Why do dogs eat poop?
Dogs eating poop? Ewwww. It’s so gross we don’t even want to think about it. But if you have a dog that enjoys eating poop, you know exactly why this can be a problem. Out of all the gross habits our pets have, eating poop definitely tops the list. Despite how unsavory of a topic poop eating is, it is such a common problem that there’s even a word for it: coprophagia. Let’s dig into the down and dirty topic of dining on dog doody to figure out why dogs eat poop and how we can get them to stop it.
TOP REASONS DOGS EAT POOP
Because they like the taste
Despite what we know about poop, dogs don’t instinctively know eating poop is bad and they may be eating it simply because they like the taste. In colder climates, dogs may even seek out poop buried in the snow to eat it. Whether their own poop, or the poop of another animal, these dogs just see the poop as a tasty snack. However, this practice can make your dog very sick, especially if they eat poop that contains parasites.
When your dog eats poop, your automatic response is to say “Ewww, gross,” and try to get them to stop, right? Well even though that is negative attention, your dog still sees it as attention and eventually your dog may learn that when they eat poop it gets your attention. They may be bored and eating poop brings a reaction from their owner.
Some dogs who have anxiety may eat their own poop because they are nervous. They may be worried that you will scold them for having an accident so they eat their poop to hide the evidence. They may also be bored while waiting for you to come home, and as gross as it is, eating their poop gives them something to do while they wait for you.
Sometimes dogs will eat poop if their diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals or calories. If dogs don’t have enough nutrients in their daily diet, they may take to consuming poop to try to gain back any nutrients that they are lacking. If their diet is calorie deficient, they may eat poop because they don’t feel full and are still hungry.
How to stop your dog from eating poop
Not only is it really gross when dogs eat poop, but it can also make dogs really sick. Dogs may inadvertently ingest parasites when they eat poop. Bacteria found in poop can also cause dogs to experience diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog has recently picked up a poop eating habit, it may be best to consult with your veterinarian to make sure there are no health issues going on that are causing your dog to eat poop. So how can you get your dog to stop eating poop?
Eliminate the source
The easiest way to get your dog to stop eating poop is to eliminate the source of the poop. That means you have to clean up your dog’s poop right away before he or she has a chance to snack on it. You’ll also need to supervise your dog when they are outside doing their business. Also, pay close attention when you're out walking your dog to make sure he or she doesn’t find feces to snack on while you’re strolling. If your dog likes to eat other animals’ poop, such as stealing snacks out of a cat’s litter box, try to find a way to prevent your dog from having access to it.
If you think your dog is eating poop because of boredom or anxiety, try to find a more constructive way for your dog to utilize their energy. Consider playing games with your dog, our blog Four Fun Ways To Treat Your Dog has some great suggestions for you to try. If your dog is bored while you’re gone, try giving them a puzzle toy to play with, or fill a treat dispensing toy with some freeze-dried treats to give them something to keep them occupied. Having a few treats throughout the day will also give your dog a few calories, so they may not even be hungry for poop.
Try a poop eating deterrent
There are a variety of over-the-counter products available that may help your dog to stop eating poop. Coprophagia treatment is typically a pill or a powder that you give your dog, which deters them from eating stool. You can also get a taste deterrent that you add to the poop that makes it taste bad so when your dog tries to eat it, they encounter a yucky flavor and hopefully won’t try snacking on it again.
Switch to a raw diet
If you think your dog may be snacking on poop because they are missing out on important vitamins and minerals in their diet, you may want to consider switching your dog to a raw diet. A raw diet contains enzymes that help regulate your dog’s digestive system, often helping to naturally deter them from eating poop. A raw diet also contains protein, vitamins and amino acids like thiamine and taurine. Even if you’re not ready to fully make the switch to a raw diet, adding raw nutrition to your dog’s regular food can work as a supplement to their diet, providing them with the nutrients they need. By feeding your dog a diet that contains clean ingredients, it may naturally decrease your dogs tendencies to eat poop.
Eating poop may be a disgusting habit, but with some simple changes you can help deter and prevent your dog from partaking. By eliminating this habit, your dog will be healthier and they’ll have fresher breath for more loving smooches. For more dog care tips, be sure to check out our other blogs and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Shop now to pick out some food and treats for your own dog.