Dog Health: Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Cat Feces?

Updated on March 16, 2018
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a former veterinary hospital assistant, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

Fluffy and Rover May Share More Than Affection

Dog eats cat poop risks
Dog eats cat poop risks | Source

Does Eating Cat Feces Harm Your Dog?

If you have caught your puppy raiding your kitty's litter box in search of some "kitty nuggets," or he enjoys some buried goodies outside in the yard, you may feel as if you are stuck in a "wormy" situation. Keep Fluffy's droppings out of reach from now on; cat doo-doo is not one of the healthiest snacks for several reasons.

Health Risks for Dogs Eating Cat Feces

When your puppy goes "treasure hunting", he may get much more than a tasty treat. Depending on the lifestyle of your cat and her level of care, several types of parasites could be waiting for this opportunity to continue their life cycles. Cat droppings, under the right circumstances, may contain protozoans such as giardia and infectious eggs from roundworms, hookworms and occasionally whipworms, according to Pet Education.

Types of Worms

While there is no doubt that Rover can get worms by ingesting kitty "Tootsie Rolls," in order for this to happen, Fluffy has to have worms to start with, and they have to be the right kind. For instance, dogs are not primary hosts of Toxocara cati, the most common type of roundworm found in cats. However, dogs and cats both can be infected with the less common Toxascaris leonina roundworm species, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. Similarly, with hookworms, the Ancylostoma tubaeforme species typically infects only cats, while the opportunistic Ancylostoma braziliense and Uncinaria stenocephala may infect both cats and dogs.

In order to share your kitty's worms, Rover must consume feces containing eggs at the infectious stage. This means timing is an important factor. Make sure you clean your yard often. If your puppy eats some cat droppings, consider that the larvated eggs of Toxascaris leonina do not become infective until at least a week after being shed, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Hookworm larvae, under optimal conditions, reach the infective stage in approximately four to seven days, according to the Center for Food Security and Public Health. This means that under the right circumstances, Fluffy's feces may have already decomposed leaving behind eggs that can stick to your dog's paw pads and ingested when your dog grooms himself.

Long Lasting Effects

While you can clean the litter box promptly at home, the great outdoors is more difficult to manage. If your kitty has roundworms and uses the outdoors as her litterbox, the hardy roundworm eggs may survive there for years. Hookworms aren't so tough. They can't survive freezing temperatures. After a few months outside, their energy reserves are depleted, and they tend to die, according to Marvista Vet Animal Medical Center.

While your puppy or dog may no longer be able to eat these feces as they have broken down by that time, as already mentioned, he may still ingest the eggs indirectly since they are sticky and attach to your dog's paws and he then may ingest the eggs by grooming.

What About Protozoans?

Worms aside, you may be concerned if puppy may also ingest protozoans when he goes for some kitty nuggets. Luckily, it appears that coccidia are species-specific, For instance, Isospora canis of dogs should not affect cats, while Isospora felis should not affect dogs, according to Dr. Hines. With giardia, it seems that there is some controversy, but chances are dogs can get giardia from cats by eating fresh feces.

Other Health Concerns

Ever wondered why Rover is so attracted to cat feces? Chances are, most dogs are attracted by the taste. Cat food is higher in fat and protein compared to dog food, and therefore, cat waste is more tastier. Also, consider that cat litter may contain chemicals, and clumping litter can cause blockages in the intestines. This behavior quickly becomes self-rewarding, so it is important to nip it in the bud to avoid problems.

While limiting access to outdoor areas where your kitty has soiled may help prevent your puppy from acquiring worms, you can ensure they both are worm-free with a good worm-prevention routine. Collect a small fecal sample from each pet at regular intervals, and have your vet check for evidence of worms and protozoans. Take both pets to the vet for regular health checkups. Avoiding a wormy situation in the first place is a win-win proposition for all—especially since some parasites can also be transmitted to humans.

How to Stop a Dog From Eating Feces

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        shannon 

        2 years ago

        Hi was looking at my 2 year old dogs shot record and it says she's had 2 sets of shots in 2013 and that's it what shots does. she need now

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        3 years ago from USA

        That's a tough call. Those eggs are pretty resistant and require drastic measures.In some cases, diluted chlorine bleach may work on concrete areas but not much so in soil and it would obviously ruin the lawn. For small area, the top inches of soil and be removed and discarded in a landfill and other option is to cover the area with concrete to prevent exposure. If you have kids and are concerned about roundworms which can cause larvae migrans please call your health department for tips on how to protect them.

      • profile image

        cat poop 

        3 years ago

        How can I rid my yard of any kind of worm larvae that may or may not exist in my yard from cat poop?

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        Hi Kimberly, let me know exactly what parasite your vet is talking about when you have chance. Is it roundworms?

      • profile image

        Kimberly 

        5 years ago

        Just found out from my vet that Cat poop (especially cats under a year old) can carry some sort of parasite that can affect a dog's nervous system. If the dog is eating cat poop and this parasite is in there, it can reak havok on a dog's nervous system. for about 3 months now we've been trying to figure out what's wrong with my dog after being on an antibiotic and steroid, we just realized the harmful effects of the cat litter/poop on the dog now. Just another FYI

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        It shouldn't unless it contained something that was bad for him in the first. More often, though they' ll eat regurgitated food rather than vomit which is more acidic.

      • profile image

        dogfond 

        5 years ago

        Our dog has eaten his own vomit. Seriously, does this have an effect on her?

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        LOL!my dogs do the same. I have two cats that are puking machines, they eat fast and regurgitate, it's gross and occasionally, I have found my dogs eating it, and also looking interesting when they start the gag. I once found my dog chasing a cat gagging, gross! Thankfully, when I catch them a "leave it" prevents them from getting into it. The regurgitated food attracts them cause it pretty much comes out as just warmed up food. I have even found my other cat eating it too, yuk! The real vomit, not much attractive due to acidic contents...

      • profile image

        DoItForHer 

        5 years ago

        It's gross, but when a cat starts heaving, she will run up to the cat and wait anxiously until it is done if I let her. Like some kind of twisted vending machine.

        *Imitates Jim Carrey* "It's obscene, it's wrong! It's obscene, it's wrong!"

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        Other than the fact that cat food is not that good for dogs over time, cat vomit should not cause any parasites or particular problems.

      • profile image

        DoItForHer 

        5 years ago

        What about cat vomit? That's like a huge treat for my girl. lol

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)