Raising a dog is not easy. There are numerous factors that you must keep in mind, especially when they are puppies. You need to vaccinate them, talk to them for a walk daily, and keep an eye on their diet.
Moreover, you need to teach them some manners in the long run. Irrespective of your efforts, there are instances where they develop bad habits. These habits affect their health by a huge margin. Some of these habits may even make you ill.
One of these bad habits among dogs is eating poop. It has been observed that more than 10% of domestic dogs have the habit of eating poop. This habit usually leads to sickness in the dog.
However, there are some common reasons behind this habit:
- Enzyme deficiency
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Malabsorption disease (IBD)
- Fear and stress
- Seek Your Attention
Why do they eat poop?
Lack of nutrition
It is most likely that the dog will eat the poop if it is not getting proper nutrition from the food. There are even chances that the food you are providing is not enough for its appetite.
This is a common reason behind eating poop, as they try to fill the void by doing so. Dogs usually eat the waste of other animals. However, if they are eating their water, then the situation is extremely serious.
Another reason behind this is the indigestion of the food. Maybe you are giving a proper diet to the dog, but the nutrition is not reaching its body. This usually happens due to worms in the stomach.
These worms consume the majority of the nutrition of the diet. Thus, the appetite of the dog remains empty. There are even chances that your dog is foody. Maybe the dog likes to eat a lot. There are chances that eating is a part of its personality.
Dogs unable to produce enzymes such as amylase are more likely to become poop eaters. They may have a deficiency in B12 which causes chemical imbalances that lead to digestive problems.
EPI (Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency)
Pancreatitis or pancreatic damage due to some virus, bacteria or parasite, may also affect a dog’s ability to digest its food.
Studies have found that dogs suffering from EPI tend to eat feces. This has been attributed to the fact that feces contain undigested proteins and fats which are easily digested.
Malabsorption disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease, vitamin deficiencies like thiamin deficiency may also be associated with coprophagia.
It is often seen in dogs who are left alone too long and have nothing to do and no one to play with. Eating stool gives them something to do.
They may even ingest a large amount of their own fecal matter if they get desperate enough.
One of the most common parasites affecting dogs is tapeworms.
These worms live in an animal’s intestines and absorb nutrients from his body into theirs, leaving only waste.
It may also be associated with eating dried feces left on a dog park or your own lawn.
Dogs who are underfed may resort to eating feces.
Dogs with pica get pleasure from chewing and consuming inedible items. A dog suffering from this condition is likely to eat anything non-food-related that he goes on top of.
Poop eating is a common issue in puppies, especially those who have been isolated for a long time. Dogs are intelligent animals and if bored, will do strange things to satisfy themselves.
Dogs may have the urge to eat feces because they are trying to clean themselves. However, this is rare.
Fear and stress
A dog that is stressed due to fear or anxiety may be more likely to eat excrement.
This could be caused by a change in their environment; abuse at the hands of humans; a change in the number of dogs sharing their home; or a new dog coming into the house.
These changes throw them out of their element, and they can become stressed. Poop eating is a way to cope with this stress.
If you punish your dog every time he does something wrong, he may start to associate that punishment with something he does.
Eating poop can become a way for your dog to get back at you, or avoid you.
Lack of attention
Dogs love to play and have attention on them. If you have left your dog unattended for days, then it is likely that they will start eating poop. They do this, as they want to try something new that could bring your attention to them. Have not they successfully gained your attention now?
How to stop them from eating poop?
Here are the most effective methods to stop your dog from eating poop.
Vitamin supplementation: Another option is vitamin supplementation. It helps in improving the overall health of the dog. Vitamin C is known to improve digestion, while zinc improves immunity. Vitamin-B complex also increases energy levels. These nutrients should be given along with food.
Enzyme supplementation: Enzymes are found in fruits and vegetables. They aid in breaking down proteins into amino acids. Thus, when these enzymes are added to the dog’s food, it aids in digesting protein efficiently.
Taste-aversion products: Some dogs love to eat their own feces. In such cases, you may want to use taste-aversion products. Such products contain chemicals that make them smell unpleasant. When used properly, they work very well.
Keep the dog’s living area clean: Always try to keep the place where the dog lives clean. It will help him stay healthy. Also, he won’t feel like doing any wrong thing.
Train them two important “leave it” and “come” commands: Whenever the dog eats his own feces, teach him to leave it immediately. Teach him to come back when you call him. Once he learns both these things, he won’t ever think about eating the feces again.
Change the diet: Maybe the dog is eating poop due to an improper diet. Therefore, you need to change the existing diet of the dog. Make sure you increase it rather than decreasing.
You have to choose a diet that offers more nutrition, minerals, and vitamins than the previous one. You can even give supplements to the dog. However, we would suggest you stick with a better natural diet. You can even talk to a vet to design a perfect meal for the dog.
Also, you can add probiotics to the dog’s diet. Probiotic bacteria are beneficial for the digestive system.
Change your method: If you scold your dog for committing a mistake, then you need to stop right there. Change your method of training the dog. You can even observe professional trainers or summon one of them. The main idea is to remove fear from the dog.
Train them: The next solution is to train the dog to not eat poop. Maybe it is just the personality of the dog, that is leading to this bad habit. You need to train the dog to not do so.
Try to remove the waste as soon as possible. Moreover, whenever the dog tries to eat the poop, change its focus towards you. You can even give a small treat to the dog for changing its focus.
Spend time with your dog: Maybe it is all because you are not giving proper attention to the dog. Try to take the dog out for a walk daily, for a few months. You can even play some games with them. This will most likely remove the bad habit of eating poop.
Litter box: Keep it clean and out of reach of the dog. This way, he won’t be tempted to eat the poo.
Go to a vet: In case none of the above methods works, then you should definitely visit a veterinarian. They may recommend certain medications or surgeries. But in all cases, you must consult a veterinary expert before taking such decisions.
In this blog, we have discussed the main reasons why dogs eat poop. We have also discussed the most effective solutions for it. These solutions were chosen based on our experience and knowledge.
By following these solutions, you will be able to remove the bad habit of your dog. Just make sure that you remain patient with the dog after the habit has been overcome.
However, there are still very few chances that the dog will eat the poop. In that case, feel free to talk to a vet. Moreover, the bad habit will not go away in a few days. It will likely take at least a few weeks.