Why does my dog eat poop and how to break this habit?

Does your dog eat poop? Most pet owners are horrified when they see their dogs eating poop, or even worse, another animal’s poop!.

Poop eating is referred to as coprophagia and while we humans find it utterly disgusting, many dogs love it, causing much distress for their owners!

This behaviour is caused by a number of underlying factors and understanding why your dog eats poop is the key to controlling it.

The Feelgood Pets team a look at coprophagia, why dogs eat their poop and what you can do to control this habit.

What is coprophagia?

Coprophogia is known as stool eating and this behaviour is considered quite common in some dogs.

Many years ago before dogs became domesticated they fed off the waste of other animals. Poop eating was therefore part of their diet and this continues in some domestic dogs today!
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Is it dangerous or unhealthy for my dog to eat poop?

While poop eating may be more distressing for us than for our dear dogs, it can sometimes have negative effects on their health.

Intestinal parasites, canine parvovirus or toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through coprophagia and cause infection and illness in dogs, especially if they do not have a strong immune system.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Why dogs eat their poop

Mother Dogs 

Eating poop is perfectly natural and instinctual for a mother with puppies. She will eat her puppies poop to keep them and their “den” clean. This is also done to protect them from other predators that may be attracted to the scent.

The mother will eat poop until they are weaned and start eating solid food. In some cases, the puppies will learn this behaviour of eating poop from the mother because they are drawn to the smell or taste of it.

However, it is ultimately the dog owner or breeder’s responsibility to ALWAYS clean up puppy or dog poop and to discourage them from eating it too!  
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Spring Cleaning!

Some dogs will eat their poop in an attempt to keep their kennels or living areas clean – this typically happens if they are restricted or confined to a space, like if they are chained or kept in a crate.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Dietary Problems or Deficiencies 

Dogs that are hungry or malnourished and lack all the essential nutrients in a healthy diet may also eat their poop if their nutritional needs are not met.

If they are fed a low quality food and it is not absorbed properly, when they poop, it may seem like the food that they just ate. They may eat poop to replace enzymes that are lost and which will help them to digest their food better.

Many vet nutritionists believe that a lack of Vitamin B may be the leading cause of coprophagia. Poop eating can be caused by certain medical conditions such as vitamin or mineral nutritional deficiencies, malabsorption, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or over and underfeeding. 
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Behavioural Causes 

Behavioural problems such as boredom, loneliness, reinforcement or attention-seeking as a result of anxiety or stress or even too much confinement are also some of the causes of coprophagia.

Dogs that are bored or lonely may also eat poop because they are confined all the time, anxious, stressed or suffering from separation anxiety.  They may not be stimulated or entertained enough and resort to eating poop.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Inappropriate Punishment

If your puppy or dog is punished for pooping in the house and you decide to rub his nose in his poop or scold him to teach him a lesson, then he may very well start eating his poop as a way getting rid of the evidence.

While this is certainly not the way to deal with housebreaking accidents, many dog owners have been known to do this! It’s really not a healthy way to teach your pet good toilet training habits.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Top Dog

Another reason why some dogs eat poop are those in multiple dog households where dominant and submissive roles are a factor.

Dogs that are submissive may eat the poop of their more dominant companions.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

What you can do to control your dog’s poop eating habit

1. Feed a healthy, well balanced diet

Make sure that you feed your dog a high quality, well balanced diet that contains all the essential nutrients and minerals to keep him healthy.

Feed your dog natural and organic foods such as DoggoBone Raw Active Food and Vondi’s Cooked Foods which contain no preservatives, colourants and extra additives.

These foods especially formulated for health conscious dogs and their owners. They are also absorbed and digested better and a healthier alternative for your precious pooch.  
(Visit Feelgood Health at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town OR call 021 797 0193).

Some vets recommend meat tenderizer or pineapple added to the dog’s diet – the digestive enzymes help to break down any remaining nutrients that may be left in the stool. 

It is usually recommended that you feed your pet twice daily at scheduled times so that they can develop a set routine. By doing this, you will not be underfeeding or overfeeding your dog and it will help to prevent them from eating poop.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

2.  Keep dog living areas clean

The most important step in breaking your dog’s nasty habit of eating poop is to clean it up immediately.

Make sure kennels and outside areas where your dog frequents are kept free of poop. Pick poop up every day or even twice daily to prevent your dog from eating it.

Disinfect paved areas where your dog has pooped so that he won’t be drawn back to the scent.

Do not confine your dog to a small area where it will have a bowel movement in close proximity to where it eats or spends most of its time.

When potty training puppies, take them outside regularly to poop and watch them closely to check that they aren’t eating poop. Be careful not to punish or scold them if they poop inside the house but keep practicing potty training basics.  
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

3.  Provide regular exercise and mental stimulation

Bored or lonely dogs often resort to eating their poop. Exercise your pet regularly by walking, running or playing with him.

Keep him mentally stimulated and busy by providing interesting activities or toys for to prevent boredom.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

4. Reduce stress

Dogs that develop behavioural problems such as loneliness, boredom or seek attention because they are stressed, anxious or suffer from separation anxiety may also start eating poop.

Make an effort to schedule quality time with your dog if he has been alone all day – pets like humans thrive on social interaction and need to know that they are loved.

Reduce stress by giving your dog a natural remedy such as PetCalm. This is a 100% homeopathic remedy which calms and soothes stressed and anxious pets and helps to relax them in stressful situations.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

5. Alter the flavour

Many dog owners recommend that you alter the flavour of poop by putting Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper over it to deter your dog from eating it.

Of course, this isn’t guaranteed to work because poop eating is a difficult habit to break. The best thing is scoop up the poop!
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

6. De-worm your pet

Make sure that your dog is dewormed every 3 to 6 months to prevent a worm infestation and further illness if they eat poop.
Try PetAlive Worm Dr which helps to expel intestinal parasites naturally and is also gentle on your pet’s body system.
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

7. Add a good vitamin supplement

If your pet is eating poop, then he needs a good, daily vitamin supplement.

Another important thing to do is to keep your pooch’s immune system healthy and strong by giving him Immunity & Liver Support – this is a herbal tonic by Feelgood Pets which cleanses and purifies the system, acts a natural antibiotic and protects against disease. This will help to make sure that your dog has a strong immune system to ward off any possible infection caused by poop eating. 
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
E-mail the Feelgood Pets team FREE of charge for advice, click here -     

Previous post Next Post

Comments

Leave a comment