Prevent Your Dog from Eating Waste From Litter Boxes

Dogs that dig into litter boxes and eat the waste are at risk of putting their health in jeopardy. If you notice that your dog is going into your cat's litter box, you will need to take the necessary steps to stop this behavior. Below is some helpful information regarding why this behavior is potentially dangerous to your dog's health, why your dog goes into the litter box, and how you can prevent your dog from eating the waste.

Why It Could be Hazardous to Your Dog's Health

Your dog, by eating cat waste, could contract infections and life-threatening diseases. For example, a cat's waste potentially carries Toxoplasma gondi, which is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Additionally, your dog could come into contact with E. Coli, which is known to be in cat's waste. The consumption of the waste provides no benefits for your dog and could be hazardous to his or her health.

Why Your Dog Eats Cat Waste

Dogs enjoy eating cat waste because they like its flavor. Cat diets include a very high level of protein, much higher than dog diets, and some of this protein is excreted in the cat's waste. It's the high protein level that makes the cat waste desirable to your dog. Because your dog finds the behavior inherently rewarding, training won't help solve the problem. Your dog will try and consume the waste as much as he or she can, so you will have to use different strategies to prevent your dog from getting to the waste.

Prevention Tips

Here are some tips to keep your dog from eating your cat's waste:

  1. Use a covered litter box; this can keep your dog out of the box, especially if he's a large breed.
  2. Remove waste from the box daily with a cat litter scoop.
  3. Use an automatic litter box; automatic litter pans keep themselves almost constantly clean. This will save you a lot of messy hassle and your cat will enjoy it as well.
  4. Reduce the odor from the cat litter box to make it less appealing to your dog. Cat litter crystals and clumping cat litter are effective at odor control. You can also add some baking soda to your cat litter as well to control the odors.
  5. Establish a barrier between your cat's litter box and your dog. Baby gates, chains, cat doors, and specialized door latches could all serve this purpose; the important thing is that your dog's access to the box be restricted, while your cat's remains unlimited.
  6. If all else fails, put your litter box in a place where your dog can't reach it. Since most cats can easily jump quite high, try putting your litter box up on a pedestal or table, out of your dog's reach.