One Paw at a Time: Keeping the Dog Out of the Litter Box
Living with both dogs and cats can be a wonderful experience. Not only do we get to connect with and enjoy these two very different species, but watching them play, snuggle, and even annoy each other is a fun and meaningful aspect of pet ownership.
Of course, living with multiple pets has its challenges, especially when Fido has a tendency to raid the litter box. Not only do pet owners hate this disgusting practice, it’s also highly likely that the cat doesn’t appreciate their private bathroom being invaded by the family dog!
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much effort to keep your dog out of the litter box, and your team at OVRS is here to help you every step of the way.
Why Do Dogs Like Cat Poop so Much, Anyway?
Most dogs enjoy snacking on feces in general, but, much to our chagrin, they seem to have a special fondness for the feline variety. In many cases, poop eating is an innate exploratory behavior in dogs, and the availability of cat poop can cause this playful activity to turn into a compulsive habit.
Besides being disgusting, eating cat poop can be harmful for dogs by exposing them to harmful bacteria and parasites. Some pathogens, such as salmonella, can also be transmitted to humans.
Keeping the Dog Out of the Litter Box
Sometimes protecting the litter box and its contents requires creative solutions.
- Move the box – Placing the box up on a shelf is one of the simplest solutions. This way your cat still has easy access, but the dog does not,.
- Install a cat door – Place the box in a laundry room or other out-of-the-way spot, and install a cat door to allow access for kitty while keeping dogs out.
- Barricade the area – Make use of baby gates to block off the area where the litter box is kept.
- Use a covered litter box – As long as your cat is small enough and comfortable with a covered box, this can be a good solution.
- Keep it clean – Scoop the poop out of your cat’s litter box daily, and wash out the box and replace the litter weekly to reduce the odors that are so appealing to dogs. If you can’t scoop immediately, consider investing in an electronic litter box that automatically scoops feces into a separate bin.
- Train your dog – This one is easier said than done, but teaching your dog a few basic commands, such as “drop it” or “leave it” can be helpful if you catch them in the act.
- Combat boredom – Sometimes dogs raid the litter box out of boredom. Make sure your dog is happy and tired each day by providing plenty of exercise and interesting toys, games, training, and other activities designed to stimulate the brain.
As always at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we are here for you and your pet. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions about how to keep your dog out of the litter box, or any others concerns about your pet.