If this is your first time owning a dog, you may be surprised when your pet begins to eat poop, particularly cat poop. Don’t freak out! The vast majority of pups do this. It’s a condition called coprophagia. It’s common but it does not mean it’s less gross and surely you’d want your pup to stop it right away.
So, why do puppies eat poop?
There are common reasons why your dog eats cat poops, and it’s not anything you should be surprised by. It could be a sign of a disease or condition such as PICA, which causes puppies to eat non-food objects. Another possibility is boredom and isolation, in which case your puppy is left alone with nothing to do but explore and play with whatever is available to him. Poop-eating can also be caused by nutrient deficiencies, in which your puppy is attempting to compensate for the lack of nutrients by eating cat poop. Playing with or eating cat poop typically draws a lot of attention from the owner, which could be why your dog is eating poop. Alternatively, if none of these explanations apply, it is possible that your puppy simply enjoys the smell of cat poop.
The majority of the time, cat poop eating is simply an exploratory behavior, however, there are other reasons why your puppy eats cat poops as mentioned above.
Let’s dive into a more detailed explanation for these reasons:
Puppies are drawn to cat poop because cat food is heavy in protein and often contains carbs, which are released in a partially digested form that can spark a dog’s interest. The awful odor of cat poop is precisely what lures dogs in and piques their interest the most. Cat poop does not smell pungent to them; instead, they recognize the odor as being similar to cat food and because dogs can’t actually differentiate animal foods, puppies think that dog food is the same with cat food and cat poop.
Symptom of an Underlying Illness
Your puppy may be eating cat poop as a result of certain illnesses that are common in dogs. If your dog’s poop-eating behavior has suddenly begun, even though your puppy is normally uninterested in cat poop, it could be a sign of an illness. In addition to PICA, an increased hunger in dogs can be a sign of Cushing’s Disease or Diabetes. It could also suggest that there might be an issue with your puppy’s intestine.
Poop-eating dogs may be seeking to supplement their diets with enzymes or vitamins. While this case is very rare, nutrient deficiency could be caused by a dietary imbalance or a medical condition such as malabsorption, intestinal disease, or an endocrine disorder. Puppies with nutrient deficiency usually need more fat, fiber, protein, and vitamin B.
Attention Seeking Behavior
It is common for dogs to enjoy eating cat poop if they are getting a lot of attention (may it be good or bad attention) from you when they do it. If your dog doesn’t feel like he’s getting the attention he deserves, he’ll likely misbehave in order to gain it, such as eating poop.
Isolation or Boredom
A puppy may eat cat poop just because he is bored. It is possible that he will use the litter box as an alternative form of entertainment if he does not have enough toys to keep himself engaged. Puppies love to explore and the cat’s litter box is no exception, especially if they find treasure (in this case, cat poop) waiting inside.
Your puppy’s cat poop eating behavior is a disgusting and terrible habit but one that can be stopped whatever the underlying cause may be. Continue reading to learn how to break your dog’s cat poop-eating habit, as well as other frequently asked questions.
How to Stop Your Puppy from Eating Cat Poop?
Consult Your Veterinarian
It’s best to rule out any medical condition, if there is any, immediately. If the problem is a nutrient deficiency, finding out which nutrients your dog is lacking in will help tremendously. A visit to the veterinarian is required if you feel an intestinal problem is to blame for your dog’s newest interest. This is something that your veterinarian can look into for you and let you know how to go from there.
Consult your veterinarian about modifying your puppy’s diet. Investing in better food is a great option. This will ensure that your dog gets all of the nutrients he requires from his food and will not resort to eating cat poop to supplement his diet.
Make Your Cat’s Poop Unappealing
Making your cat’s poop undesirable to your puppy is probably the simplest method of preventing your pup from eating it. Adding pumpkin to your cat’s food can make the texture of your cat’s poop less appealing to your dog . However, if you don’t want to change what your cat eats, you might try putting hot sauce or cayenne pepper in the litter box.
Teach Your Dog the Command “Leave It”
When you see your dog approaching the cat litter box, firmly say, “Leave It,” and then remove them from the area. If you can keep an eye on your dog when they’re sneaking away for a “reward,” this is the most successful method.
You can also use a water sprayer whenever they try to go near the litter box. Over time, your dog will learn that there’s nothing in the litter box for them to eat, so they’ll stop trying to find poop eventually.
Make the Litter Box Inaccessible
Simply placing your cat’s litter box in an area where your dog will not be able to get it works. A room where your dog is not allowed to enter but where your cat can enter could be an example of this. If that doesn’t work, a baby gate for your puppy can perform wonders in keeping your dog contained to a specific area of your home away from your cat’s litter.
Make it a priority to clean your cat’s litter box more frequently. As soon as you detect that your cat has pooped in their litter box, scoop your cat’s poop immediately. Over time, your dog will learn that there’s nothing in the litter box for them to eat, so they’ll stop trying to find poop eventually.
Avoid Resorting to Punishment
Punishment may temporarily stop the behavior, but it may also harm your relationship with your dog and may even make the problem worse in the long run. Positive reinforcement should be used instead of punishing or disciplining your dog. To keep your dog from eating cat poop, try rewarding him with treats or appreciation when he doesn’t search through the litter.
Play With Your Dog
If your dog is digging in the litter box because he is bored, you should play with your puppy more. Toss some toys around the yard with your dog if you have one, and play a game of fetch with him. Play tug-of-war or go to the park more often if your dog prefers that over playing at home. Playing with your pet will relieve their stress and prevent them from misbehaving to pass the time.
Is Cat Poop Harmful to Puppies?
Eating cat poop isn’t necessarily harmful to puppies. Despite the fact that it is not the best thing for them to consume, non-contaminated cat poop is not that bad, except that it will cause your puppy to have terrible breath. However, if a substantial amount of cat poop is consumed, it may result in constipation and/or obstruction of the intestinal system.
Eating contaminated cat poop, on the other hand, increases the chances that your dog can get harmful parasites or bacteria that are present in cat poops. Toxoplasma, worms, giardia, salmonella, Campylobacter, and E.coli are some of the most common diseases from cat poop. Puppies are more prone to contract infectious diseases from cat poops than adult dogs.
Did You Know…
- Female dogs were shown to be more likely to eat cat’s poop, whereas male canines that had not been neutered were found to be the least likely to eat cat poop.
- Multi-dog families are more likely to have coprophagia.
- Cat poops do not cause parvovirus in dogs. Parvovirus is a species-specific virus which means dogs can only obtain parvovirus from other dogs or dog poops since. Cats, on the other hand, have their own infectious parvovirus, known as panleukopenia virus (or feline infectious enteritis), which is solely contagious among cats.