Help veterinary clients put an end to dogs eating from the litter box

Offer these tips to your veterinary clients to keep their canine companions from eating their feline friend’s feces.
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Apr 08, 2013

Dogs getting into the liter box can be a problem for your practice’s clients. No one is consistently there to offer a correction, unless someone wants to stand guard 24/7.

Aside from being disgusting, remind your clients that this habit can cause problems. For starters, a dog’s housetraining may be thrown off. In multi-dog homes, there may actually be fights for the feces, and ingesting cat litter may cause serious intestinal issues.

Many cats don’t welcome the intrusion of privacy with open paws. A smelly dog messing up the pristine litter box is offensive. Some dogs will lie in wait, which may be intimidating to some cats, motivating them to go elsewhere—even if that happens sneaking off to do “business” in a less traveled place, perhaps on the carpet.

To help keep your clients’ pets healthy and happy, share these tips to keep dogs out of the litter box:

Baby gates: Baby gates with an opening (often called a cat flap), large enough for an average cat to walk through, but too small for a dog. One tip, the larger the opening the better, since many cats grow a little around their middles as they age.

Open-door policy: Cut a cat hole through a door, or if you’d rather not do it yourself, purchase a door with an opening made specifically for cats to walk through. One of those options is available at cathole.com. Some doors will open for the kitty wearing an electronic collar.

Up and over: Position a step stool in front of a baby gate so the cat can easily climb up and then jump down. The step stool must be sturdy or the cat is less likely to use it. Since arthritis is under-diagnosed in cats, if it hurts to climb up and over as the cat ages, it’s less likely to be used. Word of warning: dogs can be darn good observational learners, some dogs can nudge the step stool out of the way or small dogs can learn to make the leap themselves.

Elevated toilet: Place the litter boxes on step stools or tables, which can easily be accessed. Warning, if it topples over as your cat is scratching in the box, there’s no way that frightened feline is going to use the box again. Easy access is key, if hurting later in life due to creaky bones or if the cat is overweight and no longer so nimble, the elevated boxes may take to much effort to use.

Toilet training: There are a myriad of training contraptions available to teach cats to go on the toilet. Dogs are absolutely uninterested in the snack. Also, what comes out the other end is a window for owners to learn about their cat’s health. For example, if there’s blood in the urine or stool, or stool consistency.

Puzzle this: The litter box itself might be a puzzle, something even the most industrious dog can’t get to. The litter house is designed so cats can get in, but not dogs. The sole problem with this idea is that no one asked the cat first, and it’s possible that for some cats this box may not be appealing.

It’s likely one of these methods will work, but you might be creating trouble in paradise—you’ve taken away a great canine pleasure. There are alternative (and healthier) options at catlogsfordogs.com where clients can purchase dog treats that actually look like the exact specimen a cat leaves behind.