Dogs are known to be indiscriminate eaters by nature. They scavenge on plastic, garbage, fecal matter, etc. Ingestion of fecal matter is known as coprophagia. It’s also observed in mom dogs when cleaning up their puppies and to stimulate bowel movements.
The presence of high amounts of undigested protein and carbohydrates in cat poop makes it a choice ‘snack’ for dogs. Coprophagia is usually harmless but found to be unsanitary to dog owners. There is also the worry about the risk of dogs contracting infections and the possibility of transfer of these germs to its owner.
Why do dogs eat cat poop?
As mentioned above, dogs are naturally coprophagous and scavenge not only on the fecal matter but other things as well.
Cats are obligate carnivores in nature and therefore are unable to digest carbohydrates that are excreted through feces. This is what attracts dogs to cat poop.
Lack of a balanced diet may result in the sourcing for deficient vitamins and minerals not only in fecal matter but also soil, grass, and other vegetation.
Dogs also do this out of boredom, anxiety, stress, or hunger.
What happens when dogs eat cat poop?
Scavenging on cat poop is usually harmless in most dogs. In other instances, there is a risk of ingesting poop containing eggs of parasites that hatch in the gut leading to an infestation. Regular deworming is therefore advised.
Eating cat poop causes foul mouth odor- try using Dentastix or Greenies!
The presence of harmful bacteria such as salmonella in poop may lead to fatal infections requiring emergency veterinary care. Salmonella is transferable to humans especially to those in regular contact.
Ingesting large amounts of poop clumped up with litter may lead to intestinal obstruction and constipation. Owners should, therefore, be keen on observing their dogs bowel movements especially on those fond of this habit.
Can dogs digest cat poop?
Cat poop is majorly composed of carbohydrates. This is due to their inability to digest carbohydrates. On ingestion, they are broken down into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. Cat poop containing foreign bodies is indigestible and may cause intestinal obstruction and constipation.
Can a dog get sick from eating cat poop?
Yes, dogs can get sick from eating cat poop though in most instances it’s harmless. This usually happens when the poop contains harmful bacteria e.g. salmonella, E. coli, or parasites which lead to fatal infections and worm infestations respectively.
Coprophagia is habitual in dogs. They do so out of habit, stress, nutritional deficiency, or boredom. It also poses a risk to contract severe and acute infections e.g. salmonellosis, constipation, worm infestation, and foul mouth odor. Owners should, therefore, be keen on observing their dogs for any sign of ill health and complete regular deworming to prevent worm infestations.
Due to the risks associated with coprophagia, owners should keep litter boxes away from dogs reach or buy ones with ‘dog roofs’. The use of muzzles and putting them on a leash during walks is also effective in preventing fecal ingestion.