Why does my dog eat poop?
It is one of the most unpleasant habits a dog can pick up. Your pet may get a taste and start feasting on it like they are little hor d’oeuvres, which is entirely disgusting, but natural as far as dogs are concerned.
However, natural doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no room to be concerned.
Poop eating is a condition known as coprophagia. This behavior can be a sign that something is wrong with your dog’s health. Coprophagia is a self-rewarding behavior, as some dogs enjoy consuming their stools, which makes it a difficult behavior to break.
Let’s begin to understand why dogs do this and how to stop this behavior.
Why Does My Dog Eat His Own Poop?
Your Dog’s Diet
Dogs may eat poop for sustenance or to compensate for something lacking in their diet, which makes what you feed your dog to blame. They may not be getting enough nutrients and are resorting to recycling the leftovers.
Your dog may not be getting enough food.
Underfed dogs will eat poop to satisfy their bodies need for nutrients. Ironically enough, overfeeding your dog can also lead to coprophagic behavior.
They may not absorb all of the nutrients in their food and eat their waste to reclaim the leftover nutrients. In either case, make sure that you’re providing appropriate food proportions for you dog.
The canine diet has been designed for eating meat, yet many kibble products are mostly filled with plant fibers, which doggy stomachs have yet to adapt to.
Perhaps swap that type of food out for something more appropriate — like wholesome, natural food — for you dog instead.
Consider your dog’s size, breed, age, energy levels, and overall health and redesign their diet accordingly.
Coprophagia in dogs can sometimes be attributed to bad owner habits. Neglect can result in all sorts of “bad dog” behavior; and this habit is just one of them.
The remedy is straightforward enough but it is up to the owner to practice better habits.
A messy living space may prompt your dog to “clean” its waste by eating it. They often do this in order to hide the evidence that they defecated indoors.
Dogs usually don’t defecate near their living space so it may be a sign that you need to take them outside more often so they can do their business.
Boredom can also promote coprophagia. If dogs are left alone for too long they may play and eat their waste for stimulation. Some breeds of dogs will even carry poop in their mouths for amusement.
If you spend much of your day away from your pup, try spending more time with them and monitor their behavior. You might be surprised at how much it improves when you’re around to watch and lavish them with attention.
Make sure to clean their potty area so they don’t get the opportunity to put it in their mouths.
Puppies Eating Poop
Puppies may also try to eat their own feces. At a young age a large portion of their learning comes from putting things in their mouth.
For most puppies, this habit eventually goes away but it is best to remove the waste from their environment before they can get accustomed to eating it so they don’t cement this as a habit.
Mother dogs will instinctively eat the feces of her puppies to hide their scent from predators. Again, to stop this behavior, remove the poop before they can get to it.
Why Does My Dog Eat Cat Poop?
If you have both cats and dogs in the same house without complete chaos, good on you!
Though you may have started to notice that your dog is intruding on your cat’s private space: the litter box.
This is problematic for both you and your cat. This behavior may be due to a deficiency in their diet. Dogs sometimes consume the poop of other animals to compensate for a lack of a certain nutrient and minerals in their diet.
This is a further indication that you should feed your dog better quality food.
All the better for your feline friend. For all your cat is concerned, the dog can get the heck out of there!
You can also try to block the dog’s access to the litterbox. Place the litterbox somewhere only the cat can access.
Stop Your Dog Eating Poop
You can add products to their dog food to discourage them from eating the end product.
Once a day you can add one to two tablespoons of pumpkin puree to their food bowl. Use canned or fresh pumpkin puree. Many dogs find pumpkin tasty in food but disgusting in poop form.
Pumpkin also provides an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. Two birds with one stone!
Pineapple chunks also work well. Small dogs can have one teaspoon a day. Larger dogs, one tablespoon.
Here’s a good video on how to stop this behavior:
When to See the Vet
Health issues can trigger poop eating. There may be unable to digest food efficiently, have issues with their pancreas, or have parasites.
If you notice this behavior worsening or coming on suddenly, you should have your dog examined by a vet.
So… why does my dog eat poop? Now you know!