Keeping a Dog out of Your Cats Litter Box

If you have a dog and cat you may have noticed that your dog is drawn to your cat’s litter box and likes snacking on your cat’s feces.  This is because cat food contains more meat content than dog food. This results in the cat’s poop smelling appealing to dogs who will scavenge for food. As such a cat’s litter box may be seen as a buffet to a dog.

Here are some ways to keep your dog out of your cat’s litter box.

©Tabby cat

©Tabby cat

Where to Put the Litter Box

Dogs are more social than cats, they prefer to be in the part of the house where the people are. In homes with unfinished basements a cat litter box is easily kept in an out of the way place that a dog would never encounter.

Furthermore by raising the litter box off the ground it may be out of reach for a dog. Where cats can jump onto an old table to use their litter box, a dog would not get up there.

Putting the litter box in a room that the dog does not have access to but the cat can enter, such as a room that can be blocked off with a baby gate the cat can jump over.

What Type of Litter Box to Use

There are few litter boxes that are totally inaccessible to all dogs. Small dog breeds can get into anything, but for some dogs a litter box with a lid is enough to keep them out. Self cleaning litter boxes also remove the feces; ideally before the dog can get to it..

-Keep the Litter Box Clean-

Regular cleaning of the litter box means there is less stuff in it for the dog to find and eat. Better cat food also means fewer feces, however better cat food uses more meat so the few feces that are in the box may smell yummier to the dog.

-Treating the Feces-

A dog can be put off eating cat feces by taking the time to put Tabasco sauce on the poop and allowing the dog to eat them a few times. Eventually he, or she, will learn that the cat feces are not so yummy after all and will forget about eating them.

-Improve your Dog’s Food-

Many commercial dog foods meet only the minimum standards in pet nutrition, leaving the dog feeling like it is missing something. In this case the dog is craving more meat. Note that dogs eat their own poop for different reasons, of which can be read about by clicking this link on Coprophagia. However eating cat poop is a scavenger behavior as dog is just looking more yummy smelling food. A dog’s food should not contain corn as a first ingredient, but rather should have a good meat source. Note also that by-products are not a meat source.  A change in diet might not correct the dog who has already learned that there are treats in the litter box, but if the dog is started on a good food it can help prevent this type of problem.

Feeding the dog twice a day, rather than once, might also help, but in general canines are natural scavengers so to them any snack they find is still a bonus.

-Training the Cat to use the Toilet-

Cats can actually be trained to use a human toilet. This is a slow process but eliminates the need for a litter box altogether.

Other Reading

Why is my Cat Not Using its Litter Box?

Tips for Reducing Odor from the Litter Box

Originally published September 5, 2009 at