Your dog could be the most loyal, lovable, well-behaved dog in the world, except for one slightly annoying, disgusting fact: it eats poop. What should you do?
As any logical dog-owner would be, you're determined to help your little friend break this nasty habit. To get started, here are the possible reasons why your dog eats poop, and suggestions on how to help put an end to it.
It's Called “Coprophagia”
You might be surprised to know that it's fairly common for dogs to eat their poop, or other animals' poop, at one time or another. It's called Coprophagia, and though some dogs seem to have this habit for life, other dogs outgrow it as they age.
You can see this mostly in mother dogs, who normally lick their puppies' behinds to stimulate pooping. Whey they finally do, the mother dog licks the poop to keep the den clean, and free from odors that might attract predators.
In this case, there's no need to worry, since the poop-eating isn't a habit and is just a stage in your dog's life. It'll pass as the puppies mature, but by then you have to start cleaning up their poop yourself as a preventive measure, both for the mother dog and her puppies.
When your dog starts to eat poop, and you see that it's happening more and more often, you have to get it checked out by the veterinarian. Your dog might be suffering from health issues, like intestinal malabsorption or maldigestion, which can make it very hungry. As a result, your dog will eat anything that bears even the slightest resemblance to food, and that includes its own poop.
By having the underlying health issues properly diagnosed and treated, your dog should eventually stop eating its poop.
How To Discourage The Habit At Home
As disgusting as it may sound, your dog may have discovered that poop tastes well enough to eat. In this case, it may be a good idea to change its usual dog food, or add new things to its diet, like green vegetables and table scraps. The changes may stimulate it enough to ignore poop.
Other Ways To Discourage Poop-Eating
To correct this behavior, stay calm and avoid making a big deal out of it in front of your dog. Distract it immediately after it poops, either with a toy or with the help of another household member, and clean up the mess immediately.
It may also help to spend more time with your dog, whether for exercise or play, as your dog may just be feeling lonely. Here's an expert tip: You can solve a host of behavioral problems with your dog with a nice, long daily walk.
While eating poop may not cause harm besides the occasional digestive upset, it may still lead to health issues such as gastrointestinal parasites and infection. Always have your dog checked by its veterinarian if poop-eating becomes a habit, and always keep its surroundings poop-free. This is still the best way to help break the habit.