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Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

We understand how you can be disgusted and worried when your dog starts eating poop. Today, our Stockton vets discuss the possible reasons why your dog may be eating poop and how you can help stop this behavior.

Why Dogs Eat Poop? 

It's common for dogs to eat poop, this behavior is called 'coprophagia' (kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh) and it can be caused by a variety of behavioral, genetic, and psychological factors.

There are some normal reasons why dogs eat poop. One of them is when they are nursing and eat their puppy's poop to keep their den clean.

It's also normal for dogs to eat the poop of another species if they like the taste. Horse poop and cat poop contain nutrients your pup might find tasty, however, the feces of other animals (including dogs) can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, so it's best to discourage this behavior.

There is also a theory that states dogs might be eating poop as part of their innate scavenging tendencies, which was developed as a survival tool during a time when food was scarce. 

However, there are unusual reasons why dogs may eat their own poop or the poop of another dog or animal.

  • Attention seeking
  • Parasites
  • Anxiety
  • A calorie or nutrition deficiency in their diet
  • Cushing's
  • Diabetes
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Thyroid disease or another condition that causes increased appetite
  • Isolation and boredom

If your dog is eating their own poop or the poop of another animal, you should contact your veterinarian, so they can diagnose the underlying cause.

How To Train Your Dog to Stop Eating Poop

To stop your dog from eating poop, you first need to determine why they are eating it. Then, you need to implement a system that keeps them performing this bad habit.

Contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment so they can rule out any underlying medical issues. If your dog is eating poop because of a medical problem, your vet will provide you with a treatment plan to help your pup feel better and manage the issue. 

If your dog is eating poop for behavioral reasons, there are some ways you can help train your pup to stop eating poop and prevent them from doing it again.

Limit Their Access To Poop

You can do this by picking up your dog's poop immediately after they go. If you have a cat, clean the litter box right after your kitty has finished doing their business. Then keep the waste out of your pup's reach so they can't access it.

Provide Your Dog With Distractions

If your dog eats their own feces go outside with them, once they have finished relieving themselves call your pooch over to you and provide them with a toy or a treat. Don't give them time to search the yard for poop to eat. If they ignore your distraction attempts and immediately turn around to go back to the poop, you will have to take your dog out on a leash and bring them back to the house until you can clean up the yard.

Make the Poop Unappealing

There are dog chews available that can make make your dog's poop less appealing for them to eat and should deter them from eating their own feces.

Keep Your Dog On a Leash

When you go for walks, keep your dog on a leash and guide their head away when they try to eat poop. As stated above, pick up your pup's poop immediately before they can turn around to eat it.

Reward Good Behavior

One of the biggest parts of training a dog is to reward them for listening to your commands. If your dog turns away from the poop and doesn't eat it offer them praise, cuddles, and treats. This encourages and motives them to not do it again.

Talk To Your Vet

If these tips still don't work talk to your veterinarian. They will be able to recommend training devices, as well as dietary supplements, and additional tips that can help curb your dog's desire for eating poop.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog eating their own poop or the feces of another animal? Contact our Stockton vets today and schedule an appointment.

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We can't wait to welcome you and your pet to the Rosemarie Pet Hospital family.

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