6 Tips to Keep Your Dog Out of the Cat's Litter Box

Author: Dr. Jason Nicholas

Published: July 24, 2015

Updated: July 11, 2022

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dog and cat lying in bathroom

Keeping 'Kitty Roca' Off the Menu

If you’ve got cats and dogs you’ve likely fought the battle to keep your dogs from “helping” you keep the cat’s litter boxes clean — yes? Perhaps you’re still fighting the battle? Maybe you’ve given up?

Take heart though intrepid warrior, all hope is not lost. There can be ways to win this war — and, in the process, minimize your cat’s (and likely your) stress, as well as your dog’s digestive upset.

Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Poop?

No one knows for sure. It's most likely because it tastes like cat food. And anyone who's had a dog knows that most dogs will eat anything given the opportunity!

dog too interested in cat poop in litter box

Is Cat Poop Dangerous For Dogs?

It certainly can be! Not only can eating cat poop cause digestive upset for dogs, but it can also be a source of transmission for intestinal and other parasites. Ouch and yuk!

Watch Out For These Signs If You Suspect Your Dog May Have Eaten Cat Poop

  • Lack of appetite
  • Painful abdomen
  • Decreased energy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • And then, of course, bad breath and cat litter between their teeth

6 Tips To Help You Keep Your Dog Out of the Litter Box

  • Put the litter box in a room behind a baby gate. If you’ve got a large dog, elevate the baby gate a few inches off the ground — high enough that your cat can shimmy under, but your dog will be left looking in. If your dog is as small as your cat, then lower the gate to the ground and try putting a cat climbing tree on either side of the gate — this will give your cat an easy path to the box while your dog can just sit and admire your cat’s nimbleness.Cat litter is a tasty treat for dogs

  • Use a gate hook and eye or another set-up to prop your basement, bathroom, or closet door open wide enough to allow your cat to pass in and out while keeping your dog out. (*Won’t work if your dog is the same size as your cat.)

  • Install a cat door (such as the Cathole or microchip door) into your basement, bathroom, or closet door. If your dog would be small enough to pass through it too, consider installing one that has a magnetic lock flap that your cat’s collar would open.

  • Put a litter box behind a couch, blocking off your dog’s access with a strategically placed baby gate or another piece of furniture.

  • Put the litter boxes up on a laundry table or countertop that your dog can’t reach. Just be certain that your cat can easily and comfortably reach the boxes — especially older cats who may be suffering from arthritis or other painful conditions (often “in silence”).

  • Try some of these great DIY ideas to hide your cat’s box(es). Just be aware though that some cats may prefer uncovered litter boxes, and that preference will be even stronger if each time they try to exit the covered box they’re greeted by your dog’s smiling face. You can minimize the likelihood of this happening by making several entrances and exits for your cat to choose from.


It’s a noble quest you’re on! The stress of sharing their litter boxes with the slobbery canine residents of the household can cause your cats enough stress to bring on urinary problems. And the frequent litter box raiding will almost certainly cause your dog digestive upset for them, as well as a very unpleasant feeling you’ll get upon noticing the litter stuck between your dog’s teeth only after they've licked your face!

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About the author

Profile picture for Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Nicholas graduated with honors from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England and completed his Internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Nicholas spent many years as an emergency and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping pets safe and healthy. He is the author of Preventive Vet’s 101 Essential Tips book series.

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