3 min read
Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Cat Poop?
By Darlene Stott
Published: 08/03/2017, edited: 08/10/2021
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As much as you love your dog, you've probably noticed that at times he can be pretty gross. If you share your home with both canines and felines, you may have caught your pooch sneaking nasty snacks out of the kitty litter a time or two. It's fairly obvious that you wouldn't like this behavior because really, who would want a pup with cat poop breath? But as revolting as this habit may be, is it actually dangerous for your dog? Can dogs get sick from eating cat poop?
Can dogs get sick from eating cat poop?
Dogs can definitely get sick from eating kitty logs. Cats can carry heaps of bacteria and parasites that can make their barking housemates really ill. One of the most common bacterial infections carried by cats is toxoplasmosis, and it is no joke! Even the litter itself, which is often clumped in the turds, can cause some issues for your pup. While most of it is non-toxic, it's not made to be eaten. The little rocks can get caught in your dog's digestive tract and cause some serious damage.
How do I know if my dog is sick from eating cat poop?
If your pooch is known to sample the odd chunk of feline fudge, it may be wise to keep your eye out for common signs of bacterial or parasitic infection.
Bacterial infections like toxoplasmosis will make your dog super sick. They may vomit or have diarrhea to the point of dehydration! These infections often cause weakness and a loss of appetite. Parasites create much of the same symptoms.
Eating scat leftover from a kitty who's carrying micro bugs can lead to these illnesses. The cat in question may sure no signs of sickness.
To confirm the cause of your dog's tummy troubles, your vet will likely take samples of the pooch's blood, poop, and even spinal fluid. Young puppies and pregnant moms-to-be are the most at risk for these infections.
To read a whole lot more about toxoplasmosis in dogs, take a look at our guide on the topic.
How do I treat my dog's sickness from eating cat poop?
So your pupper’s gross pleasures have made him sick. Now what? Once the source of the illness has been identified, a treatment plan can begin!
Parasites can often be removed with a course of antiparasitic medication. The sooner that the meds are given, the better the chance is that your pooch will survive the infection. IV fluids can also help keep the dog stable while fighting the sickness.
If your pup makes it through the initial stages of the illness, it most likely will survive the infection. Some dogs will be contagious to other pups for the rest of their lives, so it may be best not to bring your dog to places that are populated with pooches.
If you'd like to read stories from owners dealing with toxoplasmosis, check out Toxoplasmosis in Dogs.
How is sickness from cat poop similar in dogs and humans?
Cat poop can actually make people pretty sick too. Some of the similarities between the illnesses humans get from feline feces and those that dogs suffer from include:
- Toxoplasmosis, especially for pups and people with weakened immune systems like pregnant moms and youngsters
- Worms like hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms can make their way from a cat's bottom to other mammals in the home
How is sickness from cat poop different in dogs and humans?
There are some key differences in how cat poop makes people and their pooches sick. These differences are:
- Dogs ingest the poop, making it easier for parasites to hop over. People usually contract these parasites from improper handling while changing their cat's litter
- It's thought that toxoplasmosis can cause some pretty serious psychological problems in people, while this has yet to be observed in dogs.
Even if you don't have a cat in your home, your pooch may still seek out feline poop. One big bullmastiff girl found herself some kitty snacks on the go while on her daily walks with her owner. Afterwards, she completely lost her appetite and became very lethargic. While the dog had not started vomiting, she was still taken to the vet for a check-up. Because they caught the toxoplasmosis early, the dog was able to recover from the encounter. Let's hope the next time she finds some cat scat, she just keeps strolling.