Dogs And Cat Litter, Is There Any Risk Involved?

cat litter box and our pet coco

As responsible pet owners, we sometimes wonder if by any chance can cat litter hurt dogs?

I made it this week’s goal to explore the safety concerns surrounding cat litter and dogs, and to shed some light on the safety concerns surrounding it.

Cat litter can potentially harm dogs in some cases, although the harm depends on various factors. It all has to do with the type of cat litter and the quantity ingested by the dog. We don’t recommend allowing your dog to make a habit on ingesting cat litter on a daily basis

dog checking out cat litter
Dogs are curious about cat litter
Cat litter comes in various forms, each having it’s own composition. The most common ones found are clay, silica gel and plant-based or biodegradable litter.

It may contain chemicals and fragrances, dyes, and other types of agents that help to mask the odors, or aid by colouring the cat litter. It’s important to note that not every brand contains these additives and you should check the label to see what you have in your home.

Some of the common risks that we found are in the clay-based litter types that are expanding when ingested, leading to intestine blocking or obstructions. Silica gel litter can also be a problem if ingested in large quantities as it can irritate the stomach.

What to Do if Your Dog is Exposed to Cat Litter:

If your dog becomes sick due to cat litter, it’s important to take prompt actions and reduce potential harm. This is what we recommend

If your dog ingests cat litter it’s crucial act very quick. Monitor his behaviour for the next hours and check for any signs of distress or discomfort. Contact your veterinarian and explain to him what type of litter was ingested and the amount you think it was ingested

If your dog was exposed to cat litter dust and shows signs of distress you should move him to a well-ventilated area with clean air to reduce further exposure

If your dog has any paw irritation you should try to clean the affected area with mild, pet-safe cleansers or plain water.

It is always essential to consult with a veterinarian as you can tell them the type of litter you have at home and what it contains. They will be able to provide accurate guidance, and diagnose any potential issues.

How To Prevent Cat Litter From Hurting Your Dog

When it comes to cat litter and dogs, prevention is key. By following our recommended steps, you can reduce the risk of harm to your dog.

  • Choose a dog-friendly cat litter: You can opt for cat litters that are specifically labeled as safe for dogs. They are made from natural, non-toxic materials without added fragrances or chemicals.
  • Litter box management: If you maintain a good practice of regularly cleaning and scooping the litter box, you can reduce the chances of your dog being exposed to soiled litter or waste.
  • Litter box placement: You can always try to place the litter box in an area that is not easily accessible to your dog. If it’s not in the way of his living and eating area there are less chances of him interacting with it.
  • Proper ventilation: Ensuring that there is proper ventilation around the litter box reduces the chances for you dog to get exposed to dust from the litter. Consider placing the litter box in a well-ventilated area, as this will help to dissipate any dust particles
  • Homemade cat litter: We recommend to try a homemade cat litter that is safe for dogs as we have a guide on it. It’s made from old newspapers and it won’t possess any danger to your dog

By following our safety tips you can minimize the potential harm that cat litter may pose to your dog. Remember that it’s essential to stay vigilant and and regularly scoop the litter box.

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Eating Cat Litter?

If your dog has developed the habit of eating cat litter, it’s important to address the behavior very fast in order to insure your dog’s safety.

  • Train the “LEAVE IT” command: Teach your dog the “LEAVE IT” command, which instructs them to ignore and move away from any item that they might want to eat. You should practice this command consistently and reward him with treats or praise when acting correctly
  • Use a covered litter box: This might be the easiest option as it can restrict his access to the litter box. The cover will act as a deterrent and with no direct access your dog won’t like the hassle for reaching the litter. It may also give you more time to act on it as well.
  • Consult a dog trainer: If the behavior persists or becomes a serious concern, you can seek guidance from a professional dog trainer as they can provied personalized strategies
Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams (DVM) graduated from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for animals to their writing. With years of experience working closely with pets and their owners, she has developed a deep understanding of their needs and behaviour.

1 Comment
  1. Charlee: “See, Bean? That’s why Mama and Dada say, no cat box crunchies for you!”
    Java Bean: “But I don’t want to eat the litter, just the buried treasures.”

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