Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop and What You Can do About it?

Are you here because you’re wondering why do dogs eat cat poop?

Well, you’ve probably noticed that dogs can have some strange habits, and I’m here to talk about this one.  To be clear, dogs love to try and eat everything that they see, especially if the smell is appealing to them.

That’s why they very often like to go through garbage because they smelled some food.  Dogs are scavengers, and that’s why it’s in their nature to eat even the things that humans find disgusting. 

Dogs like to eat cat poop probably because it smells like cat food for them, and they love it. The real name of the habit of eating feces is called coprophagia, and many dogs have it.[1]


Some of them eat poop because of nutrient deficiency.  However, the majority of dogs do it because of their curiosity and scavenger nature.

Of course, there are many other reasons why your dog may be visiting your cat’s litter box too often.  While this is something that every dog does, it isn’t the safest “snack” for them.

Why? Because they risk contracting a lot of bacteria and parasites that can harm them.  Not only that, but some bacteria can also be transmitted to humans. It’s true that a dog would have to ingest a lot of cat poop before having any problems with the digestive tract.[2]

However, you should keep an eye on your pet, and help it get rid of this habit because it could potentially be harmful.

In this article, we are going to talk about this issue and offer the best solutions.

Firstly, let’s talk about the most frequent reasons that are usually the answer to “why do dogs eat cat poop” question.

Reasons why dogs eat cat food


1. It smells like cat food

As said, very often, the smell of cat poop reminds dogs of cat food. That’s why the feces are appealing to them, and they don’t mind having a snack.

Since they love the taste that cat food has, it’s not strange that the smell attracts their attention. Yes, humans find it gross, but dogs really enjoy eating cat poop. 

2. Taste

Other than the smell, your dog may also like the taste of cat poop.  Very often, the feline feces have a lot of undigested nutrients, such as protein.

This happens because the cats’ digestive tract is short, and the food can’t always be digested properly.  That’s why it still smells and tastes like cat food. 

3. Curiosity 

Cats aren’t the only animals that are very curious. The same behavior is expected from dogs, especially when they are still puppies.

This is usually noticeable when it comes to food. Puppies will try to eat anything that is a potential nutrient source, cat poop included.

While a lot of dogs outgrow this tendency, some of them continue eating cat poop even when they are older.

Boredom can be another reason why your dog needs a distraction and goes to your cat’s litter box. 

4. Lack of nutrients 

Sometimes, when dogs miss essential vitamins and nutrients in their diet, they will try to find them in cat feces.

This usually happens when your pet is missing the vitamin B.

The best thing to do in these cases is to consult the vet and change your dog’s diet. 

5. Health disorders

Some health issues may be the reason why your dog is spending too much time eating cat feces.

Disorders such as intestinal maldigestion, Cushing’s disease, or diabetes mellitus can make your dog very hungry.[3]

That’s why he/she will eat anything that reminds him/her of food. 

  • Why do dogs eat cat poop 

These five described reasons are most likely the cause of your pet eating cat poop.

Naturally, your vet will be the only one to know what’s the real reason behind this habit.

How? By examining your dog’s health and determining if it’s missing any nutrients.

Also, the vet can control if your dog has any health-related issues that may be behind the feces consumption. 

Do dogs get sick when eating cat poop?


Even though coprophagia usually isn’t dangerous, it can potentially lead to your dog having certain diseases.

The most frequent health issues that are caused by eating cat poop are intestinal parasites such as 

  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Roundworms
  • Giardia [4]

If your pet catches these parasites, he/she may suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and sometimes even drastic weight loss and anemia.

These symptoms can be very inconvenient and unpleasant for your pet.  You can keep your dog parasite-free by making sure it is on heartworm prevention every month.

However, you should still try to keep your pet away from cat poop because of other issues such as constipation.

Your dog can actually get sick and have an obstruction when eating too much cat poop. Cat litter absorbs moisture, and that’s why it can cause constipation and even make your dog dehydrated. 

If all of the above happens, be sure to consult a vet and get your dog the help that he/she needs.

How to prevent dogs from eating cat poop


When being both a cat and a dog owner, it can be challenging to stop your dog from eating cat poop.

Even though your cat may be parasite-free, it’s still not safe for your dog to digest the cat’s litter.

So, if you want to keep your dog’s health in optimal condition and constipation-free, you should try doing the following:

  • Training 

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is train your dog. This will help not only when wondering “why do dogs eat cat poop” but also with other non-wanted behavior.

If you get your dog to learn a few simple commands such as “leave it!” it could potentially save its life. How?

Well, as soon as you notice your dog chewing something suspicious, you can command him/her to stop it.

In that way, he/she won’t eat anything poisonous or harmful. 

  • Install indoor fences

If you’re looking for the solution while your dog is still training, you can try out the fences.

Those will help you separate your dog and cat, or, more precisely, cat’s litter box.

When the fence is on the way, your dog won’t be able to access the cat poop and eat it.

Make sure to bring your cat to the litter box regularly so that you can avoid accidents. 

  • Clean the litter box regularly

Make sure to keep your cat’s litter box poop-free and clean it as soon as possible.

This is the best way to avoid your dog getting into it and eating the feces.

It will also be the best way of getting rid of the nasty smell.

If you don’t spend a lot of time home, you can purchase a self-cleaning litter box that will take care of it for you.

  • Keep him/her busy


Sometimes, dogs eat cat poop just because they’re bored.  That’s why having some fun toys to keep your dog busy can be of big help.

The most efficient are the toys for chewing because they will keep your dog’s teeth occupied. Make sure you give him/her enough attention so that he/she won’t seek it by playing in the cat’s litter.

  • Make sure your dog has a balanced diet



When dogs feel the lack of certain nutrients such as proteins of vitamin B, they want to find them in cat litter.

So, if you want to avoid this, pay attention to your dog’s diet and include all the necessary nutrients.

Your dog’s balanced diet should consist of:

  • Carbohydrates (30-70%) – for energy and fibers
  • Proteins (18-25%) – for strong muscles and body tissues repair
  • Fats (10-15%) – for energy and better vitamin absorption
  • Vitaminsfor better overall health, immune system and shiny hair
  • Minerals the most important minerals to include are sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sulfur, phosphorus, chloride
  • Water for waste elimination from the body and hydration

Consult a vet

If nothing of the above helps and you suspect your dog may be having health problems, take him/her to the nearest vet.

With thorough examinations and tests, your vet will be able to determine the cause of this habit.

In this way, the vet can offer the best solutions for keeping your dog out of the cat’s litter box, healthy and with a balanced diet.

The Verdict

Answering any pet-related question is never easy and simple, including this one.  As you can see from the article, curiosity and taste preference are most likely the reasons why dogs eat cat feces.

At the end of the day, while eating cat litter is gross to us, we have to understand that our dogs actually love it. However, there’s always a possibility of something more serious.

So, if you happen to notice other signals of malnourishment or potential health issues, the best thing to do is consult a vet.

He/she will know if there’s anything to worry about.