So exactly why do dogs eat poop?
As adorable as they are, dogs can sometimes be pretty disgusting. They love to roll in the dirt, drink out of the toilet, and lick things that look sanitarily questionable.
Then, there will come a disturbing time in every dog-owner’s life when they realize that their adorable little puppers has been eating…. poop!
Maybe you found out by the smell of their poop breath one morning, or you just caught them in the middle of the act. Cophrophabia – the scientific term for dogs eating their own poop – is not uncommon with dogs. There are several speculations as to why dogs suddenly develop the habit.
If you’re feeling horrified, then you needn’t worry too much. The behavior is not unusual and can be discouraged with a few simple tricks. Read on to find out why dogs eat poop, and what you can do to stop this stinky habit.
Dogs Eat Poop Because It’s Natural
Dogs are short creatures, so, naturally, they are closer to the ground. This makes things like poop closer within reach, and dogs have a strong sense of smell. They will get curious and have a sniff, and maybe a lick.
This is especially common with younger puppies under nine months. At a young age, mother dogs lick their young puppies to clean them. This means cleaning them from head to toe, and sometimes poop gets in the way.
This process is a parental mechanism that dogs and cats do with their young ones. Your dog could have developed a nostalgic taste for the taste of stool from those young pup days.
Their Diet Lacks Nutrients
You could be feeding your dog on time every day, but still not giving it the correct nutrients that it needs. Dogs eat poop if they are lacking in nutrients.
If your dog is lacking in nutrients, then they will look for other sources, and sometimes that will be stool.
When you lack certain vitamins in your body, you begin to crave certain kinds of foods because of the energy that comes with it. It’s the same when it comes to dogs, so if their body reacts to stool due to the nutrients, then it’s time that you switch up your dog’s diet.
It could also be that your dog likes poop flavor. Dogs will eat anything that tastes good to them, whether it should be eaten or not.
That’s why you should be careful about leaving small objects around the house that might seem edible to your dog but are in fact harmful.
Make sure that your dog is getting the vitamins that it needs. You could also ask your vet for supplements that your dog could take.
Dogs who lack in Vitamin B are more prone to eat their stool, according to studies.
Your Dog Doesn’t Know That Poop is Not Food
Is your dog confused? Although it may seem far-fetched to some people, when dogs eat poop, the problem could be miscommunication. Sometimes, dogs misread the signals of their pet-owners.
Your dog might think that its (or other dogs’) poop is food due to previous punishment related to feces or defecation in the wrong place.
In that case, make sure to retrain your dog by guiding them into understanding that poop is not snack.
You could do this by offering them yummier treats in alternative and rewarding them for their good behavior.
Stool is a Delicacy for Dogs
Yes, we know. It sounds anything but good. We can’t argue that dogs don’t have different tastes to humans, though. Some dogs eat poop because they like the taste of it.
Some studies say that this was a trait that dogs have developed centuries ago from their ancestors. Earlier breeds of dogs were used for hunting, before they became domesticated.
The hunting dogs scavenge through the ground for a good portion of the day and eat whatever they could lay their paws on.
Your Dog Feels Lonely
Some studies have shown evidence that dogs who feel lonely are more likely to eat poop.
If dogs are kept away from human contact for too long, they might resort to some odd behaviors as a result.
This creates stress and anxiety in the dog’s life, and such factors could pressure your dog into eating poop. This could also be interpreted as an attention-seeking mechanism from your dog.
Your Dog Learned it from Another Dog
The expression Copy Cat wasn’t only made for cats… Dogs will follow the alpha male or the older dog in the household or the pack. Whether it’s a game that they’re playing or eating poop. Your dog could have picked up the habit from another dog.
Is it Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Poop?
So now that you know some reasons as to why your dog is eating poop, one must beg to question: is it dangerous for my dog to eat poop?
If a dog eats from his/her own stool, then you needn’t worry so much. Some studies point to the idea that if a mammal consumes its own stool, then they’re safe from harm since it’s the result of their own body.
If they eat the stool of another dog or cat, though, then you should get your dog checked out at a vet. Foreign parasites or bacteria existing in the other animal’s stool can be toxic for your dog. Eating stool can develop intestinal worms in your dog’s digestion system, which in turn brings on diseases.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
While taking all the precautions to make sure your dog is sick, don’t forget to wash your hands. Your hand can find its way to your mouth, whether by biting your nails or eating a sandwich.
Make sure to wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog, especially if you came into contact with your dog’s saliva. Some kinds of bacteria are harmless to dogs, but quite harmful to humans.
If your dog has been eating poop recently, then make sure that you wash your hands frequently in case you come to contact with your dog’s saliva – through which the bacteria or parasites are transmitted. You can also find a home dental care kit for dogs to eliminate any potential poop breath.
The best thing for you to do would be to take your dog to the vet to get tested for worms. The doctor will be able to tell you what to do next for your dog to get all clean and healthy on the inside.
How Do I Stop My Dog from Eating Poop?
There are several tips and tricks you could do to stop your dog from eating poop. It’s been done before by many dog owners, and you could put an end to this habit too.
If you have a cat or another pet, then remove or clean out the litter trays or the garden. If your dog does its business in the garden or your backyard, then make sure you clean up after their mess as soon as they’re done and clean any trace of waste. The purpose is to remove the chances of your dog eating feces at home.
Another way to prevent coprophagia when you’re out on walks with your dog is to keep your buddy on a regular leash.
Besides the fact that retractable leashes could be dangerous, they also allow your puppers to stray too far and sometimes out of sight. If you find your dog inclined to sniff at and be distracted by other animals’ wastes, then this could be your chance as a dog-owner to retrain and reset their habits.
Teach your dog a new command like “Look!” while trying to take its attention away from the stool.
You could do this by using a toy or a stick which will help for distracting your dog. Make sure to carry treats with you so you can reward your dog whenever they’re a good boy.
Some pet-owners resort to adding a certain ingredient to their dog’s meal plan that makes the taste of their poop extremely unpleasant to the taste.
Some deterrent products include names such as Deter, Potty Mouth and For-Bid. However, before buying the products, you should be sure to consult with a vet to see whether the product is safe for your dog.
Generally, keeping your dog active will help reduce the risk of cophrophabia. Dogs eat poop if they are bored or inactive. Getting exercise is both a great and effective way to reduce stress. By reducing stress levels, your dog will be less prone to displaying odd signs of behavior.
You don’t know if or when your dog will have eaten stool, so it’s best to get a bi-yearly check-up. The doctors will let you know of any enzymes or vitamins that your dog needs to stop the poop eating habit.
Has your dog eaten poop before? What was your first reaction? And what did you do to make it stop? Let us know in the comments!
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