Much to our disgust, dogs will eat all kinds of poop. But why do dogs eat cat poop? Coprophagia among dogs is usually due to a lack of nutrients in their body. Another reason is that the dogs, especially pups, are attracted to the protein of cat poop. These are the most common reasons why you’ll catch your doggo scavenging in your kitty’s litter box.
Poop eating is an alarming behavior, but experts say that it’s somewhat normal for canines. Still, it should be discouraged as the dog might contract bacteria and viruses from cat wastes.
Why do dogs eat cat litter and poop?
Poop eating among dogs can be due to a lot of things. However, the following are the most common reasons:
Not enough nutrition
One of the most common reasons why a dog would eat cat poop is lack of nutrition. The doggo will be forced to scavenge to quell its hunger to the point that it will also eat its own poop. Dogs will even resort to cat litter as a form of survival as their bodies react to various deficiencies.
Your dog may need a new diet that’s high in fiber, protein, or fat. You can also consult the vet to help solve the poop-eating habit.
Boredom and curiosity
Puppies are curious beings. At some point, they will find the litter box and scavenge their way around it. Like babies, pups explore the world around through their mouths. This could lead to poop eating.
But why does my dog eat cat poop outside? Your dog might be bored, so it’s looking for something to keep itself busy. Maybe your pup needs more playtime, or you have to take it to longer walks to burn the extra energy.
Undigested protein on cat poop
Cats have a shorter digestive tract and digestive process. Most of the time, their poop will contain undigested proteins that draw dogs closer. Such undigested protein also makes the cat poop appealing to dogs. It’s possible that the cat poop still tastes and smells like cat food.
Dogs are sensitive beings, and they can get stressed at the slightest provocation. When they get stressed, they may vent out the anxiety to the cat’s poop. Extreme stress can push a dog to act strange, including the manifestation of coprophagia.
Lastly, it’s possible that your dog is suffering from medical attention that makes them more inclined to eat cat poop. Conditions like Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus will bring your dogs’ appetite to unusual heights. This will make them seek anything edible, including your cat’s poop.
Another condition called Pica or consumption of non-edible items can also be the culprit behind coprophagia. Pica can be due to anemia or liver problems.
Should I be worried about my dog eating cat poop?
Many dogs eat cat poop without experiencing any adverse side effects. Still, it doesn’t erase the fact that cat poop is mired with bacteria and parasites. If your cat is infected with any parasites, your dog may contract it through poop eating.
When a dog eats cat poop, toxoplasmosis may set in. Toxoplasmosis is a condition caused by the gondii parasite that can come from contaminated cat feces. This is transmittable to other animals as well as humans.
A dog can get sick from eating cat poop. Although intestinal blockage is rare, you should still keep an eye on your pooch if it happened to consume cat poop and litter. Observe your dog within 24 to 72 hours to spot any adverse effects.
How to stop dogs from eating cat poops
If your dog’s poop eating is becoming rampant, you can do the following to discourage the behavior:
- Use cat poop deterrent for dogs. A stool deterrent for dogs will help a lot so they wouldn’t touch the litter box. One natural option is to add canned pumpkin in your cat’s meal. It tastes wonderful, but it will make their poop smell repulsive. This should stop your dog from its tracks. You can also purchase a commercially-formulated litter box deterrent to keep your dog away.
- Keep the dog tired. A tired dog is a happy dog. Aside from that, they will no longer have the energy to scavenge on your cat’s litter box. This is very helpful for curious pups that mouth everything.
- Clean after your cat. If your dog defies all odds to get into your cat’s poop, you must clean the litter box as soon your cat finished its business. Scoop out the clumps and seal it inside double-bags. You can also spray a dog deterrent in the bag just in case your pet decides to go dumpster diving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is my dog eating cat poop all of a sudden?
A: Your dog might be stressed or hungry. Consider changing its diet or evaluating the surroundings for potential triggers that make your dog act strange.
Q: Can a dog get sick from eating cat poop?
A: Yes, dogs can get sick from eating cat poop. It might contract parasites like hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and more from the poop-eating habit. Some dogs who eat a lot of litter together with the poop may experience blockage, especially if the litter has a clumping formula.
Q: Why do dogs eat their own poop?
A: While dogs may eat cat poop, they can also eat their own excretion. It usually has the same reason as to why they consume cat poop. Your dog might be stressed, experiencing deficiencies, or extremely bored.
Q: Will cat food hurt my dog?
A: Why do dogs eat cat food? Like dog food, your pooch may find cat food palatable. Consumption of cat food from time to time shouldn’t hurt your dog. However, remember that it’s not made for dog’s needs, so avoid giving it to your dog.
Q: What do I do if my dog eats cat poop?
A: If your dog consumes cat poop, observe it for up to 72 hours. Watch out for abnormal bowel movement as well as vomiting that could be a sign of infection or stomach upset.
Q: What are the side effects of a dog eating cat poop?
A: Some dogs may not experience any adverse side effects upon eating cat poop. However, some canines may experience diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, weight loss, and more if they contract infections from the feces.
Q: Why do dogs lick you?
A: Dogs lick people because they like the salty taste on their skin. For domesticated canines, licking is an affectionate gesture. Dogs also do this to release their stress.
Q: Why do dogs tilt their heads?
A: A dog’s tilted head is a cute sight. They do this to locate the source of sound even better. Also, dogs will tilt their heads while staring at us to get a better view of our mouths so they can read our facial cues.
Q: Can dogs get Parvo from eating cat poop?
A: Yes, dogs can contract Parvovirus from cat poop if the kitty happened to be infected. It’s one of the most common modes of transmission, which shouldn’t be dismissed by pet owners.
Q: Is cat poop toxic?
A: Cat poop isn’t supposed to be consumed by any living thing. As a form of waste, it contains loads of bacteria, parasites, and viruses. It may also harbor human-transmissible infection that will cause serious health problems.
Q: Can dogs get tapeworms from eating cat poop?
A: Yes, cat poop is host to a variety of parasites, including tapeworms. Dogs that contracted tapeworm will have distended abdomen, weight loss, diarrhea, and a slew of other symptoms.
Why do dogs eat cat poop? It could be anything from hunger, stress, boredom, or medical conditions. Whatever the reason, you should discourage the behavior because cat poop contains parasites and bacteria that will compromise your dog’s health.