Dog coprophagia

Dog coprophagia

Why do dogs eat poop? And how can you stop it?

Dog coprophagia

Dog coprophagia (eating faeces) is one of the most common dog problems that dog owners hate. It is a filthy habit that is an embarrassment to us! Why would our much loved puppies eat poop when we are feeding them perfectly good meals?

As I have learned from my experience helping dog owners to stop dogs eating the stool, there are different kinds of faeces eating including eating faeces of other species, other individuals, or their own. In fact, eating poop is instinctual and completely normal in certain situations, as with newborn puppies and stray dogs living off of whatever they could find. There are different reasons a dog might eat poop and it is important to find out why they are eating it before we can work closely find a solution. Two things to be considered: behavioural and medical problems stimulate dogs to eat poop.

In terms of behavioural factors, the most common reason for dogs to eat poop is simply because they enjoy the taste. Puppies or young dogs may eat poop because of curiosity; it just wants to explore and play with all it see with its mouth, including poop. Dogs sometimes eat their own poop to relieve a symptom of anxiety, stress or boredom. This usually only occurs when the dogs are extremely anxious, or if they are left alone all day with very little to do, their only choice for self-entertainment may be eating their own poop.

In addition, it might be that your dog is cleaning up his living area. Smaller sized dogs in particular develop this faeces eating habit because they are trying to clean up their poop in the dirty and improperly sanitised den. There is also a theory that some dogs eat their poop because they see their owners cleaning it up, and they just decide to do it (by licking) themselves.

Studies say bitches are more likely to develop faeces eating habit than the male counterpart, and so do young little dogs than older pooches. Bitches with a young litter of pups will often eat the puppy's poop. This is to keep the area clean and also to protect the litter from any predators.

More complicated root of the problem, if a dog has been punished for going or pooping inside the house, he might on future occasions eat his poop to hide the evidence. This could happen because of his misinterpretation that he was punished for pooping, rather than for pooping in the wrong area.

Medical factors include overfeeding and nutritional imbalance. Overfeeding a dog can lead to coprophagia. If a dog is over-fed he does not properly digest his food (lacking certain digestive enzymes), or absorb all of the nutrients, and thus may try to recycle these by eating the nutrient rich waste because it still smells and tastes like his dinner! Conversely, if you only feed once a day or below the amount he needs to eat each day, some dogs can become very hungry and scavenge around for anything including poop. Studies have shown that insufficient vitamin or mineral can also cause instinctive stool eating because dogs need to conserve those much needed elements.

Good news for dog lovers. There are many proven techniques we can do to stop this habit.

Feed your dog a healthy and well-balanced diet. This will keep a dog's digestive system healthy, and provide him with all the nutrients that his body needs.

A consistent eating schedule will also keep a dog's poop regular. This makes it easier to supervise, and prevent our dog from eating his own poop. It will also help to prevent overeating and obesity issues.

Exercise your dog and keep him busy by playing fun games with him, walking him regularly, and doing frequent obedience training. A well-exercised dog is better behaved at home, and less likely to eat poop out of boredom.

Always keep your dog relaxed. A better quality of life will stop his poop eating behaviour that results from stress.

Make the poop taste bad by adding stool deterrent supplements such as peppers or anything with taste and odour that dogs hate. Plant oil and high-fibre vegetables can also be helpful. However, consult your vet first for safety reason before adding any of these to your dog's food. A dog may be allergic to specific ingredients.

Always keep your dog's living area clean of faeces to prevent the dog from eating it.

Train your dog to poop in the right place and always reward him for desired behaviour.

It is best to train a puppy not to eat poop as early as possible, so that it does not become a habit when he grows up.

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