Seeing your dog eating poop and throwing up for the first time can be pretty off-putting. Sometimes it’s perfectly normal behavior:
- Your dog could be bored.
- Puppies are curious about everything, including their poop.
- It may be learned
However, in some cases, your puppy could be wrong.
- Your dog could be lacking some essential nutrients in its diet.
- It may have a neurological condition that’s making it act differently.
Finally, by eating other animals’ poop, your puppy is at risk of ingesting bacteria and the eggs of intestinal parasites.
Dog Eating Poop And Throwing Up: What it Means and How to Help Your Pooch
Witnessing your furry friend munching on its poop is not something any pet owner likes to see, but it’s just something dogs do. However, if you notice your dog eating poop and throwing up, that’s a different story.
Owning a dog requires plenty of patience and responsibility. In a way, dogs are like babies. It would help if you taught them how to behave and what not to do to keep them safe. Unfortunately, sometimes that task requires more than we expect, which could become quite overwhelming.
But, since we all love our puppies, we look for different ways to rid them of some of their yucky habits, such as eating their poop. In this article, you will find out why your dog eating poop and throwing up signifies something wrong. But more importantly, you’ll learn the reasoning behind this behavior and how to stop it.
Why Is My Dog Eating Poop in the First Place?
Let me begin by saying that eating poop is normal for dogs. The simple explanation is that they like the taste of it. But, since you’re here to learn everything there is to know about your dog’s habit of eating its feces, here are the most common reasons why dogs eat poop in the first place.
When puppies are born, their mother “bathes” them by licking them clean every day. In doing so, she inevitably ingests some of their feces. Similarly, dogs continue cleaning themselves again when they grow and become more independent.
Over time, dogs grow accustomed to the taste of their poop and even begin to eat it.
Strange as it may seem, dogs can turn to their feces when hungry. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t feeding your pooch enough. Dogs can have food cravings just like humans.
Furthermore, some dogs even enjoy eating cat poop since felines tend to have a protein-filled diet.
On the other hand, if you suspect that the kibble you’re buying isn’t all it could be, try switching to a different brand. Some dog food can be difficult for your pet to process and stay undigested. If that’s the case, your dog will try to eat its poop to eat that undigested food.
In many other articles, I mentioned dogs acting out due to boredom. Yes, eating poop can also signify that your dog is bored. Fortunately, if this is the case, it will be easy to distract it from doing so. You’ll need to take your dog out more frequently and give it more attention. That shouldn’t be too hard.
Hiding the Evidence
Some dogs have an incredible fear of punishment. This is especially prominent in dogs mistreated by their previous owners. So, if your adopted pup is incessantly eating poop, it may be doing so because it’s scared that you will punish it.
If this is the case, you will need to show your dog plenty of love and support,
Young pups love to explore anything and everything. Some dogs satisfy their curiosity by just sniffing their poop. However, some dogs aren’t happy until they gulp it down.
If you notice your dog eating poop and throwing up at a young age, it may be due to curiosity. Luckily, when they’re young, it’s far easier to teach them to revert from this behavior than when they’re older.
Why Is My Dog Eating Poop And Throwing Up?
When it comes to eating poop and throwing up, things aren’t as straightforward. In some cases, this type of behavior might be completely normal. Your dog ate its poop and threw it up because it didn’t sit well.
For instance, when puppies eat their poop out of curiosity, they’ll often throw it up immediately due to an upset stomach. This can happen the first few times, and your pup might stop eating feces on its own. On the other hand, if you’re not so lucky, your dog may develop a taste for it and continue eating it.
However, catching your dog constantly eating poop and throwing up may cause concern. In other cases eating poop and throwing up may cause trouble.
Dog Eating Poop And Throwing Up: Causes for Concern
When your dog eats poop, it generally won’t harm your puppy’s health. It may or may not throw up and continue with its regular activities. Problems can occur when it turns to eat other dogs’ feces (or animals).
Note: Dogs generally throw up more often after eating the feces of other animals.
Bacteria and Parasites
First of all, when dogs eat another animal’s stool, they are at risk of ingesting bacteria and the eggs of intestinal parasites. This can lead to serious health problems.
But that’s not all. The bacteria I mentioned are easily transmitted to humans. So, if your dog is a regular poop-eater, remember this piece of information when your dog lovingly licks your face.
Dogs that have certain diseases can develop a desire for their feces. Illnesses such as dementia can cause dogs to become disoriented and behave differently.
If your dog recently started eating poop and throwing up, you should schedule a checkup with the vet.
To have a healthy diet, dogs need three essential macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It’s unfortunate, but most dogs eat highly processed food regularly.
When your dog starts chewing its food, that triggers the digestive enzymes in its mouth, stomach, and intestines; generally, dogs create enough of those enzymes on their own to digest the food they eat. Also, they receive more enzymes from the food itself.
However, if your dog doesn’t have a healthy digestive system and a highly-processed diet, it won’t be able to digest food properly. In that case, it will eat its poop (which contains the undigested food) and most likely throw up.
Fortunately, a vet can help you determine better food choices for your dog and possibly prescribe some medication.
Dog Eating Poop And Throwing Up: Prevention
When dogs develop the unfortunate habit of eating feces, we must teach them otherwise. Here are a few things to help prevent your dog from eating poop and throwing up.
Sometimes eating poop is a sign that your dog is lacking vitamins in its diet. If this is the case, simply adding a vitamin supplement to its diet should do the trick.
The same thing applies to enzyme supplementation. As I mentioned, your pup may lack the essential enzymes to digest its food properly, so you must adjust its diet.
In either case, remember to consult a vet before doing so.
If your dog likes eating poop because of its taste, it’s time to bring out the big guns. By this, I mean spraying the poop with some substances that your pup won’t find appealing. For example, mix half water and half vinegar and spread them on the feces. Now let’s see who’s going to munch on that!
Fun fact: You may or may not have noticed, but dogs tend to eat hard stools rather than soft ones. What’s more, they’ll often gulp down frozen poop as if it were the tastiest treat on the menu!
With that in mind, adding a stool softener such as flaxseed to your dog’s diet can discourage it from wanting to eat its poop.
Discouraging the Action
If you would instead try a method that doesn’t require you to spray a foul-smelling substance onto something that’s already unpleasant on the nose, you’ll find this helpful tip.
When you take your dog out for its regular walk, please wait until it does its business, and then immediately remove your dog from the area. Once it’s out of poop-eating range, ask your dog to sit and reward it. Afterward, pick up the poop and continue your walk.
If your dog continues to sniff feces along the way, give its leash a slight tug each time it tries to eat it.
The idea is to discourage your dog from eating feces until it becomes a learned behavior.
If you like the sound of this method, I will get into more detail about how to train your dog with the “leave it” approach.
The Leave It Method
You can apply the “leave it” method in three different ways:
- With an electric training collar
- Using a dog whistle
- With treats
Note: When using an electric collar, only use the lowest setting to avoid stressing or injuring your dog. Remember, you want your pup to feel discomfort and discouraged from eating poop; you don’t want to hurt it.
The main idea is to teach your dog that it will get slightly shocked when it goes for the poop. This, of course, will take lots of time and patience. The same goes for the doggy whistle.
I must admit that I’m not a fan of negative association training, especially with electric collars, so I encourage you to try the reward system instead.
The Reward System
Before you start, you must ensure you have a bag of dog treats. Remember that you won’t immediately be trying out this system on feces. You will first need to teach it the “leave it” method using just the doggy treats.
Please take out your treat, place it on your palm, and let your dog sniff it. If Cujo is anything like my dog, it will probably try to snatch it out of your hand before you get a chance to react. However, you need to keep an eye out, and as soon as your dog tries to lick the treat, say, “leave it.”
At this point, your dog will probably still try to take the treat. Close your palm until your dog calms down, and once it does, let it sniff the joy again. Keep repeating the process until your dog learns the “leave it” command.
Next, try placing the treat on the floor. This will allow your dog to have more access to the charm. Let your dog sniff the joy, and then say, “leave it.” Repeat until your dog gets used to the command.
Finally, once you’re satisfied with how your dog has learned to obey the “leave it” command, you can try it out on actual poop.
When it comes to seeing your dog eating poop and throwing up, no one gets used to it. However, now that you’ve gotten through my poop-related article, I hope you have a better understanding of why your dog does something as gross as eating feces.
Once you start to understand the reasoning behind it, you must admit that it doesn’t seem like such a weird thing to do (for dogs, obviously).
In some instances, eating poop is a perfectly harmless action. That is, if your dog doesn’t constantly do it and then throws up immediately afterward. As I mentioned, dogs sometimes do this out of curiosity or boredom. That’s perfectly fine.
However, in those other instances when your pup is constantly eating poop and throwing up, something might be very wrong. If you’re worried about your dog’s health, the best thing you can do is take it to the vet. Once there, you can explain the behavior, and your vet will do some tests to see what could be wrong.
The bottom line is that catching your dog eating poop and throwing up once in a while is okay. However, if it becomes a habit, something could be wrong.