Why Dogs Eat Poop And How To Stop It
Our furry little friends can bring countless hours of fun and happiness in life as they cuddle us, play fetch, and brighten our days when we are down. While they do many adorable and funny things, dogs also have a few habits that can be less than great for owners to deal with.
One of those nasty habits that dogs can pick up is their eating of poop. While this is not really a delicacy that people enjoy, eating poop can serve a purpose for mothering dogs who do so to clean up their baby puppies and to hide them from predators.
The problem occurs when dogs habitually eat their own poop and are not trying to help out their helpless offspring.
For most dogs, eating their own droppings is unnecessary and not helpful for themselves, and can be off-putting owners; dog kisses and licks become much less appealing when poop often graces that muzzle.
So why do dogs eat their poop when they don’t need to? There are a few explanations.
One reason dogs engage in coprophagia (the scientific name for the habit) is based in the primal efforts of wolves to remove feces-borne parasites from infecting their pack. Of course, in the modern day dogs aren’t in packs and given their caring owners parasites are not nearly as much a threat as they used to be.
However, some things- especially where animals are concerned- can stay within their instincts even when it serves no purpose anymore.
Another reason that a dog may be eating feces is because it is malnourished. If a dog is not given enough nutrients, it will try to supplement what it does get by eating its stool to add some more that may have been missed the first time. This is a legitimate medical issue and should be looked at by a vet.
One more reason for the eating of poop is because the dog has gotten used to trying to clean its space misguidedly through the act. If the dog lives in a small space with little room for movements, such as a small crate or cage, it may occupy itself by removing the obstructions.
Some final reasons for this habit may be because your dog is stressed, bored, or because it learned to hide its pooping activities from owners who punished it while younger.
So there are many reasons your dog may engage in coprophagia to the point of being an annoying habit for the owner. But before you decide to put your dog in a kennel or pound, or even euthanize the pooch, there are a few choices you have in dealing with the problem.
One of the easiest things to do is to dissuade the dog from liking the taste of its poop. There are products available on the market that achieve this- through making the stool taste bitter to their sensitive taste buds- but it’s also possible to just pour some hot sauce on the droppings.
You can also give your dog some pumpkin in its food, because the while the treat is tasty going down, it is bitter and pungent to the dog when it comes out, making them think twice about eating their excrement. After the dog is repulsed by the new tastes of the stool, it will likely stop its habit.
If a dog is malnourished and trying to get its nutrients from there, a vet should be consulted in addition to switching up the diet of the pet. Different dogs need different amounts of nutrients, and sometimes the food bought won’t be right for the pet.
Being open to try new food options can allow a dog to find the nutrients it needs to stop its stool eating habits. Even when trying to help alter the diets for your pet, though, still talk to knowledgeable medical professionals.
Perhaps the reason for the interesting cuisine choice is due to a lack of space. Your dog will need to have a big area to roam around and if it lacks that, it might focus too much on “cleaning” its small space which leads to its habit. If you give it the room to move around though it will lift its focus so that it gets out of the habit.
Prevention may serve as a better tool than treatment, though. Before your dog gets in the habit of eating its poop you can teach it to go in certain places on a schedule away from your home as you walk it, denying it the chance to try out the taste. You can also clean out the feces with doggy bags for denial, too.
If none of these strategies work, your best bet is to take your dog in to the vet for a diagnosis of what is causing the habit and what other strategies might work.
Their knowledge has been earned over a long period of time to help with questions just like these, and they can serve as your ultimate source of troubleshooting where your pup is concerned.
Poop eating is something that many dogs take to at some points in their lives. Just because they pick up the habit doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, though it may take some effort.
It can certainly be a disgusting habit for owners to deal with, but there are numerous ways to prevent and treat coprophagia if it should crop in their best friends.
More than anything else offered here, just make sure to have patience with your pooch when trying to fix this problem, and not be too quick to release or euthanize your pet for something it can learn to grow out of.