Our dogs may be one of our best friends, but sometimes they are just plain disgusting. They drink from the toilet, roll in the dirt, and lick themselves. However, the most disgusting of them all has to be when they eat their own or another dog’s poop.
Dogs don't eat poop simply to gross us out. In fact, from the dog's perspective, it's pretty reasonable. It might also indicate a medical issue or a behavioural issue. Learn why dogs eat poop and how to stop it from happening again.
Why do dogs eat poop?
Dogs eat poop for various reasons. It could indicate a medical condition, a problem in diet, or a behavioural condition. Take a deeper look at some of the common causes, so you can address it appropriately as well.
Medical reasons for poop eating
Many medical conditions cause a dog to eat poop. For examples, there are parasites, enzyme deficiency, malabsorption conditions and hydrochloric acid deficiency. But in the end, it boils down to how these conditions cause malnourishment, and malnutrition makes them eat poop.
With enzyme deficiency, dogs cannot absorb their food properly so that they will poop out the undigested nutrients. If there is an enzyme deficiency, they could start craving poop because it is full of nutrients.
That said, it’s important to look into your dog’s diet. Is it providing the right nutrients? You should also take note of who’s poop your dog is eating because it might help indicate the nutrient insufficiency.
Behavioural reasons for poop eating
In other cases, dogs start to eat faeces because of some stress or behavioural triggers.
● Cleanliness - Some dogs, more commonly female dogs with puppies, eat their faeces to clean up their space.
● Curiosity - Puppies, like children, are curious about their surroundings. Eating faeces are part of the exploration process.
● Isolation - Being in isolation can bore a dog, and it increases they are more likely to eat poop when having nothing else to do.
● Stress and Anxiety - Punishment or harsh can stress dogs out, especially during housetraining. It can result in them eating their own poop to get rid of the evidence.
● Attention Seeking - Dogs love it when we give them a lot of care. If they feel like there’s a change in that, they might try different measures to get attention back. They might be eating poop to get a reaction from you. Even if it's a negative reaction, it's still better than nothing.
Breaking the Poop Eating Habit
To stop your dog from eating poop, you need to look deeper into the causes or the underlying condition. That way, you can fix the root of the problem.
● First and foremost, you want to treat any dietetic needs or medical conditions that are causing the poop eating. With the recommendation of a veterinarian, try vitamin supplementation and enzyme supplementation. You may want to look into the dog's diet as well because the food might be unappealing to them.
● You should also try an automatic pet feeder to make mealtimes be regular. If you're a busy person, it will take a load off your list of responsibilities. Also, a cat water fountain can give your pet access to clean water all throughout the day.
● Next, you want to keep the dog's living area clean, so there will be no faeces to tempt him. Don't give your dog the opportunity to wonder how the poop tastes.
● If you also own a cat, keep the little box tidy and out of the dog's reach.
● Supervise your dogs when you're outdoors. Don't let them wander off without knowing where they are because they could find something, like poop that they can eat.
● Avoid punishment, especially during housetraining, which could stress them and cause them to "destroy" the evidence. Instead, use firm commands such as "leave it" or "come" then you can clean up.
● Keep your dog active and engaged. Like we said, boredom can cause your little friend to eat poop. You should also give the dog attention to avoid attention seeking behaviours.
Poop eating for dogs is more normal than we think. However, even if it is quite common, you shouldn’t ignore it because it can indicate that something is wrong.
How to stop your dog from eating poop isn’t so difficult. First take a look at the underlying cause, then address it as necessary. Also, if the dog has no access to poop, then eating it would not be a problem.
Do you have tips you’d like to share on how to stop your dog from eating poop? We’d love to hear them so use the comment section below.
My name is Lauren. I am the founder of lovablepawsandclaws.com
I’m a young woman with a real passion for animals. I have kept many pets over the years and have intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. My dogs keep me active and satisfy my desire to spend lots of time in nature.
This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.
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