Coprophagy in Dogs

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Why do Dogs Eat their Poop?

 

Life can be tough, for animals as well as humans. Most of the dogs, if not trained properly or if they suffer from dietary deficiency etc. end up eating their own poop. This consumption of poop is formally known as coprophagia, and it is a natural behavior that is found in some animal species.

Why does it happen?

Human beings have difficulty understanding exactly why dogs eat their poop. Dogs have been known to eat poop from various sources, such as other dogs, cats, and rabbits. This is a habit that is most prevalent in puppies, and certain breeds are also more susceptible to Coprophagia. From a human’s point of view, it is repugnant, and we can’t help but wonder why dogs eat poop.

There are many theories regarding animals consuming poop. It might be the result of a dietary deficiency, and the dog suffering from the same is compensating for a loss of nutrition by eating poop. Another theory, from the medical community, proposes that a dog might be experiencing malnutrition, starvation, intestinal disorders, or parasitic infestations. However, most of these illnesses are very rare.

Puppies have been known to eat their poop when they are being housebroken, and this may be the result of physiological and behavioral factors. Physiologically, the digestion of food is not always complete, and puppies will see nutritional value in their poop.

Behaviorally, some breeds are frequently attracted to undigested food in their poop, such as rice, corn, or peanuts, viewing these foods as a snack. Behaviorally, many pets eat their poop when they are being trained because they do not know whether they should eliminate on paper in the home or on the ground outside of the home. If a dog eliminates in the wrong place, it might experience stress and try to hide the evidence of their wrongdoing by eating it.

What can be done about it ?

To stop this unwanted and unhealthy behavior dogs must be kept in optimal health; otherwise, they will develop illnesses that can result in eating poop.

First, have your veterinarian check your dog for parasites. The animal may lack essential bacteria in his system. Also, parasites can compromise an animal’s immune system and allow other illnesses to occur. Take your dog to the vet for a regular checkup, and take notes at the appointment. This can help keep your dog healthy between appointments.

Second, make sure your dog takes a vitamin every day. Vitamins are inexpensive, readily available, and they can be placed in a dog's bowl with the animal’s food, or they can be given directly to the dog as a daily treat.

Third, keep your home clean, inside and out. This includes keeping the dog’s bed washed and sanitized on a regular basis.

Fourth, provide distractions for your dog. When you see your dog eliminate, use a command to call the animal away from the elimination area. As soon as the dog leaves the area, give him verbal and physical praise. Keep a ‘pooper scooper’ handy and pick up the dog poop after calling the dog away from the elimination area. Make it a point to walk around the yard each day and pick up any poop that may have been previously left in the yard.

How can it be prevented?

As a rule, dog owners want to keep their dogs from eating poop. Not only is eating poop a health risk, it is a very unattractive sight for family, friends, or visitors.

The importance of cleanliness and home sanitation cannot be overemphasized. Once the dog is housebroken, the chance of his eating poop inside the home is minimal. However, the dog is likely to go back to its pre-housetraining habits if the house smells like poop or urine.

The best way to keep a home clean is to develop a weekly cleaning schedule and maintain that schedule without fail. If the dog does eliminate inside the home, it can be quickly and easily detected because the rest of the home will not have an odor. If the dog does eliminate inside the home, the poop should be removed immediately, and the elimination area should be sanitized immediately.

An additional benefit of maintaining a housecleaning schedule is that you will not have to worry about cleanliness or odor if an unexpected visitor comes into the home.

You can control the cleanliness of your home, and you can control what your dog eats. One way to keep a dog from eating its own poop is to put food additives in the dog’s regular food. Food additives provide nutrients that the dog needs and, as a result, these nutrients will keep the dog from eating its poop. Consult the dog’s veterinarian to make sure that your dog is receiving food additives that are safe and effective for your dog.

Finally, take your dog outside for a ‘potty walk.’ Using a leash, wait until the dog poops, then call the dog. The leash is only used to keep the dog from the poop if he tries to eat it. When the dog leaves the poop and comes to your side, give it verbal praise and a treat.

All of the above information must be performed consistently. This way, the dog will know what to expect when he tries to eat his poop. Also, consistent cleanliness, training, and maintenance should give you the results you want; your dog should stop eating poop.

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