Why dogs eat Poop – Causes and Prevention
Written by: Niko Arevalo Lagdaan, vet student at Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA)
Coprophagia or usually known as poop eating has always become a problem when it comes to taking care of pets. It comes from the Greek word copro- meaning dung/stool and -phagous which means eating or feeding on. Poop eating is common to animals, and it is most likely to be behavioral. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of factors, which may lead to the demonstration of the said behavior.
What causes a dog to eat his poop?
Some studies show that nutrient deficiency may lead to coprophagy. This can also explain why some animals eat their litter after parturition. It is because they lack the essential needs of any animal like nutrients, proteins, and vitamins.
Some researchers suggest that stools have an immense amount of B vitamins, which can help animals replenish their vitamin supply. But this is only one of the many reasons.
Coprophagy may also show in dogs which are kept in kennels, because they may feel anxious and stressed. Another cause may be their curiosity to try and taste everything around them or mimicking other dogs who are eating their stools. Bitches (mummy dogs) also lick and eat their puppies’ feces just to get rid of the smell and hide its presence from other animals. Lastly, dogs may eat their feces just because they like the taste of it.
How do we prevent our dogs from eating poop?
- One of the best and most effective ways of preventing coprophagy is to make the surroundings stool-free. As soon as the dog defecates, clean the feces and wash the area with disinfectants to also prevent the spread and growth of bacteria. There are many products on Amazon, to help you with this.
- Some people try to add something to their pets’ diet to make the stool taste bad.This can prevent the dogs from eating their stool. If that sounds like an option, check out these products on Amazon.
- When walking your dogs outside, keep them on a leash to control what they smell and eat. Especially when going to the park, your dogs can acquire various diseases and parasites just by eating other dogs’ stools.
- Eliminating or at least reducing the stress of the dog can also be effective. This can be done by adding toys on their surrounding, so they could shift their attention from stool eating to playing. Find out what your dog enjoys the most.
Be aware, that the longer you tolerate such behavior, the tougher it gets to break it. Therefore start fighting it right now and if you feel none of the above-mentioned ideas work for your dog, consider seeing your veterinarian.
Downsides of Poop Eating in Dogs
Eating stools can transmit eggs of various parasites like Dipylidium caninum, Trichuris vulpis, Toxocara canis and so much more. If the dog is suspected to have eaten their own or others’ feces, bringing them to the veterinarian will be the first thing to do. Fecalysis can be done to make sure that the dog is safe from worms and also the administration of anthelmintic drugs may be done.
Other microorganisms can also be transferred in stool like E. coli and Salmonella spp. When the dog is experiencing diarrhea, gastroenteritis or stomach upsets, bring the dog to the veterinarian to get them checked.
And this is not only a danger for your dog but the rest of the family as well, especially if you have smaller kids in the house.
How about your experiences? Any tips for other dog parents on how to deal with it?