Dealing with Coprophagia naturally.
When you watch your dog eating poop there will be a number of emotions that you will go through. Such as disgust, worry, stress, and concern.
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Medically termed as coprophagia, your dog eating poop is both disgusting and stressful. The sad part is, he will eat his own poop as well as from other pets and animals. This means that if your dog has the need to consume poop even on walks, it will be problematic and embarrassing.
Not only will it affect you as dog owners but it can expose your dog to illnesses if not stopped immediately.
Understanding your dog
To be able to curb this behavior, you must be able to understand your dog and his behaviors. This means that you will have to spend time with him to track his habits. Domestication has enabled us to live with dogs and train them to act accordingly. However, dogs take after their ancestors in terms of animal instincts which may contribute to eating poop.
If you spend enough time with your puppy, there is a chance you will catch and treat the habit before it becomes chronic. However, if you punish him for pooping in the yard or house, your dog might develop poop-eating behavior.
What could actually be the reason behind my dog eating poop?
As mentioned above, different dogs will eat poop for various reasons, some of which could be as a result of enzyme deficiency or another behavioral vice. You will, however, have to examine your dog and know why he is eating poop.
Not only will he eat his own poop but also of other animals including cows, birds, cats, and horses. As a matter of fact, dogs eating poop is among the top reasons why people surrender their dogs to shelters. When your dog’s diet is rich or missing stomach enzymes, he will not be able to absorb all nutrients from the food. This will make him go looking for these nutrients and his poop, as well as other animal’s, is among the top delicacies for them.
Over the years, there have been controversies in determining what causes our dogs to eat poop, with very limited scientific proof.
However, according to a recent study led by animal researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart, of the University of California at Davis, we are about to find out the scientific causes of this problem.
Published in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science, the study comprised of two online findings. The first research involved 1475 dog owners and was aimed at determining how common coprophagia is in dogs.
The second research involved 1552 dogs that had been confirmed as poop-eaters and it was aimed at determining the reason for coprophagia.
According to this study, 16% of the dogs were regular poop eater, with their owners confessing to having seen them indulge in the behavior. 23% of the dogs were found to have at least been seen eating poop while dismissing any claims that age and the diet of the dog did not play any part in promoting the poop-eating behavior.
This study also confirmed that dogs living in a home with other dogs or animals are likely to engage in coprophagia since the poop will be readily available.
Other contributing factors
However, this fact failed to mention the sex of the dog as a contributing fact given that female dogs eventually engage in poop eating once they give birth. This is because they take up the responsibility of a mother, which includes cleaning after her children.
To keep her sleeping place clean, your dog will eat her and the puppies’ poop, like he would in the wild. As a dog owner, you should always keep in mind that despite domestication, our dogs are still scavengers with animal instincts. The second survey was able to confirm this, suggesting that female dogs eat poop more often than male dogs.
The breed of the dog was also found to be a contributing factor of your dog eating poop. The breeds that were found to be notorious poop eaters were Hound, Shetland Sheepdog, and Terriers while the least poop eater was a poodle.
Your dog eating poop does not necessarily mean that your dog is sick, but also should not be encouraged since your pup might catch some illnesses from eating poop. Most dogs will prefer fresh poop and avoid the old one.
I caught my dog eating poop
Most dog owners will come across their dog doing this distasteful habit and get worried about the harm it could cause the dog. If you just caught your dog eating poop, the best approach is to monitor how frequent and what’s pushing him to do so.
Sadly, not all times you will find a reason for your puppy to eat poop! Sometimes he will do it simply because he likes how it smells and tastes. Struggling to get your dog to stop this habit requires supervision and thorough training.
Training works well to correct behavioral issues in dogs, and it is also the one thing that has made domestication of dogs possible. However, other preventive measures could also be useful in keeping your dog away from eating poop.
Picking up stool immediately is essential in efforts to curb the behavior of eating poop. This means that you should supervise your dog and monitor his pooping time and frequency. Puppies are most likely to poop minutes after they feed.
Eliminating the poop will keep your household clean as well as your dog healthy from parasites.
If you also have a cat, you may consider having a litter box for her so that you can be able to keep it away from your dog.
Confined dogs might also eat poop to keep themselves busy as well as keep their place clean. If you keep your dog in a kennel, he might engage in poop eating behavior if he is bored while you are away. He might also be selective and eat it right back to clean up its place.
Some dogs, however, are sensitive such that they vomit shortly after feeding on poop. This is also not unusual in our canine friends as they might develop stomach upsets if they eat poop.
You should monitor the vomiting so as you can rule out any underlying illnesses.
If your dog vomits and it looks like poop or smells like it, you should be keen to check whether he had an intestinal blockage. This can be as a result of swallowing bones and other indigestible materials like rocks and plastic.
Intestinal parasites have also been named to be a risk for dogs who engage in poop eating practices. This means that if you have noticed your dog eating its poop and that of other animals, there is a chance that he might be exposed to intestinal parasites.
If he is among the frequent poop eater, you should consider having him see the vet more often. For instance, if your dog eats another dog’s poop that had worms and other internal parasites, your dog may need to be dewormed to keep him healthy.
However, you should not wait until your puppy gets sick so as you can treat them. Prevent is always way better than cure. If your dog is eating poop and showing signs of diarrhea and loss of weight, you should have his stool tested by your vet.
If you keep an indoors dog, you should make sure that your dog has been well trained to use the potty. If not yet, you may also train him to use the potty in order to make picking his poop easy. Potty training can be a little challenging since it takes quite some time.
To reinforce good behavior, you will need to train your dog, especially if he is an indoor dog. This will help you control major behavioral vices in dogs. Younger dogs may take longer to learn, but with consistency, they will eventually learn all the commands.
For successful house training, you may consider the following tip;
Only show your new puppy to areas he is allowed only. Having your dog know every part of the house is fun since you can spend time with him from anywhere in the house.
However, when you get a new dog, it is important to restrict him from areas he is not allowed in, for instance, your bedroom. This way you will avoid unnecessary littering.
It is also important to understand your dog’s needs in order to be able to train him. For instance, if you own a Chihuahua, you should take frequent potty trips. This means that you will be required to supervise her until she learns to go potty on her own. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders and thus the increased frequency of potty trips.
If your puppy has an accident, don’t punish him. Instead, clean up for him as he is still new to domestication. Punishing him may make him eat poop to avoid being punished. Be patient and consistent with the training and within a short period of time, he will be an obedient dog. Clean his waste anyway even if he is pissing you off.
Start with basic commands so as to make your dog understand that you do not appreciate him pooping anywhere in the house but the potty. Phrases like ‘go potty’ are important for your dog to be able to understand what is required of him.
What your dog requires
It is important to offer him food or treat every time he gets the potty training right. This way, you will reinforce the training as he will be looking forward to treats after being a ‘good boy’. However, bribery and rewarding are essential for successful dog training but he should not get used to the habit. Eventually, he is going to learn how to use the potty by himself.
Offer enough amount of food at the designated timing to be able to predict when he is more likely to release himself. This way, he will also adjust to the timings he should eat and also go to his potty. Once he is fully trained, you should not have any problems keeping him happy and well behaved.
Dog owners who are unsuccessful or too busy to train their dogs can hire dog trainers for professional services. The trainer will address any behavioral problems your dog may develop after you tell them what you are looking to control. You should have your dog fully trained within a few months based on the type and breed of your dog.
Potty training is one of the best ways to stop your dog from eating poop, among others. Generally, behavior management tends to correct this disgusting habit and help us keep healthy and happy dogs.
If your dog is eating his poop right after he has released himself, you may consider using food additives that will make the poop smell and taste unpleasant to him. Always remember that your dog indulges in that behavior because he likes it.
Making poop unpleasant will help you keep your dog away from eating this gross delicacy.
The key to controlling your dog’s behavior is persistence and willingness to do so. When you invest in training him and making sure that he obeys you, you are definitely going to fall even more in love with your dog.
He is going to mess up a few times but don’t we all? Instead of subjecting him to shame and punishment, you should praise him knowing that he will do better next time.
Commands like ‘go potty’ or ‘leave it’ are also helpful in controlling your dog’s behavior. Once he has learned what you mean, your dog will not eat poop even on walks as you have control over them. Always keep poop away from your dog in any way possible, especially from other animals.
If your dog happens to be a chronic poop eater, you will have to make a few trips to the vet’s office to have him tested for intestinal parasites as well as get him dewormed. Your vet will be able to advise you accordingly.
As disgusting as it is, your dog eating poop is not unusual behavior in dogs. In fact, most dogs have or will eat own poop or other animals’ at some point in their lives. Even though it might be associated with health problems, eating poop is more of a behavior-oriented vice.
Some dogs will eat poop from separation anxiety as a coping mechanism while others will do so because they love how it smells.
If your dog vomits after eating poop or shows other symptoms like loss of appetite, stomach upset and diarrhea, you should consider taking him to a vet for a checkup. Keep your pup happy!