The medical term for the consumption of anything other than food is coprophagia (cop-roe-fage-ee-a), but no matter how fancy a name you give it, eating cat poop is downright disgusting. Your dog is not alone with this embarrassing problem, however -- it is so common that manufacturers have designed solutions.
For-Bid has been around a long time and for a while was the only brand of anti-coprophagia treatment on the market. A mixture of wheat gluten and MSG, For-Bid comes in a powder that you sprinkle on food, and it is available for both cats and dogs.
If your dog is eating cat poop from the litter box, there are several reasons beyond the obvious that you need to stop the behavior. If your cat uses clumping litter, it could cause a dangerous blockage in your dog's digestive tract. If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, it's possible she could have intestinal parasites, which can be passed in her stool and then eaten by your dog, who will then be contaminated.
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Coproban is a soft, chewy treat that stops your dog from eating the soft, chewy treats found in the litterbox. It may be a little more difficult to feed to your cat as it does not sprinkle on her meal. If your cat likes soft cat treats, however, you may be in luck.
This roast beef-flavored snack is laced with an enzyme called cellulose as well as MSG and other inactive ingredients. Coproban is sold wherever pet supplies are sold or you can order it over the Internet. Coproban may be preferable to For-Bid in that it is easier to ensure your cat gets the proper dosage. It's hard to be sure your cat has eaten the entire portion of powder, but you can see right away if she gets the full dose by eating a treat.
Monosodium glutamate is the active ingredient in almost all of the commercial products meant to stop your dog from snacking from the litterbox. MSG is available in most grocery stores and you may be tempted to simply purchase some MSG, or meat tenderizer, and sprinkle it on your cat's food yourself. The problem with this approach is that cat food already contains MSG, which can cause health problems in high dosages. It's much safer to purchase a product meant to address your problem so you are sure your cat is not getting too much MSG.
Cease Coprophagia is another such product and is available in granules that can be sprinkled on your cat's food. It contains a mix of B-complex vitamins as well as MSG and is available online and at some specialty pet stores.
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If you are still a little leery about giving your cat extra MSG, try Only Natural's Stool Eating Deterrent, an all-natural blend of digestive enzymes, yucca, brewer's yeast, cayenne, B-complex vitamins, parsley and chlorophyll. This product does not rely on MSG but rather a proprietary mixture of super greens, vitamins and enzymes to render the cat's stool unpalatable. Although it is marketed to cat owners as well, it only comes in a hard chewable tablet that may be difficult to feed to your cat.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.