Dog owners love their pets like their own children and try to look after them all the time. They also provide dogs with the best toys and food to keep them healthy and happy. But at times, you catch your dog eating poop. When this happens, owners often think about why dogs eat poop. And this occurs for every dog owner. Dogs often have this habit of eating poop. In this article, we will discuss in detail why dogs eat poop and how to stop them from doing it.
Coprophagia is the scientific name for the condition where dogs eat poop. But in specific situations, people might say this occurrence is uncommon. You will notice that dogs eat poop for various different reasons.
Professionals state them as common, but it can also indicate underlying health issues. You should check if your adult dog eats poop or other dog’s poop, as it isn’t common.
Some common reasons why dogs eat poop
If your dog eats poop in the following scenario, then owners should not worry.
1. Nursing female dog: Usually, nursing female dogs eats the poop of their babies to keep the area clean.
2. Consuming poop of other species: Owners also notice that their dogs tend to eat the poop of other species such as cats and horses, which contains some beneficial nutrients. But it also consists of harmful bacteria; hence one should not encourage it.
Even out of these reasons, dogs tend to eat poop and professionals can help you understand why it isn’t an everyday habit.
Some abnormal reasons why dogs eat the poop of their own or others
Dog owners should know that their dogs eating the poop of their own or others is an uncommon habit. We will discuss in detail some of the uncommon reasons why dogs eat poop.
1. Dogs want to get their owner’s attention.
Many dogs often start to consume poop when they are young, as they consider it a game. For example, puppies might grab their poop with their mouth. And as a natural instinct, you would run towards them and ask to drop it. When this occurs, some puppies get afraid and do not do it again.
On the other hand, some puppies get excited and see it as a game and would want to continue doing it. For this reason, some dogs find an impromptu game of chase with their owner. Also, they think this is a way to get the owner’s attention and play with them. They try to do this trick not for playing but at times for the owner to get engaged with them. And then they grow to an adult, and the habit stays with them. Owners have to pay attention to their dogs when they eat poop.
2. Your dogs don’t feel well.
At times dogs indulge in this poop eating when they do not feel good. If you notice your puppy or adult dog eating their own poop or other dog’s poop, then it is essential to get them checked by a doctor. Most of the time, dogs with coprophagy have diseases associated with their intestinal tract and in some cases, liver and brain.
Pet owners should see whether their adult dog suddenly starts to consume poop. Also, notice whether they have certain problems such as lethargy, weight loss, discomfort, vomiting, behavioral change, and diarrhea, then it is important to take them to the vet immediately.
The doctor will run some tests and figure out whether your dog has some problems such as gastrointestinal disease, nutritional deficiency and intestinal parasite.
3. Your dog suffers from anxiety.
Sometimes dogs tend to eat poop as a displacement behavior when they suffer from anxiety. If the owner confines their dog with anxiety, then they tend to eat their own poop. Some of the reasons why your dogs develop coprophagia are:
- Normal anxiety.
- Separation anxiety (when the owners go away)
- The worries they have about being caged.
- The lack of interactive activity when confined.
4. They have a fear of being caged and punished for doing something wrong
Sometimes puppies develop the habit of eating their own poop when their owner punishes them for pooping all over the house. Hence they start to eat the poop in order to hide what they did and escape punishment.
How to stop my dog from eating poop?
If you notice that your pet dog or puppy has the habit of eating their own poop, then you need to take certain measures in order to prevent the activity. Try to put a system in place that makes your dog get rid of this habit. First, determine why your dogs eat poop and then take necessary measures to stop it.
1. Dogs are eating cat poop.
Although dogs have the habit of eating cat’s poop, as a pet owner, you don’t want your dog to eat litter as snacks. If you have a dog that tends to eat the cat litter, then make a pet gate. This gate should only give access to the cat to go inside while keeping the dog at bay. You can also place this litter box in a space that allows the cat to jump on it.
As a dog owner, you need to understand that dogs usually try to eat things that they find tasty. And somehow, the cat poop seems appealing to their taste bud. You can find various chew products that will help your dog stop eating poop altogether.
2. Puppies are starting to eat poop.
If you own a puppy that loves to eat poop, then you need to find ways to stop it. After you get a puppy, you need to give them housetraining and try to take them out on a consistent schedule. When you give them training, and they get done with poop, try to praise them and provide them with treats. And when they enjoy their treat, try to get rid of the poop quickly.
By following this method, you stop your puppy from gaining any access to poop and prevent them from eating it. This way, you can also potty train your puppy without the need to punish them.
3. Dogs with anxiety or separation anxiety
If you have a confined dog, you need to understand how to reduce some aspects of confinement, which will help with their anxiety. Try to provide your dog with a larger space or a quieter space. You can also give them more interactive toys to keep themselves occupied. But if you have a dog with anxiety and they can’t stay alone, you need to look for a daycare where other people will look after them as you go to work. You can also take help from a certified animal behaviorist.
4. Adult dogs who have started to eat poop
As a dog owner, you need to notice whether your dog has the habit of eating their poop in fear of being punished. If this is the case, you first need to stop punishing them and start taking active measures to stop them from eating poop.
Sometimes past owners might have punished the dog for eating poop. And you need to take other measures in order to stop them from eating poop. After you establish this behavior, then you need to stay patient and look for other corrective measures to stop your dog from accessing and eating poop.
5. Distract your dog’s attention
For those who have an adult dog that tends to eat, their dog should not stay alone. The owner should stay there when the dog defecates. As soon as they get done with their poop, you should call them for a treat or give them a toy to distract them. And then while they stay busy playing, you need to get rid of the poop. But if your dog has the habit of turning around instantly and eating their poop, then you need to put a leash on them. This way, you can take them away once they finish defecating. And as a dog owner, you need to constantly keep an eye on their activity and prevent them from eating poop. Try to provide your dogs with treats and toys once they get done with their business.
By following the methods mentioned above, you can stop your dog from eating poop. Try to have a positive approach towards this situation and provide them with enough toys and treats to distract them.