Dogs Eating Poop

Why Dogs Eat Poop and What you can do about it

 

Originally published on April 2, 2012 by Elizabeth in Dog Culture, Scoop

 

There are several reasons why some dogs like to eat their poop. Some dog owners report that their dogs have a habit of eating feces and they don’t know what to do to stop the habit. Actually, this condition is known as Coprophagia, It is a condition where the dog likes to eat his own feces or the feces of other animals. This can be due to certain medical conditions, or for dietary reasons. Your dog can instinctually develop such habits due to insufficient nutritional intake or when giving your dog food that is not suitable for them especially if they have a medical condition. Other reasons can include the onset of stress, in dogs that are often chained and are less interactive with other dogs, in the case when dogs are not walked frequent enough and are not allowed to play with other dogs.

So if you think your dog is stressed or unsatisfied with his food, not getting enough nutrients for his body size, this may be the reason why he is driven instinctually to eat feces, resulting in Coprophagia. Eating their own feces or other animal feces is an attempt to meet their nutritional needs or ease stress. Dogs can scent nutrients in feces when their bodies are not absorbing all the nutrients in the food that they eat. Unabsorbed nutrients can be found in their feces or in the feces of other animals.

So what can we do about this? Pay attention to your dog! Is the amount and type of food that you are providing adequate for him? Consider the amount of food you are providing in relation to his size and nutritional needs, as well as the best type of food for him. Your vet can help you figure this out if your observations are not sufficient. Does your dog often look restless? Does he seem to enjoy his food? These are some of the things to observe for. These are topics you should bring up on your next visit with your vet.

Eating feces can be harmful in certain cases, especially when eating the feces of other animals because it can lead to contamination of pathogens and infections, but this is not always the case. Check with your vet to rule out any medical condition that may be causing Coprophagia, and to get nutritional advice. Once medical conditions have been ruled out and you have corrected your dog’s diet, if the habit persists, you may seek behavioral interventions for Coprophagia. There are also herbal treatments as well as medications available to treat Coprophagia, but these are to be carefully considered as they may carry more risks than benefits.

So what are other things you can do for your dog to stop this habit? Do not ignore or neglect your dog! Be observant of his behavior, try not to chain your dog as often, if it’s not absolutely necessary, pick up your dog’s feces from the floor right away if you’re around when he poops, take your dog to the dog park where he can play with other dogs; loving human interaction is great but it does not replace the need for interaction with other dogs.

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