Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It

Of all the repulsive habits our dogs have—drinking from the toilet, rolling in swamp droppings, licking their butts— nothing disgusts most owners more than pondering why dogs eat stern. Their motivation may not be to crying us humans out, but it surely does. so much so, in fact, that crap eat is frequently a reason people try to rehome a frank or even opt for euthanasia .
There ’ s a scientific name for this poop-eating habit— coprophagy ( kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh ) —and besides both behavioral and physiologic reasons why some dogs view dung as a airiness. If you have a crap eater, don ’ metric ton despair. There are ways to discourage the habit and evening some nonprescription solutions. Although not deeply probed by skill — there are few studies on it — stern corrode is a relatively common phenomenon. In a 2012 study presented at the american Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior annual conference, researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Hart, from the University of California, Davis, found that :

  • 16 percent (one in six) of dogs are classified as “serious” stool eaters, which means that they were caught in the act five times
  • 24 percent of the dogs in the study (one in four) were observed eating feces at least once

Hart wrote, “ Our stopping point is that eating of bracing stools is a reflection of an congenital sensitivity of ancestral canids living in nature that protects tamp down members from intestinal parasites deliver in feces that could occasionally be dropped in the den/rest area. ” translation : It ’ south in a chase ’ s DNA to eat nincompoop .
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The discipline consisted of two disjoined surveys sent to about 3,000 dog owners. While eating dope is repulsive to human sensibilities, it ’ s not in truth all that bad from a canine luff of see. Dogs evolved as scavengers, eating any they found on the ground or in the methamphetamine bus, so their ideas of haute cuisine are slightly different from ours. In his Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, animal behaviorist Steven R. Lindsay says, that coprophagy “ may be one of several appetitive survival behaviors that have evolved to cope with the periodic adversity of starvation. ” In other words, when food is scarce, you can ’ metric ton be finical .

Poop Eating Is Normal for Dogs and Puppies

For some species, such as rabbits, eating faecal droppings is a wholly normal way of obtaining key nutrients. In fact, if you prevent rabbits from doing this, they will develop health problems, and youthful ones will fail to thrive. fortunately, dogs do not need to get nutrition this means. It is, however, a normal, natural behavior at some canine biography stages. Mother dogs will lick their puppies to urge them to eliminate, and clean up their feces by eating it, for about the first three weeks after birth. Puppies will besides naturally engage in this behavior, eating both their own crap ( autocoprophagia ), poop from other dogs ( allocoprophagia ), a well as crap from cats and other animals. Some dogs find horse manure and goose droppings peculiarly appealing. Eating their own crap is harmless, but consuming crap from other animals may cause health problems if the fecal matter is contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins. In most cases, this behavior will fade before the puppy is about nine months old .
Beagle sniffing something on the ground

Facts About Dogs Who Eat Poop

When it occurs in puppies, coprophagy is generally considered separate of the serve of exploring the world around them. Most puppies will be satisfied with a sniff, but a few will want—like human children—to put everything in their mouths. One bizarre fact : Dogs will rarely eat balmy, ill formed stools or diarrhea. They appear to be attracted most to hard stools. Frozen stern, in especial, is gulped down with relish ! ( There is a cause why chase owners have coined the term “ poopsicle. ” ) In his study, Hart made some early observations about why dogs eat nincompoop :

  • Coprophagia was more common in multi-dog households. In single-dog homes, only 20 percent of dogs had the habit, while in homes with three dogs, that rose to 33 percent
  • Poop eaters are no harder to house train than any other dogs
  • Females are more likely to eat poop, and intact males were least likely
  • 92 percent of poop eaters want fresh stuff, only one to two days old
  • 85 percent of poop eaters will not eat their own feces, only that of other dogs
  • Greedy eaters—dogs who steal food off tables—tend to poop eaters

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

If your adult dog starts to dine on droppings, you should consult with your vet to rule out health problems like :

  • Parasites
  • Diets deficient in nutrients and calories (your vet may suggest supplements)
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite
  • Drugs, such as steroids

In many cases, dogs start to eat their own dope because of some kind of environmental tension or behavioral triggers, including :

  • Isolation: Studies have shown that dogs who are kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat poop than those dogs who live close to their people.
  • Restrictive confinement: Spending too much time confined in a small space can cause the problem. It’s not unusual to see coprophagia in dogs rescued from crowded shelters.
  • Anxiety: Often a result of a person using punishment or harsh methods during house training. According to this theory, dogs may eliminate and then eat their own poop to get rid of the evidence, but then they are punished more. It becomes a vicious cycle.
  • Attention-seeking: Dogs eat their own poop to get a reaction from their humans, which they inevitably will. So if you see your dog doing this, don’t overreact.
  • Inappropriate association with real food: Dogs who are fed in proximity to their feces may make a connection between the odors of food and those of poop and will be unable to tell the difference.
  • Scenting it on their mothers: Lindsay writes that in some cases, puppies will get confused by sniffing fecal odors on their mother’s breath after she has cleaned them. Also, sometimes mothers may regurgitate food that is mixed with puppy fecal matter. He calls this an “appetitive inoculation,” which may set a puppy up to develop this bad habit.
  • Living with a sick or elderly dog: Sometimes a healthy dog will consume stools from a weaker canine member of the household, especially in cases of fecal incontinence. Scientists hypothesize that this may be related to the instinct to protect the pack from predators.

How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop

Veterinarians and frump owners have seen improvements with a handful of strategies, including :

  • Vitamin supplementation: There’s been a long-standing theory that dogs eat feces because they are missing something in their diets, so a dog multivitamin could be helpful. Vitamin-B deficiency, in particular, has been a prime suspect, and studies have backed this up. In 1981, scientists showed fecal microbial activity synthesized thiamine, a B-vitamin. Other research found other missing nutrients.
  • Enzyme supplementation: The modern canine diet is higher in carbohydrates and lower in meat-based proteins and fats than the canine ancestral diet. Some people have had success with supplements for dogs that contain papain, an enzyme that aids digestion.
  • Taste-aversion products: The theory is that certain tastes and smells are as disgusting to dogs as the idea of stool eating is to us, so adding a poop-eating deterrent to food or treats will make the poop that’s being produced less appealing. Many of these products contain monosodium glutamate, chamomile, pepper-plant derivatives, yucca, garlic, and parsley. Just remember to treat all the dogs in a multi-dog household if there’s a poop-eating problem! Some owners will also use a bitter-tasting spray to make poop taste worse.

possibly the best way to stop the problem is through discipline and environmental management methods, including :

  • Have all the right materials for feeding, training, and walking your dog.
  • Keep the dog’s living area clean, including the yard, so there will be no poops for him to pick up.
  • Cat owners should keep that litter box clean or out of the dog’s reach.
  • Supervise your dog on walks, and pick up after him immediately.
  • Training. Work hard on the commands “leave it” and “come.” One simple exercise is to teach your dog to come to you for a food treat as soon as he has eliminated. That way, the dog will develop a habit to run to you for a tasty tidbit, instead of reaching for the revolting one on the ground.
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