Why don’t dogs use litter boxes?

If you stay in a building or don’t have a yard, using a litter box can be a good option for many dog owners. However, litter training is a good option for puppies, mainly to avoid accidental incidents.

There are many reasons dogs don’t like to use the litter tray. Like it can be because of instinct or scrape behavior. This article has many more reasons; you will learn them all.

We have also shared tips and steps on how you can teach your puppy to use the litter tray. So, are you ready?

Reasons Why Don’t Dogs Use Litter Boxes as Cats?

Reasons why dogs don’t prefer a litter box

There is no scientific reason behind the logic of dogs not using the litter box, but we have enlisted a few reasons which can explain the case.

Usually, a litter box is used for cats. But, from the physical appearance to the behavior and lifestyle requirements, dogs and cats are distinct and unique. Everything is different.

Cats require a litter box to hide their feces. They have a natural instinct to hide their presence from their enemies. Moreover, felines are also the cleanest animals.

However, in the case of dogs, canines don’t bury their poop. They don’t have this natural instinct to cover it.

Dogs are pack animals. They hunt together and aren’t afraid of enemies, just like cats. Thus, this explains why dogs don’t need litter boxes to poop.

Next, dogs have a habit of marking their territory, also known as scrape behavior. They use their urine and poop as identity marks. 

The smell of poop will explain that this place is of a particular dog. Unlike cats, dogs don’t prefer to cover and hide the smell; instead, they spread and claim that place to be theirs.

In fact, dogs kick the grass or the ground nearby the poop area once they defecate as a sign of marking territory.

The third and practical reason dogs don’t use the litter box is the size. The general measure of the litter box is too small for dogs. 

It can be workable for small toy breeds. But generally, dogs cannot use the litter box as they are huge and cannot get inside the box. Plus, they will defecate in large amounts.

TIP: Always make sure to give potty training to large dogs right from the beginning because they cannot handle the litter box, and later they will find it difficult to defecate outside.

Is it mandatory for dogs to use a litter box?

Is it mandatory for dogs to use a litter box

The response differs from person to person. For instance, some owners like to give potty training to their dogs with the help of a litter box, so in such cases, the answer is a big yes.

But, remember the litter box must be spacious enough to hold the dog inside and can carry the amount of poop he defecates. 

If you are potty training small or medium-sized dogs with a litter box, then it is okay but for large dogs, make sure to train them to poop and pee outside.

Now, if you are thinking about whether it is safe to use dog litter or how you can give your puppy litter box training, read the coming-up section.

How to train your puppy to use the litter box?

How to train your puppy to use the litter box?

Using the litter box for potty training your puppy is quite life-saving in the initial period. It is also helpful during bad weather conditions or when you spend most of the time in the office. 

To use the litter box for puppies, all you have to do is follow the below steps.

Step 1: Get a big size tub that can hold enough litter. The side of the tub should be down to ensure the puppy can hop inside. 

Step 2: Next, purchase dog litter. The majority of litter pellets are made for cats, but some are also made for both cats and pups. 

You can try clay litter. It doesn’t include any harmful chemicals, plus it is sustainable and easy to clean.

If you didn’t find this litter, I suggest you go for large-sized litter pellets for puppies. It will absorb more. 

You can dust off baking soda first and then put glitter over the top to control smelly issues.

Step 3: Get a scooper and trash box to collect the used litter. You can get it from your pet store.

Step 4: Now, you have to manage to keep the litter box somewhere your puppy can easily access it, but it should also be in a safe, private space because your little pet will spread the litter.

TIP: Your puppy and cat must have their personal litter tray.

Step 5: The next step is essential. You have to teach your puppy to get inside the litter and make him understand that it is a safe space where he can relieve himself. 

Then you can use the command to train him to “ use the box.” 

Step 6: Once he starts following your command, make sure to praise him and give him a treat. Please repeat this step till it gets registered in his mind. And the work is done.

You can also use these training steps to teach small size dogs also.


Q.Is it fine for a dog to use the cat litter box? 

Yes, it is okay if a dog uses a cat litter box but make sure that he can get inside the tray effortlessly. Also, a cat and dog must have their separate litter tray for defecation.

Q.Is it a good idea to teach a dog to use the litter box?

It is okay to teach small breeds and puppies litter boxes. However, dogs are destructive. They are prone to digging, and thus if you are opting for a litter box, be prepared.

Well, that’s a wrap!

Dogs don’t use the litter box because of instinct. They use their pee and poop to mark their territory. Unlike cats, they are not afraid to hide their presence by burying their poop. They hunt in a group and aren’t scared of it.

Although many owners give litter training to teach their puppies and toy breeds, I would advise you not to provide litter training to large dogs.

If you want to share more things related to this, do let us know in the comment section below.

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