Has your dog simply got a cringe-worthy tastebud for his poo? Dogs consuming their own feces—or the feces of other animals is a common behavior most pet owners question.
In fact, I myself had owned a dog, who enjoyed eating our cat’s stool! So, in this article, I will discuss why our beloved fur-babies eat poop—is it dangerous? and should you stop it
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
When an animal consumes it’s own stool or the stool of other animals, then this is referred to as Coprophagia. Now, there are many reasons why dogs tend to eat poop! This can be linked to behavioral or medical reasons.
Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop!
- Puppies are often the first to give poop a try! this is simply because they may simply be curious. It’s like with human babies—they love to put things in their mouth!
- Secondly, dogs may eat stool out of fear. Now, dogs who have defecated in the family living room may be aware of the consequences (they know us humans will get mad). Interestingly enough, dogs will consume their own stool in order to hide their mistake from you. Conversely, if you have more than one dog, then it’s very likely that the submissive pooch will consume the stool of the dominant dog.
- Malnourished dogs may often seek either their own stool or feces from other animals in order to attain minerals and vital nutrients that they may be missing from their diet.Evidently, dogs who have intestinal parasites will consume stool in order to gain back nutrients they’ve lost from intestinal parasites. Remember, parasites are notoriously for their ability to leech nutrients out of our pooch.
- Dogs who are confined to closed or limited spaces such as kennels, or chains may experience loneliness, anxiety, and boredom. As a result, the consumption of feces may be most prevalent in these pups.
Think about those poor puppy mill dogs! Dog’s from puppy mills tend to eat a lot of stool.
Is It Harmful If My Dog To Eat Poop?
Now, the key point to remember here is that coprophagia is a perfectly normal behavior seen in animals (including your dog!). So, for the most part, it’s very unlikely that your dog will get really ill if they consume their own stool.
Nevertheless, there are many diseases that a dog can get if they do consume stool from other animals. To name a few, I have listed a few common diseases that a dog can get from consuming stool:
- Parasites! This includes Hookworms, Tapeworms, Roundworms, and Whipworms
Now, if your dog has consumed either their feces or the feces of another animal, then they may experience the following symptoms:
- Upset stomach
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Poop!
There are many things you can do to stop your dog from consuming feces. But, first I highly recommend that you take your dog to the veterinarian in order to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If you and your veterinarian believe that the coprophagia may be caused as a result of taste preferences or behavioral issues, then try the following tips!
Coprophagia as A Result of Boredom or Attention Seeking
A bored dog is an unhappy dog! Mentally challenge your dog in order to combat boredom. This means you should do the following:
- Create a set schedule and routine for your pooch, as dogs are creatures of habit.
- Mentally stimulate your dog by exercising them daily
- Make your dog learn new tricks to keep him from getting too bored
- Provide challenging and fun toys
- Take him to the dog park
Now, if your dog eats poop to get your attention then you should simply correct this issue by saying “NO”. Sometimes, attention seeking and boredom can go hand-in-hand—A bored dog will either seek attention, or a bored dog will consume poop because he simply bored
Coprophagia As A Result of Submission
This is a tricky one to solve as it’s part of their evolutionary behavior to consume the stool of dominant pack members. The only real solution you could potentially try is:
- You can try boosting your dog’s confidence through an agility course, exercise, and trick training.
- You should work on training both dogs in the household. So that you remain as pack-leader!
- You could try using deterrents to keep your dog off stool! ( I will discuss this more in depth below)
Coprophagia As A Result of Nutrient Deficiency
To solve such a problem, you first need to ensure your dog is free from parasitic infections. So, make sure you take your dog to the vet to have them checked out.
Following a vet check, here’s what you can do to stop coprophagia
- Choose to purchase healthy dog food that’s rich in nutrients. So, for example, do not buy the cheap grocery store brand foods. Instead, choose healthier high-quality, grain-free brands.
- Make sure you change your dog’s feed to keep the flavor interesting. Now, I do this by simply adding healthy cans of wet food on top of their dry food.
- Ensure you deworm your dog (as recommended by veterinarians).
- You can choose to add supplements to your dog’s diet, but discuss it with your vet first.
I think every pet owner may face the horrid act of coprophagia! Just, remember that this behavior of consuming stool can be a perfectly normal act seen in dogs.
So before you decide to treat your dog’s poop eating habits, make sure you rule out any health problems! and then try to figure out what’s the behavioral cause for your dog eating poo!
So, do you still have some edging questions on the completely gross behavior? Let me know your dog’s poop eating story in the comments below!