Learn how to get a dog to stop eating its poop, so that you can have a healthy relationship together. Sometimes dogs can even eat other animals' poop like rabbit's.
Coprophagia is known as the fact that the dog ingests its own excrement (autocoprophagy), those of other dogs (intraspecific coprophagia) or those of other animals (interspecific coprophagia).
It is a very common behavior in dogs (especially when they are puppies), and it worries their owners, as well as being very annoying. What causes it and how can it be avoided?
What Is Canine Coprophagia
Coprophagia is included within the disorders called pica, which is the ingestion of substances that are not typical of the species' diet. Among the pica disorders, it is the most common. In many cases it occurs in the “infant” age of the dog and disappears on its own as it becomes an adult.
There is a belief that dogs eat their droppings because “they are lacking in vitamins or minerals”; however, the causes of this phenomenon can be varied and generally tend to be due to behavioral problems. They must be identified with the help of a veterinarian to eradicate this practice.
Bitches Eat Their Puppies' Droppings
The only habitual coprophagia, which is not considered as abnormal behavior, but a behavior fixed through time by natural selection, is maternal coprophagia with the faeces of the puppies.
In all wild canids or not, including dogs, the mother eats the faeces of the puppies to keep her “nest” (the farrowing pen) in perfect hygienic conditions, thus preventing the appearance of diseases in the puppies.
This habit had an adaptive advantage and was therefore fixed in the genes and instinctive behavior of the females.
Dogs Can Eat Their Poop for These Reasons
- It is common for puppies to ingest their feces, as soon as they are produced, to make them “disappear” from the sight of their owners. This is especially if they have made their nature calls in an inappropriate place, to avoid reproaches.
- Stress or separation anxiety also influence the appearance and maintenance of coprophagia over time.
- Boredom, loneliness, and lack of interaction with the owner and environmental stimulation, may be at the root of the problem. The dog simply eats his poop for entertainment. Sometimes he even plays with it before ingesting it.
- Demand for attention from its owner or family, so that they are aware of it, even if it is in this way.
- Lack of hygiene if the dog lives in dirty environments.
- If they live with cats, they may find their feces “appetizing”, or be curious about them.
- If they live with other dogs, they can eat their feces by submission to their dominant congeners or imitate the behavior of other dogs that ingest feces.
Diseases That Can Cause Canine Coprophagia
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (usually the most frequent).
- Intestinal parasitosis.
- Malabsorption syndrome.
- Intestinal infections.
- Mellitus diabetes.
- Other intestinal or digestive causes.
Is Eating His Own Feces Harmful for My Dog?
Owners are often concerned that this bad habit could be detrimental to the health of their dogs . The most obvious risk is that they ingest the excrement of another dog that may have a parasitic or viral disease, and thus, by the fecal-oral route, it is transmitted to our dog.
How to Get A Dog to Stop Eating Its Poop – Steps
The first step is to always consult with our veterinarian to examine the puppy or adult dog, and after performing a complete examination and diagnostic tests, if necessary, rule out or confirm the presence of diseases that may cause this behavior. If so, the professional will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Education So That Your Dog Does Not Eat His Poop
If there are no diseases or the presence of parasites, we can get down to work to eradicate the bad behavior of dog eating poop:
- Never allow access to feces. Clean or remove them as soon as the dog defecates, as dogs that eat their fecal matter tend to prefer it “fresh”. It is usually effective that he does not see us when we lift his stool to throw it away. Sometimes “making them disappear” without the dog noticing helps them to get out of the “loop”.
- If it is a puppy that defecates in its pad, congratulate it, and remove it and throw it away immediately. Do not allow it to play with it or with the feces. Often taking him out for a walk (if possible) at the time when he relieves himself, encourages disinterest in his excrement. Little by little, the stimulus of being on the street makes him stop obsessing over his poop.
- Aversion to taste: the addition to the dog's feed of products that give a bad taste to the feces have not shown one hundred percent satisfactory results, and it must always be supervised by a veterinarian.
Now that you have learnt how to get a dog to stop eating its poop, make sure to put it to practice in your every day dog training sessions.