Coprophagia is the fancy name for eating poop. It can be quite horrifying to discover that our pooches are hitting the litter box for snacks. While disturbing, it’s fairly common for dogs to ingest cat feces. The feline excrement is basically a distilled version of cat food. Dogs, opportunists that they are, recognize a food source when they see it. To them, it isn’t gross at all.
Your cat may find these invasions so off putting that they may seek alternative areas to go to the bathroom. This is not a good option for you or your cat.
Feline excrement sometimes carry various parasites that are then transferred along to the dog when eaten. This can result in diarrhea and other problems.
The kitty litter that goes along with the feces may actually do the most harm. Clumping or clay litter when ingested has the potential to create blockages in the digestive tracts. These blockages can be quite serious and costly.
So how do you prevent your dog from dining at the litter box? You may first want to try using a litter box that is contained by a lid or that doesn’t allow such easy access. Consider placing the litter in a room with a baby gate or elevating it to where the dog can’t get to it.
Try and intercept the dog when he or she approaches the box. A sharp and loud “No!” often dissuades the dog from approaching further. A healthy treat as a reward for obeying your command often sweetens the deal.
The bottom line is that dogs like to eat things they shouldn’t, cat feces included. It is one of our challenges as dog owners to ensure that what they eat is best for their health and well being (as well as other member of the household). The staff at Campus Veterinary Clinic are always happy to discuss the best strategies for your dog’s continued health. Please call if you have any questions about this or any other issue concerning you and your dog.