Is there a deeper meaning to the phenomenon of dogs eating cat feces?
Your dog bounds over, tail wagging wildly and salivating at the prospect of doting on it. It's not until you find a few litter crumbs embedded in your dog's cheek that you realize what's happened. Once again, your dog has been rummaging through the litter box. It's disgusting, right
Even though it's gross to us, most dogs will snack on some cat poop at some point in their lives. What you should do if you find your dog eating cat poop, and why dogs engage in the practice of coprophagy in the first place, is discussed in detail below.
Canine Devotion to Cat Feces: Is It Common?
When a dog is young, it may be physiologically necessary for him to eat his own feces.
Mother dogs ingest the feces from their puppies as they lick them to keep them clean. Dog puppies don't have any gut bacteria when they're born, but that's a problem because dogs need bacteria in order to digest their food. Eating feces from animals already infected with the bacteria is the quickest way to acquire them. It's also not as revolting to dogs as it is to humans because they learn to eat feces from their mothers when she cleans them.
But what does this mean for an adult dog that is caught scavenging the litter box?
Canine Cannibalism: Why Dogs Eat Cat S**t
Why dogs eat feces can be broken down into two groups: While behavioral factors are implicated in the vast majority of cases, medical causes also play a role.
Unfortunately, feces consumption becomes routine for many dogs, if not most. Indeed, it appears that some canines enjoy the taste. It's not easy to break the habit of doing this. As long as your dog is able to get to the "prize" (a soiled litter box), he or she will be encouraged to try again in the future. Dogs are attracted to the litter box even though they know they shouldn't use it, much like humans are drawn to the bag of potato chips despite knowing they aren't a healthy snack.
Puppies often resort to feces eating out of boredom. To them, the litter pan is just another place to explore with their mouths, and if there's a treat hidden in there, they'll keep going back. Coprophagia is less common in dogs that are socialized at a young age, given plenty of opportunities to play, and given plenty of opportunities to exercise and run around with their families.
Some dogs, surprisingly, start eating feces after they have an accident inside the house. Some dogs will try to eat the evidence of an accident rather than face punishment from their owners if they have previously been disciplined (even verbally). This is just one more reason why you should never punish your dog for having accidents when potty training. If they discover that feces has a pleasant flavor, the problem may soon spread to the litter box.
Finally, some stressed-out canines will resort to eating their own feces. Like humans with their favorite foods, stressed-out dogs often revert to the activities they enjoyed as young pups. That could mean coprophagy for some dogs.
For Health Related Reasons
The medical causes for dogs eating cat poop are less common, but they are still diagnosed on a regular basis.
When a dog's diet falls short of providing all the nutrients it needs, malnutrition is often to blame. Dogs fed a homemade diet or one that has not been AAFCO-certified to meet all of the nutritional needs of that animal (this information can be found on the label) are the most common examples we see of this.
Intestinal parasites, malabsorption, and endocrine or hormonal disruptions are also possible causes. Senior dogs that all of a sudden start doing it may be experiencing cognitive impairment.
If your vet determines that your dog's coprophagy has a medical basis, you will be able to treat the underlying condition and avoid any further complications. The treatment has the potential to reduce or eliminate the urge to eat feces.
If a dog eats cat poop or cat litter, will it get sick?
Dogs that ingest the waste of another animal present some unique health risks.
To begin with, if the other animal has any parasites or bacteria like E. coli, In the event that your dog comes into contact with E. coli or Salmonella, they could become ill.
One aspect that is often overlooked is the potential impact on the dog if the cat is on medication and the dog eats the cat's feces.
Then there's the obvious fact that your dog's saliva and kisses can transfer any pathogens they ingest to your kids and spouse. You should avoid kissing your dog if it has a history of litter box rummaging and always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
A Guide to Keeping Your Dog Away From Cat Poo
If you're trying to break this habit, you should prepare to be patient and open to trying a variety of strategies.
Adopt More Upbeat Methods of Training
The most important thing is that you should not punish your dog for using the cat box. If your dog eats feces as a stress response, this can make the problem much worse. The use of punishment is unnecessary if one is serious about kicking the habit. You should consult your veterinarian about finding a dog trainer who uses only effective methods of training if you have done this before.
The Litter Box Must Be Cleaned Regularly
Cleaning the litter box frequently, ideally after every use, is an effective but time-consuming method. There are self-cleaning litter boxes available, but you should know that some cats are afraid of them. If you want your cat to adjust to the new box, it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions and leave both the old and new boxes out for a while.
Maintain Your Dog's Mental and Physical Health Through Exercise
Increasing your dog's playtime, exercise, and attention around the house can also help, especially if the behavior was learned out of boredom. Playing outside a lot will tire your dog out, which will make him less interested in exploring the house for treats in the litter box.
Think About Your Dog's Diet and Eating Pace
Give your dog a healthy, well-rounded diet. It's important to discuss the dog's diet with your vet and get their input. To aid digestion and lessen the urge to eat feces, slowing your dog's eating pace (by, for example, using a treat ball to dispense food) can be helpful.
Experiment with Pharmaceutics, Dietary Aids, and Food Additives
You can try giving your dog a supplement, medication, or food additive that alters the taste of feces to discourage him from eating it. Always consult your vet before using any medication, and only do so if all other treatment options have failed.
Please remember that the pet whose feces are being consumed must be given the food supplement, not the eater. ) As a result, caring for your cat becomes an issue, which can be a tall order.
As a very last resort, you could try a basket muzzle.
In extreme cases, basket muzzles can be very effective in preventing dogs from picking up items like feces. These muzzles don't prevent the dog from eating, drinking, or panting, though.
Fortunately, most canine offenders can be trained to stop eating cat poop with time and effort. Unfortunately, it's just as challenging for them as it is for us to resist food cravings and adopt healthier snacking routines. Because of this, it's crucial to be consistent and forgiving when retraining your dog.
Image courtesy of iStock com/schulzie
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