If you are like many animal lovers and live in a blended household with cats and dogs, then your pup may show some interest in your kitty’s litter box.
But what should you do if your dog ate cat litter?
First of all, rest assured because most cat litter is not toxic to canines. So eating a little bit of it will hardly harm your dog. However, it may cause some mild indigestion.
The danger is when a pup swallows a large amount of cat litter, which can lead to life-threatening obstruction.
Why Would My Dog Want To Eat Cat Litter In The First Place?
While some dogs may have the condition called Pica, which causes them to consume non-edible items, and others have coprophagia which makes them crave consuming feces, in most cases, the reason why your furry companion may be attracted to the cat litter is its natural curiosity.
Another reason is that canines are natural scavengers and have the instinct to explore and hunt, so the cat toilet may seem quite intriguing.
They may have a deficiency of certain nutrients, such as minerals which will make them look for ways to compensate for them.
Furthermore, your pup may be bored or craving attention, which is why many dogs eat and do things they shouldn’t.
Lastly, your cat’s litter may remind your dog of kibble.
Anyway, suppose your pup is consistently nibbling on the cat’s toilet. In that case, you may want to limit its access to it or speak to your vet about potential medical or behavioral issues causing this undesired habit.
You may want to opt for a dog gate, a closed litter box, or other ways to ensure your pup cannot access the cat litter.
Can Cat Litter Be Dangerous For My Dog?
Most clumping and non-clumping cat litters are non-toxic for canines, so eating a little bit will likely only cause mild indigestion.
The real danger comes from eating large quantities at once. This is especially true for clay or clumping cat litter designed to absorb the liquid and clump up together for easier cleaning.
This can cause a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract, which can be life-threatening, and often needs surgical intervention.
Which Cat Litter Can Be Dangerous For My Dog?
Paper and newspaper-based cat litter is non-toxic but, when ingested in large quantities, can cause a dangerous blockage.
Crystal or silica litter is non-toxic too, and eating a little bit is not likely to cause a blockage. Just give your dog more water to drink so that the litter passes through its digestive system naturally.
The clay litter, which absorbs the liquid and urine and clumps together, is possibly the most dangerous type for dogs. Again, it is not toxic, but if your pup eats up a lot, it can clump up in its intestines or stomach and cause an obstruction. This is especially true for sodium bentonite litter which forms hard and solid masses when it clumps up.
My Dog Ate Some Cat Litter – What Now?
Here are the steps to take if your mischievous pup has already eaten some of the cat litter:
1. Prevent It From Eating Any More
Close the dog safely away in another room or in a crate, or remove the cat toilet, to prevent it from ingesting even more of the cat litter.
2. Contact Your Veterinarian
Call your vet or emergency clinic as soon as possible. Make sure to be ready to answer their questions which will most likely be – the weight and age of your dog, its overall health, and an estimate of the type and quantity of cat litter consumed. Also, make sure to inform the vet of any symptoms or adverse effects which your dog is displaying.
3. Follow The Instructions Of Your Veterinarian
The vet will tell you what actions to take based on the size and weight of your pup, the quantity of cat litter ingested, and the symptoms it is showing.
In some cases, especially if your pup is large and has eaten just a little bit of cat litter, you will be asked to monitor it for side effects.
If your pup is small-sized and has ingested a lot of the litter, you will probably be asked to bring it to the clinic as soon as possible.
Your vet will examine the dog in the clinic and may induce vomiting or administer medication that can help the litter pass safely through the gastrointestinal tract.
If there are signs of a blockage, an x-ray will be done to determine its location and size.
4. Don’t Try To Induce Vomiting Or Treat Your Dog At Home
You should never attempt to treat your furry companion alone without the professional advice of a veterinarian.
This includes refraining from attempting to make your pet vomit at home, using peroxide, or other methods!
In some cases, you may even cause more harm than actually help your pet, like making your dog sicker from the hydrogen peroxide, causing the litter to get stuck, or being inhaled while vomiting. All of these can be very dangerous for your pet.
So, talk to your veterinarian. If they decide that it is appropriate, they will provide you with very clear instructions on how to proceed and, if needed, on how to induce vomiting by yourself.
One such call will cost you nothing but can save your pup’s life or at least protect it from even further harm from attempting treatment at home.
5. Monitor Your Dog For Symptoms Of Blockage
Usually, in cases where the dog has eaten just a little cat litter, the symptoms will be mild indigestion until the litter is passed naturally.
Even if your pup has vomited a lot of the litter, keep watching it because the obstruction symptoms may appear 24 to 48 hours after it has ingested it.
Watch for diarrhea, vomiting, struggling to poop (constipation), bloody feces, straining, abdominal pain, or lethargy.
If your pet has normal bowel movements and no other worrying symptoms after 2 days, then you are most probably out of the woods.
However, if the dog has problems that continue for longer, you should go to the veterinary clinic immediately.