If you have a dog that eats poop, you may wonder if you should get rid of it.
After all, no one wants a pet to mess up their yard or house. However, before you get rid of your dog, you should know a few things.
- First of all, eating poop is pretty standard among dogs. It can be caused by several factors, including boredom, stress, hunger, or curiosity. In most cases, it is not a sign of serious illness.
- Secondly, there are several ways to prevent your dog from eating poop. For example, you can increase its exercise regimen, feed it more frequently, or provide it with stimulating toys and chewies.
- Finally, if your dog eats poop occasionally, it is not necessarily causing an alarm.
As long as your dog is otherwise healthy and happy, there is no need to get rid of it.
Why won’t my dog stop eating poop? I have tried everything.
I cannot keep track of the many times dog owners ask me this question. I have owned dogs for about four decades now, and I can attest to this: poop-eating eating behavior is both disgusting and worrying, especially for first-time poop-eating eating behavior is appalling and worrying, especially for first-time poop-eating dog owners.
The ultimate solution is identifying why your dog is eating poop. It could be medical or behavioral. Below, we will outline and discuss these causes and how to stop your dog from eating poop.
Behavioral reasons why dogs eat poop
Have you been struggling with poop-eating behavior for a while? Sometimes there is nothing wrong with your dog. I’m sure you have taken him to your vet and found nothing. This can turn out to be very frustrating and worrying.
However, did you know that poop eating can result from behavioral coping? Certain behaviors could motivate your dog to go on eating poop. These may include:
Boredom in dogs is a cause of most behavioral problems. Unfortunately, dogs get bored pretty fast. You could leave him and rush to the store, and he will exhibit boredom.
Before you go on to get rid of your dog because he eats poop a lot, think about how he spends his days. Dogs, like humans, are always looking for something new and exciting. When left alone for hours, your dog does not know what to do with himself. He might end up eating poop to keep himself entertained and fed.
Sadly, eating poop is not gross to dogs as it is to us. A bored dog might also engage in other undesirable activities such as excessive barking and even destroying furniture.
So how does your dog spend his days, especially when you are away? Does he have enough toys to keep him occupied? Well, this will depend on what you have taught him.
The good part of all this is that you can alleviate boredom. Spend quality time playing and petting your dog. Also, provide as much exercise as possible. If your dog has high energy levels, ensure daily activities are as intense as they should be.
Also, I suggest you purchase exciting toys to keep him occupied throughout the day. Chew toys are the best as well as treat-dispensing toys.
Now, if you have to be away for some time, I advise you to try a doggie daycare. This is especially if your dog does not know how to be alone for hours. Well, at the daycare, your dog will not get bored.
Stress in dogs
Dogs are very reactive to situations. He will notice even the slightest change in his lifestyle; unfortunately, dogs are not very good at coping with change. When dogs are stressed, they engage in various activities as a way to cope with the changes.
How do you tell that your dog is stressed? Well, if you spend enough time with your dog, you will notice the signs of stress. A stressed dog will not be able to settle down. Therefore, you might see him pacing and getting jumpy at any movement or sounds.
Your dog might get destructive and destroy your furniture to cope with stress while others engage in self-mutilation. At some point, your dog will not only eat poop but also exhibit aggressive behavior towards you and other family members.
Have you noticed these signs in your dog? You need to figure out why he seems stressed and eliminate the situation. Other dogs will have a few stressed first days before they get to settle in new homes.
Whatever situation causes your dog to stress, you need to handle it immediately. For instance, if you just moved from one house to another, you will need to be gentle as you help him adjust to the sudden changes.
Besides, dog training is necessary, mainly when stress results from guests in the house or outside noises. You may use the counterconditioning and desensitization method to help him adapt to new changes.
Check with your vet if you suspect your dog is sick. Do not get rid of your dog even if he eats poop a lot. A few adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle will help alleviate this problem.
If your dog has started eating his and any other poop he finds around, it is probably because he is not getting enough food. Do not get me wrong, as I am not suggesting that you are underfeeding your dog on purpose.
In some cases, dog owners get caught up, and they forget to add the amount of food they offer their dogs. This is especially with puppies. They may need more food as they grow older.
You have to pay attention to your puppy’s eating habits. You cannot feed him the same amount of food all through. If you are unsure about this, you should call your vet. He will advise you on the amount of food that your puppy needs.
The amount of food is not my only concern, especially when you are trying to get rid of poop-eating behavior. His diet must also be rich in nutrients.
The store’s commercial dog food is excellent for your best friend. However, sometimes your dog might be missing some nutrients, hence the poop-eating behavior. We will discuss this in detail in the next section of this article.
Note that you cannot keep changing your puppy’s diet as it could affect him.
How clean is your dog’s place? Sometimes, your dog will eat poop to maintain proper hygiene in his crate or bed. He will figure it out if you do not do it.
Now, dogs, even if they engage in disgusting habits such as eating poop, are clean creatures. He would never fall asleep or eat around his or other pet’s poop.
This means that you need to be cautious with potty training. You can manage his waste as soon as he eliminates it. There are various methods that you can use to potty train your dog.
Well, sometimes your dog doesn’t want to eat poop. However, if you have been punishing him for having little accidents in the house, do not be surprised when he eats it right back up.
Other dogs eat poop because they have seen their mother or other dogs doing it. You must be concerned about cleanliness if you have a dog who has just got puppies. Mother dogs may start eating poop to clean up after their puppies.
Puppies might, therefore, pick this behavior from other dogs.
Clean up thoroughly, especially if you have puppies in the nest.
Medical reasons for chronic poop eating in dogs
Unfortunately, your dog could be eating poop because he is ill! Several medical conditions could be behind the gross and repulsive habit of poop eating.
For this reason, I always urge dog owners to check with the vet once they notice their dogs eating poop. This way, your vet can help you rule out medical problems.
Below, we will look at the most common illnesses associated with coprophagia, a complex term used to refer to poop-eating.
Digestive enzymes deficiency
This is the most common cause of coprophagia in dogs. Dogs need digestive enzymes to complete the process of digestion. The pancreas produces these digestive enzymes.
However, sometimes there are not enough digestive enzymes to digest foods. As a result, your dog might pass stool containing all the nutrients you fed him. Some dogs are tempted to eat unprocessed foods right back.
What causes the insufficiency of digestive enzymes in dogs? An inflamed pancreas is a leading cause of these problems. Therefore, you must check with your vet before anything else.
Some signs and symptoms of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency include chronic diarrhea and weight loss. Well, your dog will have a normal appetite if not increased.
Besides, your dog might need to go to the potty frequently. As I mentioned above, your vet will need to diagnose and treat your dog. You do not have to get rid of your dog even though he eats poop a lot. You will no longer have to deal with this problem with proper treatment.
Diabetes or Cushing Disease
If your dog has suddenly started eating poop, I am sure you must be concerned. It would help if you were involved because worried could mean your dog has a more severe problem.
Conditions such as Diabetes will cause your dog to get hungry fast. Even though you are feeding your dog well, your dog may not get full. Well, he might eat poop as a snack before the main meal.
Once again, I suggest you check with your vet to rule out any underlying medical illness.
Internal parasites attach themselves to the walls of your dog’s stomach. They suck all the nutrients from your dog’s digestive system. Not only does this leave your dog hungry but also weak.
How often do you administer deworming medication to your dog? Well, I would not blame you if you forgot, but it is about time to get that checked out by your vet.
Risks involved when a dog eats poop a lot
Now that we have looked at why your dog could be eating poop, it is about time you discover the risks involved. Note that eating poop could mean that your dog is ill. At the same time, it does expose your dog to parasites.
Now, if your dog eats poop from another infected dog or cat, he could contract these parasites. Therefore, you need to curb poop eating as fast as you can.
I also suggest that you look into your dog’s diet. Do you think that he is missing nutrients? If he suffers from EPI, you probably need to provide foods that will compensate for the missing digestive enzymes.
However, before you alter your dog’s diet, visit your vet. He will guide you on the type of foods to feed your dog.
Coprophagia is repulsive and, at the same time, widespread expected standard typical behavior in dogs. Most dog owners will get rid of a dog that eats poop a lot before even trying to make it stop.
I understand that this is not an easy process, but you can be able to curb this habit. With proper training and practice, you can stop him from eating poop. However, this is going to take time and patience.
Ensure that your dog does not get bored, as he might develop these behaviors. Purchase different and exciting toys for him to play with as you go about your business.
If you are not home for several hours, consider hiring a dog walker or taking him to doggie daycare. Monitor your dog closely and eliminate any situations that could be stressing him out.
Adjust the food your dog gets per meal to avoid underfeeding him. As I have outlined above, your vet will help with this. I advise you to refrain from changing your dog’s diet abruptly.
Lastly, take your dog to the vet if you suspect he is ill. For instance, it is time to see the local vet if you notice other symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, and sudden lethargy.
Do not punish your dog when he soils the house as it could promote the poop-eating habit. Instead, treat your dog with tenderness and train him to eliminate appropriately.