If you have a dog, you know that if they think something is even remotely edible, they will try to eat it. This goes for everything from food to dust balls and even to cat litter. The problem is that sometimes when they eat something that is not food, dogs can cause themselves a whole lot of hurt. Learn more about some of the facts that you should know when you catch your dog eating cat litter. Then, you can be sure you are doing what is best for your dog going forward. 

Most Dogs Don't Eat Much Cat Litter

The good news about the situation (before you get to the bad news) is that most dogs only ingest a small amount of cat litter when they go rooting around in the cat box. Most of the time, they are just curious about the smells in the cat box. Sometimes, they might eat feces as well, but for the most part, they leave the clean or urine-soaked litter as it is. 

This means that the little bit of cat litter that your dog ingests from their explorations will more than likely pass through their system with no problem. However, there is the occasional dog that goes hog wild in the cat box or that habitually makes it a place to snack, and these cases can be more serious. 

Cat Litter Can Cause Intestinal Obstructions

Most cat litter today is designed to clump around any waste in the box to make it easier to remove from the litter box. This clumping action is a part of what makes eating cat litter so dangerous for dogs. If they eat a lot of just loose litter, that litter can form clumps inside of the digestive tract (usually the intestines) absorbing liquids as it moves through the dog's system. 

These clumps become lodged in the intestines and prevent other waste from passing through. An intestinal obstruction is a serious health concern for your dog. Portions of the bowel could become necrotic (die) while waste buildup could cause another section of the bowel to burst, leaking waste into the body. 

Intestinal Obstructions Require Surgery

To remove a cat litter obstruction from your dog's bowels and to remove any damaged tissue, your veterinarian will have to perform surgery. The surgery will involve cutting into the bowel and removing the cat litter clump. If the obstruction causes a loss of oxygen to part of the bowel, then that will have to be removed and the bowel put back together without the missing piece.

This can be a risky surgery as well. If the bowel bursts (as previously mentioned), waste will seep into the body, which can cause serious infections and organ damage throughout the body. 

Cat Litter Eating Can Be Prevented

Because of the risks, it is important to try to keep your dog from eating cat litter. Try to put the litter box in a place they cannot reach or block the area off with a baby gate that the dog cannot get over but the cats can. They even make pet gates specifically to keep larger pets out while allowing smaller pets to get through a pet door. This can help you to prevent major health consequences for your dog 

Now that you know some of the facts about what can happen if your dog eats cat litter and what you can do, you can be sure that you take the best possible care of your dog going forward. For more information on pet surgery, contact your local animal hospital today!