You are a dog owner, and sometimes you catch your dog eating its own feces. Or you are taking your dog for a walk, and he stops to eat a different dog’s poop. What is up with that?
As yucky as that sounds, it is actually quite usual behavior for many dogs. So don’t be alarmed if you are a new dog owner and your dog has taken on this habit.
In studies, it has been determined that whether your dog eats poop or not has nothing to do with the breed, training or age of the dog. The one thing that did come up in this study was that if there are multiple dogs in the home, they are more apt to take on this habit.
Some may eat feces just because they are bored. Its important to also consider that it may be a medical reason. Some of the medical reasons possibly why your dog eats poop include:
If your dog has intestinal parasites, he may be lacking nutrition. Parasites use up the nutrients that generally are used for other functions. This could leave your dog searching for more food or intake. Any medical condition that leads to lack of poor nutrition could be why your dog resorts to seeking out nourishment elsewhere. This leads us to the next point….
Even if your dog does not have intestinal parasites, if he is still hungry, that’s when they resort to other options. Keep to a regular schedule of feeding your dog and make sure it is enough. You can always ask your vet if you are unsure.
Proper digestion will increase the chance of your dog absorbing the nutrients from the food. Many times when your dog is eating lots of processed food, the necessary digestive enzymes that he needs may be lacking. Your dog creates enzymes already, but may not be enough to absorb all the nutrients to stay healthy and disease-free. Talk to your vet about adding digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet. Some dog foods contain natural digestive enzymes to help your dog break down the food and absorb the nutrients better.
Other Health Conditions:
If you observe that your dog is shedding weight, eats poop and/or has diarrhea, it is a good idea to take him in to a vet for EPI, which stands for Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The vet will probably suggest enzymes to help aid the absorption of the nutrients.
There are several conditions or deficiencies that can cause your dog to feel hungry even if he isn’t hungry and has been fed regularly.
So in other words, if your dog is eating poop, a visit to the vet to get tested for health conditions is a good idea. Then you can ensure that he is getting and absorbing the proper nutrients your dog needs for a healthy, happy life.
Behavioral Reasons Why your Dog Eats Poop:
There are several speculations why a dog may eat its own poop, starting with merely being adventurous and exploring their surroundings. Especially puppies that tend to be more mischievous and explorative. Everything is new to them, and they like to check it all out.
To humans, this subject is rather gross, but to a dog with some time on their hand and many a bit hungry, why not have a little treat. It’s entertaining and filling the void at that moment.
Dogs that might be seeking out extra attention may also turn to eat feces for a reaction. Getting in trouble is attention, even if it’s not good attention.
As mentioned earlier, if there are multiple dogs in the home, the chances are higher that one or more will become a poop eater. And if the dog grew up in a puppy mill, the chances are also more likely to have this habit because it is more stressful and the optimum nutrition may be lacking.
What to Do To Get Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop:
There are a few things you can do to solve this problem. It may depend on what the cause is but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Pick up right away after your dog poops. If you keep the yard clean, it will remove any temptation and will help change the behavior. If you are out for a walk, you can be there to supervise and help distract to something else.
- Regular vet visits. Check with a vet to make sure your dog is in good health and parasite free. They can also recommend a suitable nutritional dog food right for your dog so that your dog is getting the right amount of digestive enzymes. Also, adding supplements to your dog’s diet can help compensate for deficiencies.
- Having a healthy routine with your dog helps to keep them out of mischief. Regular walks and activities help with your dog’s physical and mental state. Finding the dog’s toys and going out to play with your dog provides excellent entertainment, and they are less apt to care about eating poop.
Stay Away from Punishment. Surveys say that it doesn’t work to help your dog to stop this behavior.
It might require some investigative work, but keeping an eye on the eating habits and health should give you some clues. Soon your dog eating poop will be a thing of the past, and you won’t be shying away from your dog’s kisses.