specialty veterinarian careers winter haven fl

Why Your Dog Eats Cat Poop Out of the Litterbox

Does your dog eat cat poop out of the litterbox, and you want to know what is causing this behavior? Dogs, especially young puppies, will sometimes eat things they should not. So, why do dogs eat cat poop out of the litterbox and how do you stop them?

Your dog may eat cat poop from the litterbox because of a nutritional deficiency. Their food may not meet nutritional standards. Your canine may have an underlying health condition, such as an endocrine disorder causing them to be unable to absorb nutrients properly.

You can do many things to keep your dog out of the litterbox, such as dog-proofing or cleaning it more often. This article will explain why your canine consumes cat poop from the litterbox.

why does my cat eat dog poop out of the litterbox winter haven fl

Why Does My Dog Eat Cat Poop?

Dogs will sometimes eat cat poop and other things they shouldn’t. They are naturally curious animals with an affinity for experimentation and will try to consume almost anything to see what it tastes like. However, some plausible explanations exist for this phenomenon and why they may eat cat poop. The following includes some of these reasons:

Nutritional Deficiencies

If your dog’s diet does not meet nutritional requirements and standards according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, your dog may search elsewhere for nutrition, and they will eat almost anything, up to and including cat poop. This is also commonly seen in dogs who are fed a homemade diet. Nutritional deficiency can lead to disorders like undernourishment and obesity.

When you cook your dog’s foods, you also run the risk of creating deficiencies in your pup’s diet or giving them an excess of certain nutrients, and either one of these scenarios is dangerous. Your dog may seek foods or non-foods that their bodies think they need. This is why feeding your dog a well-balanced nutritional diet that meets the appropriate standards is important.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Your dog could have an underlying medical condition, such as a hormone or endocrine imbalance, causing the problem, and they may not be absorbing nutrients correctly. An underlying medical condition could be interfering with your dog’s health:

  • Thiamine deficiency
  • Pancreatic deficiency
  • Malabsorption disorder

These issues can cause several problems, including undigested food in their stool. If your dog is not digesting their food properly, their body may think it is not receiving enough nutrition, and they may resort to certain behaviors, such as eating cat poop.

Behavioral Disorders

Eating cat poop out of the litterbox can become a habit that is hard to break for dogs. It becomes self-rewarding behavior, and they reward themselves with what they believe is a yummy treat. Yuck! Your dog may also be bored, and getting into mischief alleviates their boredom. It is critical to provide your canine with as much fortification as feasible.

If your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation, they will be less likely to eat poop out of the litterbox. Your dog may also be anxious or stressed if they demonstrate this behavior. Poop eating is also a behavior dogs sometimes do when they are potty training, and they have an accident. They try to get rid of the evidence before Mom sees it!

It Tastes Good to Them

Most dogs will sniff out and munch on cat food if available. Cats eat more protein and fat than dogs, and their food’s meaty smell can entice your pup. Cats typically absorb the nutrients in their food, but the rest is expelled from their waste. Some dogs are attracted to cat food and will even eat cat poop to get the taste. If your dog is getting into your cat’s food, you may need to move it.

Pica May Be to Blame

Pica is the constant consumption of non-food items like grass, rocks, dirt, and, yes, even cat poop. Ingestion of non-food items can be hazardous for your dog and lead to toxicity or an intestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening. If you believe your pup has an obstruction, immediately take them to the vet. Several of the indicators that your canine may have pica include:

  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abdominal 3
  • distention
  • Dark, black, tarry stool

The most familiar form of pica in dogs is referred to as coprophagia, which is eating poop. When puppies are still with their mothers, the mother dog will eat the poop around their anus to help encourage a bowel movement. Pica is common in puppies when they first learn what is and is not food. Pica can also occur from improper ingestion of nutrients.

How Can I Keep My Canine from Consuming Poop?

Dogs may love eating poop from the litterbox, but this foul habit should be avoided. Dogs can be like human children, as they can sometimes get into things they should not. Ingestion of your cat’s feces can harm your pup if they continue the behavior repeatedly. Some of the ways you can stop your canine from dining on cat poop from the litterbox include:

Make Sure They Get Enough Exercise

The best way to ensure a stable, well-behaved pup is for them to get plenty of exercise. Dogs need an outlet to expend their energy, and taking them for walks and playing fetch in the yard can go a long way toward preventing boredom.

When dogs are bored, they may behave poorly. Toys like snuffle mats, like AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs, can keep them occupied and mentally stimulated.

Prevent Access to the Litterbox

You can move the litterbox if your dog cannot resist getting into it and eating the poop. You can elevate the litter box to keep out of paw’s reach or put it inside the bathtub. If you have a larger dog or a litterbox with a top entryway, a covered kitty litter box may do the trick. Put a baby gate around the litterbox or install a latch door that opens just for cats.

Clean the Litterbox Regularly

Scoop and clean the litterbox as much as possible. You can also get a self-cleaning litterbox, like the Litter-Robot. If this is out of your price range, you can try the Omega Paw Elite Self-Cleaning Litterbox. If you give your cats their meals at certain times a day, they will be more likely to have a regular potty schedule, and you can scoop after they do their business.

Train Your Dog to Leave It Alone

Teach your dog not to go for the litterbox. You can accomplish this by teaching them the “leave it” command and giving them a treat and praise each time they do not go for the litterbox. Please continue to do this every time they behave and do not get into the litterbox. Soon, they will no longer need the “leave it” command, and they will leave the litterbox to the one it belongs to.


Many explanations exist for why your dog eats poop out of the litterbox. They could have a nutritional deficiency, an underlying health condition, pica, or they may just be bored. If your dog is ingesting poop from your cat’s litterbox, try the tips mentioned in this article. If that does not work out, discuss your concerns with your vet.

Are you looking for a veterinarian for your pet? Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL is here to help. Give us a call at (863) 324-3340 today!

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About Veterinary Healthcare Associates

Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL, was established over 30 years ago as Maxwell Animal Clinic by Dr. John Maxwell. Maxwell Animal Clinic was a one-doctor general practice offering preventive care, dentistry, and standard surgical services to the community. As the years passed, Maxwell Animal Clinic evolved into a thriving 10-doctor general, specialty referral, and emergency veterinary practice.