Making Your Own Dog Litter Box

By Jane Tyne

Many people are discovering the convenience of dog litter boxes. Cat litter boxes are not suitable for most dogs, but it is easy to find a similar plastic box or tray that will work well for dogs. Store-bought litter boxes for dogs are available, but they are expensive and often not much more suitable for a dog than a cat litter box. Almost any dog can be taught to use a litter box, even large dogs. It’s easier to start with a puppy, but it's not impossible to teach an adult dog how to use a litter box. Dog litter boxes are helpful during house training, when a dog is sick or injured and when your schedule doesn’t fit with your dog’s toileting needs.

Select a container suitable for your dog's litter box. The container must be suited to your dog's potty style as well as the dog's size. If you have the space, a plastic overflow pan for a washing machine is an ideal litter pan for any dog. Overflow pans are approximately 2 square feet (some are up to 3 square feet) and shallow, about 2 to 4 inches deep--big enough for a large dog and still suitable for a small dog. Some dogs move around quite a bit and need the extra space an overflow pan affords.

Decide on a location for the indoor dog toilet. Consider your dog’s needs for size and privacy. Some dogs do not care while others will not do their business without a bush or something to give them privacy. You may find you have to compromise if your dog's needs don't suit your aesthetics.

Choose the litter for your dog's litter pan. According to Stanford Cat Network, silica-based litter can be toxic if ingested, and plain clay-based litter is very dusty. For non-toxic odor control and cleanup with less dust, use a litter made from ground corn cobs, which also has a soft texture that is easy on the paws.

If your dog has already been using pee pads or newspaper, put that into the pan until the dog adjusts to the new pan, but you may want to switch over to a litter after the dog gets used to the pee pads in the litter pan. Keep in mind that dogs tend to develop a substrate preference for their toileting, so whatever the dog is used to using, whether grass, kitty litter or pee pads, the dog will want to continue using it. Any switch must be made gradually.

Scoop the solid and clumped liquid waste out at least once daily. Dogs who move around a lot when using the litter box have a tendency to step in feces and make a mess. If your dog moves around a lot, scoop the solid waste as soon as possible instead of once daily. Place the contents into a biodegradable baggy, a paper bag or a sheet of newspaper for the least environmental impact.