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Dogs are sweet and fun pets, but sometimes they do things that you would really rather they didn’t. If you also have a cat, taking a “snack” out of the litter pan is near the top of the list. Of course, you can’t get rid of your cat’s litter, so you may be wondering how to keep the dog out of the litter box.
One theory is that they will get into the cat’s litter box because it smells like cat food and cat food can be a delicacy for dogs. Dog-proofing your kitty’s litter box is really all you need to do in order to keep your pup away from what’s inside.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to keep your dog away from the cat box. We have put together some great, easy-to-use methods that you can try to stop the kitty litter buffet.
Why do dogs eat cat poop from the litter box?
Dogs eat cat poop because it probably smells like cat food to them and the scent of cat food is enticing to them.
Additionally, eating cat poop can be the result of a dietary deficiency, but in most cases, it’s just plain old investigation.
Dogs are considered to be natural scavengers. When you find them looking for poop inside your cat’s litter box, they are only doing what their instincts are telling them to do.
Is your dog hungry or stressed?
When your dog is hungry or stressed, it may go to the cat’s litter box. To avoid this problem, try feeding them a high protein diet. Higher protein diets will keep them satisfied for most of the day and possibly block any urge to visit the cat’s box.
Is your dog bored?
Another reason why your dog eats cat poop is that the dog gets bored. It is one way of seeking your attention. When they don’t think you’re giving them enough attention, they might do anything they can, including gross things such as eating cat poop, to attract your attention.
Cat poop is high in protein
It seems that cat poop is irresistible to some dogs, but why? Cats eat food that contains a high protein level and because of this, their poop will most likely have a lot of protein as well.
Can eating cat poop make a dog sick?
A dog might become ill from eating cat poop if the cat is suffering from internal parasites or worms. Cat feces can contain bacteria, hookworms, and whipworms that are passed in their feces. If a dog eats parasite or worm-infected cat feces, the worms could be passed on to the dog.
While litter itself isn’t toxic, cat litter may also get stuck in the dog’s gut if they swallow it and cause irritation and inflammation. If you use clumping cat litter, that could form a mass that could cause a blockage. If your dog swallows cat litter, call the veterinarian for advice.
How to keep your dog out of the cat’s litter box
If you’re having a hard time keeping dogs out of the cat litter box, some of these tips should help you solve the problem.
Keep the litter box clean at all times
When the litter box isn’t cleaned regularly it can become of more interest to your dog. Make sure you scoop the waste at least every day.
If you cannot keep up with scooping the litter from the cat box often, you can consider buying an automatic litter box. A self-cleaning litter box will clean the litter automatically after your cat finishes its business without any work from you.
Install a cat door
Set up your cat litter box in a room with a door and put an indoor cat door so the dog can’t get in. If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, using a cat door will also help keep the dog from looking for little “treasures”.
Put the litter box up on an elevated surface
While your cat can easily climb up to an elevated surface, your dog doesn’t have the same ability. Putting the litter box up in a high place will allow your cat to access it easily, but don’t put it so high that it’s difficult to clean it.
Try a dog-proof cat litter box
There are several dog-proof litter boxes available that will keep your dog out. They have small openings that allow a cat to get through, but medium and large sized dogs won’t be able to fit their head through. If you have a small dog, you might have to find another solution.
Do some shopping around to find one that will work best for you. below are some highly rates ones.
Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter box
Review: Your kitty will be enclosed from all sides, offering privacy. The Booda Dome Litter Box allows your cat to easily crawl in and out with minimal tracking so you don’t have messes everywhere. It also contains a charcoal filter that absorbs odor to keep it smelling fresh in any room of the house.
This large kitty litter box is great for cats of all sizes and features grooved steps that easily remove stray litter from your cat’s paws. The entranceway provides easy access for cats but it will keep most dogs out.
Iris Top Entry Cat Litter Box
Review: The Iris Top Entry Litter Box has an entry design that prevents litter from scattering while allowing for easy entry and exit for the cat. The grooved lid on the top helps remove any litter that remains on the cat’s paws to minimize tracking.
While the top entrance is large enough for cats, dogs won’t be able to fit. A top entry litter box is a good option if you have a small dog that would fit in other “dog-proof” litter boxes.
It also comes with a scoop for cleaning the box.
PetSafe Scoopfree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box System
Review: If you want to be sure the litter box is cleaned out right away or are just plain tired of scooping out the box, this litter box system is for you. The litter gets “raked” into a waste tray soon after your cat leaves the box.
In addition to cleaning automatically, the Scoopfree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box also connects to WIFI and comes with a mobile app for easy control even when you’re not at home. The app will also give you notifications regarding your cat’s usage and reminders to change the litter tray. Easy!
Automatic litter boxes make it so there aren’t any odors or cat waste piling up in the box. All you’ll have to empty the waste tray and top off the kitty litter.
Train your dog to stay away from the litter box
Training your dog not to raid the cat’s litter box is one of the most effective ways to keep him out. The goal here is to distract your dog from the litter box with treats and positive reinforcement. This method will take some time, but with patience you should see success.
Here are some training tips:
- Hold a treat in your hand and tell your dog “Leave it!” while letting him sniff it before closing your fingers. The dog will then know that there are treats in your hand.
- While the dog is distracted from going in the litter box, show them how happy you are.
- Keep the first treat inside your closed fist and give them a different treat.
- Repeat until your dog understands that they will get the first treat if they obey the ‘leave it’ command.
Use baby gates
Baby gates can be effective at keeping the dogs away. The cat can easily squeeze through the openings of the baby gate, but the dog can’t.
Another option is to raise the baby gate a few inches from the ground for the cat to crawl under. If you have a dog the same size as your cat, you can place a chair or some other object next to the gate for your cat to jump on to get over the gate easier.
Baby gates come in different sizes with different features. Below are some popular options that will be a great choice for keeping your dog away from the box.
Carlson Extra Wide Walkthrough Pet Gate
Pros: It’s wide and includes a small pet door.
Review: The Carlson Extra Wide Pet Gate is wide enough to fit in just about any doorway. It’s lightweight and easily expands. It also has a small pet door that allows your cat to walk through while keeping the dog contained.
Con: Small puppies may be able to fit through the gate so you might have to wait or find a creative way of using it until the puppy gets bigger.
BalanceFrom Easy Walkthrough Safety Gate
Pros: Lightweight and versatile
Review: The BalanceFrom Walkthrough Safety Gate is lightweight, weighing only 15 pounds. Your cat can pass through the gate while medium and large dogs won’t be able to.
This baby gate has an auto-close feature that closes the gate behind you, which is perfect for containing animals. It’s also sturdy and easy to install and has the added bonus of being childproof as well.
Con: A small dog or puppy wouldn’t be able to pass through the gate. It will keep medium and large dogs from passing. Most puppies will grow big enough to use this gate, but if you have a small dog, you may have to consider a different gate.
While it’s important to clean the cat litter box regularly, it’s also crucial to take steps to keep your dog from getting into it. Placing the litter box in a location where your dog can’t get to it is the easiest way to go, but not everyone has a lot of extra space to do that.
If you can’t keep the dog separated from the cat box, try training your dog and using a dog-proof box or an automatic litter box are wonderful options. By following these tips, you can help keep both of your cats and dogs healthy and happy.