If you’ve spotted your dog eating excrement, you might be wondering if it’s due to a nutritional shortage or a mental issue. It may be irritating to you, but it could simply be canine nature. Stool eating is considered normal by veterinarians since so many dogs consume it.
Dog conspecific coprophagy is the scientific term for the behavior of some dogs to eat their own or other species’ feces. There is no documented link between diet and this ailment.
If your dog has developed a new habit of eating excrement, there could be a reason for it, but more often than not, it’s just an unpleasant habit.
Your dog isn’t the only one doing it: While there aren’t many studies on the subject, one indicated that one out of every six dogs eats poop on a regular basis.
Mother dogs may do it to clean up. After having a litter: To keep the den clean, mothers will frequently eat their puppies’ feces. This is normal behavior, and not all mothers cease weaning their puppies.
Greedy eaters are more likely to eat poop: Food-driven dogs who steal food are more likely to engage in this behavior. Because dogs evolved by scavenging, it’s possible that it’s an instinct to make sure they eat enough.
It may be an attempt to get attention: If your dog is looking for more attention and knows you become upset if you catch them eating poop, the behavior could be a strategy for them to stand out. Poop-eating may resemble other undesirable attention-seeking behaviors such as biting, jumping, or stealing to spark a pursuit.
If your dog is eating its own poop, the stool may consist of undigested food: That’s an indication of a potential medical issue.
Your dog may not feel well: When something is medically wrong with your dog, coprophagia can occur, especially if it’s a new behavior. It could indicate a problem with the intestines, liver, or brain. You can also notice a quick loss of weight, vomiting, or other behavioral changes. To rule out intestinal parasites, diabetes, thyroid disorders, or other ailments, see your veterinarian.
It could be a sign of anxiety: Another reason for your dog’s stool-eating could be that he is scared. If the animal has been disciplined for soiling the house, this could happen. It could be a behavior to prevent anxiety if the dog is imprisoned, goes to the potty, and eats the poop.
Tips to Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop
To begin, make sure there are no underlying medical issues that are causing the behavior. If your veterinarian says it’s a behavioral problem, there are a few things you may do to help your dog stop.
Limit access to poop: Poop-eating dogs prefer fresh feces, so clean up your yard as soon as possible. If you have cats, this also includes cleaning out the litter box as soon as your cat goes and putting the trash somewhere your dog can’t get to it.
Provide a toy for potty breaks: Bring a toy or a treat with you to the yard if your dog is looking for something to eat when you let them out to do their business. Don’t give them time to search on their own.
Stay positive in training: To teach orders like “leave it,” use positive reinforcement and treats. Be patient as breaking a harmful habit can take time.
Try dietary supplements: If you’ve recently reduced your dog’s calorie intake, consider switching to a high-fiber diet. Taking enzyme pills may make their own poop taste less appealing. Adding papaya, cottage cheese, or crushed pineapple to dog food has helped some owners quit the habit.
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