My Dog Ate Cat Poop: Will He Be OK? (Solved & Explained!)

We all heard the expression, fight like cats and dogs. That is not always the case. Some dogs and cats are very social together and can co-exist at home and in the outdoors. Sometimes that balance is difficult to maintain. Does your dog eat cat poop?  

Dogs are scavengers. They may seek out and eat cat poop out of boredom, to release stress, or from hunger. While most cat feces can be safe to consume they are at risk to develop a range of diseases that may require veterinary treatment. 

Is your dog eating cat poop? Let’s look at some of the reasons dogs may eat cat poop, the health risks involved, and ways to discourage and prevent them from eating it in the future. 

Why do dogs eat cat poop? 

Dogs are scavengers and may eat a variety of unhealthy things they may find. Poop may be enticing to them and may smell like a treat. Dogs could seek out and eat poop and other unhealthy things out of boredom or as a way to release stress. They also just might be hungry. 

Dogs learn to eat poop at a young age. This practice is called coprophagia. Mothers will often eat the poop of newborn puppies. Puppies may eat their poop or the poop of other puppies, but this behavior usually stops at a young age and they will mature into eating dog food. 

Is it safe for a dog to eat cat poop?

Cat poop may contain all types of viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Most are unlikely to be harmful to dogs. Others can be very harmful and pose serious health risks to your pet. If your pet is not showing any symptoms after ingesting cat poop, they are most likely fine. 

Eating cat poop can cause diarrhea and vomiting in your pet. These symptoms should clear up in a day or two as they recover. If they are persistent, or your dog is showing more serious symptoms, medical assistance from a veterinarian may be necessary to get your dog feeling better. 

Eating kitty litter could also pose a health risk to your dogs. Kitty litter is not designed for consumption and may clump or swell up in the liquid. In small amounts, it should not be harmful but can cause digestion issues and blockage in large amounts in your dog when eaten.  

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Potential diseases

If your dog has recently eaten cat feces, there are a few potential health risks to be wary of. Below we will cover some diseases that can be associated with the risks of your dog consuming cat feces. 

 Worms

Tapeworms are the most common infection that can be caused by a dog consuming cat feces. The eggs of these parasites are passed into the feces of the cat. The worms must be passed through another host and not directly from the feces. 

Toxoplasma

Toxoplasma is a parasite that affects cats and is passed on in their fecal matter. Healthy dogs may show no signs of Toxoplasma. Dogs can be infected but they will not transfer it through their feces.   

Giardia

Giardia is a parasite that is passed in the feces of cats. It will cause weight loss and diarrhea in its new host. It is easily treated with antibiotics. 

Salmonella

This bacteria can be transferred between animals and humans. Some infected cats may not show any symptoms. Their feces can still hold active bacteria for days, care must be taken even with older waste droppings.  

Campylobacter

This infection usually only infects younger or immunocompromised animals. Some cats do not show symptoms but campylobacter will still be present in their stool and still has the potential to infect humans and dogs. 

E.coli

E.coli can cause diarrhea in both pets and humans. There are various strains of the bacteria and some may cause more health problems than others. 

What to do if your dog eats cat poop 

There may be no need to panic if your dog does eat cat poop. Unless they are showing signs of illness and disease, there is no cause for concern. Most cat poop, especially from indoor cats, is free from disease and parasites making it unnecessary to take your pet to the veterinarian. 

If your dog starts exhibiting symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, ensure to monitor them over the next 24 to 48 hours to guarantee they begin to recover. If they do not show improvement or if their symptoms continue to worsen, medical care with a veterinarian will be inevitable.   

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Preventing dogs from eating cat poop 

The best way to keep your dog safe and healthy is to prevent them from eating cat poop.

For indoor cats, keeping your dog away from the cat’s litter box may be essential. Changes in the routine and giving your dog more exercise can cure boredom which may cause them to eat cat poop. Changes in the frequency and amount of food may also help. 

If your dog is eating cat feces from outdoor cats in your yard or on walks, prevention may be more difficult but certainly imperative. There are many home remedies and commercial products available to deter stray and outdoor cats from frequenting your yard. 

While on walks, be observant of the cat feces and carry treats to help distract your dog from them. It will be helpful to teach them the “Leave It” command. The leave it command will train your dog to leave anything you command them to which can prevent them from eating any unwanted object.

Conclusion

Dogs are scavengers and may seek out and eat unhealthy objects. The ingestion of cat poop may not be serious or it may cause them harm or illness. Care must be taken to avoid your dogs from eating cat feces and understand the risks associated with it. 

If they do seek out and eat cat poop they must be taken to the veterinarian if they show signs of serious illness or are exhibiting symptoms for more than a few days. 

The best and easiest way to keep our dogs safe is prevention and keeping them from eating feces at home, in the yard, or outdoors. Happy Pets!