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Cat in a dog-proof litter box

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According to a Simmons National Consumer Study, 53 percent of households own a pet. Of those, 77 million have dogs and 54 million have cats. And a fraction of those households own both types of pets. [1

Having both a dog and cat come with a set of challenges. It’s important to give your cat their own territory because they are prey animals and therefore can become skittish if uncomfortable, says Dr. Kwane Stewart, a veterinarian based in Southern California. “Giving them their own sanctuary can make a big difference,” he explains. 

Your cat’s litter box should be a sanctuary, where your cat can do her business in peace. But when dogs invite themselves to your cat’s special box, this can be a recipe for disaster. Not only will it make your cat very uncomfortable, it can cause unnecessary tension between your pets. 

The solution: dog-proof litter boxes that only the cat in your household can enjoy. While no litter box is 100 percent dog-proof, there are plenty of options out there that can help keep your canine from eating cat poop and messing with your feline’s safe space. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Cat Litter and Cat Poop?

“Dogs don’t go into the litter box for the litter, they’re after the stool,” says Stewart. “Cats eat a diet higher in protein and therefore their feces has a different taste that many dogs find appetizing.”

Your cat’s poop kind of smells like cat food. Dogs find cat food appetizing and may mistake cat poop for what your feline just ate. That’s all. The downside? Cat poop may be laced with harmful bacteria and parasites that will then find a host in your dog’s tummy. 

Besides the taste factor, some dogs will also go after kitty poop due to boredom or nutritional deficiencies, Stewart adds. “Your vet can advise if it may be a vitamin or mineral deficiency and recommend a diet higher in fiber, fat, or protein,” he explains. “And some dogs simply go stir crazy in the house and look for something to spice up their day. In this case, more exercise or a distraction is the prescription.”

How to Keep Dogs Out of the Litter Box

Dog and cat sitting together on floor

The good thing is, there are solutions. If your litter box is in a room with a doorway, you can buy a gate that you know your cat can either slip through or jump over, but that your dog can’t maneuver around. Stewart suggests a fence or barrier to allow the cat in but keep the dog out. 

You can also keep your dog active and busy, or train him or her to leave the litter box alone. Cleaning the litter box as soon as your cat uses it is also another option, he says.

If your dog is as nimble as your cat, dog-proof litter boxes can also do the trick. There are different options at pet stores and online retailers that can solve this problem. 

What to Look for in Dog-Proof Litter Boxes

Consider litter boxes features that make the box easily accessible to your cat (and still easy to access for you to clean) but keep dogs out. 

These features include:

  • Litter boxes that have a door.
  • Litter boxes that have a cover.
  • Litter boxes where cats enter at the top/
  • Litter boxes shaped like a dome. 
  • Self-cleaning litter boxes that get rid of cat poop as soon as your cat does the deed. 

How We Ranked Our Top Dog-Proof Litter Boxes

We rounded up the best dog-proof litter boxes for dog-and-cat households by factoring in the different design elements you may be looking for to keep the dogs out: doors, covers, size of openings. We also looked at innovation. Does the litter box clean the cat poop as soon as your cat uses it so the dog won’t have the opportunity to scavenge?

Within those different factors and needs, we narrowed down the list by looking at overall ratings, plus the number of reviews. In other words, we selected the litter boxes with 4-star ratings or higher and those with hundreds (or more!) of positive reviews. 

In addition to looking at the pros according to customers, we also considered the cons. Not every litter box is perfect, but depending on your needs, we give you all you need to know to make a good purchase below.

Best Overall Dog-Proof Litter Box 

Our Pick: Furrytail Glow House Cat Litter Box with Scoop

Furrytail Glow House Cat Litter Box with Scoop

This low-entry cat litter box is designed to look like a house. We are impressed by its architectural aesthetic, but more importantly, we love the cat access. Your cat can get in and out with no problem through a side compartment inside, so the dog won’t even be the wiser. Its doorway is both hidden and smaller than what most dogs can fit through. The structure also keeps the litter covered.

Highlights

  • Design is streamlined and beautiful. 
  • Holds seven liters of cat litter. 
  • Features a semi-transparent door for your cat’s privacy. 

Things to Consider

  • To clean, you’ll have to open the door in front versus above like most litter boxes.

Best Litter Box With a Door

Our Pick: Van Ness Sifting Enclosed Cat Litter Pan

Van Ness Enclosed litter box

Nicely designed, this litter box with a cover and door keeps your cat’s business concealed. Throw away cat clumps using the provided sifter. Reviewers love how roomy this litter box is. The door flap swings both ways.

Highlights

  • Two nesting pans are included, plus a sifting screen for easy cleanup. 
  • Comes in two sizes: large (19.75″ L x 15.25″ W x 18″ H) and giant (21.5″ L x 17.5″ W x 18″ H)—both are great for larger cats and multiples. 
  • The plastic is odor- and stain-resistant.

Things to Consider

  • It’s not the best-looking litter box, so if design is important, this might not fit the bill. 

Best Dog-Proof Litter Box With a Hood

Our Pick: Frisco Flip Top Hooded Corner Cat Litter Box

Frisco corner cat litter box

This litter box is shaped perfectly to fit any corner of your home. Spacious with a hinged door and cover for your cat’s comfort and privacy, this corner litter box will keep unwanted pets (a.k.a. dogs) out. Simply remove the top to clean inside.

Highlights

  • An included disposable charcoal filter will help control any odor. 
  • This litter box is made of a BPA-free, recyclable plastic.

Things to Consider

  • A few reviewers said the plastic easily cracks, but it’s unclear if it happened prior to use while in transit. 
  • Other reviewers said this litter box couldn’t properly accommodate larger cats.

Best Top-Entry Dog-Proof Litter Box 

Our Pick: IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Cat Litter Scoop

Iris dog-proof cat litter box

Preventing litter messes and intruders, a top-entry cat litter box is a great option. This deep litter pan comes with a cover that features a circular opening for your cat’s access—but not dog’s. If you’re worried that this non-traditional litter box will confuse your cat, don’t! Many reviewers say that their cats instinctively know how to use it and love it!

Highlights

  • A litter scoop is included.
  • Grooved lid helps limit litter particles from going on the floor outside of the litter box.
  • Choose from six color combinations. 
  • Two sizes are available: large (17.32″ L x 13.39″ W x 12.20″ H) and medium (16.14″ L x 20.47″ W x 14.56″ H).

Things to Consider

  • This top-entry litter box is taller than most so some cats may not be fans as a couple of reviewers mentioned. 

Best Dome-Shaped Litter Box

Our Pick: Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box

Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box

Instead of a traditional litter box, this dome-shaped option is hooded on top to give your feline privacy. It’ll prevent dogs from breaking in, while cats can easily access the litter through its opening and concealed ramp. It measures 21 by 21 inches, so it’ll definitely accommodate larger cats.

Highlights

  • Features a charcoal filter to absorb odors.
  • Choose from three different colors: brushed nickel, pearl white, and titanium. 

Things to Consider

  • Lid doesn’t snap in place so it is possible that a bigger, rougher dog could get in.

Best Dog-Proof Litter Box That Looks Like Furniture 

Our Pick: ecoFlex Litter Loo, Litter Box Cover/End Table

Ecoflex Litter Loo

Assuming your dog is medium-sized or larger, this litter cover, which is conveniently disguised as an end table, will suit you. Cats can easily gain access through a small opening, while dogs stay out. It does not include the actual litter pan though, so you’ll have to get that separately.

Highlights

  • Beautifully designed to operate as both a litter cover and end table.
  • Choose from a variety of color options: antique white, espresso, russet, light gray, and dark gray. 
  • Comes in a standard size and jumbo size.

Things to Consider

  • You’ll have to buy your own litter pan, so make sure you measure to fit.

Best Self-Cleaning, Dog-Proof Litter Box 

Our Pick: PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

If you don’t want a bulky litter box but still want to keep your dogs from eating your cat’s waste, one that automatically cleans it up is your best bet. No scooping required, a disposable tray with a plastic lining will be all you’ll have to deal with. Just throw it out after weeks of use. The cleaning cycle is triggered 20 minutes after your cat uses it, giving your dog less chance to do damage.

Highlights

  • Uses Crystal litter, which is known for odor control.
  • Crystal litter absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste.

Things to Consider

  • You’ll have to buy tray refills. Replace them after 20 to 30 days of use if you have one cat.

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