You may have observed that your beloved dog had developed a habit of eating poop (his own poop as well as other animal poop) and was wondering how you can stop him from doing that!
To stop your dog from eating poop, you will need to find out what causes him to behave in this manner and work on eliminating these triggering factors.
In this posting, i will share with you on the following:
- Why Do Dogs Eat Their Poop?
- How To Stop A Dog From Eating Poop?
- What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Feces?
- Dog Breeds that Eat Their Own Poop
Why Do Dogs Eat Their Poop?
Eating stools or coprophagia as it is more correctly known is a common behavior among dogs. It can be a normal dog behavior, or it can be a learned behavior that is present in some dogs at birth. Dogs will eat feces from other dogs, cats, horses, and other wildlife.
In fact, coprophagy is a behavior characteristic of canines that have been adopted from their ancestors. It is believed that this behavior evolved from the availability of food in the past.
Food would be scarce and therefore dogs would hunt to eat up their allocated resources. Sometimes this would result in poop eating as a means to optimize their food intake.
Some dogs will eat poop because they have learned it is self-rewarding. Puppies who consume their mother’s feces in the first few days of life may consume it as they grow older. Coprophagy in dogs may also be related to an internal food problem.
While all reasons may be possible, coprophagy in dogs most often reflects a food deficiency rather than a hunger for poop.
The behavior may be symptomatic of other medical issues such as parasites, pancreatitis, intestinal infections, or anemia. Diarrhea and vomiting can also be indicative of a medical problem.
How To Stop A Dog From Eating Poop?
Clean Up After The Dog
Give your dog no chances to see and sniff any poop and that should stop him from eating his stool.
If there is no stool, there is no temptation for him to eat his poop. If you want to stop this behavior, make sure that you clean up his feces every time when he eliminates it immediately.
Also make sure that you put him on a leash when you bring him for a walk. This will help you to pull him away from any stools that he attempts to eat when he sees it on the street.
Make The Poop Unappealing
Dogs will eat their stool because they find the taste to be appealing. To stop this behavior, you can make the taste of his feces to be awful and that should deter him from repeating the action.
You can do it in 2 ways to create a negative association that his feces isn’t taste that great!
1. Add some additional “ingredients” to his food. Pineapple juice will work well as it will make his stool less appealing by adding up to the stench and curb his appetite.
However, do keep in mind that pineapple possesses 10% sugar count and if your dog suffers from health conditions such as diabetes or obesity, too much sugar will not be good for him. Check with your vet before adopting this approach.
2. Feeding your dog with a pumpkin diet. Pumpkin contains much fiber and this will help to make his feces look mushy and the appearance of the stool will make him less tempting to consume it.
3. Add either some salt, or pepper sauce or lemon juice on his stool. This will certainly make his poop taste awful.
Train Him To Listen To Your Command
Command such as “Leave It” or “Come” will be handy in the situation when you want your dog to stay away from the poop.
Of course, you will have to spend some time and effort to have him properly training and this is usually carried out during your dog obedience training session.
What you need to do is to associate the reward of obeying your command to be much better than what he is attempting to do (which is to sniff and eat the stool) and he will learn the positive reinforcement and keep repeating this behavior.
To see success in this approach, you will have to make sure his reward, which is usually a treat, will have to be much tastier than his poop.
Avoid Punish Him
You may have not noticed that by simply yelling or punishing your dog when he poops at the wrong place, you are in fact incurring that fear in him.
He will not know that he is “punished” from eliminating in the wrong spot and may get the idea that he is punished because he poops. This will make him want to eat his feces just to hide the evidence.
Kill His Boredom
When your dog finds himself nothing to do, he will get bored and will try to find some entertainment. Playing and eating his poop will be his entertainment as this is something that he is easily accessible.
Plan sufficient playtime and exercise for him to keep him occupied. This will make him active and stay healthy and most importantly, he will not have time to play with his poop.
If you could not afford the time to play with him, make sure that you have some toys to keep him company so that he could spend time playing with it. Chewing and puzzle toys are good choices to go for.
Also keep him in a crate when you are not available as dogs will usually not eliminate at the place where they sleep, so he would not find any poop there. Of course, make sure that you have prepared lots of toys in the crate to keep him busy.
Improve Food Quality
Dry dog food, canned food or even raw food don’t have all the enzymes that your dog needs to maintain his healthy digestive system. This could often lead to nutritional deficiency as his body could not break down the food to absorb the required nutrients.
This will lead to your dog eating his poop as he finds the undigested nutrients in his feces tasty, and he needs that nutrients.
What you should do is to make sure that he gets high quality food in his diet which is rich in nutrition to ensure a healthy balanced diet.
The high quality food should be rich in protein and low in fat content. However, be careful not to over feed him.
Check with your veterinarian how much food your dog should get daily based on his age and breed.
Ease His Loneliness
Do you know that your dog could be purposely eating his stool just to catch your attention?
This will be the case where he feels himself getting neglected and isolated. This is his way to get your attention though it’s a negative one!
What you need to do is to spend more time with him to build up his trust and bonding. Playing interactive games such as “Fetch” and “Tug Of War” which requires your involvement will be a good choice.
You need him to feel that you will always be with him when he needs you. Plan a regular schedule routine for him so that he will know when you will be around with him and that will ease his separation anxiety.
Ease His Stress Or Anxiety
Stress or anxiety can also result in a compulsive or even obsessive poop eater. Dogs may be stressed for a variety of reasons: being away from their humans and/or territory, being away from his pack (you and your family), a sudden change in environment, etc.
At the least, this stress may cause your dog to eat his poop in order to alleviate his psychological stress. If your dog’s eating of poop is coupled with other symptoms of anxiety, such as pacing or a loss of bladder control, you should speak to your veterinarian.
To ease his stress or anxiety, try to eliminate or keep the external triggering source to the minimum.
For example, if your dog is stressed because you are away, try to place him in a crate where you can leave some of your old clothing in it.
Your scent on these clothing will make him feel that you are nearby and this will make him calm down. Leave some toys in the crate as well to keep him preoccupied with his playing and that will temporarily keep his mind from you.
Cure His Dominance Behavior
When you have more than one pet in the home, your dog might want to show his dominance over another submissive dog, and he does this by eating the other dog’s poop.
What you can do is to train your dog to acknowledge you as his pack leader and this should stop his poop eating habit.
Avoid Mimicry (Learned Behavior)
Dogs learn through observation.This could be a learned behavior that he had picked up. He may have seen that you are very prompt in cleaning up his stool the moment he does his poop and he is associating that whenever there are feces, it has to be cleaned up very fast.
To help you with the task of making the area clean, he will eat his stool. To avoid this behavior, you will have to clean up the stool right before he spots it.
Address On Intestinal Parasite Issue
This could be the case where your dog could be suffering from some health issue such as Intestinal Parasite.
The reason why your dog keeps craving for his stool is because these parasites absorb the nutrients from his stomach and digestive tract, and he has to turn to his poop to fill up the gap.
You can seek help from a veterinarian to advise on the appropriate worm treatment for your dog.
What Are the Risks of Dogs Eating Feces?
Dogs eating feces (and other animals poop) can lead to symptoms of worms and other diseases if it gets into their system. Some symptoms that your dog could exhibit include: worms, diarrhea, inflammation, vomiting and other muscle/joint pain.
Dog Breeds that Eat Their Own Poop
Some breeds are known to fall into the prey to Coprophagia but this problem may be due to their breeding. The tendency to consume their own feces may be a learned behavior during their puppy hood when they are still with their mom.
Top 10 Dog Breeds that Eat Their Own Stool
- Boston Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Irish Wolfhound
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Pharaoh Hound
- Rat Terrier
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Scottish Deerhound
It’s time to put what you have learned in this posting to a good use. Let me know if these work for your dog and if you have any findings to share, please feel free to comment below.