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How to Keep Your Dog out of the Litter Box

It’s totally gross for us to imagine why our dog would want to sneak into the cat’s litter box and steal a few “munchies” but it happens in homes all around the world. A lot dogs just love to eat cat poop!

Understanding the Behavior

Coprophaghia, or the eating of feces, is a common behavior in many dogs. It’s seen more in puppies but some dogs never grow out of it.  There have been many theories why dogs do this this and the reasons can include compulsive behavior, boredom or they may be getting some nutritive value from it. This article isn’t to get involved into dog behavior, but to help you create a litter box set-up that makes it difficult for your dog to access the box while still making ita convenient place for your cat.

If your dog does this, see your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t a nutritional issue going on and also to discuss the possibility of any behavior problem being the underlying cause, especially if your dog is eating his own feces or the feces of other dogs as well. Your veterinarian may give you a taste deterrent product or offer some dog training advice. You may also be referred to a dog behavior expert.

Create a Dog-Free Litter Box

If the dog can’t get to the cat’s poop, then he can’t eat it. Simple as that. The key though, is to make sure the box is convenient for the cat but inconvenient for the dog.

The easiest way to keep your dog out of the box is to place the litter box in an area where she can’t gain access. If the dog is bigger than the cat, place a hinged baby gate in the doorway to a room but raise it up a few inches from the floor so the cat can easily go underneath.

If the dog is small and could fit under the gate, then put the baby gate at normal height but place a box, stool or other object just inside the room, on the other side of the gate, so the cat can get over but will have something to land on.

What NOT to Do

Don’t resort to using a covered litter box or stick the box in a closet with a pet door. Cats do like some privacy but not covered boxes or ones hidden in closets. They types of boxes limit escape potential. When your cat only has one way in and out of the box, it can set her up for an ambush by another companion animal. Many covered boxes also can make cats feel cramped in there when taking care of personal business.

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