Exactly why do dogs eat cat poop? This is actually a very common and documented occurrence. As a matter of fact, it is so common that it has a scientific name. It is called coprophagia.
But is this something that you can stop your dog from doing?
Although it is a gross behavior, coprophagia is a very normal canine behavior. Canine mothers lick the bottoms of their puppies as a way to help them poop. Then they eat whatever poop comes out of their puppies. This is a natural way of keeping their space clean and odor free so that it does not attract predators.
Is This Normal for Puppies
Puppies are known to eat just about anything they find, and it doesn’t matter if it has nutritional value or not. The good thing is that most puppies outgrow this behavior over time. Unfortunately, there are a few that never outgrow it.
So, it should not be surprising that cat poop is attractive to some dogs. Since cats have a short digestive tract, many times their food is not thoroughly digested. This means that their poop contains plenty of undigested food. Yep, some dogs mistake it for regular food due to its taste and odor.
When Dogs Eat Cat Poop, Does This Mean They Are Malnourished?
Although coprophagia is a common behavior among some dogs, it doesn’t mean it is a healthy one. It can lead to different health problems such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus and intestinal malabsorption/maldigestion. These things can make dogs very hungry, which makes them eat all types of things that resemble food.
It is also believed that dogs with coprophagia don’t get enough nutrients in their diet. This is an interesting belief, especially if your dog is being fed a good diet. If your dog is eating cat poop, speak with a veterinarian. He can diagnose the problem and tell if there are underlying medical conditions that cause this behavior.
Can Dogs Get Sick When They Eat Cat Poop?
Quite naturally, if you’re asking the question “Why do dogs eat cat poop,” you probably want to know if your dog can get sick from it. Face it. Any type of poop could contain. bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia and campylobacter. All of these things could make your dog sick. However, not only do you have to worry about bacteria, you also have to worry about parasites. Many parasites can cross species and cause problems for your dog.
Also, don’t assume that a cat’s feces doesn’t contain bacteria and parasites when it appears to be healthy. Cats can be asymptomatic carriers and cause other animals and humans to get sick.
How to Stop Dogs from Eating Cat Poop
Just because your dog eats cat poop doesn’t mean that it will automatically get sick. Chances are you want to stop the behavior just because it’s gross. The best way to stop your dog from eating cat poop is to keep him away from it.
Put cat litter in a place where your cat can access it, but your dog cannot. Get creative and use pet doors or baby gates to shield a self-cleaning litter box. If the cat poop is in an outdoor space, then modify the space. Change sand or wood mulch to gravel so that cats are not attracted to that particular area.
Also, you could try rewarding your dog for good behavior. You may not be able to get rid of all cat poop around your home or in outdoor spaces. However, keep plenty of dog treats around and reward your dog whenever he resists the urge to eat poop. This may change his behavior for the better.