If you find your dog raiding your cat's litter box, rest assured, you are not alone. Many dogs find litter boxes appealing. Learn why and what you should do
It happened again: you came home and found Rover visiting your cat's litter box again, and worse, even gulping down some of the cat's stools this time, almost as if they were the tastiest treats on earth. Obviously, you are quite disgusted by the happening and want to do all things possible for preventing any future episodes of this type. Fortunately, there are several strategies to resort to, in order to prevent this distasteful happening from becoming a bad habit.
Why do Dogs Like Litter Boxes?
There is really only one reason explaining why dogs find litter boxes so appealing: they like the contents of it. As disgusting as it may sound, dogs appreciate the taste of cat feces and there is an explanation as to why they seem so addicted to it.
Cats are fed diets that are much higher in protein than dog food. Some protein is eventually excreted in the cat's waste, and it is this extra seasoning in particular that makes a dog crave cat stools. So now that you know why Rover is so intrigued by the waste box, it is time to figure out a strategy to put a halt to this unwanted behavior, once and for all.
Risks Associated with Eating Cat Stools
Eating cat stools does not come without risks. Eating a cat's feces may result in the ingestion of eggs from pesky parasites and protozoans. Not to mention the fact that some dogs also ingest cat litter of the clumping type, which may cause constipation or a gastrointestinal obstruction, explains veterinarian Jon Rappaport, in an article for PetPlace.com. Report to your veterinarian if your dog is vomiting, has a loss of appetite, appears lethargic, and is straining to defecate, all possible signs of an obstruction.
How to Stop a Dog From Visiting the Litter Box
There are several strategies to resort to in order to outsmart a dog who craves cat waste. One of the most effective is to simply invest in one of those covered litter boxes. These have an entrance sufficiently wide for the cat to get through but yet small enough to prevent medium to large dogs from having access to it.
Another option is to place the litter box in an area that is physically impossible for the dog to reach, but feasibly easy for the cat to reach. Think about erecting some barriers such as baby gates or other obstacles which the dog cannot get through, but that cats can surpass, courtesy of a feline's phenomenal agility.
Using a chain on a doorframe or doorknob in a way to make the door stay slightly ajar, will allow sufficient space for your cat to get through. The use of latch that holds the door partially open may be an alternative.
Cleaning up the litter box frequently will also obviously prevent your dog from having a full course meal while making your feline companion extra happy.