Are you worried about why your dog eats cat poop? It is natural for dogs to enjoy eating all kinds of poop?
Yes, it might sound gross.
However, this is a totally natural behavior. By nature, they are scavengers and can eat all kinds of things rocks, carpet, garbage and cat poop is no exception.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons why a dog eats cat poop, how to stop your dog from eating that and how cat poop can affect your dog’s health.
Is Eating Cat Poop a Normal Behavior for Dogs?
Cat poop might smell disgusting to us. However, it smells like cat food to dogs. Eating poop is a habit known as Coprophagia, which is a result of a dietary deficiency in most of the cases.
In a recent paper, vet researchers at the University of California, Davis surveyed thousands of dog owners and found that 16 percent of pups consume other canines’ stool very often. Moreover, they’ve been spotted by their owners doing it more than six times. 80 percent of the dogs preferred fresh poop of not more than two days old. Crazy, isn’t it?
Cats are hyper-carnivores and cannot digest certain foods, specifically carbohydrates. Dogs will be able to smell this partially digested food and assume that the fecal matter is still food for them.
It is usual for a dog to eat cat poop as it is a scavenger. However, it could also mean that the dog is suffering from a nutritional or a vitamin deficiency. At times, dog’s might tend to eat other creatures poop or even their own poop. It is tough to change this behavior. We should keep them away from litter boxes and observe them during the walk time.
What Can be the Reasons Why a Dog Eats Cat Poop
Dogs are Scavengers: As mentioned earlier dog’s ancestors would eat fecal matter of other animals if they did not find prey or if they did not feed on anything that day. So it is a natural instinct for dogs.
Boredom: Dogs need both mental and physical stimulation each and every day. If they are not involved in any kind of activity, they seem to get bored. So this sheer boredom can make them explore the cat poop.
The Taste: It is quite alarming for us humans. But the fact is that dogs love the taste of cat poop.
Nutritional Deficiency: Your dog might be experiencing vitamin deficiency. If you feel that you are not getting enough nutrition from the food. Consult a veterinarian, who would suggest a diet change with the addition of fibers, fat, and protein.
What happens if a dog eats cat poop?
There are a few dogs that eat cat poop from time to time and are totally fine. But in other cases, there is a possibility of dogs contracting parasites and bacteria. These dangerous bacteria are harmful to humans. The dog’s intestinal health will be at risk as there might be worms causing the problem. Eating large quantities or Cat poop can be lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. We definitely, as owners, do not want to see our dogs vomiting cat poop.
How to Stop Our Dog from Eating Cat Poop?
Coprophagia should be stopped, and the dog must be prevented from this habit. If you have noticed your dog eating cat poop, then it is time to take some action against this behavior and follow the below tips.
Eliminate the Possibility:
If you have observed your Dog making trips to cat’s litter, then simply remove the litter box and place it somewhere else where your dog is not able to reach. If you have a small dog, try placing the litter box higher up on the shelf, if you have a big dog, then consider putting it in a small piece, where only your cat can reach. You can also try installing a cat door or a baby gate, this will ensure that your dog’s poop eating habit is eliminated.
Physical and Mental Activities:
If you feel, your dog is eating cat poop out of sheer boredom, then add physical and mental activities in their daily routine. Veterinarians recommend additional walking in the morning or evening walks. You can also get them new toys which will keep them engaged. If a dog’s boredom is not handled appropriately, it might lead to additional behavioral issues.
Change in Diet:
Eating cat poop might be due to lack of nutrients and vitamins that currently they are feeding on. Consult a veterinarian and add some supplements that will ensure a healthy and nutritional good in their daily meal. Make sure not to make them obese.
Stress Relief and Anxiety:
Anxiety issues in dogs can lead to many behavioral changes, such as Coprophagia. It is essential to recognize the root cause of their anxiety and stress and address it accordingly.
Tips to keep our Dog away from the Litter Box
- Teach your dog the leave it command, when you’ve caught him eating cat poop.
- Teach the dog drop it command if the dog has already consumed half of it.
- Keep the dog, while you are at home and engage them in some kind of activities.
- Always use positive reinforcement if the dog eats cat poop, instead of punishing them.
- Include a chemical solution in your cat food to discourage your dog from Coprophagia, that makes the fecal matter taste bitter and be sure to visit a veterinarian and take this chemical solution.
- Make sure the dog’s diet is filled with a raw and varied diet of quality proteins.
- Clean the litter box regularly, especially before you leave the house.
- Purchase a covered litter box.
- Add meat tenderizer, natural additives, and digestive enzymes to their diet.
- Always put the dog on a leash when you take them for a walk outside.
- Try using the basket muzzle until he stops from this habit.
- You can try adding olive oil to your cat’s food.
- You can also give your cat canned pumpkin as a treat.
- Try giving your dog treats like peanut butter so that they do not munch on something else.
Can my dog get sick from eating cat poop?
Your dog will end up getting intestinal parasites from eating cat’s poop. Roundworms, Hookworms, Giardia and Whipworms can be transmitted from Coprophagia. These parasites will cause vomiting, diarrhea and in most cases, anemia and weight loss too.
Make your trips every month to a Veterinarian to prevent them from intestinal parasites. Theoretically, a dog can get sick, if they have consumed cat litter in large amount, as it absorbs a lot of moisture that can cause constipation or obstruction while pooping.
As mentioned earlier, most of the dog’s do not get sick after eating away from the cat litter. However, prevention is better than cure.
What are the Types of Worms?
While there is no doubt that dogs can get worms by taking in the cat’s poop. For example, dog’s aren’t the primary hosts for Toxocara Cati, the most common type of roundworm that is found in cats.
Toxascaris Leonia roundworm species can infect both dogs and cats. Likewise, hookworms – Ancylostoma tubaeforme only infects cats, while the other Uncinaria stenocephala and Ancylostoma braziliense infect both dogs and cats.
To be affected by the worms, dog’s must have consumed the feces containing eggs at the infectious stage, making the timing a vital factor. The larvated eggs of Toxascaris Leonia take at least a week to shed. Hookworms larvae take 4 to 7 days to reach the infective stage. These eggs or larvae can stick to your dog’s paw pads.
The long-term Effects: You might clean the cat litter box regularly at home. However, if your cat is using outdoors as a litter box, it is impossible to maintain. If your cat has roundworms, the eggs can survive there for years together. Hookworms, however, tend to die in freezing temperatures in a few months.
Now you know why a dog eats cat poop. As you get back home, you are welcomed home with kisses by your animal friend, it is best not to think about where your dog’s mouth has been that day. While we might love our dog’s immensely, they can be gross at times. While eating cat poop, dogs might not have many health issues, but dog owners will do whatever to get rid of it. By few simple changes in diet, mental and physical activities it is possible to get rid of this unpleasant habit of our dog.