Your pooch is likely to see a cat's litter tray as less of a bathroom facility and more as a source of gastronomic delights. Coprophagia -- the scientific name for feces eating -- is something you should discourage but is unlikely to cause serious illness unless the cat has toxoplasmosis. However, eating the clumping variety of cat litter, especially in large amounts, is a far greater cause for concern.
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Cat litter crystals typically contain silica gel which is comprised of silica dioxide sand, oxygen and water. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center states that consumption of litter containing silica is unlikely to harm either dog or cats. Some may show signs of tummy upset, but others are completely unaffected. In most cases, the animal will quickly pass the crystals in their waste with no harm done.
Crystals + Clumping Litter
Some crystal cat litter contains a mixture of silica crystals with a clumping substance–sodium bentonite. This type of litter swells when it's wet and forms a solid lump; even inside your pup when he eats it. A few odd bits may not cause your pup too much trouble, other than a slight gastrointestinal upset or constipation. If your pooch munches on litter like it's kibble, serious intestinal blockage could occur, according to the ASPCA. Get your pooch to a vet if he's eaten a large amount of clumping cat litter.
By Eleanor McKenzie
About the Author
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.