I have a question for you. I have a dog, he is a Dachshund-Terrier mix. Everytime I let him outside to go to the bathroom, he has to pass by the cat’s litter box. I noticed that everyday, he would walk closer and closer to the litter box before going outside, finnaly [sic] he just walked by the litterbox and picked up a piece of cat poop and started munching away. Now he cannot get enough cat poop. I seriously have to drag him away from the litter box when he is munching. I have several questions about this. First, is it unhealthy for him to eat cat poop? Secondly, do you think he eats it for the taste or the texture? And thirdly, do lots of dogs do this, or is it just mine? I really hope you can help me out on this one, and plus, I am interested in the free C.D. Thanks a lot.
...and plus, I am interested in the free C.D.? Let’s stop pussy-footing around, buddy. You just want the free disc. You couldn’t care less about you dog’s controversial culinary conduct. You probably don’t even have a dog, you horrible little toad.
Your toadiness notwithstanding, I will answer your question (and you will probably get a free disc from Craig, the evil-overlord editor) because, in spite of some run-on sentences and mis-spellings, you ask a valid question that many dog owners have probably asked themselves.
Aside from the frightful breath that eating kitty poop must give, there does not seem to be any dire need for alarm on your part. While scientific research on why and how dogs trot about munching cat squat is sorely lacking, there is at least, a scientific name for ingestion of feces - “coprophagia”. And, some related words which may be less difficult to work into a normal conversation: “coprophilia” - a mania for feces; “coprophemia” - foul language (‘potty-mouth’, if you will); and the ever useful “shardborn” - born in feces.
Not many people have the drive or the fortitude to devote their lives to finding out why Rover eats kitty tootsie-rolls. It would seem though, from what little is known about poop-gobbling, that there are a few reasons why dogs (and other animals) see fit to nibble terds. Primarily, coprophagia is a symptom of nutritional deficiencies. There are probably small pieces of undigested food in your little pussy’s packages (you know, like when you don’t chew corn thoroughly enough?). Your dog is able to smell this undigested food and eats the litter-bombs as a sort of nutritional supplement, like a multi-vitamin. Try upgrading your dog’s diet, schmeckie. Dogs can’t live on Twinkies and flat beer like humans can.
Dogs may also eat feline foul matter simply because (as you suggested) they like the taste. This reminds me of an old joke:
Q. Why do dogs lick their privates?
A. Because they can.
Dogs want to eat all sorts of unwholesome goodies and are prone to the wastes of deer, rabbits and horses as well as that of cats.
Kinda makes you think twice before letting your dog lick your face, doesn’t it?
Back to August/September 1997 issue