As humans, it’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that sometimes our dogs have a completely different idea of what is “edible”, “yummy” and “safe for consumption”. Yes, we’re talking poop! On average, one out of every 6 dogs will have an affinity to indulge in feces eating.
Although there is no real defining reason why some dogs eat their poo. Studies show that certain breeds do it more than others. Females tend to do it more than male dogs, and dogs who do eat poop, seem to eat more fresh firm stools than old.
Sure, it’s gross! But let’s first talk, investigate and learn why your dog might be eating poop. Secondly, learn about the things you can do to help curb the nasty habit. Here’s a logical look at why dogs eat excrement.
Why Dogs Eat Poop
Dogs have been known to eat their poop or even the poop of other animals in and around the house. This habit is also known as coprophagia and has many causes generally either behavioral or medical. This can be on account of a number of things like eating nutrient-deficient foods. Or if they are getting too much protein in their diet. Or as disgusting as it sounds, some dogs eat it because they are hungry or like the taste and texture of it. So let’s dig a little deeper into the subject.
If you notice your pup has been adding fecal matter to their diet it could be for many reasons. Including but not limited to anxiety, feelings of isolation or confinement, inappropriate eating patterns, and even seeking out your attention. It is even common for mothers to eat their puppy’s poop during the first few weeks of lactation as an environmental protective measure. Pica is another condition that might be the reason why your dog eats non-food unsanitary items.
Many dogs eat their poop on account of past experiences of emotional and physical trauma. Almost as a way to avoid reprimand or punishment. Other dogs simply eat it out of nervousness or loneliness, seeking out attention. Dogs kept in smaller spaces have been known to clean up poop from their area by consuming it. If food and where they go to the bathroom is in close proximity, they can confuse the scents associated with them and there is a high risk of cross-contamination.
How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop
Watch them closely and don’t leave them unattended in a small space or kennel for long periods of time. Keeping your eye on your pets as much as possible is a great way to deter poop-eating from happening in the first place.
When out for walks keep them on a shorter leash for more control and teach them the art of the “leave it” command as perfected by the AKC. Try to avoid giving harsh criticism and heavy punishments as it may deter them from the bad behavior, but only work to increase it. Not to mention harm the close relationship and special bond you both share.
Pick Up Backyard Piles Regularly.
Scoop that poop on the daily, not only is it sanitary for others to pick up after your dog but it could help them avoid the temptation. Removing the opportunity before they see it will help in the training. Also, if you are in a fenced area on outside potty breaks, it’s beneficial to stay with your dog to deter them from eating poops.
Add Tomato Juice, Pineapple Juice, Or Meat Tenderizer To Food.
Adding small amounts of acidic things like tomato and pineapple juice, and meat tenderizer to your dog’s food can actually help deter them from eating their own poop. Just a simple tablespoon of tomato juice (not V8!) to their food once a day will add acidity to your dog’s stool. This will deter your pup from eating its own waste. Just always check the ingredient list to make sure everything in it is safe for your pup.
Upgrade Their Food
Talk to your vet about maybe switching up your dog’s regular diet and maybe try adding some organic grass-fed proteins to their diet. Try a more completely balanced food source option with lots of healthy protein. You can be reassured they are getting all their necessary nutrients. Include organic grass-fed beef treats and chews to their everyday menu options. A full happy dog may learn to choose the better-tasting food over the latter in time.
Consider enzyme supplements and vitamins.
To curb your dog from eating poop, you could look at adding extra vitamins to their diet. These can assist when your dog might be lacking certain enzymes in the body. They might be experiencing a lack of vitamins such as vitamins B, C, D, and K.
Training and using positive reinforcements.
When you train every day and keep up with the lesson, and use praise and positive reinforcements with your dogs, you set them up for progress. The rewards they receive make them happy and more apt to repeat those behaviors in the future. Positive reinforcement training is an extremely powerful tool you can use to help them curb bad habits while simultaneously building up a bond.
What Not To Do
There are a few don’ts when training your dog to not eat non-food items. It is best to avoid things like hitting, screaming, and overreacting. Don’t rub their nose in it, this will probably just create more anxiety over pooping.
If you stay calm, your dog will remain calm and better understand what it is you are asking of them. Stay away from indulging in bad behavior, but instead highlight good behaviors such as leaving things where they should be.
Is It Normal For Puppies To Eat Poop?
Honestly, it is completely natural and normal behavior for puppies. No worries! Most likely this behavior, while disgusting, will cause no harm to you or your puppy. About 16% of all dogs studied seem to enjoy eating poop, either their own or someone else’s.
A dog’s sense of smell and range of taste buds are completely different from ours, as much as we humans find the activity disgusting, they just don’t. Dogs explore the world with their mouths and nose and seem to dive face-first into anything that might seem interesting or delicious.
It is true, some pups are just partial to eating things they probably shouldn’t. You should always speak to your vet, however, if your dog suddenly starts eating poop. On account of the numerous medical conditions that may be to blame for the new habit. Some conditions that may encourage your puppy to eat feces are:
- Medication Side Effects
- Illnesses Like Dementia
- Digestive Issues
- Copying Their Mother
- Worms And Other Parasites
- Diseases Such As Diabetes And Thyroid Disorders
The best thing you can do to curb your dog’s poo enthusiasm is to keep a close watch on their behaviors and actions. Teaching them good recall or “leave alone” commands can really help keep them away from the problem. Good positive reinforcements when they do well, will really keep future “uh ohs” at bay.
Make sure to properly clean up your dog’s stools and keep them out of areas where temptation might creep up, like a cat’s litter box. Try feeding your pal more regularly or try a diet that better fills their stomachs. You can even attempt the method, where you enhance their poop to taste more unpleasant to them.
Whatever you do, Stay Calm and Keep Scooping!