why does my dog eat another dog poop
Most owners love their dogs, but that doesn t mean we re not disgusted by them from time to time. Chief among the complaints that I most frequently hear from owners is coprophagia. Okay, nobody uses that word. Instead they ll say something along the lines of, Doc, why does my dog insist on eating poop? It s just so gross! Gross it is, but coprophagia is often a normal canine behavior. In some cases, it s even beneficial. For example, a new mom will lick her puppies bottoms to stimulate defecation and then eat what comes out to keep the den clean and free from odors that might attract predators. And dogs aren t the only species that regularly eat poop. Newborn foals will ingest other horses droppings to help colonize their intestinal tracts with the bacteria needed for healthy digestion. I think we can all respect the new mom who keeps her puppies healthy and protected and her den clean, but why do dogs eat poop their own as well as that of other dogs and even other species under so many different circumstances? Health problems can be to blame in a limited number of cases. Some conditions (e. g. , intestinal malabsorption/maldigestion disorders, or diabetes mellitus) can make dogs ravenously hungry, and they will basically try to eat anything within their reach that has even the slightest resemblance to food. Another reason that is frequently tossed about is that the dog is missing a nutrient in its diet. In fact, there s not a lot of evidence to support this, particularly if a dog is eating adequate amounts of a nutritionally balanced food made from high-quality ingredients.
A good first step when faced with canine coprophagia is to make an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor can diagnose or rule out any health concerns that may be playing a role and also check for gastrointestinal parasites and infections that can result from this behavior. If your dog gets a clean bill of health, then the problem can be handled behaviorally. Dogs eat poop because it is rewarding to them. It tastes good, relieves their hunger, or it brings them attention (negative attention can be better than no attention in their eyes). The rewards vary from case to case, but the treatment paradigm is the same remove the reward and the behavior should stop:
Be fastidious about cleaning up feces in the yard and from litter boxes, and try to avoid walking the dog in areas where he is likely to run across snacks. If you catch a dog in the act, don t make a huge event out of it but try to distract him. Toss a can filled with coins to the ground (neither near you nor the dog, the noise should seem like it came out of nowhere) and then call him to you and reward him when he comes. Try changing the diets of the pets in the house. Different foods will alter the smell and composition of feces, which may make them less attractive. Diets made from highly digestible, natural ingredients are ideal. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a product that is appropriate for your animals.
Try one of the many available products that make feces less palatable to dogs. Some work by imparting a foul taste to the feces, others contain enzymes that break down components of the stool that dogs find appealing, and some products combine the two approaches. When you find a brand that works for your dog, continue with it for at least a few weeks. Unfortunately, even with appropriate behavioral modification and changes to their environments, some dogs will revert to their old ways and sample feces from time to time. If you notice this occurring, immediately reinstitute your hard line protocol to nip the relapse in the bud. Dr. Jennifer Coates Image: by Last reviewed on July 31, 2015 Feed our dog a healthy and balanced diet. This will keep a dog's digestive system healthy and provide him with all the nutrients that his body needs. An easy way to provide our dog with a balanced diet is through high-quality kibble. Make sure the kibble has good protein sources that are from meat, rather than from grains, which are more difficult for our dogs to digest. Stay away from kibble that contains gluten (e. g. wheat gluten). Compared to meat protein, gluten is. Keep a consistent feeding schedule and supervise their poop time. A consistent eating schedule will also keep a dog's stool regular. This makes it easier to supervise, and prevent our dog from eating his own poop. Scheduled feedings will also help to prevent overeating and obesity issues down the road.
Exercise your dog and keep him busy. Play fun games with your dog, walk him regularly and do frequent obedience training sessions. A well-exercised dog is better-behaved at home, and less likely to eat poop out of boredom. Keep the environment clean. If there is no free poop lying about then our dog cannot engage in opportunistic stool eating. Reduce stress. Try to reduce our own stress and keep our dog relaxed. When we are calm, our dog will have an easier time staying calm as well. This results in a better quality of life for everyone and will stop stool eating behavior that results from stress. Teach your dog the "Leave-It" command. " Leave it! " helps us communicate to our dog what is acceptable to eat, and what is not. Poop is unacceptable to eat, as are some such as oleander, and some, such as onions and chocolates, which are poisonous to our dogs. Make the poop taste bad. One of the most common ways to stop stool eating is to make the poop taste bad to our dogs. Adding meat tenderizer to dog food is one way to do this. Canned pumpkin, spinach, and pineapple juice may work as well. However, this only works when we have full control of the environment. In addition, it only targets the symptoms of poop eating, rather than addressing the issue at its source. (Note: Consult the vet first before adding any of these to your dog's food. Adding too much may be bad for a dog and cause digestive issues. A dog may also be allergic to some of these ingredients. )
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