We won’t ask how you got here, but we have a pretty good idea. Did you catch your dog with their head in the litter tray? Or were they in the act? Either way, when your dog is eating cat poop, it’s something you want to deal with. It’s just gross.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re hoping to find out how to stop your dog from eating cat poop. 

In this article, we’ll help you understand why cat poop is the ultimate delicacy for some dogs. You’ll know whether cat poop is bad for dogs to eat, how you might tell if your dog’s been eating cat poop, and what happens if your cat eats dog poop. and probably most importantly how to stop your dog from eating cat poop. Drink every time we say cat poop.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a great puppy training app, look no further than the Zigzag app. We’ve designed a full training programme for your dog’s breed and stage of development and have a team of professional dog trainers happy to answer any of your questions and get you through any trouble you run into. Especially poop-related troubles. 

German shepherd puppy
Photo by Wannes De Mol on Unsplash

Why do dogs eat cat poop?

Here’s a simple answer: Dogs eat cat poop because it’s tasty. Dogs evolved by scavenging human waste, so eating another animal’s poop is just something they’re used to. It’s disgusting nonetheless, but perfectly normal! Dogs haven’t really lost that instinct, so they’re just filling up at the buffet.

But your dog might be eating cat poop due to them lacking deficiencies where they’re getting inadequate nutrition or are not being fed enough. Filling up at their local cat little tray doesn’t seem like such a bad idea for them after all. Oh, and cat faeces are apparently delicious for dogs due to a cat’s diet being higher in protein. Coprophagia is the fancy name for eating faeces, by the way. The more you know, you know?

Dogs also eat cat poop because they’re bored. It’s just something that fills the void when they’re not getting attention.

Is eating cat poop bad for dogs?

Yes, eating cat poop isn’t a great thing for your dog to eat simply because of common sense, really…everybody kind of knows that faeces can easily carry parasites like worms or transmit disease. In addition, eating cat poop is likely to upset your dog’s tummy, and can cause vomiting or diarrhoea. We don’t recommend it!

Also, it’s just kinda gross, right? Like when they roll in fox poo, neither is exactly fragrant or hygienic! 

How can I tell if my dog has eaten cat poop?

Here are some tell-tale signs that a dog has eaten cat poop:

  1. You see them do it. If your dog has their head in the litter box, chances are they are eating cat poop.
  2. You see it around their mouth. 
  3. Their breath smells – urgh the worst. Hope they’re not giving you any kisses, or licking your face!
  4. They’re sick. If your dog seems to be queasy or is actually vomiting up cat poop, then they’ve probably eaten some!

They have runny poo. Yum. Cat poop will cause gastrointestinal problems and probably give your pup diarrhoea.

What happens if my cat eats dog poop?

A cat eating dog poop is rarer than a dog eating cat poop, though not impossible! It can make your cat sick, and contract any parasites or diseases which may be left in the dog faeces. Worms, fleas and other nasties like Salmonella can all be carried in dog poop.

golden retriever puppy
Photo by Bill Stephan on Unsplash

How to stop my dog from eating cat poop

To stop your dog from eating cat poop, you can manage their environment to make sure they can’t snack on it. You also have to make sure they’re eating the right food, and teach them to leave anything they’re not supposed to be eating alone. Here are our tips to get your dog to stop eating cat poop:

Put the litter tray in another room

You can use a baby gate to stop your dog from going into the cat litter room and feasting on it. Make sure your cat can still get through whenever they need to though. Otherwise, you’ll end up with surprise poops around your house.

Use a puppy pen

Using a puppy playpen will give your puppy some freedom so walk around when you can’t be there to supervise them. This means they won’t access the litter box for a sneaky cat poop feast, which is great news.

Get a dog-proof litter tray

Think about it in the simplest of terms: If your dog can’t get into the litter tray, they stop eating the cat poop. Management is often the best way of preventing a behaviour you don’t like, so you might want to get a cat litter tray they find impossible to get into.

Cleaning the cat poop up straight away

Again, thinking about it simply; your dog can’t eat cat poop if there is no cat poop to eat. Make it a habit to clean the cat poop straight away to prevent your dog from eating it, but also so your house keeps a fresh smell. There’s nothing worse than a cat-poop-smelling home, let’s be honest.

Check your dog’s diet

Make sure your pup is getting the correct amount of food so that they’re not hungry, and also that it’s properly balanced so that they’re not missing out on essential nutrients.

Our guides on puppy nutrition, raw feeding for puppies, and DIY and homemade cooking for dogs are fantastic in case you want to learn more about the different ways of feeding your dog.

Prevent boredom

If your dog is eating cat poop because they’re under-stimulated and bored, you want to make sure they’re getting the correct amount of physical exercise. Positive reinforcement training and interactive games and toys are also great ways to help to tire your dog out in a good way and stop them from going off by themselves and getting into stinky trouble at the litter tray. 

king charles spaniel looking up
Photo by Austin Kirk on Unsplash

Teach them to leave it

A ‘leave it’ cue is a really great behaviour to teach for this. It will help get your dog to stop when they go near the litter tray, hence preventing any chance of your dog eating cat poop.

Now. If you got anything from this article, please let it be that if your dog is eating cat poop, it’s a good idea to stop them from doing it through management and positive reinforcement training. Not only is it gross, but it can also pass parasites and diseases onto them which ultimately makes them ill, and off you go into another load of problems. 

It’s important first to identify why they’re eating it. You want to know if they’re just bored and doing it for fun, or if there is a nutritional deficiency making them snack on scat, so you know how to deal with it.

Rest assured, dogs eating cat or other animal poop is quite a typical behaviour. But it can also be trained away by giving them other things to do instead. Poop-eating dogs probably had a huge advantage during domestication, so it’s an instinct that is often still seen in today’s modern dogs. Overall, no need to worry about too much, but it’s worth working on! 

If your dog’s cat poop eating has suddenly peaked or you can’t seem to stop your dog from doing it, then you might want to contact your Vet for some good advice.  

If you want to learn more about your dog’s behaviour and how they communicate, check out our article on dog body language. We also have our round-up of the best puppy pads, in case you were wondering about that too. Now that you’re here, you might also want to know the best way to introduce your new puppy to your cat.  

Listen. Just download the Zigzag app today. You won’t regret it. We have much more great content for people whose dogs live with cats, as well as a step-by-step training programme, to teach you how to train your new pup. If you have questions, our team of professional dog trainers are there to help you 24 hours a day, when you need them the most.