Why Do Dogs Eat Poop? My dog eats feces! Help! It is a common request from dog handlers to canine specialists. For humans, coprophagia, that is, eating feces, is taboo, but it is nothing special in the world of dogs.
Why does the dog poop?
Your poop-eating dog is not an isolated case. This phenomenon is relatively widespread and by no means unusual. We divide coprophagia, i.e., eating feces, into two groups of behaviors – when the dog eats its poop and – in the second case when the dog eats the droppings of other dogs. Cat droppings, either living in the same house with their dogs or found during a walk, are very popular. To the dismay of their handlers, some dogs especially like human excrement. Ok, we already know that this phenomenon is relatively popular with dogs. But actually, why do dogs eat poop? There can be quite a few reasons for this behavior.
It has that coprophagia is more common in overly stressed and bored dogs. Another dog’s fresh poop can be a strong enough smell and stimulus from another dog that to get rid of it as quickly as possible, the dog eats the poop it encounters. Especially when the dog is smelling the poop, encounters have to consider the handler’s nervous reaction, who immediately starts screaming and tugging at the leash. The dog then rushes to eat the find before being brutally pulled away.
A similar mechanism may occur in bored dogs, deprived of entertainment and interest from their handler. The dog can then look for attractive alternatives to the emptiness and boredom prevailing in life and eat very “aromatic” intense finds, such as other dogs’ feces.
Studies also show a correlation between coprophagy in dogs and their living space and isolation. Spending a lot of time alone and in confined spaces enhances and perpetuates pooping behavior.
So how do you deal with such an unpalatable problem? Provide the dog with such living conditions that he is as relaxed and self-confident as possible, does not feel bored, and has a living space appropriately suited to his needs. It will also be beneficial to effectively work out a password that prevents you (we invite you to courses in Psiedszkolwhere your dogs will acquire this skill). We should also remember that the smell of another dog’s poop can be exciting for our pet and carry a lot of information about the individual who left it there. Therefore, just smelling the poop on the lawn (and why hasn’t it been cleaned ?!) is not disturbing and does not mean that the dog has to eat it in a moment.
In extreme situations, when the dog has severe behavioral disorders related to, for example, enormous stress, trauma, or other serious ailments, eating feces may become a compulsive behavior that the dog will not be able to control without extensive therapy,
Eating poop – your own or other dogs – can be caused by canine genes that cause dogs to repeat the behavior of their ancestor’s thousands of years ago. Such primary reflexes – seen in wolves – are most likely related to the need to keep the place where they live clean and, as a result, to protect them from parasites that may be present in their feces.
The primary behavior is also the mum’s coprophagy when caring for puppies. The female dog eats the poop of the young to ensure cleanliness hygiene and to eliminate odors that could attract a dangerous predator. Puppies, on the other hand, by imitating their mother’s behavior and trying to satisfy puppies ‘curiosity, may also try to eat their own or siblings’ poop.
It happens that there is no deep need or mechanism behind the eating of, for example, cat excrements by dogs. For a dog, cat poo can be aromatic and tasty. The same may be true of the human poo.
Often, the reason dogs eat them is because of health problems. Coprophagia may result from diseases in the digestive system – the intestine, pancreas, liver, or stomach, causing digestive disorders. The most common of these is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), gastritis, and short bowel syndrome.
Another reason your pooches eat feces is the intestinal parasites, interfering with the proper digestion and assimilation process.
In the case of the diseases above and ailments, coprophagia is a secondary effect and by visible weight loss and weakness, which is constantly hungry. There is only one possible reaction of the caregiver here – going to the vet for professional help as soon as possible.
Interest in foreign feces appears during antibiotic therapy, which destroys pathogens and some of the microflora that the dog needs. The need to supplement it means that the dog reaches for poops of other animals. In such a situation, it may be helpful to administer probiotics or appropriate dietary supplements selected by a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.
Increased urge to eat manure may appear in dogs in the case of poor in macro-and microelements, poorly balanced, improper diet. If your friend with ready-made food, make sure that it is not the cheapest, whatever, “stuffy” the dog’s stomach. Such dog “fast food” will certainly not contribute to solving the possible problem of coprophagia. In the case of homemade food that you prepare for your dog, it is worth analyzing its composition carefully and comparing it with the dog’s needs. These are undoubtedly different from humans, and it should be remembered about this when arranging the menu or using good and correctly selected dietary supplements.
What to do to prevent the dog from eating feces
What to do if you notice that the dog eats feces more than incidentally and you do not know which of the above-described situations to associate this behavior? It is undoubtedly not necessary to leave such behavior unresponsive. Because although it may be a natural behavior for a dog, it can also pose a severe health risk to him. The feces of other animals can contain parasites, viruses, or bacteria that are harmful to dogs and sometimes also to their owners.
So how do you react? First, determine the cause. One by one – go to the vet – decide whether you are dealing with the underlying health problem; to a dietitian, establish an appropriate diet, and finally, a behaviorist if the problem is still not resolved.
Obedience training can certainly be helpful (it certainly will not hurt) in the work of not eating feces. The following slogans may be beneficial: “to me” when you see that the dog is approaching a place where there is or maybe poop, “leave” when reaches for a troublesome delicacy, or “yum-yum” when already has it in the mouth. To teach them your dogs, please visit webinars or our courses. *