Why Your Dog Eats Shit (and How to Make Him Stop)

In the animal kingdom, the eating of feces is a common occurrence occurring on the spectrum. Bunny rabbits, for example, must eat some of their feces. It’s a natural part of their digestive process, and while we rabbit people are less and less featured in the media than our dog or cat loving counterparts, we have no choice but to respectfully look away when this disgusting thing is played out. spectacle. Dog owners, on the other hand, have pets that don’t need to eat their own waste, but sometimes they do anyway. If you have a dog, you have probably seen her do this from time to time and have been alarmed too.

It’s perfectly normal for your dog to engage in shit-eating – a cooler word for which is coprophagia – but you’re forgiven if you’re desperate for it to stop. Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it.

Why do dogs eat poop?

The good news is that if you’re wondering why your dog eats poop, you’re far from alone. The forums are full of people asking this question, and animal-focused organizations such as the American Kennel Club and PetMD have also spoken out.

There have even been studies. A study presented at the American Veterinary Society’s 2012 Annual Conference on Animal Behavior found that 16% of dogs are “serious” feces eaters who have been caught doing so five times, and 24% have been seen doing so at least once. . The study notes that poop-eating is more common in multi-dog households and females are more likely to do so, while unneutered males are the least likely to do so. Watch out for poop-eating greedy dogs who also steal food from tables, according to a study.

Dr. Benjamin Hart of the University of California, who led the study, wrote: “We concluded that eating fresh stool is a reflection of an innate predisposition of canine ancestors living in the wild, which protects pack members from intestinal parasites present in faeces, which can from time to time fall into a lair/rest area.”

Lorraine Rhoads, an environmental biologist at Dogtopia , told Lifehacker that veterinarians have been looking into the matter for a long time, and “some believe this behavior may be due to dog pack behavior caring for newborn puppies and cleaning out their feces to keep the den area clean.” ยป The history of dogs’ ancestors as scavengers and the fact that modern dog food is quite nutritious may also play a role, she said: “It makes sense for dogs that high-quality food also means high-quality waste.”

According to PetMD, other reasons your dog may engage in coprophagia include:

  • Your dog is breastfeeding.
  • They like the taste of other animal excrement.
  • They want your attention.
  • They are sick.
  • They are worried.
  • They are afraid of being punished for an accident.

Those two main reasons – whether your dog is breastfeeding or just loves the taste of other kinds of waste – don’t matter. A lactating dog may eat their young’s dung to keep them clean, while an animal that likes the taste, well, just likes it.

The remaining four reasons are of greater concern. Coprophagia can be associated with diseases of the intestinal tract or even with diseases of other parts of the body such as the liver or brain. If your dog starts to lose weight around the time that fecal eating becomes active or behaves unusually, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The AKC notes that a dog eating its own litter is fairly harmless, but problems can arise if your dog eats another animal’s feces, so be especially vigilant if your dog lives near other types of animals.

Fortunately, the AKC also notes that while this behavior is indeed common in puppies, it tends to stop before they are nine months old.

How to wean a dog from eating poop?

Find out why your dog is doing this to the best of his ability. The AKC says isolation, confinement, anxiety, or inappropriate association with real food may be environmental factors that cause this behavior. These problems have solutions. Don’t keep your dog in a small kennel or away from people if you suspect isolation is the cause. Do not use harsh punishment methods during training if you suspect it is a disturbance. Feeding your dog too close to their feces can create inappropriate associations with real food.

In addition to identifying the underlying cause, there are a few more steps you can take to stop poop eating. The AKC recommends trying a multivitamin for dogs to make sure your furry friend has a balanced diet and is getting all the nutrients he needs.

There are even gummies, pills, and supplements designed to keep your dog from eating poop by making their poop unattractive to them. Try also a bad-tasting spray that you can spray on anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on, including feces. If you are feeding your dog good food, don’t think too much about what your dog is eating other than pills. Rhoads said, “Diet does not appear to be a factor in whether a dog will engage in coprophagia, unless it is malnourished or on a low-quality diet.”

Tablets and sprays are fine and all, but you should also work on this with your dog. Take them for supervised walks, keep their territory clean, and put in extra effort during training when you say “leave it,” “drop it,” or “come.” Teach your dog to come to you for a treat as soon as he has a bowel movement so that he develops the habit of moving away from the mess. If that doesn’t work, be sure to keep them on a leash and pull them firmly away from the stern every time they manage. Needless to say, but raise the poop. If it is not on earth, they cannot eat it. Hart’s 2012 study found that 92% of dogs who eat poop want it fresh, but your dog may be in the tiny percentage that consumes poop older than two days. Just clean it up.

Rhodes agreed, noting that “the most important thing you can do is get out right now.” She also suggested asking a dog trainer for help if you need it.

When working with a puppy, never let poop-eating feel like play. Don’t chase them or react harshly. Be calm and don’t get impressed so they don’t associate poop-eating with attention from you.

Finally, break your dog’s two large daily meals into smaller, more frequent meals. The less time a dog spends hungry or bored, the less likely it will be to eat shit.

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