Caught your dog chewing on a foreign object? It might not be the first time for something like this to happen, but have you ever caught your dog red-pawed eating stool before?
It can be frightening to see your dog munching on excrement. There’s no need to worry though, as several solutions are at hand on how to keep a dog from eating poop.
But first and foremost, let’s answer some of the questions you might have in store about your dog’s bizarre eating habits.
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Why Is My Dog Eating Feces?
Coprophagia; a common behavior found in various species of animals and insects. This behavior causes animals to feast on excretions, whether it was their own stool or stool that belongs to other animals.
Coprophagic behavior can develop in dogs due to behavioral issues or medical causes.
Either way, let’s take a look at what these reasons might be.
There are several behavioral causes that make a dog feed on poop. Here are some of them:
Anxiety or Severe Stress
Anxiety in dogs can be caused by a new pet moving in the house. So, to calm themselves down, dogs may eat their stool.
Past traumas can cause anxiety in dogs as well. Canines that have been separated from their mothers at a young age can experience separation anxiety as they grow older.
There are diverse symptoms of separation anxiety, and coprophagia is one of them.
Even trained dogs can display coprophagic actions just like domestic dogs do.
According to dog training centres in the Netherlands, trained dogs have appeared to exhibit coprographic behavior.
When potty-training your dog, don’t stick his nose into his stool. Going by this method encourages the development of coprophagic actions in canines.
Remnants From the Past
It might not be entirely your dog’s fault when he feeds on stool. A study done on over 1000 dogs revealed that dogs eating feces could be something passed down from their ancestors.
Only 16% of the dog owners reported that their canine eats poop up to 6 times or more.
As a result, the study suggests that the preferable way to know if your dog has coprophagia is by detecting how much poop he consumes.
Due to the existence of endless medical conditions, it’s hard to pinpoint which of them causes coprophagia in dogs.
Two of these medical conditions are worth noting:
Presence of Parasites
Another research done on 70 canines in which some of them were coprophagic and the others weren’t, concluded that there was no difference in the lifestyle, eating habits, sex, or habitat of these dogs.
So, what made 30 of these canines eat stool?
Turns out, that the presence of parasites or coprophagic cohabitants inside the dogs were the reason why these dogs developed such behavior.
Digestive Enzyme Deficiency
A malfunction in a dog’s pancreas can cause them to feed on poop, to compensate for the shortage of digestive enzymes.
Animal excrement -especially rabbit feces- is rich with enzymes and nutrients that a dog might be lacking; thus, forcing a dog to feast on poop.
Are There Health Risks if My Dog Ate Poop?
It depends on the poop your dog ate. Was it his own poop? or was it another creature’s feces? In both cases, there’s still a possibility that your dog can get sick from ingesting feces.
Then, why do they get sick if eating stool is a common matter to them? Dogs don’t get sick because of the poop they ate, it’s because of what the poop itself contains.
Feces of unknown animals contains the remains of what they ate, which may not go well with your dog and as a result, they fall ill. Luckily, it isn’t something fatal to fear.
Symptoms often come along to warn you of your dog’s sickness, which includes:
- Stinky Breath
Immediately contact your vet if your dog started experiencing symptoms similar to these. The sooner you managed the problem, the faster the recovery process was.
How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Poop: 7 Tips to Follow
Now that we’ve covered some questions concerning your dog’s habits, here are several tips that would help you reduce your dog’s appetite towards poop.
Tip 1: Remove any Feces Your Dog Produces
If your dog has a tendency toward eating his own poop, make sure to clean up every bit and piece he gets to leave around the house.
Dogs are quite intelligent animals. By removing feces from a dog’s sight, he’ll understand that it isn’t something edible, which will help suppress his craving toward feces.
Tip 2: Constantly Clean Your Dog’s Den
Mother dogs tend to eat the feces produced by their puppies as well, where they lick their puppies buttocks to help them urinate and defecate.
It’s speculated that mother dogs eat their babies feces in response to their instincts, where eating their poop helps hide their scent from any nearby predators.
However, domestic mother dogs don’t have to worry about predators, since they aren’t in the wild anymore.
If you own a female dog that has just gave birth to a set of adorable puppies, ensure the den is clear of any feces that your dog could ingest.
Tip 3: Use Taste-Aversion Substances
To those who don’t know what taste-aversion is, it’s simply associating certain tastes with substances that cause harm or illnesses.
Spraying your dog’s feces or any feces you find that he might devour with taste-averting substances will help stop him from consuming these feces.
Whether your dog munches on his own poop or other poop, don’t spray it with spicy substances that can injure your dog.
Furthermore, taste deterrents can be used on things other than poop that you don’t want your dog to lick, sniff, or eat.
They can also be applied on a dog’s body to help them stop excessively licking themselves, but seek advice from your vet first to avoid any damage from occurring to your dog’s fur.
Tip 4: Properly Train Them
Potty-training is a process that takes plenty of time, especially when it comes to puppies. Giving your dog a treat is possibly the easiest method to potty-train him properly.
Offering him a treat every time he does his business in the required spot encourages him to keep up the good job. Putting a leash on your dog while potty-training him outdoors can work too.
Additionally, directing your dog away from his poop after he’s done assists with keeping him away from any feces. Most importantly, take your time with your dog and don’t be harsh on him.
Cruel treatment can cause anxiety within dogs, consequently making them eating their own poop to hide the tracks of the crime they made.
Tip 5: Feed Your Dog a Balanced Meal
Lack of nutrients makes a dog search for other replacements for food you give him.
Dogs can’t survive on dry food alone, neither can they survive on a single recipe.
Feeding them a diverse diet that consists of various ingredients supplies them with the needed amount of vitamins and nutrients.
For instance, meals that contain rice, vegetables and raw, or cooked meat can do the trick for both you and your dog’s body.
With that being said, canines are intolerant to certain kinds of human food, where they can be dangerous to your dog if he happens to ingest them.
Be careful with what type of food you’re giving to your furry fellow, these foods can cause allergic reactions for dogs, and even some of them are labeled poisonous to canines.
Tip 6: Shower Your Dog With Affection
Some dogs tend to eat stool as a way to grab your attention, particularly if there was a new pet in the house. Dogs love to be the center of attention, and they’ll do anything to capture your attentiveness.
Dogs get jealous and protective over their owners. Bringing in a new companion can spark a tint of jealousy within your dog. However, this can be avoided with appropriate training of course.
Don’t favor one of your pets over the other, and be sure to shower them with equal amounts of love and affection.
Tip 7: Take a Trip to the Vet
Consider this tip as a last resort if all of your previous attempts have failed.
Eating stool can be caused by an underlying medical issue that can’t be fixed on its own. Your dog will have to undergo several check-ups and tests in order for the vet to determine the cause.
Coprophagia is a repelling behavior to us, but it’s not that odd for dogs.
Being grossed out by such behavior is a natural reaction, but some dog owners can take it to extremes and ditch their canines.
It’s important to know that there are plenty of solutions on how to keep a dog from eating poop, just like the many reasons that cause this behavior.