6 surefire ways to stop your French Bulldog eating cat poop

funny little frenchie eating poop

Coprophagia is an interesting behavioural condition where dogs are inclined to eat faecal matter. It could be their own, that of others in their pack, or the leavings of feline friends. It isn’t uncommon to see Frenchies eating cat poop out of the litter box. So, why does this happen and what can we do about it?

How to stop your French Bulldog eating cat poop

Of course, one of the best ways to stop Frenchies from eating the poop from the cat litter tray is to keep the litter tray out of their reach. Right now, it might be far too easy from them to come into the room and have a sniff around. They might not start with any intention of eating, but if you present the faeces to them on the floor and they get tempted, its partly your own fault. So, consider moving the litter tray to a room that your dog doesn’t use, raising it up out of reach, or simply putting it behind a pen or gate. 

Another option is to get a different type of litter tray, one that is self-contained and self-cleaning where the dropping falls into a bin beneath the floor. The best options are dog-proof and your Frenchie shouldn’t be able to get into it. 

Dog proof cat litter box to prevent coprophagia
Dog proof cat litter box to prevent coprophagia

So, why is my French Bulldog eating cat poop from the litter tray?

Some Frenchie owners assume that this happens purely because their dog is bored or they just like the taste. This is a possibility, but we can’t rule out other issues of nutrient deficiencies or a learned behaviour to take any food available, regardless of its form. The issue of Coprophagia is a complex one. However, you can work to correct it once you are clearer on the cause. 

French Bulldogs will eat cat poop but you can stop them. 

There isn’t one simple reason why your Frenchie is eating the cat poop from your cat’s litter box. So, it is important that you take the time to go through some of the potential reasons and rule them out. Once you determine why your dog does this, you can then work on prevention via simple training and home remedies to avoid any health issues and to make the home a little more hygienic. Key points to highlight here are as follows.

  1. Your dog is not alone in eating poop, so you shouldn’t feel too embarrassed by it.
  2. With that said, there are health issues to consider so you need to curb the behaviour. 
  3. You can try to figure out why they eat the poop by considering their previous history. 
  4. Remember that some nutrient deficiencies may be to blame. 
  5. You can also look at how easy it is for your dog to access the poop and eat it simply because it is there. 
  6. Once you have a clearer idea of why they do it, make sure to address the issue with training, dietary changes, or other modifications. 
  7. Make it harder for your dog to eat the poop, but not harder for your cat to use the tray. 
  8. Be patient as this behaviour won’t correct itself overnight. 

Let’s start by taking a closer look at why your Frenchie might be eating your cat’s poop from the litter tray. Then we can look at the harmful dangers and the methods of prevention to correct the issue.

Why do Frenchies eat cat poop? 

Let’s go into a bit more detail on some of the possible reasons for this behaviour. There are psychological traits here that compel dogs to eat poop when it is in front of them. The best-case scenarios here are that they do so because they can and it is fun to them. But, there are also risks that they feel they need to eat the poop as a survival mechanism or because of issues in their diet. 

Instinctive eating of faecal matter for survival. 

There are two potential issues here. The first is that these dogs may have an inherent desire to eat poop – in any form – because they see it as an important source of nutrients. This could even be the case if they know that they have a good food supply and tasty meals. It all comes from the behaviour of wild dogs and wolves. These creatures may eat faeces in hard times because they don’t know when they will discover food again. While we see these faeces as purely waste, there may be partially digested food, a lot of protein and other matter in there. The wolf that passes this up may regret it if they don’t see prey for days. 

Then there are dogs that have learned about this potential survival mechanism through times of hardship. Perhaps this isn’t completely down to genetics and instinct for them because of past experiences. This could relate to dogs that have spent time living on the streets and decided to eat poop in order to source those nutrients. Or, perhaps they came from a home where they were starved or left alone chained up somewhere. The decision to eat their own faeces may stem from that experience. 

Therefore, it might be easier to explain this behaviour if you have a rescue dog. Rescue that dealt with these experiences in the past may find it difficult to let go of old habits. They may be happy and comfortable in their new home, but they may also have that drive to take whatever is offered because they know what happens when they don’t. Cat poop on a cat litter tray is like a morsel on a plate. 

But what if you have a very happy Frenchie you raised from puppyhood?

These explanations may not be so likely when it comes to Frenchies that you have had since they were pups. They know nothing other than their life with your where they have had the food and treats they wanted with ease. So, why might these dogs also exhibit this poop-eating behaviour? 

The first potential issue here is that these dogs are still seeking out nutrients and eating because it is a source of food. This is unlikely when Frenchies have the right diet and right portion control because they should feel that urge to satisfy themselves in this manner. However, dogs that don’t get the right nutrients or the right amount of energy may end up using this easy source of fuel. 

Then there are those that eat poop simply because they can. You may have a Frenchie that will happily go for any treat placed in front of it or any scrap that falls from the table. When they are young, they might not differentiate between the scraps they can eat and the poop they shouldn’t eat. Failure to correct them could suggest to them that there is nothing wrong with the behaviour. 

Or, you might have a dog doing this out of boredom. It is a sad thought that Frenchies may resort to eating poop because they have nothing better to do. But, this might be the reality for Frenchies left to wander the house alone with little to entertain them. 

An open cat litter tray is tempting for your French Bulldog
An open cat litter tray is tempting for your French Bulldog

Is it dangerous for Frenchies to eat cat poop? 

This is another important point about the issue of coprophagia. It isn’t just unpleasant for us to see our pets eating faecal matter. There is also the issue of pets dealing with harmful illnesses from eating the droppings. Faecal matter contains a lot of bacteria and may also include intestinal parasites. This is an easy way for dogs to get worms. Then there is the risk of dogs eating some of the litter itself when they eat the poop. These particles can clump and become impacted in the digestive tract, leading to gastric distress. 

Dangerous or not, it is highly unpleasant. 

Even if there was no immediate health risk in eating the poop, you also have to consider the hygiene implications. Dogs eating poop is incredibly unhygienic especially if they eat the poop and they go and try and lick people, like your kids. That could mean a direct transfer of bacteria and parasites to them. Plus, there is the simple fact that it smells pretty bad when there is that lingering odour of cat poop on your dog’s breath. 

Why does my frenchie eat cat poop?

Now that we have a better idea of the dangers of this behaviour, it is more important than ever that we learn how to stop it. First of all, be aware that this isn’t something that you can eliminate overnight. Dog’s need time to learn that this trait is undesirable and unnecessary. Consistent training and modifications to the set up of the litter tray are important. But, you also need to consider the needs of your cats. The prevention approach you choose will depend on the reason for the behaviour. So, consider the following factors.

Frenchies that eat out of boredom:

If you can see no obvious cause of this problem other than potential boredom, think about how to entertain your pet. Frenchies that are left at home alone for long periods need enough mental stimulation to keep them happy. Those that have plenty of toys and games to play with, including some tasty food puzzles, are less likely to go hunting through the litter box. 

Frenchies that eat because they have nutrient deficiencies:

If you are worried that the cause is dietary, take the time to go over your pet’s meal plan and choices in dog food. Talk to your vet about your concerns to see if they have any guidance on the subject that might help. For example, they may notice that your pet could have more protein in their diet and recommended a better source. In turn, this could stop your Frenchie from going after the protein in the faeces. 

On the subject of your pet’s diet, there is a product out there called FOR-BID that some dog owners use to stop dogs eating poop. However, this only works if they are eating their own poop because it works to change the taste. In this situation, you would have to feed the product t to the cat, which is a bit extreme. 

Frenchies that eat because of survival instincts and behavioural issues:

This is where things get a little bit difficult. Dogs that have this deeper desire to eat cat poop through fear of starvation may take longer to stop. It makes sense to them to do this. This is where careful and patient training is essential. Use positive reinforcement to correct them and praise them when they move away from the litter tray and decide not to eat the poop. You can also make a point of providing more reassurance when they do get their meals, perhaps letting them eat with the family, to help them feel more secure about food. 

This last point is one that you shouldn’t overlook in your determination to help your Frenchie overcome their problems. While it is tempting to go all out with new approaches and training for the health and well-being of your dog, you still have to consider the health and well-being of your cat. For example, you might come up with a perfect place for the litter tray that is out of reach, but what if your cat isn’t comfortable there? Also, if you choose to place the tray behind a gate or to get a new self-contained litter tray, your cat has to like it. Take the time to come up with a solution that works for everyone. 

In summary

In short, it is important to determine the exact cause for the best strategy for combating the harmful behaviour. Don’t rule out dietary issues, as this could be an easy fix. If the problem is purely behavioural, be careful to consider their reasons and past when training them not to do it again. Also, don’t forget to be patient and considerate the whole way through – with equal regard for the cats using the litter box. With time, you will all live in a more hygienic form of harmony. 

Dog looking into cat litter box ( sorry not a Frenchie!)

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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