Watching your dog eat poop is quite distressing, to say the least. However, it is not unheard of for dogs to eat poop. Some dog owners cannot stand this repulsive behavior. In this article, we are going to explore poop eating behavior, even as gross as it is. Should you get rid of a dog that eats poop?
My answer to this question is no. At least find out why your dog is eating poop in the first place. You will be shocked to learn that you might be contributing to this behavior. Well, I am going to guide you through this process as you put efforts to curb poop-eating behavior in dogs.
Let us proceed and look at some of the common reasons why your dog is eating poop.
Why do dogs eat poop?
I could not count how many times dog owners come to me with this question. Well, there is no specific answer as to why your dog is eating poop. However, there are contributing factors as to why your dog find a delicacy in gross poop.
It could be as a result of medical or behavioral issues. Thereby, I suggest that you pay more attention to your dog immediately you notice your dog eating poop.
Medical reasons why your dog eats poop
As I have mentioned above, identifying the reason why your dog eats poop is key to get rid of this behavior. However, to be able to identify this reason, you will have to spend some quality time with him. In most cases, these are the medical reasons behind poop eating behavior:
This is the leading reason as to why dogs may eat poop. Well, enzyme deficiency is a result of domestication. Here is why:
While commercial dog food works just fine, it may not provide enzymes required to complete the digestion system. On the other hand, if a dog was in his natural environment, which is the wild, he would hunt for food. As he eats his prey, he would eat everything, including the guts which would provide the digestive enzymes.
Now, if your dog is not producing enough digestive enzymes, there is a possibility that he might start eating poop. Well, lack of digestive enzymes means that your dog is not absorbing nutrients since he cannot complete his digestion process.
eating poop could also mean that your dog is very ill. Dogs tend to get hungrier when suffering from illnesses such as diabetes and thyroid problems.
Has your dog started eating poop suddenly? it is probably time to speak to your vet. If you notice certain changes in his behavior, I suggest you look into it farther.
Understand that some of these conditions can be life-threatening.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
This is closely related to the lack of enough digestive enzymes, as discussed above. When the dog’s pancreas cannot produce enough enzymes, this means that the digestion process will fail.
As a result, your dog will suffer malabsorption. You might notice a sudden loss of appetite and eventually coprophagia as the first signs of pancreatic insufficiency.
He might be tempted to eat his poop back since he is not digesting it properly. He is trying to get back the nutrients from his waste.
eating poop exposes your dog to contracting internal parasites. At the same time eating waste can also be a sign that your dog already has internal parasites.
Understand that internal parasites suck nutrients from your dog. This means that your dog will eat up but not absorb any nutrients. As a result, he has left craving for these nutrients. He might eat poop in efforts to get these nutrients.
Therefore, keep watch for the signs and symptoms that your dog is infected with parasites. These might include sudden loss of weight and appetite, eating poop and lethargy.
Your vet will advise you on the best treatment method to go for depending on the type of internal parasites you are dealing with.
Behavioral causes of dog eating poop
As I mentioned above, sometimes your dog will eat poop for behavioral reasons. These may include the following:
He is underfed
Sometimes your canine friend is just hungry, or craving a snack! Well, as your dog grows older, especially for puppies, you need to adjust a lot. For instance, you must ensure that he is well-fed at all times. This means that you might increase the amount of food as your pup gets bigger and older.
Well, don’t leave your dog so hungry that he has to eat his poop! Watch his recent eating behavior. Does he seem like he is not getting enough to eat? Also, consult with your vet who will be able to advise you on the amount of food you offer your dog.
When you are considering getting a dog, there is something you should know. It means that you will have to deal with poop every day. Therefore, maintaining high cleanliness standards is a requirement.
Some dogs have no business eating poop. However, since it is readily available, it is quite common to see him eating up poop. Well, you have to introduce potty training immediately. It will make it easy for you to clean up after your dog. you are w
You have to be especially keen when you have a lactating dog. When you do not clean after the puppies, the mother is going to do so. You might find him eating her puppies’ waste to keep the nest clean.
If you have recently brought a puppy home, then he might engage in poop eating behavior as part of the exploration. As gross as this sounds, it is likely to happen.
The good thing is, your puppy will eventually stop this behavior. The only thing you can do is deter him from eating. There are a few methods that you can do this.
Also, make sure that his crate is always clean.
Natural scavenging behavior
Dogs are natural scavengers, even as we continue to domesticate them. In the wild, he would be hunting for food. If your dog is scavenging for poop, then you need to clean up even more.
Ensure that you pick up waste as soon as he eliminates it.
Boredom and Stress
Boredom is a leading cause of stress in dogs. In most cases, dogs get bored when we leave them alone for long hours when they have nothing else to do. As a result, he might start experimenting with everything surrounding him.
In the process, your dog might stumble on his poop and eat it. Well, it does provide a distraction as well as a snack!
Attention seeking behavior
Dogs, and especially puppies will do anything just to get your attention. It is the reason why I urge dog owners to spend as much time with their dogs as possible.
Your dog knows that you will react when he eats poop and it is exactly what he will be looking for. When you give him your attention, it is similar to rewarding him.
Note that dogs engage in certain habits to get an outcome of their preference.
Dogs are quite receptive. I mean, it is the reason why they tend to learn quickly. However, not only do they pick up the nice habits that we train but also the nasty behavior demonstrated by other pets.
For instance, puppies can learn poop eating from their mothers, or other dogs. If your pup starts eating waste from the very first day you bring him home, he probably picked this behavior from his previous household.
Do not get rid of a dog that eats poop yet. There is something that you can do about it!
What do I do If I want to keep a dog that eats poop?
eating poop is a gross repulsive behavior. However, unlike us, dogs are not repulsed by the activity. Some dogs will find a snack in the poop. Not only is it a gross behavior but it also exposes your dog to contract internal parasites and other illnesses.
Now getting rid of a dog because he eats poop is not the solution. I mean you could adopt another dog and end up handling the very same behavior. So instead, I am going to highlight several methods to handle this problem in dogs.
Visit your vet
This is probably the first thing you should do when you notice your dog eating poop. As we have discussed above, it is likely for your dog to begin eating poop when he is ill. It could be that he has an enzyme deficiency or malnutrition causing him to seek nutrients from poop.
Now, your vet will be able to examine your dog and give you a conclusive report. Should your dog be suffering from any of the above-discussed illnesses, your vet should be able to help with treatment.
Spend quality time with your dog
Once you get a dog, you should be aware that spending time with him is a requirement. I do not mean just exercising or playing, even if it is quite necessary.
You can spend time with your dog when you are relaxing on the sofa watching your favorite show. You can give him a belly rub as well as engage in training him a few tricks.
Not only are you bonding with him but you are also alleviating his attention-seeking behavior. Make sure that he gets as much attention as he needs to feel calm.
Maintain proper hygiene
The primary reason for dog eating poop is availability. I mean, if it is not available, then where would he eat it from? Ensure that your household is free of poop.
If you own a cat too, do not be surprised to find your dog in the litterboxes feeding on cat poop. Get rid of poop immediately your pets eliminate.
Clean after your dog every day and notice the times he is likely to eliminate. In most cases, wait 15-30 minutes after feeding him and take him to your chosen potty area.
Put him on a leash
When you are about to set out for that morning or evening walk, I insist on putting him on a leash. This way, you will be able to control his movements.
Dogs that eat poop will do so on walks as well. Therefore, a leash will help you pull him and guide him away from the waste.
Train him the command ‘stop’ or ‘no’
The good news is that dogs are very receptive, especially when you train him appropriately. Train him the word ‘stop’ or no to turn him away from the poop.
Training these commands will take some time but I urge you to be consistent with training. Once he approaches to waste and other non-food items, tell him to stop. Once he stops, reward him with his favorite treat.
However, there are times whereby he might eat poop even after training him not to. In this case, I suggest you clean it up and refrain from punishing him.
Dogs and pets generally do not understand the concept of punishments or yelling. He might end up fearing you and eating poop when you are not looking.
Deter him from eating poop
You can also deter a dog from eating poop. However, this will only discourage him from eating poop that contains deterrents. He might eat poop from other pets and during a walk instead. This makes it quite ineffective for long-term training.
However, should you be looking for a fast way to prevent your dog from eating poop, use deterrents to stop it? These may include putting meat tenderizer in his every meal to make poop taste and smell bad. Also, you can coat poop using lemon juice or hot pepper.
Feed him only quality food
As we have discussed above, the type of food you offer your dog might be a factor to consider if he has started poop eating behavior. His diet should provide a lot of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
Talk to your vet about changing your puppy’s diet, that is if you are considering it. The goal is to make sure that your dog gets to eat a balanced diet.
If you are still considering to get rid of a dog that eats poop, you should reconsider. I mean, this is a behavior that you can get rid of with proper practices.