While you might think of the litter box as one of the vilest things in your house, your dog sees it as a gateway to snack central. But employing a few clever strategies will turn your dog from a litter eater into a pup who may look but not eat.
Place a cover over the box. Standard covers that fit right over the litter box and have a hole in front for your cat to enter block most dogs. But some canines don't mind sticking their head inside the hole and digging around in the litter with their mouth, which is where the more crafty lids come into play. Some lids are more like homes for your kitty's litter box, surrounding the box in a shell so that even if your dog sticks his head inside, he won't be able to reach the litter. Other lids have a hole on top of the lid, which blocks dogs but allows cats easy access to their box.
Move a stool or chair in front of the box. This strategy works best with a lid where the entrance hole is in the front. The chair gives your cat plenty of room to pass through and into the box, but keeps medium to large dogs on the outside looking in.
Block your pup's access to the room where the litter box sits. A baby gate works well, as does a door propped open just wide enough for your cat to sneak in. Make sure you adjust the gate to stretch from one side of the wall to the other, because if you give your pup just a smidgen of space, he'll try to squeeze through and might knock over the gate.
Create a little hallway leading to the litter box. If you have a large-pawed pup, a thin hallway leading up to your cat's litter box can be the perfect solution to ruining your litter eater's plans. Small planks of wood work great, especially if you nail one on top of the other and lean the ends of them against the litter box. That way there's no gluing them to the floor or nailing them into a wall. The trick is to make the hallway thin enough so your dog can't go right down the middle of it, but wide enough so he can't go to the side and get close enough to bend his head into the litter box. Stubborn dogs may try to knock over the planks.
Elevate the box so your dog can't reach it. Placing the box on a table or other structure allows your kitty to easily reach it by jumping a few feet, but keeps your nosy dog out. Don't try this if your cat has trouble jumping.
Put the box in a tight area. Squeezing the litter box between a wall and washer or something similar prevents most dogs from even trying to reach in for a snack. The downside is that you might have a bit of trouble scooping the litter, but you can always pull it out when it comes time for that.
Keep your dog's food and water in a separate room. Letting your dog look at the litter box while he's eating or drinking is just asking him to try and stick his head inside.
Clean your cat's litter box daily or twice daily. The University of California School of Veterinary Medicine notes that a clean litter box can help deter a dog from poking his head in the box, because there's nothing for him to eat.
- Make sure you don't accidentally block your cat from entering the litter box.
- The second you see your dog try to investigate the litter box, say "no" or "ah" sharply to grab his attention.
- Crating your pup while you're gone is a guaranteed way to prevent him getting to the litter box. Most dogs enjoy the comfort of their crate after they adjust to it.
- Smacking your dog, pinching his ear, kneeing him out of the way of the litter box or any kind of physical discipline will cause other issues to arise, largely fear and sometimes aggression.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.