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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20916
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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I just caught the dog eating out of the cat box, and we have

Customer Question

Hello. I just caught the dog eating out of the cat box, and we have clumping litter. I have no idea how much she ate, as I thought that door was closed. Should I give her water? Or should I NOT give her water?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Her name is Kuna. She is an 11 month old Golden Retriever
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Kuna?
Customer: She is very healthy and active. She acts like she is hungry all the time, but that is probably normal. She loves water, so if water is the answer I can certainly give her as much as needed. But I am thinking that we might want to avoid water since that might make the clumping worse. I really wish I knew how much she ate.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long ago did you catch her in the box?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking, drooling, or vomiting?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I caught her about 40 minutes ago. No retching, or gagging, but she was lip licking like she just had a yummy snack. Gums are pink, appear to be moist. She loved the "belly rub" and did not have any tensing or tenderness. Appears to be normal, but her breath smells like the scented cat litter
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Should I give her water? She LOVES water, but would that cause clumping, or would it flush it all out?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you,

First, I am glad to hear she hasn't any sinister signs at this stage. Though in situations like this, we do always need to tread with care. Especially if we don't know how much she has had. The trouble with clumping litter as I am sure you are aware is not only is the fecal matter full of gut upsetting bacteria but the clumps can cause blockages or at least irritate the gut as they pass.

With this in mind, at this stage we do have a few options. Since this occurred so recently, we can choose to induce vomiting (giving 3% hydrogen peroxide orally at a dose of 1ml per pound of her weight) to try to bring as much litter back up out of her stomach as we can. Usually they will move materials in the stomach in 30-120 minutes, so some may have already passed but there may be some we can get back.

Otherwise, we need to take a supportive care and close monitoring approach to this situation. To start, she can have small sips of water every 30-60 minutes for the next few hours. Once the litter has moved into the gut, water doesn't need to be restricted. Otherwise, we will want to feed small meals of a light diet. Examples of an easily digestible diet include cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled egg, or meat baby food (as long as its free from garlic or onion powder). Whichever you choose to offer, you can add some fiber (ie a spoonful of tinned pumpkin or all bran) to the food to bulk up her stool and push this litter through the intestines. As well, add a dose of a GI lubricant (ie cat hairball medication Miralax, lactulose or food grade mineral oil mixed with some canned food) to her meals. These can be beneficial for getting this slipping through the gut. Though do be aware that when using the lubricants, we can see self limiting runny stools, but that tends to settle once we are finished using it.

While doing this, we do need to keep a close eye on her . Red flags of trouble or obstruction include restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces (so we need to keep an eye on that) or passage of black feces (digested blood). If you see these signs, then having her seen would be best for her vet to have a feel of her belly +/- an xray to see where the litter is, how much is there and whether it will pass on its own.

Overall, situations like these always require us to be on our toes and tread with care. If she is not showing any signs, then you can consider the above steps for her while keeping a close eye. But if you see any of those other signs or want to err on the side of caution, then having her examined +/- xrayed would be ideal so you can appreciate whether there is any risk. But otherwise we'd hope to use the above to settle her stomach and push this all through.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.