Why Is Your Dog Eating His Poop?
14 December, 2017
One of the more unappetizing habits of dogs is when they start to eat their own poop. It is a relatively common issue, called coprophagia, and it is a behavior that all pet parents want to stop. There are a few reasons why your dog might be eating his poop and how to stop it.
As always, if your dog is eating poop on a regular basis, make sure to take your dog to your veterinarian to see if there is a medical condition that is causing him to eat the poop.
Why dogs eat poop
Dogs like the taste: Many puppies will begin to eat feces at a young age. Some pups grow out of this normal behavior while others continue this into adulthood. Eating the feces of other species is also considered natural behavior. Most dogs love the taste of cat poop. This could be due to the high-protein diets of cats.
Illness: Certain diseases and illnesses can cause a dog to eat feces. A symptom of some diseases is increased appetite or ingestion of inappropriate items (called pica). An illness that changes the consistency or smell of the stool might make a dog want to eat his own stool.
Anxiety, Fear, and Stress: A dog in fear or under a great deal of stress may eat his own stool. This may be a kind of self-soothing mechanism in some cases. However, if a dog is punished for inappropriate pooping, he may associate the punishment with the presence of feces. By eating the feces, he is removing the “evidence” to avoid punishment.
Is it dangerous for a dog to eat his own poop?
In general, it isn’t dangerous – just unpleasant. But, if your pooch ingests the poop of a sick dog, he could get very ill himself. Parasites such as worms can also be transmitted through the ingestion of feces which is clearly not something you want for your dog.
Below are some recommendations to prevent this pattern from continuing:
Feed your dog a high quality dog food
Make sure that you’re feeding your dog a high quality, nutritious diet. A good dog food is highly digestible and results in fewer stools. And the poop will be less attractive as potential snacks because they’re not full of the undigested fillers and junk that cheaper, lower quality foods contain.
Make sure to scoop the poop up quickly
As soon as your dog eliminates, pick up the poop right away. If you are on a walk, grab it. If it is on your grass at home, again, pick it up immediately. Don’t leave it (if you can help it) and give your pup a chance to eat it.
Use a leash when you take your dog out
Keep your dog on a leash when you take him out. If he’s a dedicated stool eater use the leash even if he’s just going ‘potty’ in the back yard. If he tries to nibble on his stool, tell him ‘no’ firmly and tug his leash as a correction. Redirect his interest right away with a treat or a game.
Try placing something spicy on your pup’s stools
You can try pouring hot sauce (or something similar) onto the stool piles. It will make them a lot less appetizing to your puppy. And, the hot stuff will hopefully associate eating poop with an unpleasant hot taste.
Use Coprophagia remedies
You can ask your vet to recommend some products that could help deter the condition. Usually, they can be added to your dog’s food that can sometimes help with the eating. Once this type of food passes through your dog’s digestive system, your dog will be less interested in eating his poop!
If your veterinarian rules out a medical condition and none of the above works, it might be time for a pet behavioral specialist.