Dogs eat poop! Yes, as gross and touchy as that topic can be, it does happen. However, this does not mean that you should condone this habit. On the contrary, you should curb this behavior as soon as you notice it. I mean, it is no fun watching your dog eating his or other pet’s poop, that is if you don’t throw up. Most dog owners struggle with the question of whether they should get rid of a dog that eats poop a lot.
The good thing is that you can stop this habit completely. In this article, we are going to look at poop eating behavior in-depth, as well as the measures to take to curb the behavior. In addition, we will look at the risks that are involved in poop eating behavior.
Why won’t my dog stop eating poop? I have tried everything
I cannot keep count on the many times that dog owners ask me this question. Well, I have kept dogs for about 4 decades now and I can attest to this: poop eating behavior is both disgusting and worrying, especially for the first time dog owners.
The ultimate key to solving this problem is identifying the reason why your dog is eating poop. It could be medical or totally behavioral. Below, we are going to 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 be a result of behavioral coping? Well, certain behaviors could be motivating your dog to go on eating poop. These may include:
Boredom in dogs is a cause for most behavioral problems. Unfortunately, dogs get bored pretty fast. I mean, you could leave him and rush to the store and he will exhibit the signs of boredom.
Well, 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 all 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.
Now, the good part of all this is that you can be able to 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 that daily exercises are as intense as they should be.
Also, I suggest you purchase interesting 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 would 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. I mean, he is going to notice even the slightest change in his lifestyle and 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 notice him pacing and getting jumpy at any movement or sounds.
Your dog might get destructive and destroy your furniture as a way 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 members of the family.
Have you noticed these signs in your dog? Well, 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.
Well, whatever the situation causing 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, especially when stress is a result of 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 ad they grow older.
It means that 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 commercial dog food in the stores is perfectly fine for your best friend. However, sometimes your dog might be missing some nutrients and hence the poop eating behavior. We are going to 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? Well, sometimes your dog will eat poop in efforts to maintain proper hygiene in his crate or bed. Well, if you do not do it, then he is going to figure it out.
Now, dogs, even if they engage in such 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. This way, you will be able to 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 will eat poop because they have seen their mother or other dogs doing it. If you have a dog who just got puppies, you have to be keen about cleanliness. Mother dogs may start eating poop to clean up after her 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! Well, several medical conditions could be behind the gross and repulsive habit of poop eating.
For this reason, I always urge dog owners to first check with the vet once they notice their dogs eating poop. This way, your vet can help you rule out medical problems.
Below, we are going to look at the most common illnesses associated with coprophagia, which is the 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. These digestive enzymes are produced by the pancreas.
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 the undigested foods right back.
What causes the insufficiency of digestive enzymes in dogs? Inflammed pancreas is a leading cause of these problems. Therefore, you must check with your vet before anything else.
Some of the 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 potty frequently. Well, as I mentioned above, you will need your vet to diagnose and treat your dog. You do not have to get rid of your dog even though he eats poop a lot. With proper treatment, you will not have to deal with this problem any longer.
Diabetes or Cushing Disease
If your dog has suddenly started eating poop, I am sure you must be concerned. Well, you should be concerned as it could mean that your dog has a more serious 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. This way, 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 does could mean that your dog is ill. At the same time, it does expose your dog to parasites.
Well, 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 EPI then 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 very common 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 practices, you can be able to 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 interesting toys for him to play with as you go about your business.
In case you are not going to be at home for several hours, consider hiring a dog walker or take him to doggie daycare. Monitor your dog closely and eliminate any situations that could be stressing him out.
Adjust the amount of food your dog gets per meal to avoid underfeeding him. As I have outlined above, your vet is going to help out 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, should you notice other symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, and sudden lethargy, it is time to see the local vet.
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.