Just like their feline counterparts, our canine companions now have the option of eliminating in a litter box, reducing the need to take them out for multiple potty breaks throughout the day. Better yet, advances in technology have led to the creation of several versions of automatic doggie litter boxes that practically clean themselves, making life easier for both you and your pooch.
Doggie Litter Boxes
Unlike cat litter boxes filled with litter, dog litter boxes typically consist of a smooth or grass-like surface that Fido can eliminate on. This surface has small holes in it and sits over a collection tank. When your pup urinates on the potty surface of the box, it drains into the tank, while the feces sits on the surface until you collect it. Some automatic litter boxes, however, clean away both urine and feces from the surface of the box, leaving Fido with a constantly clean potty spot.
Indoor Automatic Litter Box
Indoor automatic litter boxes offer you the convenience of giving Fido a potty spot inside so you don't need to let him out to eliminate. One model consists of a smooth surface made up of a series of slats over a collection area. When Fido does his business, sensors in the box start a timer; after a few minutes, the timer triggers the slats to open, allowing feces and any residual urine from the surface to enter the collection tank below. This leaves a clean surface above, but does require that you empty the collection tank daily.
Outdoor Automatic Litter Box
Outdoor automatic litter boxes give Fido a potty area right on your porch, which is easy to access and prevents damage to your lawn. One such litter box consists of a grassy surface over a drainage hose, with two sprinklers on top that connect to your garden spigot. After Fido does his business, his urine drains out into your yard through the hose. The set of sprinklers, on a timer, regularly turn on to clean the surface of the grassy top. Unfortunately, you must manually collect Fido's feces.
Self-Washing Litter Box
Some automatic dog litter boxes are completely self-cleaning and consist of a conveyor-belt type surface that hooks up to your plumbing or has a holding tank for fresh water. Once Fido eliminates on the smooth or grass-like surface of the litter box, sensors in it start a timer. After a few minutes, the conveyor belt rotates, while a sprinkler-like system washes its surface with water. Urine, feces and waste water is deposited into a tank that you empty daily or which drains into your sewage system. Lower-tech models connect to your drain and you wash them out with an attached sprayer.
Automatic dog litter boxes can save you time and trouble, especially if you live in a high-rise building. These boxes give your pooch a spot to potty even when you aren't available to walk him, which is especially important for elderly dogs, young puppies and small dog breeds, according to the Pedigree website. Keep in mind, though, that unlike low-tech litter boxes, some automatic litter boxes may cost up to $800 or more, making them a sizable investment.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.