My dog eats cat litter...
by JuniperRene, Jan 05, 2010
Please help!

My dog has been getting into the litter box, and she is eating both the litter, and the cat poo. I can't figure out how to get her to stop doing it, and my apartment is such that I can't physically keep her away from the box.

Any thoughts? Thanks,

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Member Comments (8)
by have 2 kids, Jan 05, 2010
Cat littler is toxic to dogs.  Could you put it in a bedroom or bathroom and put up a child/pet gate?   You could put the gate up high enough that the cat can get under or jump over.  
Welcome to a dog owner's worst nightmare!  First the dog has a snack and then he wants to lick your face!!  LOL!

Seriously, this is an issue that can have some health ramifications.   Although I am not sure that I would consider cat litter to be toxic, ingestion of enough litter could cause obstructions and it certainly is not in the best interest of the dog.  There is always the potential for transfer of intestinal parasites when this kind of thing happens.

Physical barriers, such as the baby gate that have 2 kids has mentioned is a good one to insure that the dog stays out of the litter box.  Also, some behavioral modification is another thought.  You need to distract your dog from this behavior by interacting with him, drawing his attention away from the litter box whenever he starts going towards it.   Playing ball, tug, or handing out some treats are all good ways to distract him and focus his attention on you.

Your veterinarian may have some behavior modifying ideas as well, so certainly contact him/her to get an opinion.  He or she might even be able to help you find an animal behaviorist who can work with  you.

Take a look at this site:   It is the website of Dr. Suzanne Hetts, who is a certified applied animal behaviorist and she also answers questions here in the Ask A Vet expert forums.  

Finally, if this is happening when you are gone, consider using a crate for your dog so that he won't be tempted.

(On a side note...I have always wondered if there was money to be made selling cat poop as dog treats!!  :-)  )
by April2, Jan 05, 2010
My dog used to do this. Talk about disgusting! We kept the cat box in the basement and needed to keep the door open for the cat so what we did is go to the pet store and got one of those invisible fences. I know they're expensive, I think it was around $100 or so but boy, was it worth the money! What we did was put the invisible fence around the door to the basement and put the shock collar on him to keep him from going down the basement stairs. The collar had a warning sound it would give first then a little shock if they keep going.
Well, let me tell you something. He caught on fast! He only needed to be shocked a few times to stop wanting to go down to the basement. He lost all interest in trying so we took the collar off and viola! He still never went down the basement again. Within a couple of months we didn't even have to use the invisible fence anymore.
Just something to think about. It worked for us!
by ginger899Blank, Jan 05, 2010
Another thought....could you put the cat litter tray up on something which the cat could get up to easily, but the dog couldn't reach? Would the cat be OK with that arrangement?
by TrudieC, Jan 05, 2010
My dog does this too.  Nothing like a wet nose with cat litter stuck to it!  We keep the cat food and water up on our washer/dryer so the dog can't eat it.  Putting the litter up there won't work for us.  I am thinking of getting some of that spray that keeps animals away from areas and putting it on the carpet outside our upstairs bathroom where I keep the litter - as long as it doesn't stop the cats from going in!  April, that is a great idea and we may give that a try if we can't solve.
by ChiKat, Jan 05, 2010
We had the same problem. The baby gate works well for us! Good luck!!!
by lindapalm, Jan 09, 2010
We use the baby gate that is wooden and attaches to door frame on one side and latches on the other.  We cut out two of the wooden bars on the bottom, so when the gate is fully open the cats walk through, but dogs can't fit.
by JuniperRene, Jan 12, 2010
Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions!

I had originally strayed from the baby gate idea, because I had thought I would have to put the gate about 8 inches off the floor so the cats could sneak under it (my older cat has bad hips, no jumping allowed), and then I wouldn't be able to step over it to use the bathroom (I am short).
But then lindapalm had the most wonderful suggestion.

So, I think for us, the best solution is to cut a few slets from the type of gate she mentioned. Sounds like we could even get a wooden one that swings open like a door, if we want.

Thank you again, y'all. I appreciate the help. Good luck with your own animals!