My Dog Ate Cat Litter! What Should I Do?

Cat Litter

Dogs can be quite disgusting sometimes. Whether they dig into the bag, rummage through the bin, or even worse, explore the litter tray, it’s a cause for concern when you catch your dog munching on some cat litter. And rightfully so! While cat litter is typically non-toxic and inert, it is indigestible and can potentially make your dog sick.

Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Litter?

Dogs usually don’t intentionally eat cat litter since it doesn’t hold much interest or taste. However, dogs are known to have a fondness for cat poop, and if that means ingesting some litter in the process, they usually won’t fret over it. Some dogs opportunistically consume cat poop, while others actively seek it out, causing their owners numerous challenges. If you notice your dog eating cat litter without any accompanying feces, it’s possible that they may be experiencing a mineral deficiency. It’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with your vet.

Is Cat Litter Dangerous for Dogs?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Though none of the ingredients in cat litter are toxic, it can still pose dangers for dogs. Eating cat litter can lead to an upset stomach, but more seriously, it can cause blockages that may require emergency surgery to rectify.

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Which Types of Cat Litter Are Dangerous for Dogs?

If your dog consumes cat litter, it can cause problems, particularly if your dog has a sensitive stomach. The liquid-absorbent nature of cat litter can irritate and inflame your dog’s intestines as it passes through. However, clumping litters are the most hazardous. When these types of litter absorb liquid, they form clumps, making it easier to clean up urine from the litter box. Unfortunately, if your dog ingests these clumping litters, the clumps can form in their stomach and intestines, causing blockages.

The 3 Steps to Follow If Your Dog Ate Cat Litter:

1. Stop them from eating more!

Corgi messed cat litter
Image Credit: Stephanie Ho, Pexels

The first thing you should do is prevent your dog, and any other pets, from consuming any more cat litter. This may require confining them to a separate room while you assess the situation and clean up any spills.

2. Call your veterinarian

The next step is to contact the nearest available veterinarian, including emergency clinics if it’s outside of regular hours. Provide them with details such as your dog’s size, the type of cat litter they’ve eaten, and an estimate of the quantity ingested. Inform them if your dog is exhibiting any symptoms of an upset stomach.

3. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions

Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

Your veterinarian is the best person to guide you on the appropriate course of action when your dog has consumed cat litter. For larger dogs that have ingested only a small quantity and appear to be well, they might recommend monitoring the situation. However, if your dog is smaller, has consumed a significant amount, or if clumping litter was involved, prompt action might be necessary. Your vet may suggest bringing your dog in to induce vomiting or even instruct you on how to do it at home. They may also prescribe medications to help the litter pass through the digestive system.

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4. Don’t attempt to treat your pet alone

Many people believe they can handle their pets’ issues at home without veterinary advice, especially if they’ve been in similar situations before. However, it’s crucial to understand that every situation and dog is unique. Generalizing previous experiences or relying solely on internet research is not advisable. It can be frustrating for veterinarians when presented with an ill animal that has already undergone multiple well-intentioned interventions by the owner. Consulting your vet for advice is typically cost-free and worth it.

5. Watch your pet for symptoms

Regardless of the chosen course of action, it’s important to observe your dog for any symptoms. This is especially crucial if you’re advised to monitor the situation. Even if your dog vomits most of the litter, there is still a risk of residual litter causing blockages. Watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal pain for 24-48 hours. Additionally, be vigilant for signs of constipation, straining, and bloody feces, as these may indicate a blockage in the lower gastrointestinal tract.

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Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock