Why do dogs eat poop? – This is a common question with many different answers. Here is everything to know about why your pup may be eating doodoo and how to stop them.
It is normal for many animals, including dogs, to eat poop. Usually, there is no reason to worry. However, bad breath, hygiene or a medical condition are often main concerns with dogs eating poop. Here is 10 reasons why your furry friend might be eating feces and some tips for curbing this gross behavior.
Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
The scientific term for poop-eating in dogs is coprophagia and there is a variety of reasons why your pooch may be eating doodoo. Most of the time it is normal and no cause to worry. However, there are some circumstances that might be an indication of underlying issues. What you need to consider is, is your dog eating another animals poop or another dog’s poop.
Normal Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop
Here are 5 reasons why a dog might be eating poop and isn’t too much cause to worry.
- Nursing – Female dogs who are nursing eat their babies poop in order to keep their den clean.
- Poop From Other Animals Tastes Good – Dogs often eat the poop of other animals because it contains nutrients that taste yummy and might be beneficial. Although, some poop can contain harmful bacteria, so it’s always best to discourage it.
- Boredom – Some dogs who spend too much alone time will get bored and find ways to entertain themselves or get a little treat.
- Scavenging – Dogs have different senses than us, so poop smells and tastes great to them but not so much to us.
- Attention Seeking – Our dogs love us and want non stop attention. If that means getting into trouble and getting a little snack, they’ll do it.
Abnormal/Medical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop
Sometimes there are more serious reasons why dogs eat poop. If your worried about this behavior talk to a vet and get to the bottom of it.
- Enzyme Deficiency – Wild dogs had much different diets than the domesticated dogs of today. Many common diets are highly processed which can lead to nutrient and enzyme deficiencies.
- Parasites – Intestinal parasites eat too and if your dog has a worm he is eating for two. The parasite and dog are competing for nutrients which is why they may be eating poop.
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) – This genetic condition also known as pancreatic insufficiency. Dogs with EPI cannot create the digestive enzymes in the pancreas. Symptoms are weight loss, diarrhea and stool eating.
- Puppy Mills – Unfortunately, dogs from puppy mills are more likely to pick up this habit because of the stressful environments and poor diets.
- Underfeeding – Hungry dogs will look for food wherever they can.
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop
Now that you know why your dog may be eating poop, it’s time to learn how to discourage or stop it. It is easier to do this at home, but outside may be a bit more challenging.
- Clean – When your dog poops in the yard, clean it up. If you have cats or other animals, be sure to clean up their litter boxes daily. Not only will this limit the poop eating, it’ll make your other pets happy to have a clean toilet.
- Play/Exercise Routines – If your dog is bored, get them on a schedule of play time. Keep your dogs active and get their brain working. Especially if you have a working breed like German Shepherds, Collies or Labs. Teach your dog to fetch or even play hide and seek with a toy.
- Give a Good Diet – Make sure your pup is eating the best possible diet of either raw, whole or a varied diet. You can give your dog additional digestive enzymes or probiotics as well. Always keep your dog on a schedule too. Feed them the same amount at the same time everyday.
- Screen For Parasites – If you think your dog has a parasite, talk to your vet.
- Don’t Make It a Big Deal – According to a study at Davis, punishment isn’t effective. This study also found that treats and positive reinforcement aren’t effective either. Most of the time poop just tastes good to them but it is important to stay on top of their digestion.
Why do dogs eat poop? Well, it requires some detective work because all dogs are different. The important take away is that your dog is getting a nutritional diet, lots of exercise and their digestion is being monitored. Our furry friends communicate with us in different ways, so it is important to keep a watchful eye. Talk to your vet if you’re concerned but always be patient and consistent.
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