By Mel Brown
With a strong-willed and determined dog, it can be challenging to get them to play by the rules of the house. You can try tricks for training and they can very well work, but what should you do if they consistently break the cardinal rule? Stay out of the cat litter!
When having a dog and cat under the same roof, it is normal for the two to get into mischief together. But what do you do when your dog is nose deep in a dirty bed of litter and tracking the mess all over the house?
Don’t feel hopeless, I’m going to share with you our 8 tips on preventing your dog from getting into the litter box.
- Install A Pet Gate
If your cat is like mine and has to venture to a designated room to use the litter box, then there is a simple solution to keeping your pup out of that area. You can install a gate in the doorway that is accessible for your cat but a barricade for your dog. This will deny your dog access to your cat’s bathroom space and prevent them from getting into any messes left in the litter box.
- Disguise The Litter Box
This is one of the more crafty tips on this list, but nevertheless smart and effective! Place your litter box in a regular large storage bin, cut a hole for your cat’s access, and place the lid on top. Your dog will have no clue where the litter is because it just looks like a plain old bin and the odor is better is much more concealed with a lid on top.
There are many more ways to disguise your litter box such as making it look like a cupboard or chest which are not only visually pleasing but effective too.
If you are having trouble keeping your dog from messing with your cat’s litter this may be a solution for you and a relief for your kitty.
- Clean The Litter Frequently
I know it can be a pain to frequently maintain the litter box in your home, but it is extremely helpful to remove waste quickly if you have worries that your dog may get to it. If you take the action to clean your cat’s litter box frequently then you are eliminating the desire for your dog to mess with it.
This can be even less of a task with the help of automatic litter boxes that will clean up the waste for you. Litter boxes such as ScoopFree and ChillX take the initiative to clean through the litter soon after your cat finishes up, relieving you of any worries that your dog beat you to it. Self-cleaning devices are a great option for busy pet parents on the go!
- Make The Litter Undesirable
If your dog has a habit of eating the waste in the litter box, there is a “bitter” way to eliminate that temptation completely. Simply spray the clumps in the litter box with a bitter-tasting solution such as apple cider vinegar to convince your dog to stay away for good.
Your pup will be disgusted when they are fishing through the litter box and get a sour, bitter taste in their mouth. This will condition them to stay out of your kitty’s litter and mind their own business!
- Put A Hood On The Litter Box
Depending on how your cat likes it, try covering your litter box with a hood to prevent your dog from trespassing. With a hooded litter box, your cat can not only get some extra privacy when doing their business but will prevent your dog from sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
The hood also will help contain the odors of a messy litter box as mentioned before which will help keep your dog away. By containing the smell and guarding the litter box, a hood can be a viable solution to preventing your pup from messing with the litter bed.
Depending on your dog, you may be able to break their litter box obsession by some simple training and using the phrase “leave it.”
First allow your dog to go to the litter box with you present. Once they try to mess with the contents of the litter say, “leave it.” Make them walk away from the litter box and reward them with a treat for leaving it alone.
Of course, this method will depend on your pet specifically and is not a guaranteed solution, but with time this simple training could solve your problem. Your dog will know whenever they feel tempted to go near the litter box that they are supposed to “leave it.” Reinforce this training every so often with treats and positive affirmation until your dog’s habit is broken.
- Keep Your Dog Busy
The reason for your dog being all in your cat’s “business” may be sheer curiosity or just plain boredom. Another really easy tip for preventing your dog from getting into the litter box is to distract them. This is not a permanent solution for the problem but may get the temptation out of their head for the time being. Playing with your dog and keeping them engaged with something more interesting than the litter box will make them forget they even wanted to fish through that dirty litter.
Even if you are not home enough to play with your dog frequently, maybe a distracting toy that interests your dog is all you need to keep them playing nice and out of trouble.
- Install a Door Latch or Door Chain
A great gadget for those who have the litter box in its own room is a door latch or door chain that will clip onto the door only allowing it to open just enough for your cat to get through. This device will be easily removable by you but will throw your dog for a loop when they find that their butt’s too big to squeeze through.
Any one of these tips can be simple and achievable in getting your dog to stay out of your cat’s litter, depending on what kind of dog you have and their personality. Don’t stop trying if one of these tricks doesn’t work for your dog. Think about what may fit best in your home whether it’s a new litter box design, distracting your pup, or trying a new training technique. Breaking this messy habit will not only calm your cat but will help your dog to understand boundaries around the house.