Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?
For dogs who show a consistent interest in snacking on fecal matter, there’s no shortage or lack of variety out there. Indeed, you might not notice the pile left behind by another dog, cat, or other animal, but your dog’s powerful sniffer keys in on the potential personal treat. Don’t feel bad. Regardless of breed, age, size, or temperament, dogs eat poop. It’s a universal truth, but it doesn’t have to be that way for your dog’s entire life.
Coprophagia is the term given to poop-eating behavior. While it’s highly typical with puppies and younger dogs, it’s either considered a behavioral problem or a pattern linked to an underlying medical issue. When you notice your pup indulging in poop more often than you’re really comfortable with, please call us. We can determine overall health and zero-in on the causes of coprophagia.
Cause for Concern
While most dog owners are put-off by the gross-factor connected to poop-eating, it’s important to recognize that several diseases can be spread through feces. Vaccinating your dog on a regular basis is critical to protecting him or her from contagious illness.
Intestinal parasites can also be blamed for changes to a dog’s stool. Also, poor nutrition, underfeeding, or waiting too long between meals can all contribute to why dogs eat poop.
Examining Why Dogs Eat Poop
To get to the bottom of why dogs eat poop, the following ideas usually surface:
- It’s tasty and maybe smells a bit like a delicious meal.
- It’s a behavior that’s been picked up by watching other dogs.
- Eating poop is a good way to ease boredom or reduce hunger.
- Coprophagia occurs when a dog defecates inside the house and eats it to cover up the evidence.
- It’s a method to protect against predators in the wild (a mother dog will eat the poop of her puppies to make them less obvious to hunters).
- Dogs eat poop when there’s too much of it in the yard (hint: get that pooper scooper out and ready!).
What You Can Do
There are various approaches you can take to mitigate this behavior (after illness has been ruled out):
- Clean up dog poop promptly.
- Keep your pet thoroughly stimulated throughout the day.
- Do not punish your dog (negative reinforcement will likely only increase the intensity of this behavior).
- Closely supervise your pet’s outdoor time.
- Provide distractions for your dog in the form of treats and toys.