Let’s get real peeps! Our dogs are the cutest things ON THE PLANET but you’ve got to admit, sometimes they indulge in some pretty shameful behaviours, like drinking water from the toilet bowl or eating poop (yuck!).
I first encountered this questionable behaviour when I was a teenager on baby sitting duties. I had just changed the baby and put the dirty nappy on the floor for a minute. When I turned around to take it to the bin, its content had vanished and the dog was looking up at me with a very satisfying air. TRUE STORY! It only took a minute for him to go to town on this “freshly baked” treat. I was horrified and disgusted, as a 16years old girl would be! And if this story didn’t make you grimace a little bit too, then poo are you? pun intented! ;)
This quickly prompted a lot of questions in my mind: why on earth do dogs eat poop? Is it dangerous? Would they eat their own too? Should I tell the owner or try to erase this stinky memory out of my mind? (clearly that didn’t work as I’m still here telling the tale).
Why do dogs eat poop?
The scientific term is called coprophagia and it refers to the act of eating poop whether their own or others (cats, birds etc).
Coprophagia is common in pups until the age of 9months. Or in mums, cleaning up after their pups. It is a way of exploring and teaching. It is harmless, although it can lead to problems if there are parasites or toxins in the faeces consumed.
The reason for dogs eating poo can be medical or behavioural. If your dog has started indulging in this behaviour, you will want to rule out any health problems with your vet first, such as:
- Malabsorption or insufficiency. Is your dog getting enough nutrients?
- Diabetes, Cushing’s disease or other conditions that might alter your dog’s appetite.
- Drug related (if your dog is on steroids for example)
If there are no physiological reason for your dog engaging in coprophagia, then it could be:
- Boredom & Isolation
- Anxiety: some stress triggers result in eating their own stools.
- Confinement: spending too much time in a confined space, kennel or shelter.
- It’s just yummy! In fact one of the most common reason for dogs eating poo. Don’t forget that dogs and humans have a very different opinion of what’s tasty and what’s not 😉
How do I stop my dog from eating poo?
Here are a few tips and tricks you can implement to stop your dog from eating poo.
- Switching your dog to another diet. Make sure to feed a healthy and balanced diet to keep your dog's guts healthy!
- Adding enzymes and probiotics supplements to improve digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Using an off the shelf deterrent or DIY one that will make the poo taste bad and your dog not want to eat it.
- Make sure to keep your backyard clean and pick up after your dog to limit his/her access to faeces.
- Supervise your dog when outdoors and especially at “poop time”. Most dogs pass stools after a meal so make sure to keep an eye on your dog at that time.
- Train to leave with the command “leave it”, praise and reward with treats when your dog leave the poop alone, whether on a walk or at home.
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to help dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub