How to Keep Dogs Out of Litter Boxes

by Kristina de la Cal
    Cat box crunchies are irresistable to many dogs.

    Cat box crunchies are irresistable to many dogs.

    BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    If you live in a multi-pet household, your dog has probably perfected the art of swiping tasty treasures out of your cat’s litter box. For reasons unknown and incomprehensible to humans, most dogs love to munch on cat poop. Fido needs your help to break this unsanitary and disgusting habit.

    Step 1

    Location, location, location! The most effective way to keep your dog away from Kitty’s litter box is to place it in an area that will be challenging for him to reach. If you have available space, you can raise the litter box onto a counter or some other elevated space where the cat can access it but the dog cannot. If that's not an option, you can try blocking your dog’s access from below using a plastic baby gate. If you have a small dog and your cat doesn’t have mobility issues, set up the baby gate low to the ground so that Fido can’t get beyond it and Kitty can simply hop over it. If you have a big dog, you can raise the baby gate to leave a small opening underneath it that is big enough for your feline friend to crawl under but small enough to stop your big pooch from getting through. While the idea is to keep Fido out of the litter box, ensuring that Kitty can easily access it and is comfortable with the location is also a crucial part of strategic placement.

    Step 2

    Regularly remove the temptation. Since the unwanted behavior is reinforced every time Fido successfully finds a “snack” inside the litter box, scooping the litter box several times a day will significantly reduce his chances of scoring a prize. If you are unable to clean the litter box multiple times a day, consider purchasing a self-cleaning litter box. Automated litter boxes are pricier than the more traditional ones but they are a big help in keeping Kitty’s box clean and reducing Fido’s odds of reward.

    Step 3

    Use litter box designs and accessories to your advantage. Sometimes a box cover is enough to deter Fido from going litter diving. There are many styles of litter boxes that are designed specifically to discourage or stop Fido from snacking on litter treats by making it harder for him to reach inside like those with small openings on the side or at the top. Though mostly on the pricey side, there are some elaborate litter boxes that also serve as furniture and are designed to keep Fido out. Explore your options on the litter box market to see if you find one that suits your needs without breaking your budget.


    • Covered litter boxes can cause health problems for cats with asthma or allergies so check with your vet before using a covered box and avoid using dusty litter.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Kristina de la Cal is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, “Breaking up without Breaking Down," in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.

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