stop Fido from feasting from the litter box, you may want to simply put it out of his reach. Baby gates can keep wandering canines away from certain rooms while allowing cats to have a space of their own. If this is not a viable option in your house, you can purchase a litter box with a lid to discourage your dog from breaking in or a “dog-proof” litter box that makes it harder for him to access it. Clean the litter box as often as possible to discourage your dog from visiting it or invest in a self-cleaning model. Switching to crystal cat litter can help, too, by reducing the smell that can lead Fido to the source of the problem.

Sometimes, your dog will find cat poop outside, where you have less control over the situation. In these cases, supervise your pet’s bathroom breaks in the yard by keeping him on a leash and, when he goes for a pile of cat poop, say “no!” and lead him away. Immediately reward him with a treat after he walks away. You can also try calling your dog over as soon as he finishes his business, asking him to sit, and offering a reward. This serves as a distraction from any cat waste in the yard and teaches your dog that returning to you leads to a tasty—and acceptable—treat. You can also offer your dog an alternative, such as a Kong stuffed with peanut butter, to curb his interest in less appropriate snacks.

Though coprophagia is a natural habit, it can lead to potential health problems for your pet, not to mention make you wary of his kisses. By removing the litter box from reach and training your dog to avoid snacking on cat waste in the yard, you can help him unlearn his bad habit and reduce potential problems to his health.

 

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