Can My Dog Eat Poop?

Your dog and a nasty behavior

You take your precious pooch outside to relieve himself and you are subjected to one really disgusting habit. As your dog finishes their bathroom routine, you witness him grab a chunk of poop with his mouth and proceed to consume it. UGH!!!

What would produce such odd behavior in dogs? I am here to tell you now, ‘Do not freak out at the dog’. This disgusting behavior is actually called coprophagia. Along with psychological and behavioral reasons, many dogs will consider poop eating to be a treat of sorts.

One study done by scientists with strong stomachs suggests that this habit is related to their biological heritage. Wow, something passed down in the genes, not just the inner workings of your pooch.

Ancestor protection

It is thought that many moons ago when a dog’s feces were deposited inside the den area, the poop was eaten to protect other dogs from possible parasites in the poop. This is believed to be a form of protection to keep fellow canines from becoming sick if the parasites were to reach others.

Stave off hunger

This is not to say that humans do not feed their pets and that is why they eat poop; rather it is an innate survival instinct in the canine which allows them the ability to not starve when there is no available food.

However, dogs that eat feces from other animals could face some dire health issues.

Began at birth

Strangely enough, after a pup is born you do not see any feces in the nesting area. This is because the mother will not only lick the pup so they poop, but she will also eat it to keep it away from the pups. The pups do witness this and many find it to be normal. The majority of puppies will outgrow the habit.

Why, oh why?

Many dogs eat the feces of other dogs rather than their own. One reason is due to a deficiency in their own diets. Their self-preservation instinct is telling them that they need more nutrients and calories.

Another possibility is that your dog may have a malabsorption issue or one of a few diseases that cause an increase in the amount of food needed to fulfill their appetite.

Stress, anxiety, or behavior

For many dogs, the reason they consume their own feces lies in issues of isolation, stress, and being confined in a too-small area.

For dogs whose food is kept too close to their potty area, they are not able to distinguish the aroma of food from the stench of poop.

Attention seeking

Just like many kids, canines and other pets will behave badly to obtain attention from their human parents or siblings. This is considered one of those behaviors that should be ignored when you see it happen.

End it promptly

Upon discussion with your canine’s vet, you may learn a few tricks or helpful actions you can take to put an end to this. For some dogs, it is a matter of taking vitamin or mineral supplements.

The owner needs to continually clean the dog’s outdoor area and also keep the feline litter boxes away from where the canines visit throughout the home. Your precious pooch may need refreshment training to learn two commands; ‘Leave it’ and ‘Come’.

Playtime and meals

As humans, we balance playtime and meals accordingly for our children. Puppies and full-grown dogs should be considered your children also. This means that you should feed your pooch the best diet you possibly can.

Be sure to also give them plenty of playtimes. This is not meant as they can play by themselves, it means to get out and be active with them. If the vet says it is necessary, do not hesitate to give your dog a supplement of minerals or vitamins.

Bad Flavor

There are a few veterinarians out there that suggest using a meat tenderizer or habanero sauce to make the poop taste bad. I do not like that idea. It just seems harsh to me. However, they state that after a bite or two, the canine will cease eating feces.

On the good side

Your dog’s behavior in the way of eating poop will signal different possibilities as to the cause. Due to this unappealing behavior, you will become aware that your dog has an issue. It will hopefully be an issue that the veterinarian is able to correct.

Again, this may only take a supplement or added vitamins. It may involve a change in your dog’s diet which is up to you to insure is the appropriate diet. A dog’s human parents are also responsible for cleaning the areas that your dog visits to relieve himself.

For those homes that have other pets, their potty areas must be kept clean also and away from where the dog can be near it.

Just to be clear

Your dog will not eat only his or her own feces. Most dogs with coprophagia will also eat cat feces, bird poop and any other animal feces they come across, including rabbit and deer.

As a dog owner, you likely know that your dog does not have any parasites or infectious diseases. However, there is no way to determine if all the other animals that deposit feces in your dog’s surroundings have parasites or infectious diseases.

New momma

It is found to be common in new canine mothers as discussed earlier. They do the puppy cleaning out of instinct. This behavior, once the pups have grown should be stopped and likely will when momma feels the time is right.

Other causes of feces eating canines should be prevented and stopped when possible through thorough cleaning, deterrents to change the taste to an obtrusive taste.

Bromelain which is found in pineapple does make the feces unflavorful to dogs. Although your dog, like others, loves pineapple chunks in their food, they do detest what flavor it gives feces. When you take your dog for walks, prevent their urge to stop and snack on another’s crap.

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