Here’s an email I received recently about a Golden who has developed a
fondness for “cat treats” (AKA dog eats cat poop). This problem is quite common
and can be solved like almost everything else: using Prevention,
Management and Training. So if your dog has started snacking at the
kitty cat buffet, read on.
Our Dog Eats Cat Poop
I have an 11 yr. old Golden Ret. that we adopted about a yr. & a half
ago. We think he didn’t have the best life before us………..harsh
training methods. But, he’s gotten better since we’ve been using the
gentle methods. However, we have one major issue that we don’t know
how to compassionately solve. He raids the kitty litter boxes & eats the
fecal contents. He’s the most stealthy dog we have ever owned (he’s
our 6th Golden), so it’s almost impossible to watch over him all the
time. He just moves without a sound.
Do you have any real world solutions to this problem? My wife & I are at
odds about how to fix this. I know there has to be a compassionate way,
but she’s not so sure. HELP!!!
Thanks for writing. If it’s any consolation, you are not the first
person to write to say their dog eats cat poop.
No one thing works for every dog but here are some suggestions that
we’ve found successful over the years. Basically, as with everything
else, it all comes down to two things: prevention and training. That
being said, make sure you’re feeding your dog a high-quality dog food.
That means no artificial flavors/colors, no meat by-products, no sugar,
corn or wheat. Meat should be the first 2 ingredients on the label.
Consider adding a high-quality supplement to your dog’s food.
Sometimes kitty treat sneaking is a sign of nutritional deficiency.
BTW, unless your cat is carrying a disease or parasites like giardia,
cat poop shouldn’t harm your dog. But, ewwwww!
- If you don’t have one already, get a covered cat box and place it turned
entrance-side into a tight corner. Cats can manage the squeeze, but the
larger-sized dog can’t.
- You can place the box in a room with a baby gate on the door. They make
gates now with a small cat-only entrance — most large dogs can’t fit
- Consider placing the cat box in a closet. You can even put a small-dog
doggie door on the closet to keep Fido out. Or you can simply firmly
prop the door open just 2-3 inches. They also make in-cabinet litter
boxes now. I believe they may sell them on Skymall.
- Place the litter tray where the cats can jump to get up on it, but the
- Get one of those automatic machines that cleans itself.
Teach “leave it” and boundary training.
Teach your dog that the kitty litter room is off limits. Or, if you want
to get fancy, do this: first, get a 1″ or more diameter white rope,
wrap red or blue or purple plastic tape around it like a candy cane,
place it on the ground and teach your dog to never cross the rope. Then
place the rope in front of and/or around the kitty box. Reliability
usually takes about a month to kick in. More time depending on training
skills and consistency. A professional trainer can evaluate your
particular situation and come up with some other ideas as well as show
you how to implement the above suggestions. Avoid using punishment or
any aversive training methods, of course.
As for him moving about without making a sound, if that’s all it will
take to solve the problem, hang a light-weight Christmas bell on his
collar. Or, hook up a motion detector across the doorway that leads to
the litter box. Install it at his shoulder level so the alarm only goes
off when he gets close but the smaller cats won’t set it off.
Hope this helps. Keep me posted!!